Posts tagged ‘mindfulness’

Have a Renegade Thanksgiving

As we near Thanksgiving in a few days, I am afraid that in the nutrition media-related world we are completely lost on the meaning of Thanksgiving.  This time of year produces a glut of articles on how NOT to over-eat, how to resist Aunt Flo’s sweet potato pie, and how to be “good” during your thanksgiving meal. Over and over again, and quite honestly, I’m sick of it.

 I’m here as your Nutrition Renegade (my husband is the Corporate Renegade) to say: “STOP THE INSANITY” and to NOT listen to that crap.

 In my opinion, if there ever was a time to go crazy and eat, eat, eat, it’s Thanksgiving. Seriously, how can anyone NOT enjoy sweet potato pie, or your mom’s green beans that you’ve been waiting all year to have. I think it’s doing you a disservice. We need to  (especially if you’re a chronic dieter or super-conscious eater) drop the airs and just EAT, and ENJOY, and feel satisfied.

 Am I telling you to stuff yourself just for the sake of it? No, of course not. Eat until you feel full. And then perhaps eat a little more. I’m here to tell you that Thanksgiving is a day of thanks. To give thanks for the wonderfulness in your life, and for the food that nourishes you.  Remember that when someone cooks something for you, they put their heart, soul, and an infusion of their love in that dish. So by eating, and truly ENJOYING (without worrying about calories or the guilt you may have for eating that second slice of pecan pie), you are saying THANK YOU.

I have spent so many Thanksgivings (and holidays) by putting myself on a diet basically the week before in an effort to curtail my eating during these food-laden weeks. I honestly was on a DETOX diet a few years ago and had steamed vegetables for my Thanksgiving meal. That promptly led to me binging at the dessert table. Not so smart, huh. I would OVEREAT in an act of rebellion against my diet. And the whole while, I wouldn’t let myself enjoy the foods that I was eating, and basically bitch-slapped myself for not being more restrained.

 So this Thanksgiving, through out the “shouldas, wouldas, mustas, and need to’s” enjoy every morsel of food that you put in your mouth. That’s all I ask.  Relish in being with your family, perhaps being back in your childhood home, and the food that is prepared as a gift to you. If you overeat, so what? It’s just one day, and you’ll get right back on track. 

 Remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving…it’s not about how many calories are in pecan pie. It’s about giving thanks and gratitude for all that you have in your life.

 This year will be the FIRST year that I truly give myself permission to eat anything, and everything I want at the table. Luckily, stretch pants are VERY in en vogue!

November 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm 2 comments

Yoga and Weight Loss

fkikr::Eric Lon

flikr::Eric Lon

Great news for all the yoginis out there! The Journal of the American Dietetic Association recently published a study which found that yoga is linked with more eating awareness, leading to less weight gain.  Practicing yoga leads to healthier eating habits because mindfulness is such a major component of yoga.

The study collected data from people who practiced yoga more than one hour per week, people who walked for at least 90 minutes per week, and people who got more than 90 minutes of moderate to strenuous activity per week.

The findings:  People who ate mindfully (meaning, those who were conscious of their reasons for eating and who stopped eating when full) had a lower body mass than people who ate mindlessly in response to sadness, stress, or when they were not hungry.

The yoga practitioners scored highest on a Mindful Eating Questionnaire.  Engaging in the other activities (walking, strenuous activity) was not associated with mindful eating.  Som in sum, yoga can = mindful eating = weight loss!

This is definitely motivation to pick up my yoga practice again! I used to go 3-4x/week and now I’m lucky if I make it to one class.  The focus on the breath and mindfulness that is associated with yoga is my favorite part and it carries over into the rest of my day. If you spend your time in the gym on the treadmill or cardio classes, try a yoga class. It’s a wonderful complement to your existing routine (runners swear by it for their tight leg muscles)

But remember, while yoga is wonderful for your body, mind, and spirit, don’t neglect other forms of exercise, such as cardio and strength training. A combination of all 3 is ideal!

September 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Practicing Mindfulness with Scrambled Eggs

Once again, I had a different post prepared for today but of course life always seems to get in the way of our plans.  I promise you’ll learn all about energy drinks tomorrow!

 I felt compelled to write about what happened to me last night– a pretty big moment for me.

I got home from class and back to Brooklyn on the later side, around 8:30pm. I went to my favorite vegetarian café  to pick up some vegetables for a late dinner, but unfortunately due to the late hour they were all gone (and probably for the better because who knew how long those veggies were sitting out in the open). Pissed, hungry, and grumpy (Matt and I call the combination of grumpy + hungry = grungry), I trudged home and started rooting around for something to make for dinner.

If you recall, in an earlier post I mentioned that I have a rule that I don’t east past 8pm, or 3 hours before bed. (I just feel so much better in the morning when I have an empty stomach—breakfast tastes so much yummier!) But, it was 8:45pm, I was hungry, and I decided I wanted to eat anyway.  I figured the easiest and quickest meal to make was scrambled eggs with some purslane from my CSA, so I went ahead and made it.

 Upon sitting down to the dining table, I paused for a moment, looked at my plate of food and literally asked myself out loud: “Amanda, do you really want this?” 

 “Yes, of course I want it,” I answered.  “I’m hungry, I’ve had a long  day, it’s not that much food, and it’s only protein. I think I’ll be OK in the morning”

 “But remember your guidelines you created,” my inner-self answered. “Do you really NEED to eat this food” (Mind you, I’m still talking aloud)

 So I looked down at my food, and I mean, really looked at it. Noticed the texture of the eggs, the smell, the yellow of the yolks and the green of the purslane. Did I really want this food in my body?

And as if by magic, I suddenly got up from the table, walked to the garbage, and threw it out. The entire meal I made, into the garbage.  I went to the coffee maker and made myself some teeccino with rice milk instead.  I stopped for a moment, thought about what I did, and a big smile came across my face.

What did I do? I stopped. I paused. I slowed down. I actually listened to what my body wanted instead of running on automatic pilot like I usually do.  I took the time to think about how I would feel in 2 hours when I went to bed and how my body would be digesting the food as I slept.  And I considered the state of my being 8 hours from then, when I woke up to eat breakfast and would feel bloated from the meal.

In the past, I probably would have gotten home, quickly eaten the meal, and most likely topped it off with something sweet, like chocolate.  Again, auto-pilot.  But this time was different. I practiced mindfulness and honored my body and my commitment to feeling my best.

So what can this tale do for you? 

Remind you to listen to your body. Talk to yourself (it’s OK to sound like a crazy person!), ask if you really want what you are going to put in your mouth.  Are you eating it for the right reasons? Are you honoring the commitments you made to yourself?  And is that the exact food that is going to nourish you at that moment? I actually realized I had wanted something warm because I had eaten cooling salads and vegetables all day, and my body just craved warmth, despite the heat.  I didn’t need the food to satisfy me.  The warm drink was all I needed.

Be mindful of what you are doing when you are doing it.  It’s a lot of work but the benefits you reap are well worth it.  My body is really thanking me this morning, and I know yours will too. 

Where in your life do you need to slow down and be more mindful?

July 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm 2 comments

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