Ok I’m going to be really honest here, and kind of contradict myself. I personally did not lose any of my weight from mindful eating (also called intuitive eating). At this time in my life I just couldn’t do it. BUT it is an approach that I feel really strongly about.
I came across the book How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too and I read it in a day and a half. It was so eye opening and fascinating for me. The author divulges all of the research that shows the effects of long term dieting on our minds, and it was mind blowing. I immediately sent the link to my mom and told her she had buy it and read it.Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I regularly use all of the products listed below and recommend them because I love them. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below.
While I have not been able to successfully make this method work for me at this time in my life, I am so glad I read this book. It changed the way I think about myself (particularly when I fail to stick to my diet and end up binge eating my favorite comfort foods). The author of this book masterfully shows you why you are not to blame for this, and helps to eliminate that guilt cycle.
Even though I am currently following a set meal plan, (you can read about that here) and not practicing mindful eating, I have kept a lot of what I learned from this book. It was really liberating and confidence-boosting. Additionally, it made me very cautious of any diet that makes me feel deprived or too restricted.
Why it Didn’t Work For Me
There are a couple reasons I wasn’t able to make mindful eating work for me at this stage of my life. When practicing mindful eating you are supposed to eat without distractions or multi-tasking. This is SO hard for me! If I am not driving my kids around (or cooking for, and cleaning up after them), I’m working. I just didn’t feel like I had the time to eat all of my meals without multi-tasking. I feel like I eat half of my meals in the car to be honest with you.
I was also eating out a lot more than was good for my budget. With mindful eating you are supposed to eat what sounds good to you (sounds amazing, right, yeah it kind of is). While doing this was a liberating experience for me, and I did actually enjoy eating without distraction for those few days that I was able to keep it up, I always found myself feeling like Starbucks or Chipotle. (Not great for the budget, and was taking even more time since I had to drive there AND eat it without doing anything else).
Honestly at the end of the day I felt like it was too many decisions for me on a daily basis. It was awesome at first, but then I just wanted to follow a meal plan so I didn’t have to sit there thinking about what I wanted to eat. Some days I am so busy I just want to have a meal plan tell me exactly what to eat so I can eat it really quickly in between commitments.
Why I Would Still Recommend You Give it a Try
Despite everything I just said, I would still recommend you give mindful eating a shot! If you can make it work for you, I believe it would be the best diet plan/lifestyle out there. I mean come on, you are just listening to your body and tuning back into your body’s natural cues of hunger and satiety.
I plan to try mindful eating again someday in the future. And meanwhile I still learned so much from reading How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too, and from trying my hand at mindful eating.
I learned that I can feel completely satisfied on a lot less than I realized. I learned to slow down and savor my food. Most importantly I learned not to blame myself when I don’t live up to my expectations of perfectly sticking to my “diet.”
- It costs nothing to get started with mindful eating
- It is probably the most natural way to start losing weight as you are simply tuning yourself back into your body’s natural hunger and satiety cues.
- You won’t have feel hungry or deprived
- You may finally be able to break out of the constant dieting cycle
- Even if you don’t end up sticking to a fully mindful eating lifestyle I know you will take a ton with you from reading How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too. It is truly a life changing book in my opinion.
- Fully implementing this lifestyle requires you to eat all of your meals without multi-tasking, (no driving, working, watching TV, etc.) which can be really hard for all of us busy ladies (and men for any of my male readers out there)
- Especially in the beginning it might feel like you are spending a lot of extra time just trying to decide what you want to eat (and driving to Starbucks or Chiptole if you are anything like me)
- It can be hard to always stop when you are satisfied, especially when you are eating your favorite foods. However, I do think this is a worthwhile practice, even if you aren’t able to stick to this fully long-term
Want to compare mindful eating to other eating lifestyles and diets to find which one will work best for you? Read my thoughts on all of the eating plans that I have tried, here.