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.
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
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