Research shows that 95 percent of people who lose weight by dieting will gain it back within one to five years. The problem with diets is they would have you override the signals and needs of your body in order to comply with the prescribed eating plan. Mindful eating, on the other hand, teaches you to listen to the language of your body and choose the most nourishing choices for your mind, body, and spirit. Practising mindful eating can produce positive results that last a lifetime.
True success in health is a journey, not a destination. The book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra, outlines seven principles that can be used to achieve lasting success in any area of your life. When applied to your health and wellness goals, these principles will go far in bringing you the true, lasting success you long for.
To begin, simply apply one of these mindful eating principles each day of the week, and you will start to notice subtle shifts toward a healthier you:
Sunday: Pure Potentiality
The Law of Pure Potentiality teaches you to take time being in stillness and silence. To do this, listen to the subtle signals from your body. Practice cultivating this principle of inner awareness by enjoying a meal in silence. Begin by taking a few centering breaths before you take the first bite and notice the aroma of the food. As you eat, notice the sight, texture, and taste of your meal. Chew slowly and thoroughly, and notice your body’s fullness signals. Take a few minutes after your meal to sit and digest.
Monday: Giving and Receiving
The Law of Giving and Receiving reminds you to be grateful for the gift of nourishment and pleasure that food gives. Before you eat, express your gratitude for the food on your plate. With every bite, have the intention of circulating love within your body. If you are often tempted by unhealthy food in your office or school, today is a good day to replace this temptation with a healthy treat to share with your co-workers, neighbours, or friends.
Tuesday: Karma, or Cause and Effect
With the Law of Karma or Cause and Effect, you will cultivate conscious choice making. Lessen the habit of mindless eating by using this law to learn your body’s signals of hunger. Today, write down what you ate and your hunger level before and after each meal. Assess your hunger level from 1 (the most hungry) to 10 (uncomfortably full). Aim to eat when you are at a hunger level of 2 or 3. After your meal, reassess your hunger level, aiming for a hunger level of 7—satisfied but not stuffed. Over time you will learn to be more mindful of how much your body really needs to be healthy and vibrant.
Wednesday: Least Effort
Practising the Law of Least Effort will allow your body to blossom into health without force or strain. You can do this by making simple, healthy swaps. Substitute lettuce for sandwich bread, Greek yogurt for sour cream, or water with lemon instead of a sweetened drink.
Thursday: Intention and Desire
The Law of Intention and Desire invites you to discover what your true heart desires. Your food craving may be a signal for some deeper longing. When you have a craving, take a moment to ask yourself what you really hunger for. Do you crave reward after a long day of hard work? Are you bored, sad, or procrastinating? If you find you desire something that could be fulfilled without food, notice and bring your attention to that. You may find that your cravings start to subside when you bring awareness to what you truly want.
The Law of Detachment reveals that you can only achieve something when you release your attachment to it. Practice detachment by letting go of what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat. Instead, share a meal with family or friends and revel in their presence. Eat what brings joy to your body, mind, and spirit. By letting go of unrealistic expectations, you are giving yourself the freedom to be the beautiful, unique being that you are in this moment.
Saturday: Dharma, or Purpose in Life
The Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life states that everything has a purpose for being. Just like a fingerprint, every person is unique.
In Ayurveda, your uniqueness is expressed in your dosha, or mind-body constitution. Begin learning your dosha by taking the online dosha quiz. Discovering your dosha can help you get to know your own body and find what it needs to come back into balance. Over time, learning how to eat for your dosha will give you insight into what your body needs to thrive.
Continue to practice one of these seven mindful eating habits each day of the week and you will begin to notice lasting, positive changes in your health. You can also apply these principles to other areas of your life and experience success on the deepest level.
When you apply these seven principles on a consistent basis, you will not only find yourself free of the diet roller coaster, you will also feel a sense of inner contentment and joy with your entire being. Healthy food choices will come naturally as you learn to listen to the needs of your body. These seven principles will take you to a place of true success. One that satisfies your mind, body, and spirit.
Lie on your back. Come into Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose) and support your back with both hands evenly on either side of the spine. Bend your right knee and draw the heel of the right foot into the inner thigh of the left as you start to bring your legs into Padmasana (Lotus Pose). Next, bend your left knee along the centre-line until the left foot is under the right shin. Then bring your left knee slightly out to the side, while keeping the knee joint closed. Gently lift the left foot toward the right hip crease.
Keep your knees soft and do not squeeze your legs. Once your legs are placed in Padmasana, bring your buttocks and navel toward the centre-line of your body and gently press your knees outward to create a lengthened spine. Hold this position for about one minute. Upon releasing, slowly return to the starting position.
By practising these balancing poses, you’ll start to see improvements on and off the mat in your general balance, posture, and coordination as well as a more alert mind. Keep trying and let that silly wobble inform you that you are just moments away from success.