NEW Obesity Canada guidelines - Approach to Obesity and Mindful Eating

Have you ever found yourself going through a whole bag of popcorn or chips while watch a TV show on Netflix? If so you are not alone! Distracted eating as well as rushing through your meals can cause you to eat more than your body requires.

The new guidelines published on August 4th 2020 by the Canadian Medical Association Journal in partnership with Obesity Canada call for a more holistic approach to weight management.

They are calling for a change in doctors' approach when it comes to obesity:
1. Obesity is a chronic disease, just like diabetes. As such, obesity treatment also requires a long-term management that is realistic and sustainable. If left unmanaged, these conditions get worse and when treatments stop, the problem comes back as they would in diabetes. Short-term ‘quick-fix’ solutions are not sustainable, which is why weight usually comes back.

2. Additionally, there has been a shift in the attention from the number on the scale to the health outcomes of each individual. 

For long-term weight loss, the old motto of simply eating less and exercising more is not realistic nor sustainable.

Instead, going at the ROOT of your eating behaviour through a cognitive approach can allow for a healthy weight loss and the results are maintained. A cognitive therapy that can be very effective for weight loss is mindful eating. The goal is to learn to listen to your body's hunger cues. It might sound simple enough but it takes time and practice to achieve mindful eating.

Mindful eating allows for your brain to catch up with your body cues. It usually takes 20 minutes after your first bite for your brain to send the signal "I'm full". Not only that but remembering what you ate can help in reducing the urge to eat. Mindful eating allows you to enjoy your meal and snacks more fully. It also allows you to make healthier choice in what you eat as well as how much you eat.

Understanding the problem is a mindful step towards solving the problem! 
Knowledge is key. Knowledge can change our perspective – the way we see our own goals and health.

Some tips to achieve mindful eating are:

  • Taking small bites and eating slowly
  • Eating a regular meal in 20 minutes or more
  • Eating with screens off and out of sight
  • Eating with the non dominant hand (i.e. left hand for right handed individuals)
  • Asking yourself if you are truly hungry before grabbing a snack

Other more advanced and effective behavioral strategies in managing obesity may include Cognitive behavioral-based strategies, Dialectal behavior strategies, and Acceptance and Commitment-based strategies.

In Get Well Clinic's Weight Management Program, all four behavioral strategies are used throughout the program.

Click here to learn on how we can help you.