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Try This Simple Change for Greater Weight Loss Results

Want to lose weight and keep it off? Research shows that ABT therapy is the way to go. Read more about this new therapy below.
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There are a million and one ways to lose weight.

But new research shows that some methods are a lot better than others. A study released in September 2016 has found that the way you approach a new diet plan and healthy eating may be just as important, or more important, than what you eat. 

Read on to learn more about the curious connection between your mindset and your chances of reaching your goal weight. 

The Mindfulness Diet

A clinical trial from 2016 examined the effectiveness of a weight loss therapy program that focused on goal-oriented values and making mindful decisions about food. The researchers found that this eating strategy was more effective than other weight loss programs.

Individuals who followed the mindful weight loss therapy program lost about 13 percent of their initial starting weight. Other forms of behavior therapies have led to only five or eight percent weight loss over a year period.

The new weight loss therapy approach is called Acceptance-Based Behavioral Therapy (ABT). The biggest difference between ABT and other weight loss therapy are that the ABT diet focuses on the difficulties of resisting temptation and provides strategies to dieters to avoid the pitfalls of overeating.

In the study, obese or overweight participants were assigned ABT therapy or regular behavior therapy for weight loss coaching. The study participants attended 25 weight loss coaching sessions over a year period. Both groups had help with diet changes, exercise, dealing with food cravings, and working out how to eat well even with stress and schedule conflicts.

The members of the ABT program also had other coaching. These people were given a goal based on their own personal values, such as the goal of being able to run around with the grandkids or go dancing again.

The goal of ABT was to assign a personal benefit to getting healthier, in a way that was motivating. This helps power through the difficulties of dieting because the person wants to reach that personal goal.

ABT also encouraged new thinking when cravings and temptations hit. ABT instructed participants to view the challenges of dieting as positive progress reports. Deprivation will feel negative at first, but it is a side effect of true weight loss. ABT instructed participants to practice depriving themselves of comfort foods, such as by throwing away candy and eating an apple instead.

ABT taught the study participants to notice what cues tempted them to eat junk food or make other poor food decisions. This mindfulness helped the participants to prepare to face the challenges of healthy eating. For example, if a participant noticed she was eating junk food while watching TV at night, she could chose to eat a healthy snack instead, or do another activity instead of watching TV to avoid the temptation.

The new ABT approach worked in this study. The ABT group lost three more percent of their starting weight than those in the regular diet group. The ABT group was also able to keep their weight loss. After another year, 64 percent of the ABT group had kept 10 percent of their original weight off.

Dr. Steven Heymsfield - ABT approach:

"It recognizes the underlying biological drive to eat, and provides people with a powerful counterweight to that. Losing weight is not just about "willpower. People have to overcome strong biological impulses -- and that takes strong motivation. It makes sense that focusing on important personal values (such as being a healthy grandma) can work better than a "superficial goal" of fitting into smaller jeans."


 

How to Apply Mindful Eating at Home

Most people cannot afford bi-monthly diet coaching, so where does that leave the rest of us who cannot afford to try official ABT therapy? Luckily, you can implement some of the techniques of mindful eating on your own without the added expense of formal coaching. Add these mental changes to your diet techniques to apply the benefits of ABT therapy in your own healthy eating efforts.

Mindfulness Core Principles

A mindful approach to eating doesn't simply focus on goals, but changes the entire way you look at food. True mindful eating explores colors, tastes, textures, pacing, and focus. These simple principles can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of any diet plan.

Research shows that there is a complex relationship between our stomach and mind. Hormones and chemical signals are sent back and forth between the stomach and brain and can tell us a lot about what we are eating. It can take up to 20 minutes for the brain to catch up to the stomach and register how full you are. Eating too quickly can lead to overeating, which will make any diet plan harder.

Apply these ABT diet tips to your eating plan to boost your weight loss efforts:

Set a Personal Goal

Think about why you want to lose weight beyond just a number on the scale. Goals based around appearance can be effective, but are usually frustrating in the end. Most of us won't ever look as good as we hope, even if we are healthy. So it is better to focus on a goal that is not related to a number or your appearance. Instead, try an achievement goal, like "I want to be able to walk five miles without getting winded," or "I want to be able to get on the floor and play with my kids."

Find Your Eating Pitfalls

Keep a food journal for a few days but don't just note what you eat. Make a note of when you eat, why you ate, and what activity you were doing when you ate. You'll likely find a few pitfalls that lead to unhealthy eating patterns. For example, you might always order dessert when you go out with friends or you might always eat junk food when you are stressed. This knowledge helps give you the power to change that habit. It is nearly impossible to change a habit you don't even realize.

Practice Making Healthy Choices

This may be the strangest part about ABT dieting, but the study showed this helped dieters feel more in control.

If you have junk food in the house, even if you don't want to eat it at the time, practice throwing it away. Say out loud as you throw it away, "I am replacing this junk food with something healthy." You can chose whatever healthy replacement you want, just make sure it is actually healthy and not processed, unhealthy junk food in disguise (like most "diet" snacks and desserts).

It is said that practice makes perfect, and if you get used to refusing or throwing away junk food when you don't want it, it will become easier to refuse when you do want it.

Be Present for Meals

Eating on-the-go is one of the worst things you can do for your health. When we aren't present for our meals, we lose the connection between food and a feeling of fullness. This often leads to over-eating. Additionally, most travel-friendly foods are laden with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, processed flour, and unhealthy fat.

Don't make a regular habit of eating when the TV is on and don't bring your smart phone to the table.

Experience Your Food

Part of mindful eating is to pay attention to your food. Try to engage all five senses while eating. Look at the colors, textures, and shape of the food. Take time to breathe in the smells and savor the taste of every bite. Listen to the crunch of the food as you chew and take time to chew slowly. These simple changes will allow your brain to catch up with your stomach and prevent over-eating.

Stop When You First Feel Full

Some weight loss experts advise stopping your meals when you feel about 80 to 90 percent full. This will help prevent overeating. Resist the desire to eat everything on your plate. Only eat until you first start to feel full. When you do this, you reduce your chances of eating too much. Over time, your stomach will gradually shrink and you will feel full after less and less food. This simple technique will make it easier to follow through in the other areas of mindful eating.

Mindfulness Important for Weight Loss

The ABT technique for losing weight is one of the most effective. You don't have to take extreme steps to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight. The techniques in ABT dieting and mindfulness in general will go a long way toward curbing your appetite and helping you live a healthier lifestyle. In addition to ABT techniques, provide other supporting diet changes such as eliminating junk food and adding more vegetables to your diet. This will maximize the results of both efforts and you will be thinner and healthier in a safe way that will last over the years and keep you healthy for life. 

Sources


https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_161255.html

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/mindful-eating-may-help-with-weight-loss

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