The results of an experiment conducted by a team of researchers at UC San Francisco suggest mindful eating and meditation are factors in helping people control their junk food cravings and lose weight. “By recognizing what you are feeling before you act [eat] you have a greater chance of making a wiser decision,” claims researcher Jennifer Daubenmier.
Dr. Catherine Kerr, a meditation expert at Brown University responded to the findings of this study by saying it was consistent with several other brain studies that suggest mindfulness brings about changes to the part of the brain responsible for food cravings. She further explained that mindful eating and meditation actually rewire the brain to tune into the body in a healthier way.
If you are skeptical because you find it hard to believe that just sitting quietly in meditation is going to melt the pounds from your hips, why don’t you give it a try?
Before a meal, take at least 10 minutes to sit in a comfortable position, free from distractions like the computer or telephone. Close your eyes and pay attention to sensations throughout your body. Perhaps you are very hungry, and you feel your stomach growling as it pines for nourishment. Be present with the sensations that you are feeling and resist the temptation to give in to any one of them. If you find yourself craving a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy, instead of going for it, get familiar with how it feels to crave them, without trying to change those feelings. Accepting how you feel without resistance is very important. This will help you avoid succumbing to your cravings so you can realize your weight loss goals.
It’s nothing new in the scientific community that there is more than just lifestyle choices that come into play when determining who is fat and who is thin. There are various biological factors that often play a significant role in people’s weight.
While the most commonly known biological factor for one’s weight is varying resting metabolisms, there are also neurological factors. The latest findings assert that obese people have a tendency to lack impulse control when it comes to food.
Researchers compared the brain scans of thin people to obese people when both looked at pictures of high-calorie foods. What they found was that there was an increased activity in a region of the brain used for impulse control with thin people, but there wasn’t so much activity in the region of the obese people.
“I think there may be biological reasons why people can’t necessarily control their desire for food,” said Robert Sherwin of Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut, who worked on the study. (more…)
By Lisa Turner for Care2.com
As obsessed as we are with food and diets, you’d think we’d be thin and healthy by now. So why are we Americans still universally less-than-fit and soft around the middle?
The fact is, diet tips, rules and tricks won’t work if we’re ignoring the mental and emotional side of eating. Why do we still overeat—or eat the wrong things? Most of the time, when we’re craving cookies, we’re really hungry for love, sex, friendship, peace, a sense of purpose and meaning. And when you’re gripped by that kind of hunger, all the tips and tricks in the world won’t save you.
Next time you’re ready to embark on the next fix-me-fast diet, try something different: instead of focusing on the food, tune in to address the emotions that make you stray. Here’s how to start: (more…)
How is this possible? It’s simple. Not all cravings are created equal. Although some result from straight up hunger, other cravings arise because you smell something wonderful cooking in the kitchen or see a delicious looking meal. Other times cravings may exist because of a nutritional deficiency or because of a hormonal shift. Therefore, knowing which type of craving you are experiencing is key and can actually help you make good food choices if you are able to identify which craving you are experiencing and why.
Know Your Craving
Cravings can be described in two different ways: physiological or psychological. Physiological cravings are the result of actual hunger and mean that your body needs nourishment. If the body is well nourished overall, it probably won’t be a specific craving. These types of cravings don’t go away and instead often get worse over time. Psychological cravings, on the other hand, do pass as time goes on. A psychological food craving happens when you see something tasty online, on television, or even just smell the aroma of a food. Sometimes even boredom can cause these types of cravings and it’s important to not let these types take control of your eating decisions.