Why Mindfulness Helps With Weight Loss
Mindfulness helps weight loss by training the mind to focus on the present moment. With regular daily practice it slows down the negative rumination of the mind. It also helps you focus away from your self-critical judgements and battle with food.
For me, it all started when I read The Mindful Way Through Depression. Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
I had practiced yoga and meditation since I was in my late 20’s. This was more off than on if I am honest. Then more recently I heard about Mindfulness. I didn’t suffer from depression (or so I thought) and bought the book because it drew me to it. (These are always the books that you are meant to read).
I had heard about Jon Kabat-Zinn and his work integrating mindful meditation into mainstream medicine in America. The book peaked my interest as my first career was as a nurse and midwife. Trying something radically different to dieting appealed to me. I had tried many times to control my unhealthy eating. To “think” my way out of a cycle of binging or just trying to “snap myself out of it” only lead, every time, into a deep downward spiral.
In the book they highlight insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy. The book demonstrates how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination (negative self talk in your head) and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience.
My turning point – one of those huge life changing moments – was when I undertook an exercise in the book that identified that I suffered from chronic depression and had done all my adult life. What a revelation! They say the first step is acceptance before you can make any personal changes. How right this is. In denial of my mental state I had no chance of healing. Only when I searched deep inside myself for the truth was I then able to make any significant changes.
It was hard to accept the facts about my depression because I hid it from myself, the world, my friends and my family. With a bubbly happy outer, yet false persona, I faced the world. Behind closed doors, withdrawn into myself I ate copious amounts of food to bury my emotions and hide the frightened child within my over-sized body!
Boy, was it painful to look at who I really was (and still is painful as I write this). It would have been easy to fall into the trap (yet again) of becoming the victim to my past, to my food addiction and my lack of self-love. I had a lifetimes experience of playing the victim to family members and to food and this time I wanted to change the cycle. Mindfulness offered me a new, healthy and exciting option to a life yo-yoing between overeating and dieting.
So my journey began.