Mindfulness and Weight Loss

Mindfulness and meditation are tools used in therapy to work with addiction in general and weight loss in particular.

Mindfulness is an awareness of what is happening physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually at the present moment. It is a way of being alive to our thoughts, feelings and actions as we move from moment to moment and allows us to choose our responses rather than react to circumstances as we have habitually reacted in the past.

Addiction to alcohol and other drugs, food, sex, shopping, and work (to name a few) begins with the pursuit of pleasure and continues despite the negative consequences.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, "addiction is characterized by impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can involve cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death."

When a person is addicted to foods such as sugar and carbohydrates, they cannot stop eating them until they feel sick or run out of the food. As the Alcoholics Anonymous saying goes, "one drink is too many and 100 aren't enough".

Mindfulness, awareness of the present moment, brings awareness to what has set off the craving for sweet, salty, and comfort foods. The craving may have been set off by feelings of irritability, annoyance, anger, sadness or loneliness as a result of something someone said or did (past tense), or concern about what might happen (future tense), or feelings of embarrassment or guilt for something that was previously said or done.

When one is truly in the present moment and has an urge to go to food as a drug to numb one's feelings, an awareness of what is happening in one's mind and heart - the feelings and mental states of the present moment can be looked at and a decision made as to how to respond in a positive way: write in a journal, meditate, exercise, cry, feel the feelings and loving kindness for oneself.

Nancy is a twenty-year veteran of teaching, consulting and coaching. Assisting people to live with skillfulness, compassion and mindfulness is the focus of her mindfulness coaching. For information on meditation and mindfulness, and her coaching, click here http://mindfulworkshops.com

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