We have all had a thought, an idea, or a dream we felt drawn to follow and explore. Whether it was a childhood dream to be an astronaut or a goal to start your own business at age 50, we have all felt the tug at our hearts and minds to follow a path.
But, for many of us, we have also heard the words of friends, foes and loved ones telling us it is impossible: “You’re too old”, “You’re not smart enough”, “You don’t have the time/money”, “No one has done that before”, “You should give up”.
The thought today is, when you feel that pull, when you know in your heart you should follow a dream, DO IT!
No matter what your health and wellness goals: to lose weight, improve your health markers (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.), improve your brain health, or simply to feel more energetic, good nutrition is the best way to achieve your goal.
While having a solid nutritional plan is the best way to achieve your goal, just being in tune with and aware of your nutrition can make a big difference. That’s why I find mindful eating a great way to get in touch with what and why you are eating.
With mindful eating, you take the time to focus on not just what you are eating, but why you are eating, and how the experience makes you feel. Mindful eating gets you in touch with your personal hunger cues, improves your ability to taste your food, and makes the eating experience more pleasurable.
So, how do you practice mindful eating?
The first step you should take when eating mindfully is to get quiet. This may mean eating alone at first to avoid distractions or getting away from your desk or office. I had a friend that regularly ate lunch in her car so she could have time to herself to eat. Think of meal time as a type of meditation, connect with the experience, eat slowly, and enjoy it.
Once you have gotten quiet and focused, ask yourself:
“Am I hungry?”
If your stomach is growling, you feel weak or shaky, you are irritable, or have a headache then you are probably hungry. If not, then perhaps it is better to wait until you are truly hungry. Now, this does not mean skipping meals or starving yourself. However, as you get in touch with what physiological hunger feels like, you will be better able to take in nutrition when you body needs it rather than mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth.
2. “Do I want to eat?”
Sometimes our habits and emotions get the best of us and we eat because we think we are supposed to, “Hey, it’s 4pm it must be snack time”, “I haven’t eaten for 3 hours I’m not hungry but I better eat something anyhow”, or “Damn, that meeting was really stressful, I need a candy bar.” In these cases asking ourselves if we really want to eat or are simply responding to habit and emotions can keep us from making poor nutritional choices.
3. “Does this food choice support my goals?”
If your goal is to lose weight, eating a big bowl of popcorn and a box of chocolate covered raisins at the movies is not the best way to achieve your goal. Likewise, having a burger and fries won’t help your reduce your cholesterol. Asking yourself if the food choice supports your goal reminds you of what you are working so hard to achieve and can stop you from making a poor choice. If, after you ask the question, your response is to still eat the food then you must be willing to accept responsibility for the choice. Looking great in those jeans or ice cream, which is more important?
Once you have started eating, focus on the experience.
Eat slowly and consider these questions as you go along:
What does the food taste like? Sweet? Sour? Spicy?
What is its texture? Smooth, grainy, mushy…
How does eating make you feel? Happy? Comforted? Guilty?
Are you enjoying it? Eat slowly and consider these questions as you go along.
Every few bites, stop and ask yourself, “Am I satisfied?” If you are, then stop eating. If your answer is, “no”, then take a few more bites and ask again. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your body to register fullness so take your time.
Eating mindfully takes work, and it is likely you will not be able to do it with every meal especially in the beginning. Start slowly and shoot for practicing for 2 meals every day.
If the process seems overwhelming, that’s ok. Start slowly with 1 thing at a time. Perhaps you can find a quiet distraction free place to eat and just do that for a few days. Next you can ask yourself 1 or 2 of the questions. Once it is your habit to check in before eating, then you can move on to another question or step. Progress at your pace. The key objective here is simply to create awareness of your eating in relation to your goals. Do not obsess over it, make it fun, enjoy eating!
If you need help building your nutritional plan or if you would like help learning to eat mindfully, I am here to help. Email me at email@example.com for a complimentary 15 minute consultation.
Back in March when COVID cases started to rise and communities started shutting down restaurants, gyms, nonessential businesses, and more and more people started working from home a lot of people made a commitment to start taking better care of their health. Internet searches for at home exercise routines and healthy meal recipes soared. There wasn’t a dumbbell, physioball, jump rope, or exercise band to be had anywhere.
In my own neighborhood, I started seeing neighbors I hadn’t seen in months out for a run, walking their dog, or doing squats in their driveway.
But now it’s September and my neighborhood is again a quiet little hamlet. No more family bike rides, no more sidewalk yoga, and no more strolling puppies. Everyone it seems is settling back into their routines.
Restaurants are open, people are eating out again, fitness equipment is back in stock, and the number of online workout classes is starting to dwindle.
Folks commitment to better health is slowly going by the wayside. As we edge slowly closer to our lives returning to “normal”, we are falling back into old routines where physical activity and good nutrition are no longer on our, “to do” lists.
So, what about you:
Are you sticking to an exercise routine, either at home or in the gym?
Do you find yourself eating out more often, maybe grabbing a quick burger and fries rather than making a healthy dinner?
Have you stopped having your groceries delivered and started doing your own shopping only to find yourself making impulse purchases like the newest flavor of potato chip or those M&Ms that were on sale?
If you have found yourself sliding backward into old habits, NOW is the time to recommit to those healthy habits you pickup earlier in the year.
You may need to get creative if your schedule is less open and flexible than months past, but with a little thought and planning you can keep those good habits going.
This week pick 1 of your healthy habits and commit to focusing on building and reinforcing that habit to the best of your ability each day.
Don’t let your old normal ruin the progress you made during your “new normal”.
Good luck, have fun, and have a happy healthy week!
The holiday season can frequently lead to a hectic schedule. Between social engagements, shopping, wrapping, baking, and traveling, finding time to go to the gym can be a challenge. Many of my clients say they simply don’t have the time to workout.
I can completely understand how life can get in the way of workouts. It happens to all of us. But, a busy schedule does not mean you have to ditch your fitness goals.
Just because you don’t have time go to the gym and do an hour workout doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Whether you get up a few minutes early, give up a working lunch for a workout lunch, or exercise while watching TV, you can find 15-20 minutes in your day to get a little bit of exercise.
I have several short workouts I can do at home whenever life gets in the way of gym time. Below is one of my favorites:
This workout is designed to be fast and effective, it can be done just about anywhere and doesn’t require equipment. If you have light dumbbells or resistance bands, you can use them to amp up the workout.
Remember, just because you don’t have time for the gym doesn’t mean you have to miss your workouts.
We all know what we SHOULD do to be healthy, fit, and at our best: we should eat 5-7 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day, we should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, we should not smoke, we should avoid processed foods/trans fats/alcohol/sugar…
But, let’s face it most of us have a vice or 2 (or more), that keep us from reaching the peak of our health and wellness. While many of these vices seem pretty harmless while we are doing them they can pose long term threats to our health. Yep, that burger and fries you ate this weekend will come back to haunt you in your 70s (or sooner). That is why it is important to get a handle on our bad habits as well as create new good habits.
Slowly and mindfully is a great way to eat less, but it’s impact is limited if your “healthy routine” still consists of fast-food, beer, and 15 hour video game marathons.
This week I am offering you a challenge. Pick one of your bad habits, just one, and over the next week take steps to change it.
If you are a coach potato, make it your goal to go for a walk around your neighborhood every day this week. You can even start with 10 minutes if that is all you can handle.
If you never eat vegetables, start adding 1-2 servings of veggies to one of your meals daily.
If you are a smoker, cut the number of cigarettes/vapes you have by 5-10% this week.
If your an overeater, make a conscious effort to cut back on your portion sizes by 15-20% at each meal.
If you can’t make it through the day without 3-4 cups of coffee, replace 1 of them with a decaf.
If you regularly wake up Sunday morning with a raging hangover, cut back a drink or 2 the next Saturday.
The point isn’t to completely stop your bad habit in one fell swoop, but rather to slowly ween yourself off of the bad habit and slip gently into a better one. Changing habits takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back for each little bit of progress you make.
The first few days of this may be rough and you may even feel a tad bit icky, but I promise as the week progresses you will start to feel better.
Give it a try. What do you have to lose except your bad habits.
What goals did you set for yourself this year? Do you want to: run a marathon, lose 20 pounds, get a new job, find your soulmate, pay off your credit cards, or buy a new home?
No matter what your goals are for 2019, you cannot expect to achieve them if you don’t believe you deserve them. Believing you deserve to make your goal a reality is a crucial step in reaching that goal and yet, I often find when working with clients it is missing from the goal setting equation!
Believing you deserve to have, be, or do anything you want is about loving yourself enough to allow yourself to have, be, or do whatever it is you are wanting.
If you do not love yourself, you will never have the power to press forward with your goal when the road gets rocky and challenges emerge. Instead, you will start to doubt yourself and your abilities and start believing the naysayers and negative Nancy’s’.
See if this sounds familiar:
“What was I thinking? I’ll never be able to lose weight. I don’t have the willpower.”
” Mom was right. Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”
If you want to finally get on track to achieving your goals and stay on track you MUST start loving and believing in yourself!
Here is a little exercise to get you started:
Find a mirror. Any mirror will work, it can be the mirror in your bathroom, a hand mirror, or the visor mirror in your car. If you can’t find a mirror “selfie mode”on your phone will work.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Look directly into your own eyes. For some of you, this may be uncomfortable. Take a breath and power through. You CAN do this.
While looking into your eyes, state out loud at least 10 things you LOVE about yourself. They can be anything; physical attributes, habits, behaviors, attitudes, accomplishments…
“I love my soft silky hair.”
“I love that I am a hard worker.”
“I love that I am intelligent.”
“I love that I finished my work project ahead of schedule and got compliments from my boss.”
Be creative! Have fun! Enjoy the process. Allow yourself to feel good.
Do this exercise every day for a month and take notice of how your life starts to shift and your goals get closer to reality. You will be glad you did!
Let us know how the exercise worked for you, LIKE, us on Facebook and leave a message!
In last week’s post I stated that in order to achieve your health and weight loss goals you need to engage in 5-7 hours of purposeful exercise each week (click here for a reminder).
This week I want to give you a little tool to help you get on target with your exercise routine and stay on target. It is called an adherence chart and using it is very simple. For each day you complete the behavior listed, give yourself an “X”, smiley face, or gold star. This gives you a visual reference as to how successful you have been in following your new behavior.
This type of chart can work for any new behavior you want to implement whether it is related to health, fitness, relationships, career, etc.
If you have not been exercising regularly, jumping in to 5-7 hours per week can be a bit too much to handle, so for this week’s chart I recommended 3-4 hours of purposeful exercise each week for the next 3 weeks. If you have been pretty consistent with a workout routine, and are ready to kick it up, feel free to reflect the change you wish to make.