Want to ditch dieting forever and still lose weight? The secret is all in your mind

Everyone knows how to drop a dress size: eat a little less, move a little more. It’s a simple formula, so why is it so hard to follow? Perhaps because we eat without thinking. Whether at a desk or in front of the telly, we mindlessly munch away. Sound familiar? Don’t panic. We have created the ultimate guide to regaining control of your eating habits – in just 10 days.

Description: Think Yourself Slim

‘Everyone can benefit from this plan,’ Andy says of his book The Head Diet (Hodder & Stoughton, $20). ‘It’s not a complicated process. There aren’t any fad foods or magic berries. It doesn’t tell you what to eat. The plan simply encourages you to look at the food you’re eating, understand why you’re making certain choices and to always be present with the act of eating.’

The best bit? ‘You can eat anything you want as long as you’re fully aware you’re doing,’ Andy adds.

Is this diet for you?

Do you always eat popcorn at the cinema? Have you ever finished a chocolate bar and craved just one more bite? This plan will teach you to scrap those mindless habits and eat in response to feeling hungry. Based on the hot meditation topic of mindfulness, the Headspace strategy is all about being aware of what you’re doing in each moment. You’ll learn to listen to your body’s natural cues, especially the one saying ‘I’m full’, to find your ideal weight.

And it doesn’t stop there – the plan is good for balancing out your emotions, too. ‘Eating unhealthily often reflects issues with low self-esteem, anxiety and loneliness,’ explains Andy. ‘By being aware of what you eat, you’ll learn to apply mindfulness to all areas of your life.’

Description: http://thevelvetcafe.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/popcorn2.jpg

Do you always eat popcorn at the cinema?

In fact, some of the popular reasons for practicing mindfulness are to reduce stress levels, improve relationships and promote a good night’s sleep.

How it works

Prepare your mind

All mindfulness plans have a core daily exercise, and Take 10 is the one you’ll be using. Use Take 10 as regularly as possible to learn how to be in the present moment.

Take 10

Set a timer for 10 minutes and sit in a quiet space. Take five big, deep breaths, letting go of any tension you might be holding. On the last exhalation, close your eyes and let your breath return to normal. Take a few moments to settle into your body – notice your posture, the weight of your arms, sounds and tastes, or areas of discomfort. Pause foe 30 seconds to consider the effects the effects of meditating and then bring your attention back to your breath. Silently count each time you inhale or exhale, until the timer sounds. Now allow your mind to wander freely for 30 seconds. Settle back into your body and open your eyes.

Description: Set a timer for 10 minutes and sit in a quiet space

Set a timer for 10 minutes and sit in a quiet space

Shop sensibly

Why do you buy the food you do? Perhaps it’s because that’s what you’ve always bought. Or perhaps you just buy whatever catches your eye. Before you next go to the supermarket, write a shopping list based on the food your body actually needs. Supermarkets are primed to sell you certain foods, with their tantalizing bakery smells and enticing taster stations, so shopping without clarity will likely result in a trolley full of unhealthy fodder. Take your list with you and if you pick up anything unhealthy, pause for a moment and wait until you naturally exhale. Then take a second to decide if you really want it.

Eat mindfully

You can’t eat mindfully while running along the street scoffing a sandwich so sit down to eat your food. Once sitting, pause for 10 seconds to allow the mind to settle and emotions to become clear, or to consider whether you’re actually hungry. Yes? Then dig in, engaging your senses as you eat.

Graze all day

This is not a prescriptive diet and over the next 10 days you can eat what you want – just keep your meals healthy. Eat five times a day – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner – to maintain a steady blood sugar level and to help control your feelings of hungers, stabilise emotions and reduce the risk of bingeing on unhealthy food.

Rate your diet

Keep a food diary and pin-point physical, mental and emotional ties to food. Divide it into 10 days and break each day into five meals. For each meal, rate the following areas before and after you eat:

Hunger: Are you ravenous, very hungry, slightly hungry, neutral, slightly full, very full, stuffed, nauseous?

Mind chatter: How busy is your mind? Is it extremely calm, very calm, neutral, slightly restless, very restless, extremely restless?

Clarity: How clear are you about your intentions? Extremely clear, very clear, quite clear, neutral, confused, very confused, extremely confused or blissfully unaware?

Emotion: Write down how you’re feeling. You might be excited, satisfied or content, or you could be angry, guilty or tired.

Reflect: How do you view your relationship with food? Reflect on each day to gain the new perspective that will transform your diet.

Put this plan into action and you won’t need to eat lots to feel full. Plus, you’ll find the size that makes you confident and at ease with your body. Smart stuff.

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