Eating Mindfully

Practicing mindful eating is an important tool in losing weight and maintaining healthy eating habits.  In our busy lives we often find ourselves eating too quickly, not chewing our food thoroughly, and not paying attention to what we are eating or how much we are eating.   Eating mindfully allows us to pay attention to our bodies and what we put into our bodies.  It allows us to notice hunger and fullness signals and allows us the opportunity to enjoy and savor our food. 

Here are some mindful eating tips you can do to help incorporate into your daily practice.

Listen to your body

·       Eat only when you are hungry.

·       Stop eating when you feel full.

·       Observe how certain foods make you feel.

Set the mood for food

·       Set aside meal times to avoid eating on the go.

·       Sit at the table during meals.

·       Avoid watching TV, reading, or being on your phone during meals.

·       Eat on plates, not out of boxes or bags.

·       Set the table with flowers or candles to create a relaxing setting.

Slow it down

·       Practice gratitude.  Give thanks for those who grew, harvested, and prepared your food.

·       Slow down while chewing.  Try chewing each bite 20 times.

·       Try putting your fork down in between bites to help savor your meal.

Sleep and Weight Loss

Exercise and a healthy diet is often what one thinks about when trying to lose weight, but have you ever considered sleep an important part of your weight loss regime?  In fact, research has shown that sleep is an important part of weight management.  It was found that those who get enough sleep had a lower BMI than those who did not, suggesting that sleep deprivation can cause one to gain weight. 

Sleep plays an important part in regulating several hormones in your body.  Two important hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, play a key role in stimulating and suppressing your appetite.  Leptin is responsible for suppressing hunger, while Ghrelin increases appetite.  Lack of sleep has been found to decrease the Leptin level, while increasing the Ghrelin levels, causing an increased appetite during the day. 

Sleep also helps to lower cortisol levels or the “stress hormone.”  When you have high levels of cortisol, it triggers the fight-or-flight response, which shuts down the bodies normal functions and activates the fat storage that releases sugar for energy.  That increase of sugar then triggers the cravings for foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. 

The next time you find yourself waking up from a sleepless night, pay attention to your eating habits and cravings.  When you wake up tired you will more likely want to go for the coffee, then a donut or sugary or high carb food.  You are less likely to have the energy to exercise when you are tired or sleep deprived.  As you continue on your weight loss journey, try including healthy sleeping habits into your daily routine.

Here are some helpful tips getting more sleep each night.

·      Go to bed the same time every night

·      Drink chamomile tea in the evening

·      Avoid late night eating

·      Refrain from exercise late at night

·      Limit alcohol and caffeine intake

·      Refrain from watching TV in bed

·      Turn off all electronics

·      Try reading a book before bed.

·      Take a warm bath in the evening

·      Write down a to-do list at night to help keep your mind clear of all that you need to do the next day.

Scales

Is weighing yourself every day a good thing?  Does weighing yourself help keep you on track or does it cause a sense of frustration? Some weight loss experts say to weigh yourself in the morning to help manage your weight, whiles others claim to avoid the scale and goby how you feel and how your clothes fit.

So which way is correct?  Well I would say it depends on your individual personality.  When trying to lose weight, the accolades you receive by seeing the numbers decrease, can help continue to motivate you through your journey.  But how does that make you feel when the scale goes up or stays the same?  Does the help motivate you or does this affect your mood?

I personally weigh myself every day as a “check and balance” system.  However, I know exactly what the scale is going to say even before I step on it based on how my body feels.  When my numbers go a little higher than I like, I put myself in check with what I eat.  If the numbers are lower or where I would like to be, I find that I give myself permission to overindulge a little in foods that I would normally be avoiding.  Could the scale be to blame for the constant ups and downs in my weight?

Take a moment to see how the scale impacts you.  If you find weighing yourself is negatively impacted by the scale, try these tips to help measure your weight loss success without the scale.

1.     Look in the mirror.  Are you seeing improvement in the way you look?

2.     Clothes test.  How are your clothes fitting?  Many times the scale does not reflect the inches you have lost.

3.     Energy Level.  When you shift to a healthy lifestyle, lose weight and eat healthy, your energy level often increases too. 

4.     Self-confidence.  How are you feeling about yourself?  As we lose weight, we begin to feel better about ourselves.

5.     Daily habits.  Focus on sticking to your healthy habits by eating healthy and moving your body.

Why is Breakfast Important for Weight Loss

Eating breakfast not only helps you lose weight, but helps you maintain a healthy weight.  Studies have shown that breakfast eaters tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day, have lower cholesterol and overall better health than those who skip breakfast.    

When you skip breakfast, your blood sugar drops causing you to become hungry and have less energy.  When you allow your body to get to the point of hunger, you set yourself up for impulse eating, binge eating or making unhealthy choices.  Eating a healthy breakfast will make you feel nourished and satisfied, making you more likely to make good choices for the rest of the day. 

A breakfast high in fiber and protein is an essential part of your weight loss program.    A breakfast high in fiber helps reduce your calorie intake and provides a feeling of fullness.  A breakfast high in fiber also helps to reduce glucose levels and helps to reduce the risk of diabetes.  A breakfast high in protein will digest slower and provide energy for a longer period of time.  Studies have shown that a breakfast high in protein can reduce snacking and help control your appetite throughout the day.

Here are some quick and nutritious choices to get your day off to a good start, some can be prepared the night before:

·      Whole-grain cereal with skim or low fat milk topped with fruit

·      Fruit smoothie made with Greek yogurt

·      Oatmeal topped with fruit, almonds and milk

·      Poached egg on a piece of whole grain toast with a piece of fruit

·      Hardboiled egg and whole grain toast

·      Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit and almonds

·      Whole grain toast topped with almond butter and honey

Walking to Lose Weight

Getting in shape is as easy as walking.  It is one of the best exercises you can do to lose unwanted weight and maintain a healthy body.  The benefits of walking not only provide an easy low impact cardiovascular exercise, but help provide a long range of health benefits.  Walking helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.  Type 2 Diabetes can also be prevented and managed with walking.  Walking helps reduce the risks of breast and colon cancers.  Walking can also help to enhance mental alertness and overall mental well-being.   By simply walking you can strengthen your muscles and bones, improves balance and coordination as well as help prevent osteoporosis 

By walking just 10-20 minutes a day you can make a big difference in your overall health.   A body in motion stays in motion, and a body at rest, stays at rest.

 Here are a few ways to incorporate walking into your daily exercise routine:

·       Choose a parking spot further away when out shopping or at work.

·       Take the stairs when available.

·       Take 5 minute breaks to walk during the day.

·       Walk during your lunch break.

·       Walk for 10 minutes before or after dinner or before cleaning up the dinner mess.

·       Replace your cup of coffee with a brisk morning walk before you get ready for the day.

 

Happy Walking!!

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Water

There are many health benefits when it comes to drinking water.   Drinking water is an essential part of any weight loss program.  Drinking water can help to increase the rate in which your liver burns fat.   Water can also help control the intake of excess calories when replacing a high calorie beverage with water.

Other benefits of drinking water:

· Water helps maintain the proper balance of fluids in the body.  Proper balances of body fluids help support a healthy digestion system, circulation and maintain body temperature.

· Water helps support the kidney by cleansing and ridding your body of toxins.

· Water helps maintain normal bowel movement and helps prevent constipation.

· Water helps fuel muscles to help increase energy and productivity.

· Water helps to support healthy skin.

It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  If you find yourself having difficulties drinking water, try some of the following ideas to increase your water intake.

·     Try drinking your water room temperature.

· Add lemon to your water if you need a little flavor.  If lemon is not your favorite, try adding fresh berries to your water. 

· Drink warm or iced herbal teas. 

 

Benefits of Exercise

Want to have more energy, feel better and perhaps live longer?  Than exercise is something you need to do.  Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health

Exercise has many benefits:

·       It can help control your weight

·       Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

·       Reduces risks of some cancers

·       Helps strengthen bones and muscles

·       Helps reduce stress

·       Increases relaxation

·       Boosts happy chemicals

·       Improves self confidence

·       Helps alleviate anxiety

·       Boosts brainpower

·       Sharpens memory

·       Taps into your creativity

·       Inspires others

·       Increases your chances of living longer

·       Helps you sleep better

Experts say aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, or 10,000.00 steps a day.  If you’re new to exercise, start slow, try breaking into 2-15 minute sessions then work up to 1-30 minute session.  Walking is a great exercise if you don’t belong to a gym, and you can walk practically anywhere.  Strength training is also great.  It helps build muscle, which helps build your metabolism.    Try walking for 15 minutes and strength train the remaining 15 minutes.

Any type of movement is beneficial.  Park farther away from where you run errands.  Take the stairs.  Get up from your desk and walk for 5 minutes.

The more you move, the more, in time, you will want to move!!

The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Did you know that dark chocolate is actually good for you?  It is one of the best sources of antioxidants. It also contains soluble fiber and minerals. 

Studies show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risks of heart disease.  A long term study in Germany showed that having a small square of dark chocolate every day lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of strokes by 39%.

How can you eat chocolate and still lose weight?  Researchers in Copenhagen found dark chocolate is more filling and more satisfying than other chocolates.  It can also reduce the metabolic effects of stress.  Dark chocolate lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.  Eating a small amount of chocolate can actually help reduce your appetite and prevent sugar spikes.

Now that doesn’t mean you can just go have a big bar of chocolate.  Choose a chocolate of high quality, one that has 70% or higher cocoa content.  Also choose a chocolate that has cocoa solids listed first, not sugar.  The darker the chocolate the less sugar it contains. 

So go ahead and enjoy a small square of dark chocolate!