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?

It’s Not About The Diet. 

When it comes down to it, there’s not one special diet that will produce lasting weight loss for every person.  Many different nutritional approaches can work, assuming the person can stick with it.  A person should consider things like stress, cooking abilities, reasons for changing, and methods of sustaining the changes. Why have you been unsuccessful at changing in the past? Ultimately, your success will come from changing habits and that happens when you have a clear understanding of the problems, and you strive for creative solutions to those problems. Creativity is a highly under-appreciated skill when it comes to weight loss. Challenges will always be there and simple cookie-cutter approaches won’t work. You can “glean” strategies from popular diets, but you have to make it your own. Take what works and leave the rest.

Be a good scientist 
When it comes to weight loss, what no one will tell you is that there’s a lot of experimentation with finding the right formula for success. We all would like to believe that A + B = C.  Eat less, exercise more and you will lose weight. Well, yes.  But no. Yes, you must maintain an energy deficit to lose weight, but HOW exactly you accomplish this is where the experimentation comes into play.  Experiment with calories, macros, meal timing and exercise.  Don’t leave out strategies for sleep and stress reduction which play a major role in weight management.

Is it worth it?
Ultimately, the effort you put into changing existing habits must be worth it, which is to say, it must be rewarding. Make sure you carefully and continuously evaluate the pros and cons of adopting the desired change.  If you commit to daily exercise, for example, you must connect with the rewards in order for you to stick with it. Does this new behavior produce more energy? Better sleep? Improved mood? You may say you want to eat “right” and exercise, but the brain sees through your vain attempts. In order for the new behavior to stick, your brain must be rewarded for it.  If there is a powerful reward to your new behavior, your brain will commit that to memory so you can quickly remember it for next time. The caveat: your brain loves instant gratification. Make sure your rewards are thought out.

The next time you’re tempted to try the next popular diet, ask yourself if a new diet is really what you need.  More likely, you need to go deeper and recall what strategies did or did not work in the past.  You don’t need another diet to follow. You need to find your own diet to follow.

Support yourself with the best!  We would love the opportunity to partner with you on your journey.  Schedule a time to speak with one of our coaches today!

Nutrition Solutions

864 676-1248


Planning Meals & Smart Snacking

Planning Meals & Smart Snacking

That’s the number of hours we all have in a week. Meal planning does require an investment of time, but it’s time well spent when you compare it to the emotional, financial and physical cost of having poor health. Manage your time in a way that allows you to prepare nutritious meals and snacks on a regular basis.

Barriers to planning meals:
– Perceived lack of time
– Lack of meal planning skills
– Cooking for family members not sharing your new eating habits
– Lack of cooking skills
– Not as convenient
– Obesogenic environment/Cheap food available 24/7

Why you SHOULD plan your own meals and snacks
– Decreases your susceptibility to cues that lead to poor food choices
– calorie control. Many calorie counts via MyFitness Pal & restaurants inaccurate
– Save money
– Enjoy better quality food
– Empowering
– Relieves stress about last-minute eating decisions

– “Crowding out.” Instead of thinking about what you can’t have to eat, start thinking/planning about foods that you SHOULD and want to include in your diet. When you eat more of the nutritious foods, there is less room for “junk” food
– Limit variety. Eat same food combinations for most meals and snacks. e.g. Breakfast: Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup fruit, small handful raw nuts, Lunch: Lean Chicken or Fish + 2 cups raw or steamed veggies, Snacks: Veggies and 1oz lowfat cheese or hard-boiled egg and cucumbers. Put some thoughts into your individual needs and preferences and stick with it. Saves time, energy and money when you limit your options.
– Keep it simple. Meals: think lean protein and veggies
– Aim for minimally processed foods (choose whole foods or read ingredient lists).
– use meal replacement bars as tools to prevent over-hunger (follow your “active” meal plan until you are in maintenance)
– Use Nutrition Solutions Chef-meals–call or order online
– Carbs-Protein-Fat. High fiber, slow-releasing carbs, Lean Proteins and heart healthy fats. Aim for 40-60% Carb intake, depending on your needs. HIgher if endurance training
– Practice, practice, practice. It gets easier the more you do it.

As the famous slogan goes, JUST DO IT!

Stress Management for Weight Loss

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Stress & Weight loss”

Stress. No one can escape it, BUT you can change how you respond to it (notice I said respond and not REACT). If CHRONIC stress becomes a way of life, it can wreak havoc on your health. In terms of weight loss, stress makes it very difficult to lose weight for several reasons:

  1. Stress causes a cascading release of hormones that ultimately results in increased hunger and cravings (Increased ghrelin signaling and decreased leptin signaling)
  2. Stress increases cortisol which may lead to central fat deposition (Extra fat around the abdominal cavity)
  3. Stress makes it difficult to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercise and planning nutritious meals. If you’re stressed out, you’ll find you have very little energy to make thoughtful decisions about food and exercise
  4. Stress often leads to overeating because overeating food causes a release of serotonin in the brain. Over time, this creates a habit that is hard to break.

Chronic stress affects digestion (IBS and reflux), can lead to hypertension, increased risk for diabetes, depression, anxiety, weight gain, pain and can weaken your immune system.

The solution:
AVOID, ALTER OR ADAPT. There are some stressful situations that you can avoid all together (discussions on controversial issues, watching the news, etc). Others you may have to alter or adapt. If you simply cannot avoid rush hour traffic, find a book to listen to or some nice music. Keep a list of your favorite podcasts or TED talks and listen to them in the car. Change your outlook on challenges.

Some helpful strategies to relieve stress: prayer/meditation, yoga, exercise, dancing, breathing exercises, balanced diet, mindful eating, sleep (7-9 hours), massage, laugh often.

If chronic stress is a way of life for you, here are my top recommendations:

  • Set boundaries with people and situations. Time and energy is a valuable
  • Just say no.
  • Be assertive with friends/family about what you need/want. Time management
  • Keep a social support network and call them often
  • Exercise–it’s the best way to burn off that excess cortisol and adrenaline

Stress happens to all of us, but it should not become a way of life. If you live under chronic stress, maintaining your healthy weight will be very challenging. Take an inventory of stressful events in your life and start to make changes today. It will be worth it!

Have you tried the You diet?

No doubt, you’ve tried countless diets over the years in an effort to shed a few pounds or to improve your health.  Fad diets are easy to spot once you know what to look for.  They speak to our need for control when everything is out of control.  Fad diets are an attractive option because they seem to make logical sense, that is, until you do some actual research from an unbiased source.  Here’s what you need to know:  THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR HEALTH.  There’s no magical formula that will get you the results you want.  You can’t follow your trainer’s diet and expect to get the same results.   The magic happens when YOU figure out what YOU need to be successful, but don’t think it all has to be done on your own.  It can be highly worth your time and money to seek the support of a registered dietitian as you work through the stages of change.

A sound nutritional plan will always include lots of vegetables, lean proteins and whole foods, while being low in sugar, refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods.  If you seek better health through better nutrition, you should know that the answer isn’t “out there.”  Instead, the answers you need lie within you—specifically, in the mass between your two ears.  The question often is not what should I eat, but rather how can I make it happen.  Diets fail for lack of proper planning and execution.

If that overly simplistic explanation doesn’t quite motivate you, there is another tool that can help.  Nutritional genetic testing looks at your individual genetic makeup which determines how you may respond to specific nutrients, diets and exercise strategies.  It’s called Nutrigenomix and it reinforces the idea that no one person responds equally to the same diet.  Instead of bouncing from one fad diet to the next, you can be tested and the results will be reviewed with you by a trained professional.  Likely this person will be a dietitian and they will counsel you on the appropriate nutrition and exercise strategies for you.  If you are interested in learning more about this testing, schedule and appointment by clicking here

Nutrition Solutions prides itself on providing personalized nutrition and health recommendations.  Call us to schedule a free assessment today (864) 676-1248