How Does Mindful Eating Aid in Weight Loss and Arthritis?

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How Does Mindful Eating Aid in Weight Loss and Arthritis?

April 16, 2021


Weight loss can be aided by mindful feeding. A small but increasing body of evidence indicates that eating more slowly and thoughtfully could help people lose weight and possibly steer them away from processed foods and unhealthy choices. The pain clinics now suggest that arthritis practice mindful eating for weight loss and pain management.

“Mindful eating” is the name given to this alternative method. It’s based on the Buddhist principle of mindfulness, which entails being fully conscious of what’s going on inside and outside of you at any given time. Mindfulness strategies have also been promoted to reduce stress and treat conditions such as high blood pressure and chronic gastrointestinal problems.

When it comes to feeding, mindfulness entails paying attention to your food’s colors, sounds, tastes, and textures; chewing slowly; avoiding distractions such as television or reading; and learning to cope with food guilt and anxiety. Some aspects of mindful eating can be traced back to Horace Fletcher, a food faddist in the early twentieth century who claimed that chewing food deeply would solve various health issues.

The connection between the mind and the gut

Digestion has a complex sequence of the signs of hormones between the nervous system and the gut; the brain seems to register satiety after about 20 minutes (fullness). Satiety can occur after overeating rather than putting an end to it if someone eats too quickly. There’s also evidence that eating while distracted by things like driving or typing can cause digestion to slow or stop, similar to how the “fight or flight” answer does. And if we’re not digesting properly, we may be losing out on some of the food’s maximum nutritional value.

A bingers’ therapy

Several studies have shown that mindful eating practices can aid in the treatment of eating disorders as well as weight loss. A mindfulness-based therapy was compared to a traditional psychoeducational treatment along with a control group in a randomized controlled study involving 150 binge eaters. Both successful therapies reduced binge eating and depression, but mindfulness-based therapy tended to make people enjoy their meals and feel less stressed about eating control. Those who meditated more often (at mealtimes and during the day) got more benefits from the program.

A mindful nutrition starter kit

Experts recommend beginning with mindful eating in small steps, such as practicing one meal every day. Here are some pointers (and tricks) to get you started:

  • Set your kitchen timer for 20 minutes and eat a normal-sized meal during that period.

  • When lifting food to your mouth, use your non-dominant side; if you’re a righty, use your left hand to hold your fork.

  • Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.

  • For five minutes, eat quietly, thinking about everything that went into making the meal.

  • Have small bites and chew them thoroughly.

At Oklahoma Pain Doc, we suggest losing weight with mindful eating. This is a strategy to control the pain of arthritis in most pain clinics.

**Disclaimer: This content should not be considered medical advice and does not imply a doctor-patient relationship.

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