Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about mindful eating in the media and in discussions from family and friends. Some of what I’ve been reading and seeing has me very concerned. It turns out a lot of programs that are advertising themselves as “mindful eating” are really diets in disguise.
So how can you tell if it’s true mindful eating or a restrictive diet program? Read on for a few clues.
It Promotes Weight Loss
If a program claiming to support mindful eating is also being touted as a weight loss program, it’s a diet in disguise. And these programs are rampant. What’s the problem with including weight loss as a goal?
When you start working to pursue weight loss, you actually lose sight of the self-care and health benefits that come from this way of living. Changes in weight become your sole measure for success or failure.
For some people mindful eating may result in weight loss but for some people it can result in weight gain or no change in weight at all. If you focus on weight and measurement, you disconnect from the intuition and learning that the practice of mindful eating seeks to develop.
True mindful eating isn’t dependent on any measurements. It allows you to tap into your body’s wisdom to know what is best for you in the present moment.
It Promotes External Rules
Mindful eating is about trusting your body’s wisdom and making decisions based on internal cues. Dieting depends on external rules to make decisions about what to eat. So if you’re counting any grams, points, or calories you’ve stepped outside of mindful eating.
Labeling any food as “good” or “bad” is also diet culture instead of mindful eating. If a “mindful eating” program advises you to eliminate foods or elevates “health” foods above others it’s a diet.
It Uses Exercise to Earn Food
Another common diet tactic is to connect exercise and food in such a way that someone exercises to “earn” more food. In mindful eating we disconnect exercise from food choices. Instead we focus on mindful and joyful movement for its own sake – not as a weight loss tool.
If you see a “mindful eating” program that promotes exercise for earning the right to eat more, steer clear! This is not true intuitive eating or mindful movement.
True Mindful Eating
True mindful or intuitive eating helps you to connect with your body’s own signals to determine when, what, and how much to eat while using nutritional information to help create balance, variety, and moderation – but not as a rigid rule.
Exercise is seen as a way to move, explore the world, feel stronger, and experience joy rather than a way to lose weight or earn the right to eat more food.
If you want to learn more about mindful eating, make peace with food, and live a plus-size life (not a small life focused on dieting and food), the Am I Hungry? 8 Week workshop is a great way to start. You’ll learn new skills and become more comfortable with trusting your body’s wisdom.
Contact me today to find out how to register for my next workshop!