Olwen Anderson says the key to weight loss is to focus on food.
Olwen Anderson says the key to weight loss is to focus on food. John Gass

Conscious eating will help you with weight loss

IF YOU'RE currently on a quest for weight loss, do you know that how you eat can make as much difference as what you eat?

You can actually harness the power of your mind to help you feel more satisfied with the (probably smaller) portions and more regular eating pattern that comes with a carefully designed weight-loss program.

The big difference that will help you succeed is in mindful eating, compared to unconscious eating.

Weight tends to creep on gradually; a couple of kilos of fat seems to magnetically attach every few months but when you look back, you can't recall eating too much more than usual.

The reason it's hard to discover how this weight appeared is because you really don't know what you've eaten; it was consumed unconsciously.

Unconscious eating doesn't mean that you've eaten while you were asleep; it means that while you were eating, your focus was on something else, not your food.

That habit plays tricks on your body.

Your stomach wants to let your brain know when it's full, so your brain can pass on the message that it's time to stop eating.

Problem is, if you're distracted by the TV, the internet, working at your desk, or driving, your brain is busy elsewhere and won't get these messages from your stomach until they get really insistent.

By this point in the meal your stomach could be so over-stretched it's uncomfortable; particularly if you sat down to watch a movie with an authentically-sized bucket of popcorn.

Or, you might have put the packet of Tim Tams on the coffee table intending to have just one or two while you watch your favourite show, only to discover, to your horror, that you've eaten the lot.

The antidote for unconscious eating is to start a new habit: when you're eating, just be eating.

That means that you sit down at a table to enjoy your meal with the TV off, actually savouring your food.

This technique works especially well with healthy fibre-rich food, like salads, because chewing takes time, giving your stomach a chance to send those vital "I'm full!" messages to your brain in plenty of time.

If you've got into the practice of eating at your work desk, it can be challenging to step away to eat, maybe even leave the office.

If you're accustomed to unconscious eating this new practice is going to feel pretty weird.

But persist and you can come to enjoy your food more, eat less, and still feel satisfied.

That means a healthier diet, a healthier you, and a slimmer figure.

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