Size Acceptance & Mindful Eating – What’s Not to Like?


More good news on the study front for those of us who have decided to accept our bodies the way they are.  Mindful eating research presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association shows that women who practice size acceptance are more likely to follow principles of  healthy eating.

Tracy Tylka, co-author of the study, is conducting a variety of studies on intuitive eating (or mindful eating) and had a lot to say about its impact on eating and body weight.  Here’s her take on one of the most controversial tenets of mindful eating – the advice to eat when and what you want:”There’s this belief that if you give people unconditional permission to eat, they are going to binge and add on a lot of pounds. But that’s not what we have found.”  This very common fear comes up continually at Green Mountain. But like the researchers, we see the opposite – when we do give ourselves this permission, we begin to eat better.

Ms. Tylka also points out a reason for which we’ve been encouraging women to accept themselves and their bodies for some time now: “The message that women often hear is that some degree of body dissatisfaction is healthy because it could help them strive to take care of their bodies.  But it may be just the opposite: an appreciation of your body is needed to really adopt better eating habits.”

For those of us for whom healthy weights mean weight loss, there’s also good news.  In a small study of 199 college women, the researchers found that those who followed mindful eating principles had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who didn’t. “It seems amazing, but it is true,” says Tylka. “If you listen to your body signals in determining what, when, and how much to eat, you are not going to binge and you’re going to eat an appropriate amounts of nutrient-dense foods.”

It’s good to have what we think is common sense confirmed in the scientific literature (albeit common sense that’s gotten buried in the morass of nonsensical diet advice).

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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