2 Key Mindful Eating Tips (To Help Prevent Weight Gain)

eatmindfullyIn a nutshell, mindful eating is maintaining an awareness of what and how much we eat, and taking the time to savor it relatively free of distractions. Rooted in Buddhist teaching, it’s eating based on a physical sign, such as feeling hungry, and not eating based on emotions. Mindless and emotional eating lead to weight gain and obesity, which can then cause a host of medical issues – some of which can be life-threatening, such as heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

In a study of 1,400 mindful eaters, researchers found them to weigh less, have a greater sense of well-being and have fewer eating disorders. It seems to work for these people, but will it work for you? It can if you can incorporate it into your lifestyle.

Mindful eating is based on two premises: eat slower and in silence.

Eat Slower

Taking time to chew food well is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. By savoring each bite, not only will it help with digestion, but in the end you’ll end up eating less and feeling better than you would if you wolfed down your food and suffered later because of it.

If you are introducing mindful eating to your family, you might have to forego the silence part – at least in the beginning. Instead, as a family discuss the texture and taste of a food, such as an avocado. It can also be a great time to talk about how the type of food and quantity affects weight and about the benefits of eating healthy. What you teach them now will pay dividends for them forever.

Find a deeper appreciation of your food. When eating a piece of whole wheat bread for example, think about the farmer that planted and harvested the wheat that went into the bread. How the grain was milled into flour and baked into bread; the trip the wheat made from the field to your table. Pondering these things gives you a deeper appreciation of the food you are eating.

Silence!

While this is a big part of mindful eating, it won’t work in its entirety for all families. However, you can implement part of it by making the dining room or kitchen table an electronics-free zone – no smartphones, no TV; just quality family time centered around a meal. For many families, it is the only time in a day where everyone can get together. If that impossible with your family, then take time out of your day to sit down by yourself and mindfully drink a cup of tea in silence.

Mindful eating is a part of a healthy lifestyle and because it is based on awareness, it makes a great weight management tool. Try it – you most likely won‘t go back to the grab-and-go lifestyle.

What Does A Balanced Diet Look Like?

When someone talks about a balanced diet, do you know what they mean? Is there only one diet that is balanced or can there be more? In other words, can your balanced diet differ from someone else’s balanced diet?  These are all questions that come to mind when talking about a diet that is “balanced”. We’ll answer these questions and more in the rest of this article.

Most health professionals agree that a healthy balanced diet be composed of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and lean meats, along with some low-fat dairy products. But in what proportions?

To break this down even further, let’s look at the ratios of the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and protein that should be in your diet.

Carbohydrates

The general guidelines say 50% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. But there are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex, and they are very different. Simple carbs are high in sugar, break down quickly and usually don’t have very much fiber. Complex carbs keep you full longer because of the fiber they contain, so they keep you satisfied better and don’t spike your blood sugar. Of the 50%, only 10% should be come from simple carbs with the rest being complex.

Fats

Approximately 30% of your diet should comprise of fats, but here again, not all fats are created equal; there are three types of fats: unsaturated, saturated and trans-fat. Most of your fats should come from both poly and mono-unsaturated; ten percent should come from saturated and you should avoid trans-fat altogether if you can.

Nutritional labels in the U.S. allow up to 0.5 gram of trans-fat without requiring it to be declared on the label. You can tell if a food has trans-fat in it or not by adding up the saturated and unsaturated fats on the label and comparing it to the total fat listed. If they are not the same, the difference is trans-fat.

Protein

Twenty percent of calories should come from proteins, but not all proteins are created equally either. There are both meat and vegetable protein. Meat protein is generally better for you as it contains all of the nine essential amino acids where vegetable protein doesn’t. Vegetarians and vegans that don’t eat meat usually have to supplement their vegetable protein with amino acid supplements or nuts to get complete protein.

Isn’t There An Easier Way?

Instead of trying to compute percentages, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) came out with new simplified daily balanced diet guidelines in 2011. They now say:

  • Half your plate should consists of fruits and vegetables in a variety of color.
  • Half of your grain products should come from whole grain having the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat”.
  • Add in protein such as lean beef, chicken, turkey or beans; twice a week choose seafood as your protein.
  • Consume one cup of low-fat dairy products, either as milk, cheese or yogurt.
  • Reduce the consumption of foods high in sugar and sodium.

With a sensible selection of foods in the correct portions, there isn’t any reason why eating can’t be both fun and healthy. Adjust your calorie consumption to meet or to maintain your weight goals.

Easy Ways to Resist Junk Food

JunkAre you a junk-food junkie? It is hard not to be one with a fast-food joint on every corner and TV advertisements for a super-size this or that every 15 minutes. But here are some ways you can use to kick your addiction to unhealthy (and expensive) fast food.

Avoid mindless eating

Do you realize how many calories you are ingesting when eating that bag of potato chips or bag of chocolates in front of the TV or at your desk at work? Most likely not. When eating, but focused on something else, it is easy to stuff yourself with junk food calories.

One way to avoid mindless eating is to not have junk food available in the first place. Instead have healthy snack bars, a small bag of nuts or some peanut butter and crackers to snack on. By planning ahead and having a healthy snack with you, you can avoid eating hundreds of calories in a day that you don’t need.

The second way is to focus on eating. In other words don’t be doing something else, to the point you don’t realize what you are eating. When eating becomes secondary to what you are doing, it is easy to lose track of what you are eating.

Fill up on fiber

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a good way to fill up instead of eating junk food. Because they contain a lot of fiber, they keep you full longer, but without adding tons of calories and unhealthy saturated fat.

Plan ahead of time when eating out

If you plan on eating out, plan what you are going to have before getting there. That way you won’t be tempted to just go with some unhealthy option loaded with extra calories and fat that you don’t need. Almost all of the fast food chains have their nutritional information posted on their website, making it easy to research options.

Avoid the temptation

One sure way to avoid eating junk food is to not have it around. Avoid buying candy, chips, cookies and other processed foods that may tempt you. Instead load up on fresh fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat, but high on satisfying fullness due to the fiber they contain.

Addiction to junk food is as powerful as any other type of addiction, but you can “kick the habit” with these 4 tips. Don’t be a slave to food; instead make it work for you and help attain your healthy lifestyle goals.

No-Exercise Fitness Tips – Sweet Tooth Control and “Park and Walk”

If you practice the 2 following exercise-free tips on a routine basis, you may have to start buying smaller clothes. Combined, they can lead to a healthier heart, fewer sugar calories ingested and 10 to 15 pounds of fat shredded from your body weight over the course of the year.

Park and Walk

Human beings are naturally lazy. That is why we park as close as possible to the entrance where we work.

Stop doing that!

If you are more than 20 pounds overweight or obese, start off slow. Park just 30 to 50 yards further away from the entrance to your job then you usually do. Over time, increase that distance.

Walking that extra distance twice a day can lead to huge internal and external health benefits as you crank up your metabolism and pump healthy, oxygenated blood throughout your body.

image022Got a Sweet Tooth?

Feed It with Fruit

Sugar makes you fat; refined, processed sugar. That is the short simple truth.

So the next time you get that mid-morning or late night sugar craving, feed it with fruit instead of sugar. Here are just a few healthy alternatives to sugar and deliver a natural sweetness …

– Cherries
– Grapes
– Pineapple
– Apples
– Strawberries
– Mango
– Certain Yogurts
– Watermelon
– Nut Butters
– Applesauce
– Frozen Yogurt

Sugar can harm you in so many ways. So trade dangerous and deadly sugar for healthy, natural sweetness and do your body a world of good.

No-Exercise Fitness Tips – Drink Ice Water and Throw Out Your Plates

Here are two super-simple tips for getting more fit and healthy without exercise!

Drink Ice Water

010You can survive approximately one month without any food at all. But after just 3 days of no water, your existence is over.

So you know you need to drink lots of water (half your body weight in ounces). When you make sure that water is ice cold as opposed to lukewarm, you burn more calories.

Drinking 8 ounces of ice water as opposed to room temperature water burns roughly 8 more calories. That means an extra 88 cal burned each and every day for women, 120 for men.

That means nearly 1 pound of fat burned each and every year simply by drinking ice water. 3 years, 3 pounds … 10 years, 10 pounds … you get the idea.

Throw Out Your Plates, Glasses and Bowls

Here is one product that can help you with portion control – Healthy Portion Control Plates. This is one is pretty awesome too – PortionMate – Meal Portion Control Rings and Nutrition Tool.

Psychologically, a smaller plate tends to make you feel full quicker when you eat everything that is on it. Your eyes register that you have cleaned your plate, your mind gets a signal that you should be full, and you eat less.

The same is true with bowls, glasses and cups.

Think about it. Do you really need that huge 55 gallon coffee cup every morning loaded with sugar? Of course not.

Studies have shown that portion control leads to fewer health problems, and eating as much as 200 to 300 fewer calories each day. This could mean 10 to 16 pounds of additional fat-burning weight loss each year.