This is the first of a series of blogs on weight loss and my first thought on an effective approach to “dieting” is that we as a society need to drop what I call, the “diet attitude.” By this I mean never over-focusing on calorie content of food and quick weight loss. Unfortunately, the “diet attitude” is a cultural one and in this regard deeply ingrained. But what really helps with weight loss is not about attitudes and thought at all. One way to look at weight loss is from the perspective of mindful eating where we step out of our heads and into our body to guide us when to eat and not to eat, and to inform us of what kinds of foods are nourishing.
Take chewing, for example, most people do not chew food well. It is no wonder that we have expressions such as “shoveling food down” or “wolfing down our meal.” Proper chewing not only helps with digestion, it is a way to savor our food and enjoy it, which is what we are meant to do. This slows us down enough to ask ourselves whether we are still hungry. Shoveling and wolfing are just that, and are mindless eating.
Along with being mindful of the experience of food in our mouth, we need to head south to our stomachs. When you begin to think about eating food, guide yourself away from your thoughts, putting your hand on your stomach and asking yourself, “Am I hungry?” If the answer is yes, you might want to have a drink of water first only because we are often thirsty when we think that we are hungry. If you still feel hungry after quenching your thirst, it would make sense to eat some nourishing food.
I believe that one of the reasons diets fail is that many people turn to unnourishing foods when diet. They move toward portion control without better nourishment. If our bodies do not get the nourishment it needs, it will crave for more food in effort to obtain the absent vitamins and minerals.
Another problem with unnourishing foods is that most of them are processed and not in the whole form as nature intended it. Consider all of the nutrients that can be lost. Boiling, for example, diminishes vitamin and mineral content while steaming results in less nutrient loss. Also, many nutrients are lost during the milling of grains. Anne Marie Colbin, Ph.D., in her book, Food and Healing, reports that when wheat is refined into flour, for example, at least twenty nutrients are lost or greatly reduced. Only a limited number of nutrients are used when fortifying foods and the food consumed is just not the same as the original. In addition, supplements added to food do not have the same vitality and energy as the nutrients found in foods from nature. There also is a question of how well fortified foods are metabolized as compared to whole foods.
When it comes to dieting, let your body be your guide. Most of us are just not used to this because we generally are thinkers and use our thoughts to maintain control in our lives. But weight loss is where we have to give reigns over to our body and trust that it will guide us.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates