Mindful Eating While Dieting: It Can Be a Burden?

Why mindful eating for some people ended up being a burden? Let's check to know why and its application during your work-day.


Atika Dian Yunianti, S.Gz

1/12/20245 min read

"Mindful eating" perhaps often pops up on your social media and is recommended when implementing a weight loss diet program. However, some people consider it as a form of "diet", a guideline, or an additional task during your diet program that possibly adds some stress. Mindful eating can still be applied by anyone, including career women during their daily activity.

Hi, Nutri Sisters!

As a career woman, or women who currently have a "career" as a great housewife, in the current era, it is easy to fill your social media with various interesting and up-to-date information, whether from professional or non-professional.

Mindful eating or intuitive eating methods may be a new term for some people. This term is widely used and recommended when implementing a weight loss diet. At first, this method may sound good, but for some people, applying this habit becomes as difficult as maintaining a diet. On the other hand, most weight loss diets are not intended to be permanent lifestyle changes. Some people do this for 1 week, maybe 1 month, and finally return to eating as usual.

From this case, the question arises- do some people truly understand the meaning and benefits of mindful eating? Have you ever implemented mindful eating, then thought that it was a "requirement" and ended up being stressful during your diet process? Is it difficult to implement mindful eating during your busy work?

Before answering the question above, let's review the definition of mindful eating and its opposite, eating mindlessly.

  • Eating mindfully

Mindful eating is an approach to food that focuses on an individual's sensual awareness and their experience of the food. At this moment, you are aware of feeling hungry, aware of the act of eating, and enjoying every bite, until you stop eating when your body tells you that you are full. The goal is to help individuals enjoy the moment and the food and encourage their full presence in the eating experience.

  • Eating mindlessly

Mindless eating means eating when you are being distracted while eating. You eat quickly and barely taste the food. At this time, you may start eating because you are hungry, but it could also be because you are bored, stressed, or just because of your habit of eating at that time. You stop eating when your food is finished even if you don't really remember it.

Benefits of Mindful Eating

The principle behind mindful eating is to enjoy and be fully engaged while you eat. By doing this, you give your body time to feel full, thereby preventing overeating. Eating mindfully has the potential for our bodies to control food intake, one of which is when we are faced with the habit of eating impulsively as a response to stress or negative emotions, which then leads to changes in behavior and helps with weight loss. Including where we can be aware of food portions and choose types of dishes that are nutrient dense. Mindful eating habits make it possible to create new dietary behaviors without negative consequences that affect your relationship with food.

In addition, existing physiological knowledge shows that mindful eating can maintain the dominance of the PSNS (parasympathetic nervous system) which can support digestion by increasing saliva secretion, stimulating gastric juices, digestive enzyme secretion, bile secretion to facilitate assimilation and extraction of nutrients, which is further can improve the optimization of digestive function. The essence of the benefits of mindful eating on digestive function is that it weakens the stress response, encouraging nervous system regulation to increase homeostasis necessary for rest and digestion mode. Optimal digestive function certainly influences stress/emotional responses which are the basis of health and survival.

Why Mindful Eating Can Be a Pressure

The following are the reasons why some people become depressed and give up on this method:

1) Overthinking

There can be a feeling of intimidation, especially if you are just starting out. Mindful eating is a method of dieting, so that a person can heal and enjoy the diet process. However, some people actually consider mindful eating as a separate "diet", task, or guideline that actually triggers stress. A person becomes anxious about consuming certain foods, afraid of losing control or overindulging. Mindful eating skills do require practice and time. This form of reinforcement may not be obtained if someone asks a non-professional.

2) Being skeptical

Some people feel that this new habit does not fit their lifestyle, results do not appear in a short time, and others have less commitment and willingness to face the challenges of uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and sensations that they may have to face when starting a diet. . Inevitably, a little more effort to become mindful is learning to persist, even when adjusting to uncomfortable feelings.

Applying mindful eating amid busy work:

A number of attitudes that we can instill when starting the mindful eating journey:

  1. Nonjudging: starting our process by appreciating and believing in change.

  2. Patient: even during the diet program, the weight loss itself should not be drastic (recommendation: wisely 1-1,5 kg/week). Moreover, a mindful diet does not have objective and specific results to measure, so it takes time and practice to adapt. Be patient when chewing, and swallowing, to get the full experience.

  3. Approaching your Experience just as a Baby does (starting from the beginning like a baby): like slowly taking in one taste, seeing one time, smelling an object.

  4. Letting go. Accepting positive things such as good taste, comfortable atmosphere, and getting the opportunity to explore challenging experiences.

The following are tips for Nutri-Sisters to implement mindful eating while working:

  1. When the day is hectic and you don't have free time, apply mindful eating from small things. Just do it in the first few bites/mouthfuls. Start with gratitude so that mealtime will be of better quality!

  2. Slow down. Find your natural eating speed. Complete each swallow before taking another bite.

  3. Do mindful eating just a few times a week, develop it gradually.

  4. Occasionally take a few deep breaths and connect yourself with the experiences and commitments you are currently pursuing.

  5. Taking a walk to catch the wind looks interesting! Occasionally look for a cool area, you can access the view, the street, or eat mindfully with colleagues. This at least forces you to get out of the box where you feel bored working.

  6. You have entered the old habit of eating/snacking, but you are not yet hungry or feel you can still control it, push to do other activities.

  7. Practice yoga or meditation to build a positive relationship with your body.

That's it, Nutri-Sister! An ideal and healthy diet must be not intimidating, let alone pressure. Mindful eating actually is a good method- either during your diet program or your busy work life, if you look at it from a positive side and have the enthusiasm to be patient in the process.

Make sure you consult a weight loss diet and further explanation regarding mindful eating with a professional in the field of nutrition, Nutri-Sister! So no more worries, Let's register for a free nutrition consultation with our dietitian right now!

References :

  1. Cherpak CE. Mindful Eating: A Review Of How The Stress-Digestion-Mindfulness Triad May Modulate And Improve Gastrointestinal And Digestive Function. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2019 Aug;18(4):48-53. PMID: 32549835; PMCID: PMC7219460.

  2. Nelson JB. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes Spectr. 2017 Aug;30(3):171-174. doi: 10.2337/ds17-0015. PMID: 28848310; PMCID: PMC5556586.

  3. Slayton, L. 2013. The Little Book of Thin .Newyork:Perigee Books.

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