01/11/2013 05:19 pm ET

Being Mindful Of Feelings As A Weight Loss Aid

Mindfulness training is becoming a common part of psychological therapy, although you may still not fully understand it. That's a shame, because it's a useful method for aiding behavior change, such as that involved in weight loss, and something that people can practice on their own.

In a recent Consumer Reports survey, psychologists who provided therapy for weight management reported that "mindfulness training to tolerate, and accept hunger, weight, and exercise-related thoughts and urges" was among the more effective weight-loss strategies.

As a clinical psychologist, I have incorporated mindfulness strategies into my therapeutic practice and found them quite effective. At its core, mindfulness involves increasing awareness of four areas: your mind or focus, your body or sensations, your feelings, and your thoughts. As you become better able to observe your own inner workings, it becomes easier to meaningfully apply some self-improving skills.