It's easy to get stuck on "autopilot" with food chowing down simply because the clock tells you it's lunchtime or because there's a vending machine near your desk at work. Eating ends up having little to do with hunger. "Mindfulness training, on the other hand, can help you tune in to internal signals that tell you when you need to eat," explains Ruth Quillian Wolever, PhD, clinical health psychologist and director of research at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. That way, you're not fooled by external cues.
Slimming Strategy: Set aside time for reflection each day. Nothing fancy -- just give yourself 10 minutes to sit alone quietly and do nothing but feel your breath move in and out. "Meditation develops your concentration," says Megrette Fletcher, RD, cofounder of the Center for Mindful Eating in West Nottingham, New Hampshire. "It makes you more aware when you grab a treat without thinking." So the next time you reach into your candy drawer while you're chatting on the phone, you'll catch yourself. In order to get started, check out Jon Kabat-Zinn's soothing CD, Mindfulness for Beginners, at store.soundstrue.com.