Are you a mindful eater that consumes food with both attention and intention? Mindful eaters are frequently identified as individuals who are active and maintain a healthy weight. It also turns out that those that practice yoga on a regular basis are more likely to be mindful eaters as well!
A study conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that, “middle-age people who practice yoga gained less weight over a 10-year period than those who did not.” The researchers of the study had a hunch that the subjects’ yoga practice directly influenced their overall mindfulness, which in turn impacted their body awareness and eating habits.
Another very interesting point that came to light was that other types of physical activity such as walking or jogging did not have the same link to mindful eating. Mindful eaters eat when they are hungry, slowly chew their food, stop when they are full and designate a given place and time in which to eat. They do not eat impulsively or as a reaction to stress or depression.
Dr. Alan Kristal, a longtime yoga enthusiast, and researcher for the afore mentioned study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, supports the theory that activities associated with yoga such as controlled breathing and holding poses for several minutes, encourage mindfulness. Kristal and his colleagues created a 28-item survey: the Mindful Eating Questionnaire.
It measures a number of factors including, what triggers eating, the tendency to continue eating when full and how appealing food frequently eaten is. His team went on to administer the questionnaire to over 300 female subjects who were gathered from yoga studios in the Seattle area. Their average age was 42. Not only did the results show that their weight was within normal range, their BMIs were also on target.
Kristal observed that, “Higher scores on the mindfulness questionnaire overall suggests that mindful eating may play an important role in long-term weight maintenance.” He further explained that in middle age, maintaining a healthy weight often involves counting calories and portion control. The mindful eating habits that yoga appears to directly encourage is perhaps the key that makes a typical weight loss program more successful.
Curious as to how you would score on the mindful eating survey? Check it out here: http://sharedresources.fredhutch.org/sites/default/files/MindfulEatingQSample.pdf
Interested in learning more about Mindful Eating? Join us and register here: https://lexingtonhealingarts.com/event/mindful-eating-series/
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