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Health Team

Mindless eating: The real reason for failed diets

Posted August 25

— Diets come in many forms and many names but usually with the same results: the weight comes back. But doctors say "mindful eating" is not a diet.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Albers said mindless eating is what contributes to weight gain.

"There are no menus or recipes," Albers said. "It's more about how to eat, than what to eat."

"We're sitting on the couch, mindlessly popping chips into our mouth," Albers said. "We get to the bottom of the bowl and we say, 'How did I get there? I didn't even taste it."

In a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity last May, participants took part in a 15 week online program using planned behavior to help change their eating habits.

One group did not practice mindful eating. The mindful eating group used strategies like planning meal times and snacks and paying close attention to how food tastes.  They had an occasional bite or two of higher calorie food.

That group lost about five more pounds than those who did not practice mindful eating. They only lost a half of a pound.

Mindful eating is all about developing a new relationship with food that puts you in control.

"Unplug when you eat," Albers said. "Turn off all your distractions or turn them down. Turn off your phone. Turn off the TV. My motto is, when you eat, just eat. Give it all your attention."

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