Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan and Physician Ng Qing Xiang on July 14, 2022

How To Lose Weight And Improve Your Health Using Mindful Eating

Fad diets and exercises programs aren't only ineffective. They are also dangerous. In this article, you'll learn how to lose weight safely using mindful eating.

Mindful eating min 1 scaled

If you were to search “how to lose weight” on the internet, you’ll be met with a plethora of diet and exercise tips. Some of them work. Most of them don’t.

One of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off for good is by practicing mindful eating. Unlike quick weight loss plans, mindful eating teaches you how to slow down and enjoy your food. You’ll be happier and more content eating smaller portions.

In this guide, our experts provide you with three tips on how to lose weight using mindful eating only. No calorie counting, no extensive exercise plans, and no gimmicks!

How To Lose Weight, According To TCM

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) places importance on balanced eating. According to Eu Yan Sang physician Ng Qing Xiang, “Overeating can harm the Spleen and Stomach. Under-eating impairs Blood and Qi (vital life force) production. These lead to disorders involving the five organ systems.”  

Separately, a weak Spleen system due to Qi Deficiency or Yang (active energy) Deficiency can induce a food coma. A Qi Deficiency compromises the organ’s function to digest the foods consumed.

Unhealthy eating and overconsumption of cold foods and beverages can further weaken Spleen Qi and bring about Yang Deficiency. 

What is Mindful Eating?

Being mindful of every bite can help you consume fewer calories without feeling hungry.

Mindful eating means better control over food consumption, which could improve your health. It requires a person to be physically and emotionally present when eating.

Reduces blood glucose levels

A randomized, controlled trial studied the effects of mindfulness on sweets consumption and fasting glucose levels. It involved 194 obese adults and extended over five and a half months.

The adults were placed in two groups. The first group stuck to a diet and exercise program centered on mindfulness. The second group was on a similar program, but one that was void of mindful practices.

After a year, the former group demonstrated a reduced intake of sweets and better management of fasting glucose. Meanwhile, the latter group had higher glucose levels.

Separately, a controlled trial of 50 adults with type 2 diabetes were placed on either a three-month mindful eating intervention or diabetes self-management education intervention. Both groups coped better with depression and showed improvements in their ability to manage food consumption and control overeating.

Alleviates stress-related gastrointestinal disorders

Mindful eating can reverse negative eating habits, such as overeating, stress eating, and binge eating. It can also ease digestive disturbances provoked by stress.

Stress relates directly to several problems: 

  • Increased inflammation 
  • Decreased serotonin production, production of stomach acid, central nervous system innervation, enteric nervous system innervation, and blood flow to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract  
  • Impaired nutrient absorption 
  • Impaired vagus nerve activity (the main nerves in the parasympathetic nervous system or PNS)
  • Increased intestinal permeability 
  • Increased sympathetic nervous system dominance 
  • Altered contraction of the GI tract muscles 
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Conscious eating can rectify the abovementioned conditions and normalize other digestive functions such as:  

  • Boosting nutrient absorption 
  • Improving muscle contractions in the digestive tract 
  • Increasing the production of bile, enzymes, and gastric juice 
  • Enhancing the digestive system’s ability to break down food

Tips For How To Lose Weight Using Mindful Eating

Mindful eating has nothing to do with the amount of nutrients you consume. The principal goal of this practice is not weight loss but to improve your relationship with food. However, you might find yourself shedding some pounds if you adopt this eating style.

Practice being present

Raisin meditation is a basic but popular method for cultivating mindfulness. To perform the routine, set a raisin down in a bowl. Use two fingers to hold it and observe its weight and texture. Bring the raisin to your nose, take a deep breath, and smell it.

Then, place it on your ear and roll it while listening for a sound. Put the raisin between your teeth before moving it around in your mouth. Chew into it, close your eyes and immerse yourself in your actions.

Balance your body

A core belief of TCM is that every person possesses a unique body constitution that may or may not make them vulnerable to illness. It can be neutralized through dietary and lifestyle changes, enabling your body to attain balance.

Physician Ng explains, “A person with a Yang Deficient body constitution should consume warming foods, such as ginger and cinnamon. On the contrary, eating too many cooling foods like pineapple, watermelon, or bitter gourd may induce further imbalance and aggravate symptoms like diarrhea or loss of appetite.” 

To encourage optimal digestion, Physician Ng proposes that a person drinks a tangerine peel (Chen Pi) herbal tea that is prepared with hawthorn berries (Shan Zha). Likewise, a detoxing beverage made from algae, cereals, fruits, and vegetables can prevent cell damage and toxin accumulation.

Meanwhile, activation of acupoints like Bai Hui (GV20), Yin Tang (EX-HN3), Zu San Li (ST36), and Yin Ling Quan (SP9) can address post-meal fatigue and make a person more alert.

Eat in moderation

Indulging in food is easy to do, and we are all for it – in moderation, of course. However, it depends on the type of season you are experiencing. TCM specifically emphasizes this rule as it will ensure that a person’s body is in harmony with their external environment. 

TCM recommends consuming cooling foods like bitter gourd, watermelon, winter melon, and green beans to lower body temperature during the hotter months. During months when the surrounding temperature drops, you should eat warm-natured foods. These include cinnamon, chicken, mutton, and ginger. 

Final Thoughts On How To Lose Weight

In addition to using mindful eating, you can enhance the weight loss process by including protein-rich foods in your diet, such as essence of chicken and bird’s nest. Research shows that diets high in protein and amino acids tend to be more satiating than other diets.

Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and neither will you be able to master mindful eating overnight. Persevere and you will eventually gain a better understanding of the link between food and body.

If you wish to consider using traditional remedies, consult a licensed TCM practitioner beforehand. Doing so will help clarify the suitability of different foods for your body constitution.

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