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Change the way you think about food to lose weight
This mantra embodies The Headspace Diet. It’s all about enjoying food, not spending precious time worrying about what to eat because life’s too short to stand on the scales!
Meditation Consultant Andy Puddicombe wants us to tackle our relationship with food. Whether that's not eating enough, feeling guilty for snacking when we're not hungry or comfort eating to feel better. He believes once we understand what fuels our food frustrations - and how to control them - maintaining a healthy weight becomes a whole lot easier.
Andy says most people over-think mealtimes thanks to society's obsession with body image. A lean skinny figure is the ultimate goal. Mindful eating doesn't subscribe to such a regimented ideal. Happiness, contentment and a good relationship with food are far more important. Weight loss is a positive side effect though - one study suggests mindful meditation can reduce weekly food binges by up to 70%.
'Commercial diets rarely bring about this kind of change', Andy explains. He's talking about managing to retain your ideal shape post-diet without becoming fanatical about food. The Headspace Diet is different because it focuses on psychological changes that, in turn, impact on the physical.
Andy is honest in his approach. He doesn't make big promises; he just encourages a positive mental attitude which, he claims, helps the body to start 'self-regulating' size and shape again. By reconnecting with food and boosting the brain through calming techniques the weight stays off for life. Far better than constantly counting calories.
For Andy body contentment and acceptance starts with 'learning to live here and now with a sense of ease'. 'Many people spend their whole lives lost in thought', he says. 'While it's OK to daydream once in a while, if we're busy gorging ourselves [at the same time]...then it's reasonable to assume that eventually we're going to find ourselves in a situation where we're not happy with the way we look.' Break the cycle with meditation.
Meditation probably isn't part of your daily routine at the moment, but research suggests that if you want to stay svelte it should be. Major studies have found that people who combine healthy eating and exercise with a 'meditative element' managed to shift the pounds - and maintain their ideal weight - more easily. Andy recommends meditating for ten minutes every day (the Take10 approach) to help alleviate stress, aid sleep and control food anxiety.
Buy Andy's book The Headspace Diet: The Mindful Way To Your Ideal Weight (Hodder and Stoughton; £12.99) for a step-by-step guide to meditation and mindful eating, tips and advice.