Eat Mindfully after Weight Loss Surgery

Eat Mindfully after Weight Loss SurgeryMany of us eat exclusively for sustenance. Breakfast is wolfed down on the drive through morning traffic; lunch is quickly scarfed at a desk between meetings; dinner is microwaved or bought from a drive thru window and eaten without interest. But this kind of eating can lead to a careless, unfulfilling and ultimately unhealthy relationship with food.

Mindful eating involves paying total attention to what’s going on both in our bodies and on our plates. When we eat mindfully, we’re engrossed in every aspect of the foods we eat, like texture, flavor, smell and color. We’re completely aware of how eating affects our bodies and our minds, taking note of how it feels to be hungry and how it feels to be full and satisfied. Without judgment, criticism or distraction, we stay centered on the act of eating, giving it our full focus.

Learning to eat more mindfully can help after weight loss surgery because:

  • It helps you avoid overeating. You’ll need to eat slowly after bariatric surgery to give your body time to register fullness. Mindful eating helps you slow down and savor your food, making it easier to feel satisfied with less.
  • It helps you enjoy food more. Focusing intently on your food can help you develop a deeper appreciation for it. Mindful eating can make every meal more pleasurable, and you may find that it helps you adjust to your new diet.

It takes time to make mindful eating a habit, but that time pays off in a healthier relationship with food. If you’re ready to eat more mindfully, start by:

  • Making mealtimes only about eating. If you’re driving, watching TV or browsing the web, it will be difficult to focus on your food. Sit at the table and devote at least 30 minutes to eating without any kind of distraction. Chew every bite thoroughly before you swallow.
  • Cooking for yourself. When you put hard work into a meal, it makes it easier to appreciate it. Use fresh ingredients and experiment with new combinations and flavors, then think about all the different aspects of the meal you’ve prepared as you eat it.
  • Sharing the experience. Mindful eating does not have to be antisocial—you can invite others to share the experience with you. But instead of the typical dinnertime discussion, try to keep your conversation focused entirely on the food. Talk to each other about the flavors, textures and smells you’re experiencing, and what you like and dislike about the meal.

Mindful eating can ease your transition into the style of eating you’ll need to adopt after weight loss surgery, but it can also make every meal more enjoyable.