Nutri­tion: Take weight lightly.............................

Plan­ning on cre­at­ing health, as op­posed to los­ing weight, will have more re­sults than just a shrink­ing waist­line.

Element - - CONTENTS - By Lani Lopez Lani Lopez BHSc Adv. Dip. Nat. is a Natur­opath and Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion­ist. She in­tro­duced her guide to mind­ful weight-loss at The Healthy Liv­ing Show as one of our El­e­ment Game Chang­ers.

If weight has you wor­ried, then lighten up. Give up di­ets, give up guilt and give up the heavy heart and neg­a­tive think­ing. Tak­ing a light-hearted ap­proach to weight-loss brings the best and, most im­por­tantly, de­liv­ers the long­est last­ing re­sults.

Re­search is in­creas­ingly demon­strat­ing that a sim­ple nat­u­ral ap­proach to weight loss has two sim­ple re­quire­ments.

An un­der­stand­ing of healthy body-size and aware­ness of your ap­petite and eat­ing.

Health at ev­ery size

I have long been a critic of BMI as a body mea­sure. It is an in­ac­cu­rate tool, in­cor­rectly cat­e­goris­ing many ath­letes and healthy body types as un­healthy.

Take the “Health at Ev­ery Size” (HAES) ap­proach. HAES starts with ac­cep­tance of your body as it is, what­ever your size and shape, you are fine as you are. Then you take care of it with nutri­tion and ac­tiv­ity. Think about cre­at­ing health, not los­ing weight. There is no place for guilt, self-loathing or shame, it is all about about self-care and self-love. From that comes the self-es­teem that makes self-con­trol pos­si­ble.

Think be­fore you bite

Time to dis­cover ‘mind­ful eat­ing’. To un­der­stand this let’s look at eat­ing mind­lessly. What, when and how much we eat has no con­nec­tion to our body’s needs and our health. Mind­less eat­ing is binge­ing or eat­ing foods that leave us feel­ing over-full, sick from grease, in a sugar crash, guilty or just plain ‘blah.’

Dis­con­nec­tion char­ac­terises mind­less eat­ing and re­con­nect­ing is the key to mind­ful eat­ing. Con­nect with your ap­petite, know­ing your hunger cy­cle helps to avoid crav­ings. Un­der­stand­ing the foods that leave you feel­ing ‘blah’ helps choose those foods that truly sat­isfy and en­er­gise. Over-eat­ing comes from miss­ing sig­nals we are full.

This dis­con­nec­tion is nor­mal, we eat mind­lessly. World renowned re­searcher Brian Wansink, of Cor­nell Univer­sity Food and Brand Lab­o­ra­tory, shows that most of the time our food choices are un­con­scious.

Peo­ple es­ti­mated to Wan­sik that they made an av­er­age of 14.4 food choices a day. In re­al­ity, they made over 200.

Wan­sik showed too that food choices hinge on things we don’t con­sider; who we eat with, what and how much we eat, if we sit to eat, are watch­ing tele­vi­sion and the shape and size of plates or cups.

This is the power of mind­ful eat­ing, get­ting con­trol of our food choices for our own good.

Mind­ful­ness is sim­ply paying at­ten­tion, both to in­ner cues (thoughts, emo­tions and sen­sa­tions) and to our en­vi­ron­ment (sights, scents, sounds, tex­tures and tastes).

For ev­ery meal be aware of the sen­sa­tions of eat­ing— tast­ing, smelling and en­joy­ing the food as you eat it. Ev­ery lick, bite, chew and swal­low.

This process soon cues your ap­petite into food that really is as good for you as it tastes, fresh and healthy foods. No more di­ets and be­cause you are con­sciously choos­ing foods you eat there is no more guilt.

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