Tag Archives: mindful eating

Simple Health and Fitness: A Life Approach

24 May

What sells?  Magazine covers that read “5 minutes to a better body.”  Cookbooks that are titled “Eat what you want and lose weight.”  Diet plans that advertise “Take this pill and get fit and firm”.  That sells because it’s an easy fix, but the reality of getting the body you’ve dreamed of and the level of health and fitness you desire is simply not a quick fix.

So, with that said, the first thing you need to decide is do you really want to achieve this?  I’m going to give you some very good reasons why your answer should be yes.

While it’s very challenging to begin, in the long-term you will feel better about yourself, be more productive and able to navigate life more effectively.

Being healthy is not only a positive change for you but also for your family and friends. 

Being fit and healthy helps boost self-esteem which paves the way for success in other areas of your life.  It’s not just a matter of how you look; it’s your ability to realize you are stronger than you think.

Eating better makes you feel better.  We were not designed to eat fast food and chemicals.  Eating healthy and clean allows your body to function more properly.  When your body does that so does your mind.

There are plenty of reasons to work on achieving health, so why aren’t you doing it?  It comes down to this: We live in a faced paced society that has encouraged you to do everything quickly.  We attempt to accomplish ten tasks at once, we go till exhaustion thinking we will get ahead in doing so.  We eat on the run and fitness easily drops off our priority list.  We fall into these patterns and at some point usually step back and say “I’m not sure I’m really happy.”  True happiness is achieved through balance, mindfulness and purposefulness.

If you have read this far you probably agree with what I am saying and want to change this pattern.  You want to live healthier, be happier and more productive.  If you are going to make a life-long change for the better you are going to have to do it in small steps, period!  Here are ways in which you can move forward in achieving this:

  • Stop eating fast food.  Give yourself license in the beginning to keep all your old habits but just stop eating fast food.
  • Change one eating habit per week.  Swap out a product for something healthier; eliminate something from your diet that isn’t good for you.
  • Begin an exercise program that requires you to do ten minutes of cardio at a time.  Ten minutes, that’s it.  You can make ten minutes a day.
  • Simplify your life.  Life gets cluttered and clutter takes up a lot of space.

Example 1: Clutter in your home.  That actually pulls your attention from other things.  It’s hard to manage life when you are surrounded by things, and piles of paper and undone tasks.  Change that pattern and de-clutter your home, car and office space.  This will help you focus.

Example 2: Clutter in your life.  This comes in the form of people, activities, and commitments.  Sometimes less is more.  We tend to give of our time to so many things that then we really are not offering anyone anything much of value.  Or, we are offering a lot to others but in the process neglecting ourselves.  Simplify commitments.  Pick your top 5 priorities and do those!  Make fitness one of them.  Pick the people who you want in your life and make time for them.  You can’t make time for everyone.  The reality is that some individuals are actually a drain on your productiveness.  Begin to recognize that and make the necessary changes.

People often think health and fitness is basic.  You exercise, eat right and achieve it.  That is the foundation, but taking a closer look at what prevents us from doing that is the way we can actually achieve these goals.  Fitness and wellness is a life approach.  It’s a philosophy.  It is less about an act and more about a mindset.  If you can get to that mindset, the rest will come easy.

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Mindful Eating: How to Eat Less and Enjoy More

2 Nov

Freshly prepared meal made from fruits and veggies purchased at the Farmer's Market

What happens when you’re hungry?  For me, it’s easy to find the quickest and most convenient thing I can get my hands on and eat it.  That’s definitely something I had to retrain myself on when I set my goals for improving my health and losing weight.  The goal became not to find myself in a position where I was really hungry, especially in the presence of a fast food restaurant!  As I got better at this, the concept of mindful eating became more present for me. 

What is mindful eating anyway and how can it help you achieve your goals? Mindful eating, according to Center for Mindful Eating (www.tcme.org)  is, “Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom”.  What does that mean?  For me, it’s about fully enjoying the process and paying careful attention to what food does to my body.  In an effort to ensure I was being mindful of my eating habits, I developed a process of nourishing myself.  Here’s what it looked like: 

 Mindful Eating for Meal Time:

1) Prep for meals and snacks: Doing this rather than just grabbing food on the go allows us to develop a keener sense of our body, how to care for our health, and how to appreciate and respect food.  Look through cook books, find recipes or ideas, and subscribe to blogs or sites on food that give suggestions.  One of my favorites is www.mariamakesmuffins.com  .   Shop local farmers markets and talk to the growers.  Think carefully about what goes into growing and raising food.  Pay attention to nutritional content.

2) Allocate time to prepare meal: This makes you more fully appreciate what you are putting into your body.  Even the art of buying bags of almonds and portioning them out makes me more aware of how much a serving is, what it offers me nutritionally and how much it fills me. When creating meals for my family, I occasionally take some time to concentrate on preparation, making eating an experience rather than just an act.

3) Savor the moment: When you sit down at the table, close your eyes for a moment.  Think about what you are about to ingest and how it will nourish your body. Are you eating empty calories?  If so, that’s okay, just be aware.  Does your plate have a variety of colors on it?  Is the food on your plate a blend of the vital nutrients we need to sustain ourselves?  Take a moment to truly think about what you are eating. 

4) Make eating a ritual: Start by having a glass of water to cleanse the palate.  Ensure you are not going into meal time over-hungry.  Breathe deeply and smell the aroma of the food.  As you eat, pay attention to the flavors.  Eat slowly and intentionally.  Pause between bites to allow your body time to take it in.  This will ensure you don’t overeat.  Before having a second helping, give your body time to digest.  

5) Reflect: After eating, notice how your body reacts.  Did the foods you ingest make you feel good, give you energy, or did they take away from those things?  Many people have food allergies or sensitivities and go years before they ever realize this.  Everyone is different.  You are the best judge of knowing what food works for you!  Some people avoid dairy, others red meat, some are vegetarians, others vegan; some can’t have gluten, some have sugar intolerance….I have seen it all.  You are the owner of your body.  Only you know what makes you feel good.  Pay attention to your body and figure this out.

Eating right and caring for yourself is a skill. Feed the body good whole foods , appreciate the moments of eating, pay careful attention to the process, love yourself, share your successes and tips, learn from your failures, and support others.  This will go a long way toward achieving your goals for optimum health.  Good luck in your journey.