Is Mindful Eating Stressful for Busy People?

Mindful eating as a practice is great.  Mindful eating can reduce stress by slowing down to pay attention to what you eat. Is mindful eating stressful for busy people?

If mindful eating just another goal that you are too busy to attempt it can create more stress.  How you approach mindful eating makes it simple or stressful.

Why is it so difficult to slow down and pay attention to your food?

Grab and go has become the standard when you run out of time. Fast food has drive through windows for the busy person who can eat while driving to the next appointment. Schedules are hectic, so you are busy doing other things while you eat. Feeling bad about what and how you eat just creates another stress factor.

What is Mindful eating?

Mindful eating is simply paying attention to the food that you eat. Treating your meals as a specific activity that requires your full attention.  Paying attention to how you feel, how food tastes and how you react to specific food choices.

What are the benefits of Mindful eating?

You slow down your eating time. That allows your brain to catch up and signal you when you are full. You give yourself a break by avoiding multitasking for a short period of time each day.

  • You learn to eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel full
  • You learn to appreciate the taste of food, which leads to thoughtful choices about what you eat.
  • You pay attention to how you feel based on the types of food you just ate.

Consider taking just one small step towards mindful eating. Pick a meal or time that you can commit to paying attention to your food. Be consistent even if you only choose one meal a week. This will lead to success instead of stress.

  •  Eat only when you are actually hungry
  • Listen to your body and stop eating when you feel full
  • Give eating your full attention: Avoid eating in front of the TV

Mindful eating can help you make better choices for healthy options. Pick one aspect of mindful eating to focus on at a time. Be consistent so that you develop the habit of  food awareness. Keep it simple. Enjoy what you eat.

Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.   Schedule a coaching call

Your first strategy coaching call is free.

 

 

 

Use your brain instead of willpower to lose weight

 

Use your brain instead of willpower  to lose weight. Your brain is the secret key to eating healthy and losing weight. It is not a lack of will power, motivation  or being lazy that stops your from losing weight. Your subconscious mind makes 90-95 % of your decisions for you. Which means most of your food choices are based on your habits and past patterns. You make those choices because it is easy, not because you lack motivation or willpower.

The secret key to eating healthy is to use your brain to create a system with a step by step plan that makes it easier for you to choose the heathy options.  Set up all of your food choices early in the day.  Avoid making decisions about food at the end of the day when you are tired and hungry.

Plan ahead.

Plan out menus, have a list before you go to the store. Make your lunch the day before. Prep for dinners ahead of time. Anything you do that creates a system for making the healthy choice simple. Ask for help from family or friends to support your new system.

Motivation for eating healthy is reinforced by hanging out with other people who eat healthy.  Encourage others who want to be healthy. Make social plans around walks instead of pizza and beer.

 You have a limited amount of willpower

Willpower lags over the day based on how many decisions you have to make. If you look at a doughnut 5 times, you are more likely to eat that doughnut. So keep food that is not part of your plan, out of sight. I have never understood the rationale for keeping a dish of candy on your desk. I even consider it a bit mean to other people around you, because you are asking them to use energy to avoid or make a food choice every time they walk by your desk. Why would you encourage others to eat candy, if you are committed to cutting back on candy yourself?

Set small goals

Pick one food type to eliminate or pick one meal to make healthy. Make your goal easy enough that you can be consistent in achieving it. That consistent behavior creates the system that makes your brain automatically support that habit. Keep it simple. Simple builds success.

Why is making a change so difficult? It is easy to fall back on your past habits. It requires a focused effort to create a new habit.

Need more help setting up your brain for success?  Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.

First strategy coach call is free.

Contact Coach Gwen   Schedule a coaching call

 

 

Join the 10-day Healthy Eating Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a 10 day Healthy Eating Challenge? It is a 10-day commitment to be mindful of your eating habits and focus on healthy eating. It forces you to read labels and be mindful of your daily choices. The value of evaluating what you are eating on a regular basis supports making a few changes that will improve your habits as a lifestyle change. This is not a diet. Diets don’t work. This is a wake up call to pay attention to how you fuel your body.

 

Why take this 10-day Healthy Eating challenge?

Joining a group effort gives you motivation to make changes. 10 Days is long enough to increase your awareness and let you feel a difference in energy levels, sleep patterns and how you feel overall.

The rules are simple. For 10 days you only eat real food. Eat nothing that has added sugar in it. Drink lots of water. Fruit has natural sugar, fruit juice has added sugar, so eat the real fruit. Fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, anything that you can buy in it’s natural state. That means, nothing that is processed or comes out of a box. No drinks that have added sugar. Start by reading labels. You will be surprised how many of your normal food choices have added sugar in them. You will have to plan ahead. Many of our choices are based on time, so grab and go makes life easy.

Why am I doing this? I am doing this because I need to reset my habits. Life has been hectic and stressful lately and I feel like I am off track. I feel better, my skin is looks better and I sleep better when I stick to real food. Pick a date to start, plan ahead with your menu and food choices. If you need some help, reply below and I will send you meal plan for ideas.

So join me this April in a 10-day Healthy Eating Challenge. You will reap the benefits from this simple challenge that creates mindful eating as a lifestyle change.

Got questions?  Contact Coach Gwen below.

Sugar – What you don’t know about added sugar can Hurt you

 

What you don’t know about added sugar can hurt you

The average person takes in 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Yet the recommenced amount by the American Heart Association is just 6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men daily. This is added sugar, not counted is the natural occurring sugar in fruit or foods with fiber. A typical soda has 8 tsp of added sugar. What you don’t know about added sugar can hurt you.

How does this added sugar hurt you?

Ten reasons why sugar is bad for you

  1. Sugar is the biggest cause of obesity- sugar intakes drives insulin, which is our fat storing hormone. Sugar is addictive and stimulates our appetite to eat more.
  2. Sugar is the biggest cause of Type 2 diabetes- changing lifestyle and eating habits can help someone in the pre diabetic stage to avoid the life long consequences of diabetes. (Type 2 diabetes only).
  3. Sugar is related to cardiac health and high blood pressure. The extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries or circulation system in a way that adds stress to your heart
  4. Sugar gives you tooth decay. Snacks and sweets that are loaded with sugar contribute to tooth decay and tooth lose at any age
  5. Sugar crowds out nutritious foods. When you fill up on junk or sugar packed food, you are eating more food with less nutritious content. Creating a lifestyle of being over fed and undernourished.
  6. Sugar is linked to depression. The state of having high and low blood sugars impacts our moods and energy levels.
  7. Sugar is linked to inflammation- this extra sugar can worsen joint pain
  8. Sugar makes your skin age faster. Sugar attaches to proteins in your blood stream and creates harmful molecules that age your skin faster than normal.
  9. Eating sugar gives your brain an immediate boost with a chemical called dopamine. So you feel good immediately, however you start to crave more sugar to keep that feeling. This is the cycle of sugar addition.
  10. Extra sugar at night means you are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.

Pick any one of these reasons as good enough to start changing your sugar habits.

Reading labels is key. Eating real food and avoiding processed or fast food will help more than anything.

 

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/how-sugar-affects-your-body

 

Water up: The hidden benefits of drinking water

 

 

Water is an essential nutrient that your body needs on a regular basis. Fluid losses occur daily through sweating, exercise, normal bathroom habits and breathing. Dehydration occurs when your water intake does not equal your output. High altitudes, hot days, strenuous exercise or too busy to pay attention are all reasons that people don’t get enough water in their system. Roughly 60 % of your body is fluid. Here are some of the hidden benefits of drinking water.

Water can be really helpful for weight loss.

It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals.
The benefits are even greater when you replace sugary beverages with water. It is a very easy way to cut back on sugar and calories.

Muscle Fuel
Sweating with exercise causes muscles to lose water. When the muscles don’t have enough water they get tired. Water reduces the tendency for muscle cramps.

 

Drinking water helps your brain function

Fatigue and low energy
Water can help with fatigue, as tiredness is a common symptom of dehydration. Your brain is part of your system that needs adequate fluids; so consider adding water when you reach those afternoon brain drain times.

Flushes out toxins- Kidneys are responsible for processing and sifting out toxins in your system, they need enough fluids to clear out what your body needs to pass out and get rid of.

Improves skin complexion
Think of your skin as a sponge. When your skin gets dry, it contracts and gets flaky. When the cells in your skin are plump and elastic they are less susceptible to irritation.

Maintains regularity in your digestive system and bowel habits
Adequate water and fiber keep your digestive system flowing normally

Natural headache remedy- Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines in some people. Drinking extra water can reduce those pesky hangover symptoms

Tips to drink more water:
Keep a bottle or glass of water near by.
Eat fruits and vegetables: about 20 % of your fluid intake comes from food.
Drink water will every meal or snack
Choose plain water over soda or high calorie energy drinks that contain sugar

Contact Coach Gwen Schedule a time to talk

Momentum Creates Motivation for a Healthy Lifestyle

 

 

What is your reason to create a healthy lifestyle? If you don’t understand why you want to make a change, it is difficult to start. Without any momentum you quickly lose motivation because you don’t see any results.
Because you are supposed to eat healthy or exercise, is a weak basis for creating lasting change. Consider instead internal motivation. Here are some examples that may give you a stronger starting reason.
I want to have more energy. I want to feel better. I want to be able to play with my kids or grandkids. If you are unsure of why change is important to you, try asking yourself better questions.

Momentum creates motivation. Take time to understand why. This will increase your motivation

Here are some questions to ask yourself about why you are making time for self-care.

• What to I expect from making healthy changes?

• Why is it important to me to feel good?

• What has stopped me in the past from sticking to healthy goals?

• Who can I ask to support me in these changes?

• What behavior or habits are hurting me?

• What are my sources of joy?

Once you have an idea of why you want to feel healthy, the next step is how to get started.

Create a strategy or road map for change.

Planning ahead for meals and snacks is the number one thing you can do to create success. Consider how to fit more activity into your day. Look for ways to move that you enjoy and can do with family or friends. Momentum begins the day you start making small changes. Motivation comes with doing things you like and enjoying the process. So no matter how small your first step, use that momentum to build motivation to feel good about your life again.

Contact Coach Gwen for a coaching call

In Search of a Healthy Lunch

 

I did a quick search on the Internet to find  simple healthy  lunch ideas.  The options and menus that had multiple ingredients which appeared to be beyond my ability to recreate very quickly overwhelmed me.   I was tempted to fall back to recommending that childhood school lunch of packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and call it good.  However I think we can do better by using what you already know to make your own lunch choices.

So what are your best options for healthy lunches that keep things simple?

Start with why you need to eat healthy. Food is good fuel. Healthy fuel gives you energy for the whole day. Put junk fuel into you body and your energy level will suffer. Fresh fruit and vegetables are the original fast food.

Healthy eating is not a complicated task. What makes it easy is creating a system that fits your schedule, needs and food tastes while keeping that system simple and easy to do.

Step one                              

Make a list of all the food that you like and that can be easily stored on a shelf or in the freezer.

These are your staples – things you can stock up on ahead of time and grab as back up.  My staples are soup, tuna, nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, almond butter, left over meals

Step two

Make your fresh food list – things you need to buy on a regular or weekly basis that give you choices for lunch – mine includes all things for salad and snacks at work.  I keep yogurt, apples, cheese, raw vegetables, humus, wraps, eggs, roasted turkey, spinach, any other lettuce that looks good on my weekly list.


Step three

Pick one or two lunch options that you can make the night ahead and are likely to have the ingredients on hand.  Experiment until you have a lunch that gives you some protein, fruit, vegetables, light on the carbohydrates and you can eat easily at work.

Sandwiches still work just fine – you may use wraps or lettuce instead of bread.  I sometimes just roll up roasted turkey with cheese and make that a finger food.  My standard working lunch is a salad – with multiple chopped raw vegetables.  I find that chopping enough for two days, in one session the night before, saves me time in the morning.  I add protein to my salad using hard boiled eggs, roasted turkey, leftover chicken or raw nuts.  I keep a protein bar, some raw nuts and an apple on hand for days when I need something to snack.

 

The final simple step

You need to pack your lunch so it is easily accessible to you any time during the day. How often have you skipped lunch because it was too much trouble to leave your desk and go to the break room?  Find an insulated lunch bag and add a small freezer pack – that way your food can stay on your desk all day – ready anytime you need to grab and fuel up.

I confess to eating the same lunch every day I work away from home. Is this boring?  No. This gives me a routine that simplifies my life.  I never forget my grocery list or a key ingredient in the special recipe of the week.  When everything else in my life is hectic, I need a few things that are easy to do.  When you want variety, start snooping in your friend’s lunch boxes.  Ask other busy people what they pack and like for easy prepare ahead food.  Use leftovers as a change up for lunch when you are prepared to go heat them up.  A little bit of planning ahead is the key to getting a lunch that keeps your life simple. Your professional challenges of the day require fuel for the whole day.

Need more recipes?

Check out this free website that I use for my coaching clients:

Program downloads from Transitions Lifestyle weight management

Click for a 30 min coaching call

Be healthy out there,

Gwen

 

 

What you eat may affect your sleep

By Mark Lange, PhD( reposted from Market America blog)
Sleep researchers have found that sleep quality is affected by diet. Twenty-six adults who normally sleep 7-9 hours per night participated in this randomized crossover study. The participants first consumed a controlled diet for 4 days and then ate whatever they wanted on day 5. Low fiber and high saturated fat and sugar intake was associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more arousals.
The researchers were surprised that a single day of greater fat intake and lower fiber could influence sleep parameters. The study emphasizes that diet and sleep are interwoven in the fabric of a healthy lifestyle. For optimal health it is important to make proper dietary choices to improve sleep and exercise regularly.
Source: St-Onge MP, et al. Fiber and saturated fat are associated with sleep arousals and slow wave sleep. J. Clin. Sleep Med. 2016; 12(1):19-24

So now this makes sense when you eat junk late at night your sleep may be disrupted. I know for me, the simple rule of closing the kitchen at 8 pm works great.  Other studies show that high stress is linked to poor sleep habits. What we eat does matter. Exercise lets your brain rest so it can relax at night.  Look at your system to get ready for sleep. Do you give yourself a space to unwind before bed? Here are a few ideas.  Shut off the electronics 30 min before you expect to go to sleep. Do a few gentle stretches.  Try 5 minutes of meditation.  Avoid the late night snacks. Figure out a routine that helps your brain relax before you close your eyes for sleep.

Need more help with your sleep patterns? Click for a complimentary 30 min coaching call

Mini Habits as Easy Steps to Healthy Habits

mini health habits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build your healthy habits by taking one step at a time.

What is a mini habit? Some small task you choose that will help you build into automatically repeating this healthy habit daily.

Think about what you can do 5 minutes or less. The goal here is to get you in a pattern that supports your healthy habit on a daily basis. Bigger goals often fail because they are too hard to fit into your busy schedule. Derek Doepker wrote a book: The Healthy Habit Revolution. See this book for a full program on how mini habits can be developed in 21 days.

Get started on  healthy habits with easy mini steps.

The idea of a mini habit is just to get you started. Pick 1-3 healthy habits and plan on doing each of them for 1-5 min daily for 21 days. This what I liked most, the idea of just get started.

Think that is too easy? Wrong, it is a proven way to create the healthy habit that gets you started. Momentum creates motivation. So one push up every day or eating one extra carrot a day adds up to something that you will do on a routine basis.

What would 5 minutes of quiet time do for you as a way to rest your brain?

What makes this mini habit work is it is so easy to do it. You really have no excuse to avoid or not do this new healthy habit. While you might skip a 15-20 min exercise routine on a busy day, you are much less likely to skip 1-3 min of exercise.

Will 3 minutes of exercise make you more fit? Not today, but think of 3 minutes X 21 days and consider how much exercise you just added to your overall activity level.

If you have ever failed at goals or resolutions, this method of mini healthy habits is a good option for you to try.

Here are some guidelines to picking good mini habits:

  • Take your mini habit seriously- pick what you personally want to improve
  • Your habit has to require some effort, make it significant for your needs
  • Avoid the temptation to make it too long, your goal is daily success
  • Remember you can always choose to overachieve and to more each day
  • Set up accountability for your mini habit, tell people what you are doing

At the end of 21 days, you will have set up patterns that give you a solid foundation to keep building on your health. That is the proven reason small steps lead to bigger actions. The success that you have in small mini habits will lead you to expand and improve into healthy habits for life. So this year start small for bigger gains.

Contact Coach Gwen for accountability that will keep you on track.

Contact Coach Gwen for a complimentary call

 

The Habit of Completion will simplify your Life

 

The Habit of Completion

Who feels good about checking off something on your list? It seems like a small satisfaction to know you have completed a task. Yet those some acts of completion help motivate us to keep moving forward with goals, projects or just the steps of everyday life. What stops us from completing projects?

Time. Lack of time is what everyone says prevents them from getting things done. I would disagree. I have found with my clients that when drilling down how they spend time, there are things they could stop doing, give away or spend less time on. This change would then gain some valuable time for personal projects.

I challenge you to reflect on how you spend your time and look for areas that you can make a change. Consider how these three steps might help you develop a habit of completion.

 

Step One: Learn How to Say No

Practice saying no to demands on your time and energy. Only say yes to things that make the best use of your time and bring you energy.

 

Step Two: Get Rid of Clutter

Start with a small area and create a clutter free zone- on your desk and in your home. Use this area to work on projects or planning where you are not distracted by other items that might claim your attention. Clean out closets of items you do not use or do not fit and find them a home with someone else who could use these items.

 

Step Three: Chunk it Down

Take any project that is too big or overwhelming and break it down into steps. Decide what five actions you could take to start on the big project and do those. Pick a time period between 20-40 minutes and just commit to spending that amount of time on the project every week or every day.

 

The habit of completion can be improved when you focus on small steps along the way. Give yourself credit for each step, so you avoid that feeling of overwhelm that prevents you from even starting on a new project.

I am planning on spending the last few days of this year cleaning out files, clearing up loose ends and clearing out the clutter that allows me a fresh start to 2017. Need help? I won’t physically come to your office or home, but I can give you some practical ideas on how and where to start your new habits for 2017.

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