I apologize for having disappeared during the past six weeks. Frankly we were short on staff and not able to keep pace with the weekly blogs. We’re back up to full staff and we plan to be back to our regular blogging schedule. Here is some food for thought for our first week back:
Mindfulness, a concept originating from Buddhism and other eastern spiritual traditions, has gained a great deal of attention in recent scientific research. Mindful eating involves deliberately tuning in to your own inner experiences; including thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. With this focus, you begin to be more aware of the sensory aspects of eating, such as the taste & texture of food, when you feel hungry and full, and whether you are actually hungry or just bored, anxious, sad or angry.
Below are some mindful principles that can help you manage your weight when you quit smoking.
- Control portions. people eat much more food when given unlimited quantities. Try to purchase food in smaller packages and use smaller serving dishes.
- Eat when you’re hungry. Let actual hunger cues, not emotions, guide you’re eating. Substitute a quick walk for a snack until actual hunger sets in. Do you eat while multitasking, such as watching TV, texting, driving, or working? Do you gulp the food down quickly without really tasting it? Begin to notice your automatic patterns & habits around eating that stop you from being fully present.
- Plan. Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time to eat throughout the day. A 200-calorie, whole grain, high-fiber snack can satisfy hunger between meals.
- Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat and what was happening at the time to identify food triggers – hunger, stress, excitement or boredom.
- Slow down. During each meal, chew slowly, savoring each bite; put your fork down between bites. This gives the body enough time to signal to the brain that it’s satisfied, not stuffed.
- Pay attention. Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer, while standing at the kitchen counter or talking on the phone. This can lead to losing track of how much you’ve eaten.
- Use technology. There are now apps that manage food records, count calories, help you track what you eat and even provide guidance on healthy food choices at the grocery store and restaurants.
The process of quitting smoking and lifestyle change can be long and sometimes difficult. Begin by trying to accept and love yourself right now, as you exist in this moment. Give yourself credit for all that you are doing! Make a list of your reasons for wanting to be healthier and carry it with you. Focus on the realistic benefits you can achieve when you quit smoking such as improved health, mood, and energy. Imagine yourself in the future living a more vibrant, energetic life without smoking.