Are you putting in a lot of effort into diet and exercise, yet not seeing results?
A key aspect that may be overlooked is stress and mindless eating.
People often mindlessly reach for food in order to comfort themselves in times of stress.
This can result in increased daily calorie intake as well as food not being digested properly – causing weight gain and digestive issues such as IBS.
A study on mindfulness intervention (for stress eating to reduce cortisol and abdominal fat among overweight/obese women) showed that mindfulness training benefited obese women at risk for the Metabolic Syndrome, more specifically by decreasing “cortisol awakening response, which may contribute to reduced abdominal fat over time.”*
Another study also supported the value of mindful practice, especially to reduce food cravings for overweight and obese individuals.
“The results showed that participants in the experimental group reported significantly lower cravings for food after the intervention compared to the control group.”
What is mindfulness?
The term “mindfulness” stems from the Buddhist concept:
“Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment.
It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life.
To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing.
We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower.”
Tips for mindful eating
- Minimize noise and visuals around you. Ideally, sit at a table – just you, your meal and cutlery.
- Take a moment before your meal to stop, look and appreciate your meal. Keep in mind that a lot of preparation and work has not only gone into the meal itself, but every single ingredient has passed a lot of hands to get to your plate!
- Put cutlery down once you’ve taken a bite and don’t pick them up again until you have swallowed. Often we take a bite and then we are immediately focused on picking up the next serving while we’re still chewing.
- Chew your food 10-20 times before swallowing.
- Focus on the smell, taste and texture of each bite, so you can appreciate the entire meal each bite at a time.
Artificial light linked to weight gain
A new study (link) published last month has shown that older people exposed to increased artificial lighting in the evening (as well as low light in the morning) are more likely to gain weight.
Over two years, participants subjected to high levels of artificial light in the evening showed an increase in abdominal fat gain in particular.
1,110 study participants with an average age of 72 were studied.
Their light exposure was measured over a two-day period (with the second two-day study repeated 21 months later) with body measurements taken – such as height, waist circumference and body weight. Interestingly, this links the disruption of circadian rhythm with weight gain and obesity.
What is circadian rhythm?
Circadian rhythm is the internal body clock within a 24 hour period, whereby a response to light and darkness influences health, such as sleep-wake cycles, body temperature and hormone release. It is believed that “abnormal circadian rhythms have also been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder.”*
What should you do?
In this day and age, most people use technology to relax after a busy day. However, you may actually be doing yourself a disservice. Instead, avoid artificial light in the evening after sunset; namely from TV’s, laptops, bedroom lamps and smartphones and practice meditation or try to get to sleep before 10pm.
At Amchara – whether juice-fasting or eating raw food, we aim to educate our guests on their relationship with food and therefore their sense of appreciation for the right foods begins.
Click here to find out more on our Functional Health programmes.
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