Mindfulness Eating | PCOS Wellness | eating from boredom | boredom eating

Mindful Eating: Non-Diet Approach to PCOS Weight Management

It’s not your fault that you cannot lose weight. As a PCOS patient, you are waging an enormous battle with your own body. It can feel as if you have no control over your moods, symptoms or weight. As a psychologist, I have seen many intelligent, conscientious women with PCOS struggle with emotional eating and weight gain. They try every diet available with limited success. Truth be told, in today’s obesogenic world, it is nearly impossible to lose weight. The temptation is everywhere. Trying to rely on willpower in the face of constant cravings is useless, especially when you have PCOS.

In desperation to lose weight, you probably have chosen to go on a diet. But as a PCOS patient, you have probably tried them all – low-carb, Paleo, Ketogenic, etc. The truth is: diets don’t work. This is especially true for PCOS patients.

You could increase the amount you exercise, but exercise is not a particularly good way to lose weight either. Exercise is essential for your overall health, especially to manage PCOS symptoms, but it’s not so good for getting the pounds off. It takes a lot of exercises to burn off enough calories to make a difference. For example, you would have to walk about 35 miles to burn off 3,500 calories (the approximate amount you would need to lose one pound.). That’s a lot of miles!

There is a third option – you could do nothing, resigning yourself to an ever-expanding belly and stretch pants. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t accept this option.

So, the real question becomes, “What can you do?”

Fortunately, there is a solution. A solution that uses your own body as a guide. You may have heard of it. It’s called Mindful Eating, the non-diet approach to weight management.

Unlike diets that tell you what, when, and how much to eat, mindful eating teaches you how to tune into your body and feed it exactly what it needs when it needs it. Mindful eating, defined as eating with purpose, intention and full awareness, is the key to managing your weight without having to go on a diet again. With tools, including mindful meditation, mindful eating can end your struggle. Mindful eating involves paying attention to your food, including how you feel before, during and after eating.  By eating this way, you choose the right kinds and amounts of food, enjoy your food more and naturally eat less over time.

Because mindful eating focuses on internal cues rather than external ones, it is more in tune with your body’s weight regulation mechanisms, working in harmony with these systems putting them in alignment. Mindful eating also leads to less depression and binge eating. As a long-term strategy, mindful eating is better than dieting. You may not get the quick weight loss a diet promises, but the results are more sustainable. Are you ready to give mindful eating a try? Follow these eight steps to get started.

PCOS Wellness How-To: Mindful Eating


  1. Sit down, take a deep breath and focus your attention on what you are about to eat.
  2. Check in with how you are feeling, paying special attention to sensations of hunger.
  3. Observe the food you have chosen to eat. Notice what it looks, feels, and smells like.
  4. Think about what it took to get this food to you. Silently thank the farmers, manufacturers, truck drivers, stock clerks, and cashiers for their participation.
  5. Take a bite of your food and eat it slowly, paying attention to how it tastes and feels in your mouth. Notice when and if the taste changes.
  6. Continue to eat your food, savoring each bite as you do.
  7. Check in with yourself throughout your meal to assess when you have eaten enough and are comfortably full.
  8. When you are full, stop eating and give yourself credit for the mindful efforts you made.


Practice these steps as often as you can and you will get the hang of mindful eating. You don’t have to use them every time you eat, but the more often you use them the more mindful your eating will become. For more information about practicing mindful eating (including free meditation downloads), visit: TAMEyourAppetite.com.

Sheila H. Forman, Ph.D. is a psychologist with a private practice in Santa Monica, California. She is the author of several books on overcoming emotional overeating, and she is the founder of TAME: The Art of Mindful Eating

Leave a Comment:

Chelsea says

Yes, yes and yes! Mindful eating is so important especially for women with PCOS. I feel like it’s great not only to help with weight loss but it really helps you become more in tune with your body, and when you’re more in tune with your body you start to realize what is helping your PCOS and what it making you feel crummy. So much more important than blindly cutting out foods and focusing on what you can’t have.

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