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Meditation and Nutrition

Meditation could have a positive impact on stress, anxiety, mindless eating, reckless food choices, weight loss, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The ancient practice of meditation involves residing in a deep state of concentration uninterrupted by thoughts. Research shows meditation has the ability to clear, calm, and focus the mind with benefits such as moderating stress response, lowering glucose levels, decreasing blood pressure, and other issues associated with cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to increase mindfulness for weight management and eating disorders. 

The role of a dietitian includes exploring a patient’s lifestyle as it relates to their relationship with food. What you eat can strongly be influenced by emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise). It’s no surprise that food and emotion are interconnected. 

Starting off, meditation sounds challenging and downright impossible. 

Psychology Today recommends starting small with 3-5 minutes (or less). Beginners may find it strange to sit in silence with their innermost thoughts and feelings, and do nothing. Meditation does require some practice. Your mind will wander, try to maintain focus by slowing down and focusing in 60 seconds intervals. Try to focus on your breaths out or a single image. Meditation can take many forms such as mindfulness, visualization, walking meditation, or focused awareness. 

Reading, attending classes, listening to podcasts and apps can provide lots of information and guidance on mediation. Our patients have found apps like Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer to be helpful. Some informative podcasts about meditation include The Overwhelmed Brain, Meditation Minis, The Daily Mediation Podcast, and Meditation Oasis.

The value of meditation is not dependent on how much you do or how committed you are. The value of meditation is measured by how you are able to positivity impact your quality of life.

CB

What are You Thinking?

Does your thinking align with your goals and aspirations? Does your thinking support the positive direction of change which you desire? Do you realize your thinking tends to continually bring to mind the negative experiences of past efforts to lose weight, better manage your blood sugar, recover from your eating disorder, or improve your athletic performance because you are not eating to fuel your body properly? Do any of the following thoughts sound familiar to you?

“I can never lose weight.”

“Regardless of what I do my blood sugar is still all over the board.”

“I am so tired from my chemo/radiation, I will never be able to eat to get my strength back.”

“Trying to follow a gluten free diet is exasperating, I can’t do it.”

“I hate to exercise; I was never athletic even when I was younger.”

If some rendition of the above comments is frequently circulating in your head and you are really frustrated because you are not achieving your health and fitness goals, please do not be surprised. Negative thoughts/self-talk will never translate into positive action or positive change.

Check your thoughts more frequently than you check calories, grams of carbohydrates or fats, your blood glucose meter or nutrition labels. Your thoughts precede every decision you make. What are you thinking?

 

Some ways to turn around that negative self-talk:

  1. Change your (inner) tone of voice – Be attentive to the way you talk to yourself and change judgmental and harsh tones into empathetic and gentle ones.
  2. Write down your thoughts – When you hear the negative voice in your head, write it down to get a clear understanding of what you are saying to yourself and how you’re feeling.
  3. Smile more – Faking it until you make it can really pay off. Smiling can help change your mood about the day or a certain situation. Take a minute to think about a couple things you are grateful for to help you feel like smiling.

CB

Intuitive Eating

Are you tired of dieting and being confused by all the latest diet trends? Do you feel like you don’t know how to get on track and establish a consistent eating pattern? Are you unsure of how food connects with your mental and physical health? If you answered yes to any this, the concept and practice of intuitive eating will be great to apply to your lifestyle.

Intuitive eating in a nutshell is a mindset or philosophy that honors internal body cues that we are innately born with such as eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are satisfied, and it rejects the diet mentality that is heavily marketed. There is more that is involved in becoming an intuitive eater but here are the 10 principles that were first developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their book titled intuitive eating.

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality – Avoid fad diets and all the rules surrounded about eating
  2. Honor your Hunger – Listen to the cues your body gives you to tell you to fuel up. Keep yourself fed.
  3. Make Peace with Food – Give yourself permission to eat and enjoy all foods. Restriction leads to overeating which creates a poor relationship with food
  4. Challenge the Food Police – Stop the thoughts in your head that make you believe your “good” for eating low calories or “bad” for having some ice cream.
  5. Respect your Fullness – Listen for the signals your body gives you to tell you that you are no longer hungry. A hunger scale can be great to use for this.
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor- Enjoy the food and meal experiences you encounter. Remember that food is to be both nourishing and satisfying.
  7. Honor Your Feelings without using Food – Find ways to cope with emotions you may struggle with. Practice guided mediation, talk with a friend, or dive into a great book.
  8. Respect your Body – Accept your genetic blueprint and be proud of the skin you’re in! Your worth is not determined by your size.
  9. Exercise, Feel the Difference – Get active in an activity you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be at the gym to be considered exercise. Go on a walk or get some yard work done. It all counts. Shift your focus from solely burning calories to how energized you may feel. It’s a great stress reliever too!
  10. Honor your Health – Avoiding diets doesn’t equate to not being aware of or caring about what you eat. Choose nutrient dense foods the majority of the time also knowing that’s its totally fine to have some indulgences

Remember that intuitive eating doesn’t happen overnight and it takes consistent practice and time. You can work with any of the dietitians at BN to help apply these principles into your way of life long-term.

UC

Fitness & Mental Health for Mom

As moms we have many different hats that we wear. We play the role of chefs, nurses, cleaners, counselors and SO much more. Whether we stay at home or work outside of the home, we are all working moms. It’s a job that we have 24/7 and by far the most amazing job there is. Being a mother combined with everything else that we do can be stressful. As a mother of three small children, that also works, I can say this from experience… It can be challenging at times to consistently make time for myself and be mindful of how I can effectively manage stress in a positive and beneficial way.

Something I strive to do is focus on both mental and physical health. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. When we exercise endorphins are released. Endorphins are hormones that the body releases in response to stress such as physical pain or intense exercise. After these chemicals are released, they cause feelings of well being and euphoria. Finishing a workout gives a sense of accomplishment and boosts energy.

When paired with eating a balanced diet, there aren’t many activities that make you feel that good. The recommended amount of exercise each week is either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Exercise can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Here are some tips to make this a regular practice for yourself.

 

  1. Do something you enjoy: This looks different for everyone. If you find it challenging to figure out how to incorporate it into your schedule, think outside the box.
  2. Workout ideas for your moms:
    1. Take your kids out on a walk or jog around the neighborhood while pushing the stroller.
    2. For those of you that have kids that are a little older, make it a fun family challenge and workout together at home. Physical activity doesn’t require you to go to the gym or a fitness class, you can do workouts at home too.
    3. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, try to exercise early before the kids wake up or during nap times.
    4. If you don’t work from home, take advantage of lunch breaks or any time that you have before or after work.
    5. Your workouts can be spread out in multiple mini sessions throughout the day instead of one longer session. It’s perfectly fine and still counts if you do two 15 minute sessions a day or three 10 minute ones. It all adds up and will make a difference.

 

SAMPLE AT HOME WORKOUT: INTERVAL TRAINING:  A workout I like to do at home, when I can’t make it to the studio to train, is interval based training. This is accomplished by establishing a set amount of time to perform the exercise(s) followed by a set period of time to rest and repeating the sequence. I like to choose at least 1-2 upper and lower body exercises, 1-2 core exercises and at least one cardio intensive exercise and end it with some stretching. This method helps keeps my intensity higher and lets me accomplish more in less time.  For example, do 4 rounds of squats, push-ups, lunges, bicep curls, jumping jacks, and a plank hold. The work : rest ratio for this would be 30 seconds on : 60 seconds off. 

 

Whether it be Zumba, Yoga, weight training or a great walk with the kids, just keep moving. In order for us to continue all that we do and have peace of mind, we HAVE to take care of ourselves and make it a priority. Your kids will be so motivated and inspired by this.  So the next time you feel anxious and stressed, remember that you are only one workout away from a good mood!

UC