Mindful Eating as a Weight Loss Strategy for Christians
Truth be told, all Christians should adopt mindful eating – whether or not we are trying to lose weight.
We all need food for survival, but meals also sustain us emotionally and spiritually because they give us the opportunity to relax, celebrate, and connect.
There are countless celebrations and festivals in the Bible and they almost always include food.
One such account is found in Esther 9:21-22 after the Jews’ lives were saved: “ to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” (NIV)
Feasting on food was a time of celebration and joy.
Another truth is that God created us with a physical need to be nourished by food and yet I think we forget that sometimes as our cravings take over.
So how can we adopt mindful eating instead of having our cravings control us?
Or perhaps it is emotional eating that we need to overcome.
One of the best ways to incorporate mindful eating is to thank God before each meal.
Probably you are already doing that. Right? But how sincere are you? Has it become a rote prayer rather than something that springs out of your heart?
Let’s take it a step further. Why don’t you try to thank the Lord for every single bite?
Imagine Him sitting across the table from you as you eat. That’s right. He has a big smile on His face.
Then before each bite, say “Thank You, Lord, for this nourishment.”
It is not too hard to do with normal, healthy food – but trying doing that when eating junk food. It just doesn’t seem congruent.
After all, remember that you are God’s masterpiece and you want to take care of your body as the masterpiece that it is!
The idea of mindful eating is a strategy to help bring you back into balance.
Mindfulness means being acutely aware of the present moment – what you are eating, who you are eating with, what your body is saying to you.
One of the biggest benefits of mindful eating is to pay attention to your body’s cues that say “I’m hungry” and “I’m full.”
This is a mindset instead of a “diet.” If you master this, you will definitely lose weight.
There have been a lot of articles written about specific guidelines to help you with mindful eating – things like “set a pretty table,” “eat without distractions,” “chew your food twenty times,” etc. For some great tips like these, check out “Mindful Eating: Get Out of Auto-pilot.”
We live in a culture that is so obsessed with either the future or the past, that we have trouble stopping to enjoy the present moment.
This, unfortunately, laps over into our eating habits. We rush through drive-thrus, eat in our cars, and consume our food while on the computer or watching tv. We seldom sit down to a family meal together.
Set up “speed bumps” while you are eating. You can do things like put your fork down between bites.
Learn to focus on the taste and texture while you are chewing. And in between bites, focus on the conversation and giving your full attention to the ones you are eating with.
It takes 20 to 30 minutes for your body to register that full feeling to your brain. So allow time for this to happen. If you consciously only eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied, you will discover it is much easier to keep your weight in check.
The point is to make mindful eating as automatic as breathing. You can do this by being thankful and aware of the Lord’s presence with you and provision of that food. Be conscious of the flavors and textures to enjoy, and slow down so that you can feel when your body is satisfied. Then stop.
What additional things do you do to practice mindful eating?
For more helpful and unusual weight loss strategies, check out “20 Unusual Weight Loss Strategies that Work” on kindle. If you don’t have a kindle, Amazon provides a free app so you can read this ebook on your ipad, iPhone, computer, or other mobile device.
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