Wednesday, November 13, 2013
If you’re a Buddhist or you’re familiar with Buddhist philosophy, then you already have some idea about what it means to live mindfully. If you’re not familiar with mindful living, that’s okay. You don’t have to join a monastery to understand the concept. Mindful livingsimply means paying attention to what’s going on in your life right now, in this moment. That’s a no-brainer, right? What’s difficult for many people, however, is the actual practice of mindfulness. For most people, it’s a practice that takes practice.

Mindful living incorporates many useful guidelines for low-calorie living. Some of these guidelines deal directly with eating behavior and provide practical tips for changing that behavior, and others help with the psychological aspects of overeating, such as changing your thinking patterns to help ensure success.

Eating mindfully

Mindful eating is all about being aware of what and how you eat. It means thinking about your food and paying attention to your eating habits. It’s the opposite of mindlesseating, which is actually easier because it requires no thought whatsoever.

Eating mindfully prevents you from eating too much food at one sitting or putting food into your mouth all day long without even realizing that you’re eating. Perhaps the best thing about mindful eating is that it has no negative after-effects and no guilt involved. You can’t say the same about eating mindlessly!

Here are the basic steps of mindful eating to follow every time you eat:
1. Pay attention to the way you prepare your food.
2. Prepare your food carefully and thoughtfully.
3. Prepare your dining table with care and attention.
4. Pay attention to the amount of food you put on your plate.
5. Relax as you sit down to eat.
6. Look at your food, smell it, be aware of it as you eat.
7. Eat slowly.
8. Avoid interruptions and stressful conversations while you eat.
9. Pay attention to your body’s hunger level as you eat.
10. Eat no more than you need to eat to feel satisfied.
11. Spend a quiet minute or two reflecting on your meal when you’ve finished eating.

Thinking mindfully

How often have you said to yourself, “I’m too fat” or “I hate my thighs” or even “I’ll never be able to stop eating”? Mindful thinking encourages you to pay attention to this type of negative “self-talk” and the effect it has on your self-esteem and motivation.

When you think mindfully, you catch yourself in negative self-talk and allow yourself a moment to change it to something positive. Mindful thinking allows you to listen to your own brain chatter and ultimately replace negative and destructive thoughts with something more affirming.

Self-supporting statements such as “I am loving and capable” are called affirmations.They’re nothing more than soft and fluffy thoughts that are helpful for giving yourself a lift and keeping yourself motivated when the dieting gets tough. If you’re not in the habit of using affirmations, you may want to come up with a few affirmations that have meaning for you and start using them to replace the harsher thoughts you sometimes have about yourself. For instance, if you’re ready to give up before you even begin your diet, you may say to yourself, “There’s no point; I’m never going to lose weight.” Because that type of thinking doesn’t help, having an opposing affirmation handy, per-haps one that says “I’m not giving in to failure,” or at least, “I’m going to give this my best shot,” can be beneficial.

Some people think affirmations are silly and are completely turned off by them. If you’re one of those people, try to suspend your judgment and practice using affirmations in your daily life. See if they help bring you back to a positive frame of mind when you’re slipping into negative waters. See if they help you maintain a better outlook throughout the day. You may not always feel on top of your world, but at the very least you may be able to muster up something like, “I’ve had worse days” when you hit a roadblock and are tempted to give up.

Whether you’re looking in the mirror or searching your soul, focus on your best personal traits and on your successes, not on your failures. Use the following affirmations to replace negative thoughts in a variety of situations.

Instead of:You Can Say:
I’m going to be fat forever.It took a while to get here; it’ll take a while to get back.
I hate my body.My body’s getting healthier every day
I’m starving.I’m looking forward to eating healthier foods.
This diet is too hard.Just wait. Good things take time.
It’s going too slow.If I’m patient, I’ll be successful. I can wait as long as it takes.
I’m going to buy a candy bar.I’m strong enough to say “no” this time.
I feel sick all the time.I’m getting stronger and healthier every day.
I’m so ashamed of the way I look.I’m so proud of myself for setting weight goals.
I can’t do this.I can’t wait to see the new me.
I’m going to fail again.Every day is a new beginning.

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