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9 Tips on How to Eat Mindfully for Weight Loss



When it comes to dieting, many people develop an adversarial relationship with food. Dieting often becomes about what you can or can’t eat … with all our favorite (junk and comfort) foods ending up on the chopping block. However, while watching what you eat is certainly important, more experts are pointing to HOW you eat as an important tool toward better eating. It’s called mindful eating, and it’s helping people rethink and shift their relationship to food.

Registered dietitian, Jenni Grover, describes mindful eating as “intuitive eating… a concept with its roots in Buddhist teachings, [which] aims to reconnect us more deeply with the experience of eating — and enjoying — our food.” No, you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk or meditate every day to be a mindful eater. Mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies’ hunger signals, not emotional ones — like eating for comfort. According to a recent article in the New York Times, mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving anything up. Rather, it’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it.

Part of the reasoning behind mindful eating when it comes to health and weight loss is that it combats mindless or unconscious eating. Research shows that mindless eating plays a significant role in weight gain because we do not recognize when we’re actually full, causing overeating. However, when we eat mindfully, not only can we better experience the pleasure of the food we eat, we build more awareness around how much food we need to eat, as well as create opportunities to make healthier choices around food selection.

Thinking about trying it? Consider these 9 tips to start you off in exploring the concept of mindful eating, which are intended to help you slow down and pay attention to your meal:

1. Chew 25 times
2. Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand
3. Eat everything with chopsticks for a week
4. Put your fork down between each bite
5. Take your first bite with your eyes closed
6. Try to identify every ingredient in your meal
7. Put your food on a plate
8. Sit at a table
9. Eat in Silence

For a little more in-depth resource about mindful eating and how it can benefit your weight loss goals, check out this fun Infographic from the Summer Tomato blog, all about the benefits of eating mindfully.


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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Here’s How to tell if you’re an Emotional Eater



There’s no denying that food makes us feel good. There’s something about that tub of Häagen-Dazs after your first major breakup or devouring that entire bag of chips while you’re up late cramming for an exam that is immensely satisfying. When we eat large amounts of food — especially “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings as opposed to hunger, it’s called emotional eating. And while it may seem harmless, emotional eating is actually a form of disordered eating that can send your weight spiraling out of control before you know it.

The link between food and emotions has been well documented. Carbs can cause actual changes in your brain chemistry, boosting a chemical in the brain called serotonin. The higher the levels of serotonin, the more content you feel (at least temporarily). Overeating can also be related to chronic stress, which creates elevated levels of the hormone cortisol, tricking your body into thinking you’re going through a famine and increasing food cravings. And according to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, consumption of foods high in sugar and fat releases dopamine, the chemical that stimulates the brain’s pleasure center and makes us feel euphoric. That chocolate is actually working like a drug in your body, numbing feelings of stress or sadness, and giving you a temporary high… with a much less temporary muffin top!

If you are unsure about whether or not you are emotionally eating, look to these four tell-tale signs:
 
• You eat when you are not physically hungry.
• It is hard to find food that satisfies you.
• Cravings are triggered by an emotion such as anger, anxiety, or boredom, etc.
• Comfort eating has a mindless component to it. You may not enjoy or taste the food because you are eating it mechanically, as if in a trance.

While emotional eating can feel great at the height of a stressful situation, making it a habit can have a negative impact on your life, as well as sabotaging your weight loss goals. But like any other lifestyle change, emotional eating can be controlled through awareness and the consistent practice of new behaviors, with some helpful tips like these:

1. To deal with food cravings that result from negative emotions, check out our 5 Tips to Control Your Worst Food Cravings.
2. Use your non-dominant hand to eat. A 2011 study by researchers from the University of Southern California found that this practical strategy can reduce the amount that you eat. This action breaks up the automatic hand-to-mouth flow and encourages you to think about each bite.
3. Develop an awareness of your emotions and what feelings give you the urge to eat. Start a journal and write it down so you can start to figure out what your triggers are.
4. Replace food with a more positive coping mechanism. Once you’ve identified what feelings make you want to eat, replace the urge to eat with a different activity — it can be something fun, physical, or even creative. Make it something you enjoy doing that can serve as a pick-me-up on a tough day that doesn’t add calories.

Take control of your weight by taking control of your emotions. With a little bit of practice, you can put a stop to emotional eating… and you’ll be happy you did!


Sources: Dr. Oz, Shape, Everyday Health, CNN


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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5 Tips to Control Your Worst Food Cravings



It never fails. You’re two weeks into your new healthy eating diet, determined to lose some pounds and get ready for beach season. You did your meal planning. You stocked up three to five days’ worth of chicken breast, salad, and quinoa for lunch. Then hump day rolls around in your busy work week, and what rears its ugly head? CRAVINGS.

And you’re not craving that apple in your lunch bag. You’re craving a red velvet cupcake. With a pile of sweet cream cheese frosting, and (gasp!) chocolate sprinkles, this delicious, decadent, mouth-watering dessert will set you back 300-400 calories and cramp all your healthy eating progress this week. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

In a study published in the journal Appetite, 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men who participated reported experiencing cravings. Cravings are motivational states that give us the urge to seek out and consume a particular food, and generally that food is not broccoli.

Professor Susan Roberts, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts, has researched the kinds of foods that people crave most often. Not surprisingly, the most commonly craved foods tended to be salty snacks, sweets with high sugar and fat content, and all high in calories.

Though the exact cause of food cravings is difficult to pinpoint, many doctors and nutritionists alike believe that they develop as a result of a complex medley of biochemical processes and a variety of hormonal and emotional factors. Cravings can be strong and persuasive, and when we give in to them, they can leave us feeling like we failed at our diet, not to mention with a sugar crash.

So what can you do when the craving hits? Luckily, there are things we can do to control the urge to binge on our favorite forbidden snacks.
Follow these 5 tips to beat the cravings and get you back on track with your diet or weight loss program:


What other tricks have you found useful in beating your worst food cravings? Comment below, or share your tips with us on Facebook!


Source: Tufts University

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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