When I first started Mindful Eating and listening to my body rather than somebody’s diet or rules, I thought I knew exactly what hunger felt like. We learned that paying attention to when our body is hungry, the real physical hunger, is the important inner cue our body gives us when it needs fuel.
Sometimes we can confuse emotional hunger with physical hunger. I’ve talked about that in previous posts. But even more confusing is when we think we are hungry and we are actually thirsty. Before you laugh and think that’s never happened to you, by the time you actually feel thirst, you are most likely close to dehydration. Our body is made of about 60% water, so it is common to misconstrue hunger for the body’s need for water.
I learned to drink a large glass of water or herbal tea (iced or hot) if I had recently eaten. So often the “hunger” sensation went away for a couple of hours, clearly indicating my body just needed the fluid. If you drink the water and you’re still feeling the hunger, eat. You did not get a mixed signal.
As we begin to pay close attention to our body’s cues, not the clock, or the food in front of us, or other external stimuli, we are using the inner wisdom of our body to give it what it needs and when. Do you eat only when hungry strikes? And could it have been thirst?
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When the USDA changed the Food Pyramid to the MyPlate, their recommendation was to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It sounded like a great idea but even those who love fruits and veggies were falling short. And if you aren’t a fruit and veggie lover, how can you possibly get the recommended amount daily?
The following suggestions are some of the ways I recommend to my clients how to add in the colorful fruits and veggies:
- add berries or banana to your morning whole grain cereal
- add broccoli and onions or peppers and tomatoes to your eggs to make a yummy frittata
- make a broth-based soup using lots of veggies
- have salad either as lunch with a protein or as a side and add carrots, fresh green beans, beets, mushrooms, artichokes, roasted red peppers, avocados and olives, besides the typical greens, cucumbers and tomatoes
- make 2 veggies for dinner, each a different color, adding lots of vitamins and antioxidants
- if you always get hungry in the evening, pre-plan either cut-up fruit or sliced veggies to snack on
- don’t put you fruits and veggies in the crisper drawers in the fridge. You may forget they are there and end up throwing them away. Prepare all fruits and veggies in advance and put in glass or see-through containers on the top or second shelf of your fridge where you’ll see them every time you open the door.
- add sliced fruit to your water and eat it when you finish the water
- add fruit to your protein shake and blend
- make a smoothie and add fruit and veggies
These 10 tips are just a few ways to increase your intake of fruits and veggies. There are many other ways to incorporate them into your daily menu. What ways do you use to add them?
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Next week is going to be my birthday. I’ll be turning 58 on Thursday which is a big deal. Not because of the actual age, but because of the roller coaster year I’ve had medically. If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with a rare disease. It turns out that is genetically linked to my connective tissue disease which is also genetic. Talk about a gene pool! And… I passed all those lovely genes on to both my daughter and son!
Anyway, as I am about to turn 58, I have been reflecting over this past year. I lost my right kidney, experienced dozens of anaphylactic episodes, spent way too many days in ICU and so many ER visits that the staff at Albany Med ER began to recognize me as the EMS crew rolled me in on the stretcher. I had a port-a-cath surgically implanted in my left chest for home IV infusions and spent a good deal of time in Boston where most of my specialists are located.
Through all of this craziness, I was able to maintain a very positive attitude, continue my daily meditation practice, feed my body whole foods that made me feel more energetic, spend time with family and friends, use all of my self-soothing techniques that I teach my clients and feel blessed and grateful.
The biggest blessing of the entire year was that even during the worst times, I was able to maintain my health coaching practice. I wrote an 8-week online e-course that is soon to be released from my hospital bed. I continued my blog, my article writing and even seeing clients! I often would call from the ER to cancel their sessions, to reschedule as soon as I was discharged. I have the most amazing and understanding clients!!
I absolutely believe that my Mindful Eating, meditation, self-soothing techniques, family and friend support and my positive attitude are all what has kept me going. Please share with me what you do for you.
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I know a lot of people, especially women, crave sweets. Chocolate chip cookies, ice cream and chocolate candy. I, on the other hand, am a salt craver. Give me the crunchy, salty chips and I’m a happy woman. When I do my health assessment during the first session, one of the questions is whether the client craves sugar or salt or both. Since I customize my programs based on each client’s challenges, I need to know their most difficult triggers.
One of the ways I manage trigger foods is to use a specific serving size bowl or plate. For instance, I use the bowl below for my chips. I don’t eat out of the bag because it’s too easy to “forget” how many you’ve eaten until the bag is empty. It’s tougher to pay attention to your hunger and fullness when consuming your trigger food available in large quantities.
So, grab a small bowl, put your chips in that bowl, close up the bag and put it in the cabinet or pantry. Then ever so slowly, savor each chip, reveling in the crunch, salt and yummy taste. Or if you’re a sweet person, grab a small plate, place your cookies on the plate and slowly savor each bite. The enjoyment of your snack is greater when savored, as opposed to devoured. Plate vs. hand in the cookie package. Are you a salt or sugar craver?