Eating Like Children

Babies are the perfect eaters. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Small children are perfect eaters too unless adults unknowingly alter their relationship with food by using it for bribes, threats or treats.  Eating like children could be our solution to overeating and the way to enjoy food more.

Parents often complain that their children are fussy, don’t want to eat at mealtime or don’t eat enough. If parents offered them nutritious food throughout the day, they would eat enough and choose adequate variety of vitamins and minerals.

In our zeal to be good parents, we worry about them not getting adequate nourishment. That would only be a concern if we also offer them processed snack foods regularly. The allure of the sugar, fat and salt is tough to refuse.

But if children are freely given small portions of varied whole foods, they will pick and choose their favorites (what we should do), eat with enjoyment (yes, us too) stop as soon as their bellies are full (perfect weight management) and not differentiate between a juicy orange or an ice cream cone (imagine us doing that).

Remember, they are not born knowing that veggies and fruits are “good” food and sweets are not. We place that value on them and teach them our biases. So emulate small children eating… whether slurping an ice cream cone on a hot day or delighting in a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

Pretty little girls eating ice cream in the summer

© iuliia29photo – Fotolia.com

Friendship and Health

Social contact and friendship are good for your health, physically, mentally and emotionally. Those who have strong social ties tend to be the happiest people.

We all want to share our joy, excitement, pain and sorrow with a supportive friend. There may be some loners who prefer being without friends, but they are a true minority. A report from the University of Chicago illuminated some startling facts about loneliness:

  1.  Associated with progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
  2.  Obesity
  3.  Elevated blood pressure
  4.  Diminished immunity
  5.  Increased vascular resistance
  6.  Depression
  7.  Poor quality of sleep

Who is your best friend? Some people find themselves with virtually no real friends, only acquaintances through work, their children’s school or church. Life gets in the way and friendship takes time and effort to nurture. Children, work and family take up the bulk of our energy and time unless we consciously weave friendship into our priorities.

Once you’ve made the decision to have more friends, make it a priority. Let go of the preconceived idea about who your friend should be; maybe they will be older or younger than you or richer or poorer. Invite someone to coffee or lunch and take the time to get to know the person before making a judgment. If you want to be healthy, hang out where the fit and healthy people do and if you want to tap into your creative side, take an art class.

If you are an introvert like me, you can still make friendship a priority, but make it on your schedule. Typically, introverts enjoy friends, but don’t like to be overwhelmed with large crowds. Know what your boundaries are and stick to them.

Smile, make eye contact and say hello. People will know if that you are genuine. And have fun!Two female friends meeting for a coffee

© Kaspars Grinvalds – Fotolia.com

Your Work Relaxation Guide

Day in and day out, you deal with the same type of issues, crabby customers, demanding supervisors and that’s just at work. Before you even stepped through the door of work, you were tackling whining kids, chasing barking dogs, battling heavy traffic and trying to fit in breakfast.

All of these stressful scenarios can affect your health, manifesting in physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, digestive problems, irritability, insomnia, eventually leading to high blood pressure, heart disease and even worse.

Since always having totally stress-free, uneventful days isn’t reality, prepare yourself with a relaxation guide to get your body and mind primed and ready for any crisis.

  1. Begin your day SLOWLY. If you start off by rushing, it will snowball by noon. Give yourself plenty of time, even if that means getting up earlier than everyone else. Sit on the edge of the bed, stretch, smile and take 3 deep breaths before getting up.
  2. Although that cup of java may get you going in the morning, limit your caffeine intake, including teas, soda and chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant and can add to the anxious, stressed feeling. Opt for plenty of fresh, clear water throughout the day because even slight dehydration leads to fatigue and lack of energy.
  3. No matter how crazy your day gets, find a quiet place to be alone for 10-15 minutes. Lock yourself in the bathroom if you really are can’t find a space, but I’m betting you can be creative. During your “down time” deep breathe, listen to calming music, squeeze a stress ball, meditate, listen to a guided imagery CD or MP3. The goal is to recharge for the rest of the afternoon.
  4. On your lunch break or afternoon break, take a brisk walk. Even 10 minutes is beneficial. If you have the opportunity to walk outside, you will reap the benefits of being in nature, in addition to the exercise. If not, walk in the hallways, up and down stairs or to another building. Just walk!
  5. Modify your work environment to generate positive feelings. Add a family photo, plant, inspirational phrase and if allowed, listen to music.
  6. De-clutter your work space and de-clutter the most used areas in your home. Clutter is an energy drainer and a constant visual reminder of undone tasks.
  7. Fuel your body with natural, real food. Eating lots of processed, junk food and sweets affects how well you body functions. Junk in, junk out!
  8. Make sleep a priority. Never mind watching TV , “hanging out” on Facebook or answering those last few email. They are not as important as getting another half hour of dreamtime. Sleep deprivation adds to weight gain and poor stress management.
  9. Incorporate some self-soothing techniques as part of your daily ritual. Drink a cup of hot tea, do arm stretches and neck rolls or learn mini-self massage, especially facial massage where we tend to build up tension: make a series of tiny circles with your thumbs or fingertips over your temples, jaw muscles and forehead.
  10. Lastly, take the time to LAUGH. Whether you take a few minutes to watch funny animal videos on YouTube, funny movies, cartoons, sitcoms or read funny books, laughter and big smiles changes our brains’ chemistry.

You now have the essential steps to relaxation… your personal guide. If you practice them, you will reap the benefits and even begin to enjoy work in a more calm, relaxed state. Breathe deeply, slow down and enjoy.

© Ivonne Wierink – Fotolia.comWoman awakening

But We Have to Eat!

Over the years, I’ve had so many clients comment that it would be so much easier to manage their overeating, emotional eating or binge eating if they didn’t have to eat every day. Alcoholics can abstain from alcohol and drug addicts can abstain from drugs. But we have to eat, so abstaining is not a solution.

If you are visually cued to eat (you only have to see a luscious piece of chocolate cream pie to really want it), then you can be “attacked” by food many times a day. You may also be sensitive to just hearing the description of the pie.

Your biggest challenge is most likely being around the actual food. What do you do when many of your favorite foods are in front of you and you want to pile your plate high… several times?

If that is what you think and worry about, you are not alone. Most people who struggle with food have learned that you can’t eat certain foods or you must limit or restrict. This kind of thinking or diet mentality actually makes cravings worse and weight gain increase.

Mindful Eating teaches you to have a different relationship with food… a positive and enjoyable one because you can eat foods that are both pleasing and nourishing to you. If you like lasagna, it’s not off-limits, even if you want to lose weight.

I bet you are going to see more and more of the medical community embrace Mindful Eating since obesity is such an alarming medical challenge and no diets have ever proven to be successful long-term.

Mindful Eating is NOT a diet. It is a new way to think about eating and food. It is a behavior change and lifestyle change and anyone who has truly embraced it has been shocked by the result. Curious?man rejecting junk food

© Creativa – Fotolia.com