Mindfulness in Eating

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Mindfulness in Eating”
Are you a mindful eater? Probably not. Would you lose weight, have more energy and feel more empowered if you practiced mindful eating? Would you have a more peaceful relationship with food? Definitely, yes.

Mindfulness is not a new concept, but it’s certainly not well practiced by most Americans. Being mindful simply means to be consciously aware or curious about your experiences. The principles are profoundly simple, and yet very hard to instill in our daily lives. Never is the lack more apparent than with our eating habits, but if you can develop (practice) eating in a more mindful way, the benefits are completely worth it.

How do you know if you’re a mindful eater (vs mindless eater)? Do you:
– consciously take the time to take a breath or two between bites when eating?
– take time to check in during mealtimes to assess fullness level?
– check awareness of feelings and emotions before you order, prepare or eat food?
– Eat 90% of food/meals/snacks while sitting down with no distractions?

I’m guessing that most of you are mindless eaters (I am too ???? ). If so, you may suffer from digestive upset such as reflux, bloating, IBS, weight gain, low energy, and feelings of guilt. You may find yourself constantly on a diet, but never achieving long-term success. There is no guilt in mindful eating. In fact, mindful eating is all about suspending judgments. Food is neither good, nor bad, but the eating experience provides you with the opportunity to increase awareness of HOW and WHY you eat the way you do. MINDFUL EATING IS NON-JUDGMENTAL AND IS ABOUT RELYING ON INTERNAL CUES FOR HUNGER, APPETITE AND SATIETY TO GUIDE YOUR EATING. MINDFUL EATING IS EATING CONSCIOUSLY IN A WAY TO MAKE YOUR BODY FEEL WELL. Most of us have to get reacquainted with our internal monitors for hunger and satiety.

The benefits of mindful eating are numerous:
– helps to reduce overeating/binge episodes
– helps with weight loss
– helps remove unwanted, automatic food habits (emotional eating)
– promotes a peaceful relationship with food
– helps with satisfaction of meals and enjoyment of nourishing foods

Practical ways to get started with Mindful Eating
– Practice being more mindful in all aspects of your life
– Practice understanding the difference between hunger and craving
– Notice your emotions when you eat–How you feel, thoughts, feelings?
– Begin to eat using all of your senses
– Start small—try one mindful meal this week
– Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes and take that time to eat a meal
– Try eating with non-dominant hand
– Use chopsticks
– Eat silently for 5 minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook
– Take small bites and chew well
Ask yourself “Am I Hungry?” If not physiologically hungry, take a walk
– Eat Until 80% full

For more on Mindful Eating, visit Dr. Michelle May’s website:

What is Mindful Eating?

Nutrition 101

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion
“Nutrition 101”
What’s a carb? Are fats bad? How many calories do I need? Can coconut oil cure my ailments? Whether it’s Paleo, The Whole 30 or a diet seen on Dr. Oz, many are as confused as ever about nutrition! Let’s review the nutrition basics.

We EAT TO LIVE. It’s not in the best interest of our health to live to eat, but that’s exactly what most of us do. Eating has become a way to self-medicate, nurture and pleasure ourselves with food. Comfort eating is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but when it becomes habitual to abuse food, weight gain and chronic diseases follow. If you want a better relationship with food, it might be helpful to start with some very basic nutrition principles.

Calories: this is the measurement of the amount of energy a food provides. Energy (calories) is needed by the body to do work. Think of calories as “fuel” If you work hard (very active lifestyle) you will need more calories. Calorie needs vary per individuals. The best way to know precisely how many calories your body needs is to be tested (We offer that testing here for $99)

Macronutrients: substances needed for growth, metabolism and other bodily function. The “Macros” are Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat

Carbs: provides 4 cals/gm. Aim for 40-65% of calories coming from carbs. Typically higher range if involved in endurance events like cycling or running. Possibly a lower range if insulin resistant. It’s not “No” carbs, but “slow” carbs. Choose complex carbs over simple carbs

Protein: provides 4 cals/gm. Aim for 20-30% of calories coming from protein foods. Choose lean proteins such as chicken/turkey breast, fish, tofu, eggs.

Fat: provides 9 cals/gm. Aim for 15-30% of calories coming from heart-healthy fats. Limit Saturated fat and avoid trans fats.

Nutrient-dense foods vs Calorie-dense foods: nutrient dense foods contain a large amount of nutrients for a relatively small number of calories (vegetables, beans, fruits, whole grain products, lean meats/fish and low-fat dairy. Eat more of these and less calorie dense foods to lose weight

I’m sure to incite a few eye rolls or sighs, but the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a good place to start for determining what constitutes a healthy diet. In there you’ll find recommendations to eat more vegetables, whole fruits, beans, and limit processed foods. They recommend consuming a variety of whole foods, while limited processed meats, saturated fats and cutting waaaaay back on added sugars and sodium. Sure, individual dietary needs vary, but most people aren’t doing the basics and you’ve got to start somewhere. Let’s stop majoring in the minors and make a plan to eat better. As author Michael Pollan famously said, “Eat food, not too much and mostly plants.”

Check out the guidelines here: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/

Sweet Dreams

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Sweet Dreams”
Hope everyone had a great weekend. I was out of town visiting family and missed this wonderful class that Chris taught, but he did share his outline with me. I wanted to be there! Chris, help me fill in the blanks. You always have a way of challenging us and making us uncomfortable ????

Do you set safe goals or risky goals? Are you afraid to dream big for fear that you may not reach your goals? It’s a very natural thing to play it safe. One thing that so many of us have in common is past failures with weight loss, or just failure in general with changing eating habits. Change is hard! Many times we are our own worst enemies when it comes to success. The limitations may not so much be about our ability, but rather it comes from the limitations in our thinking. We dream small, and as a result we achieve small. Everyone in this group has barriers and challenges to their personal goals, but often times that’s not what prevents you from reaching your goal. The barriers and limitations come from how we think and how we perceive those barriers. We have to get rid of “stinkin’ thinkin” because it does not serve us. More inspiration? Check out our team USA Paralympic athletes http://www.teamusa.org/…/us%20paralympi…/sports/cycling.aspx

The common reason most of us don’t dream big: FEAR. Whether it’s fear of what people think, fear of failure or fear of commitment to changing, FEAR so often prevents you from running, or walking, over those hurdles. People and circumstances don’t hold us back so much as we hold ourselves back.

Don’t be afraid to visualize the new you. You will find tools and people along the way that will help you get there. Post your comments below:

Personal Responsibility

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Personal Responsibility”
Here’s what you missed if you weren’t able to attend:

The weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey is yours to own. Guilt and shame can cloud your ability to take control of your health. Most “dieters” have tried 5 different times to lose weight before finally being successful. Most individuals affected by obesity have an abundance of nutrition information inside their head. They carry a lot of baggage around about what has not worked in the past, combined with incomplete or incorrect nutrition information shared by the media. To be sure, the journey towards a healthy weight is simple and straightforward: High levels of “movement” (otherwise known as exercise), diet consisting of nutrient dense foods (otherwise known as low-calorie unprocessed foods), consistent eating patterns, self-monitoring of weight, watching less than 10 hours of tv per week and learning from missteps before they turn into relapes. We know this from the tracking of over 10,000 individuals in the NWCR who have lost weight and kept it off. It’s not about the paleo, the coconut oil, the acai berry or even the cabbage soup diet. We call this majoring in the minors when it comes to weight loss. If you want to be successful, find ways to remove all barriers to eating lots of vegetables, beans, lentils, lean proteins and whole foods. Don’t overeat. Remove all barriers to exercise/physical activity. Get good sleep and manage stress. Do these things and success will follow. Unfortunately and fortunately, only YOU can figure out HOW to make it work for you. Support is highly encouraged. Talking to a dietitian nutritionist is highly encouraged smile emoticon Find out how these folks lost weight and kept it off for good: National Weight Control Reigstry http://www.nwcr.ws/

Finally, keep up the hard work. The rewards are totally worth it.

Success Stories

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Success Stories”
I can’t begin to do justice by retelling the stories of the men and women that shared yesterday, BUT I will try to recap the main points for those of you who weren’t able to attend. Of course I like to elaborate with my own commentary based on experience

Greg, Lisa, Roxanne and Derek shared details of their journey with weight loss. It’s interesting to note that 2 of them chose to do a full meal replacement plan (optifast) and the other 2 chose a food-based plan. This goes to confirm that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to losing weight. Individuals that come to work with us quickly see that the biggest challenge in losing weight is not the nutrition, but the commitment to change one’s behavior and lifestyle. If they didn’t already know, they soon realize that no diet will be the cure, but rather the cure comes from combining determination, the right nutrition plan, exercise and the ability to arrange their environment for success. All of this is based around the individual and challenging/changing behaviors is required.

The common theme shared by all of them was that their desperation led them to come seek support from Nutrition Solutions. A doctor’s report of poor health may have been their “wake up call” and they knew that their usual attempts at weight loss in the past had proved futile. Often, it’s that desperation and frustration that provokes people to take drastic measures. It’s their ability to say “no” to instant gratification and quick fixes, and instead say “yes” to a lifestyle change. Support at this stage is essential. Is it hard work? Heck yeah! They all shared challenges with navigating social events, family influences and the natural discomfort that comes with challenging any habit. We’ve said this before, but eating habits are learned early in life–quite possibly in infancy. That makes it a unique beast to tackle and that is why we applaud and encourage anyone who fights the natural tendency towards self-gratification and pleasure-eating.

I crunched the numbers and they have a combined weight loss of 218 pounds! This is incredible and is a testament to their success. If you wonder if you can lose weight and keep it off, the answer is YES, but please make sure to surround yourself with the right team of experts and supportive friends and family.