Read further to learn how you can play an integral role in the development of my new program: Mindful Body.
You’ve tried all the diets: low carb, low fat, juicing, raw, vegetarian, paleo, whatever. You ate what the diet dictated, whether you liked it or not. You ached as you passed up your favorite desserts.
You’ve been to the gym, even paid for a one year membership to make absolutely sure you would go. You even worked with a personal trainer to motivate you for a while.
You’ve done these things with a friend or two for accountability. You were all psyched up and super motivated for the first week or two as you pushed each other to keep going.
After two or three weeks (or sooner), the whole new routine seemed a bit too much to maintain. Even though you might have lost a little weight, the process seemed too hard – too much to keep up for that little bit of weight loss.
So you quit and went back to your old ways and decided that nothing works. You accepted that you’ll never maintain that ideal weight of yours.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
What if you could get healthy and feel good about it for the rest of your life?
Sounds too good to be true? It’s simple and as easy as you allow it to be.
The next time you reach for something to eat or drink, pause and take three deep, relaxing breaths before putting anything in your mouth.
Take a moment to consider whether you’re hungry, thirsty or feeding some other need.
We need more water than we think
Most people spend their lives dehydrated and never know it. If you feel thirsty, you’re already extremely dehydrated. Do you have mild digestive issues or constipation? Try upping your water intake for a month and see what happens.
How much water should you drink? A good guideline is to take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. The result is the minimum ounces of water you should be drinking every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water each day (2.4 quarts or 2.2 liters). Drink more if you have strenuous workouts, live in a dry climate or in high altitudes or are pregnant.
If this sounds like a lot of water to you, you’re probably in that dehydrated group.
Many times we read our body’s signals as hunger when it’s actually thirst. The next time you feel a little hungry, drink at least 12 oz. of water first. Wait a few minutes and notice if you still feel hungry or if you want more water.
We need less food than we think
If you’re feeling truly hungry, then eat. But take the time to notice how much is enough before always eating the same quantities you’re accustomed to.
If you always eat a whole sandwich for lunch, try eating only half. Put away the other half before you start eating so you won’t be tempted to mindlessly finish whatever is in front of you. Eat the first half and wait an hour before considering whether you want the other half.
Maybe eat the other half as your late afternoon snack instead of the candy you usually have to keep yourself going. This way you won’t experience the sugar high and energy crash that comes with the candy. You’ll have a more sustained energy level.
The next time you go to a restaurant, order an appetizer for your main meal. If you like an entrée better, have them put half of it in a to-go box and serve the other half. After I started doing this, I was quite surprised by how little food filled me up.
We feed our emotions more than our stomachs
Now that we’ve treated our thirst and understand that we can feel full with less food, let’s look at why we eat what we eat.
You feel kind of hungry so you drink a big glass of water. That felt great but you’re still hungry. What do you reach for and why?
Do you reach for a piece of fried chicken because you need some emotional comforting? Or the flavorless baked chicken because you think that’s what you “should” eat? Or the baked chicken bathed in a delicious sauce because you simply love that dish?
None of these answers are good or bad. Being mindful is not about judging. It’s about simply noticing.
If you need emotional comforting, how else can you take care of that need? Food will never resolve it. This is the “simple but not easy” part. Whether it’s stress, relationship issues, general depression, neediness, not feeling like enough or whatever, we need to break the association between our emotional needs and food.
If you weigh more than you would like because you’re frequently eating or drinking to temporarily placate an emotion or feeling, it’s time to face your fears and address that need productively.
Get to the root of the problem and dig it up. Talk to friends. Join a group. See a therapist. Do whatever it takes because you’re worth it.
Because if you don’t do something about it now, the issue will seep into other areas of your life (if it hasn’t already) and create more unwanted symptoms. We want a healthy, happy you from the inside out.
Do you feel like you have to go to the gym or get on a treadmill to say that you’ve exercised? If so, you’ll be surprised to know that you probably exercise much more than you think. Exercise is anything that gets your body moving.
On a whim I picked up a couple books on yoga about eleven years ago. I started small with no expectations. I was simply giving it a shot to see what it’s all about. I was hooked. Whenever my body or mind isn’t quite right, I practice my yoga. Yes, it’s my yoga. It’s a part of me.
Some people feel this way about running. My body hates running. There are many bodies that can’t get into the groove of yoga.
Walking, gardening, cleaning, playing sports, rowing, hoola hooping (it’s bigger than you think), playing with your kids or grandkids, swimming, biking, whatever.
Every body is different, unique and beautiful.
Find something you love, something you can’t wait to do every day, something you crave. If you go a day without it, your day wasn’t complete. Find that thing for you and do it every day.
Can You Do This?
Can you take a moment to think about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it?
Can you get up and move for five or ten minutes throughout your day?
Can you have fun and feel good doing all this in your own unique ways?
Welcome to the mindful way of getting and staying healthy. Our bodies and minds change all the time. Mindfulness allows us to tune into and adapt to those changes and their related needs in ways that feel good for us in the short and long term.
Now It’s Your Turn
I’m creating the Mindful Body program for you so I need your input. Where do you struggle the most with your body? Weight, exercise, sleep, aches & pains… What about those things do you struggle with the most? The more you tell me in the comments below, the more I can help you. I want this program to be incredibly valuable for you. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
Learn how I manage three little kids, a husband, job, writing and taking care of myself - all with mindfulness. Check out my latest guest appearance: a podcast interview at Manifested Happiness: How To Be Mindful When You're Too Busy
The Mindful Body program includes many ideas that you can use every day to avoid gaining extra weight while keeping your energy and spirits high. It’s also a great gift to share with the special people in your life.