Category Archives: Healthy Living

Is Mindless Eating Destroying Your Health?

Mindless Eating vs. Mindful Eating

Do you know the difference?

Which do you think best describes your eating habits?

Mindfulness is a familiar word and has become a way of life for many.

The most renowned voice on the subject, Jon Kabat Zinn, describes it as:  “Mindfulness is an awareness that arises through paying attention…in the service of self-understanding and wisdom, ” 

Time Magazine even published a special edition dedicated to the topic: Time Magazine 2017 Special Edition:: MINDFULNESS the New Science of Health and Happiness.

And yet, applying the principle of mindfulness to eating has not yet taken hold. Far too many continue to be “mindless eaters.”

Which Are You?

Below is a checklist to help you answer that question.

It will only take a minute to go through each list and identify which one describes your eating habits.

Mindless Eating or Mindful Eating

Let’s go a little deeper!

Mindless eating occurs when you eat quickly, completely unaware of what you are eating (nor do you care). You shovel it in without thinking about the food, how much you are eating, how it tastes (good or bad), or if it is satisfying your hunger. Maybe eating is nothing more than a necessity for you.

It is often driven by stress or feelings like anger, sadness, loneliness, relationship issues, boredom, frustration, etc. If you find yourself frequently thinking about food or standing in front of the fridge when you are not hungry, you are probably a mindless eater.

To sum it up – you eat without an awareness of when, where, how much, or what you are eating – and it is dangerous for your health.

Even though it is easy to use food as an escape – to unwind and unravel when life throws you curves – it is a dangerous habit that affects your physical and emotional health and can eventually take your life if you are unwilling to change.

You are not the only one facing this challenge.

Mindless eating is common in the U.S. because of the fast-paced, high-stress world we live in.  It is easy to go on autopilot living – including eating.

Research shows that you make over 200 food-related choices daily but are unaware of all but 10% to 15% of those choices. Food has become a necessity with little thought given to the flavors, textures, how much you are eating, or even why you are eating.

Research shows that you may have lost the ability to notice and follow signals of hunger and satiety, which causes you to continuously overeat and never feel satisfied.

Mindless Eating - What do you want?

The Dangers

Mindless eating in the U.S. is driven by an overabundance of food, jumbo-sized orders, oversized dinner plates, binge-eating, the attitude that more is better, etc., which results in weight gain and is the leading cause of obesity in the U.S.

Obesity often leads to high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and hormonal imbalances.

According to the CDC, obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease.

  • From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.

  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.

You may be considered obese without realizing it – many people are. It’s easy to think that you are just carrying around a few extra pounds.

But, if your BMI is 25 – 29, you are overweight and if it is 30+, you are obese and at risk for all the dangers that carries. Check your BMI here.

It’s Time for a Change!

If you have fallen into the easy trap of mindless eating and the pounds are piling up or have reached a dangerous level, it is time for a change!

A good option to consider is to embrace mindful eating as your new way of life. Slow down, pay attention to what you are eating, choose healthy, nutritious foods, and enjoy every bite. It will make a significant difference in your health – and can add years to your lifespan.

 

Hope is the Bird That Sings

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul—and sings the tunes without words and never stops at all.”
— Emily Dickinson

Hope if the thing - when the bird sings
Image by: ryk-naves-b_-KVgWg_YM-unsplash

This is a beautiful message that I wanted to share with alll of you. (Reprinted with permission from Whitney Johnson – WLJAdvisors.)

I was twenty-one years old and freshly arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay, from the United States.

For the next 18 months I wasn’t going to see my family or friends––,we would communicate via letter only, except for a phone call home on Christmas and Mother’s Day. I’d chosen to come to this far-flung place as a missionary, but reality was setting in. Jet-lagged and homesick, I opted for a nap.

I was roused from my slumber sooner than I would’ve liked to discover something wonderful was happening outside my bedroom window. Birds were chirping—not just one or two, but dozens—a grand welcoming chorus. I’d left winter at home; in Uruguay it was spring.

“Hope is the thing…that perches in the soul.”

Over the past few months, I’ve had to make choices. We’re all having to make choices about what future world we want to build out of the rubble of the present.

Will we choose to give up, give in to existential despair, or will we choose hope that in the end all will be well. That spring will come again?

To be clear, there are different kinds of hope. And some ‘hopes’, we would do well to relinquish. Hope that present circumstances would suddenly be different, that bad things that have happened hadn’t happened. These are really wishes, and unfulfillable. As Beverly Flanigan said, “Forgiveness is giving up hope of ever having a better past.” 

The past can’t be changed, only our perspective of it. And some of our proximate hopes, things we anticipated rolling our way in the near future, need to be abandoned as well, in favor of longer term, ultimate hopes.

Because as much as we need hope, we don’t need false hope. Which is the subject of this week’s podcast, an interview with Kelly Goldsmith (yes, daughter of one of my wonderful mentors!). I find the conclusions of her research refreshing and helpful during a time of limited resources, and pronounced feelings of scarcity.

Kelly suggests that scarcity itself isn’t the issue, but the absence of hope. When we know that something is truly gone—the boyfriend isn’t coming back, the money is lost, life as we’ve known it has permanently changed—we can mourn the loss and then lean into the constraint that has been created to grow in a different direction. Ironically, it’s when we’re still clinging to unrealizable hopes, uncertain, that we feel scarcity and those feelings become problematic.

People crave certainty, which is hard to come by, but if it’s certain that something is gone and not coming back, it’s better to face it. That’s loss, not scarcity, and when we know something is truly lost we can move on, rather than compensating in ultimately self-defeating ways. If there is hope, let people feel hope. If there isn’t, don’t string people along, inadvertently creating scarcity, thinking it’s kinder. It’s not.

Are you allowing people to feel hope about something that you shouldn’t?

Are you trapped in futile hope for a better past that you need to free yourself from?

What are you willing/able to choose to do to help build a more hopeful future?

Maybe it’s continuing to social (physical) distance when you’ve grown weary of distancing. Or thinking about not only the financial implications, but the long-term public health implications of the virus? Is it extending yourself, providing work for others, when you’d rather save your money for you and yours? Or even finding ways to serve, not necessarily where you want to serve, but where you’re needed?

Then there are the small things you can do. The delicate, little live things. Picking mint from the garden, putting it in a Mason jar with water and lots of ice. Washing dishes with your family after a home-cooked meal. Pushing open the window to listen to the birdsong. Whenever I hear the song of a bird, my heart sings with hope.

In your moments when you want to give up—even just a little—what can you do to rekindle hope? What gives you hope?

 

How are you dealing with social distancing?

Social Distancing - Stay Home Sign
Image by Logan Weaver @Unsplash

I am not looking forward to another month of social distancing (quarantine), or even another day.

How about you? How are you doing?

Are you sad, worried, afraid, or all of that, and more?

The whole idea of social distancing goes against human nature. We are wired to be touched from birth until the day we die. There is even a condition known as touch deprivation that can have serious and long-lasting negative effects on health.

But . . . for now . . .  we must practice social distancing to protect ourselves and others from the virus, regardless of how much we hate it .

The lucky ones are people with families who have each other to fill the need for human touch, but many are alone and isolated. I happen to be one of those.

I’m surviving, but forced isolation is not fun!

I’m stuck on an emotional roller coaster ride from which I cannot escape. The uncertainty of how long the isolation will last intensifies my anxiety.

Sometimes I’m OK and can accept that this is a situation over which I have no control. I use my time productively to research and write; then, suddenly – I’m not OK. The walls close in and I wander through a quagmire of fear and doubt, wishing this would all go away. I question if I will make it through unscathed and worry about catching the virus and dying alone.

It’s a relief when I can shake the depression, pull myself together, and become productive again but, I know it’s only a matter of time until I fall into the worry pit for the umpteenth time.

Up and down – up and down – It is not a fun ride.

Have You Discovered the Gift?

During these long, uncertain days and possibly weeks or months ahead, I hope that all of you who are lucky enough to be confined with loved ones will realize that you have been given a wonderful gift – extended time with the most important people in your life.

I encourage you to use the time wisely.

It is the perfect opportunity to do things together that make everyone smile, to get to know each other in ways that your previously busy lives didn’t allow,  to enjoy long quiet talks about hopes and dreams, to hold them close, and to let them know how grateful you are that you are together.

What About the Not so Fortunate?

Let’s get out of our heads by helping people who are alone. They may be family members (mom/dad, grandmother/grandfather, aunt/uncle, cousin), friend or work colleague, or neighbor.

Social Distancing - Older Man at Door
Image by Andre Ouellet@unsplash

We can’t visit physically, so it will require some creativity to findways to lessen their feelings of being cut off from the world. One thing we can do is to check-in every few days; let them know we are thinking about them.

Texting is better than no contact but, let’s be more personal – use facetime, or have a group gathering via ZOOM or SKYPE. Spend quality virtual time. Talk about anything and everything – laugh and have fun.

If they are on the same emotional roller coaster I am on, knowing that someone is there for them can be a critical factor in how they deal with this horrific challenge.

Social Distancing Is Not New!

As I thought about what to say in this post, it occurred to me that we have been practicing social distancing for some time without realizing it. The busyness epidemic, our obsession with technology, and the practice of communicating primarily through texting have separated us by choice. We have lost sight of the fact that we need human touch to remain mentally and physically at our best. Man (or woman) was not meant to be alone.

Realizing the deep-seated need for regular human connection and physical contact may be the silver lining in this terrible dark cloud that has descended on the world. It is a chance to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to each other again – to reach out physically – to hug and hold those we love – to get back in the habit of talking face-to-face with family, friends, and neighbors – to be kind, caring, and respectful toward others, and to come out of this darkness into a better world.

We can start today by holding close the loved ones in our homes and supporting those who are alone.

Social distancing may be required, but emotional distancing is not!

We have the power to make a difference in many lives by holding each other close.

Be safe – stay well!

Nancy

Quote of the Day

Don’t Be Rude When You Can Be Kind!

What happened to common courtesy and dood manners?

They used to be the norm – but, are now practically non-existent.

When I observe simple acts of kindness and respectful behavior it is almost startling because it is such a rare experience.

The anonymity of social media seems to have created a breeding pool for poor behavior that is spilling over into daily actions for the majority.

Being on the receiving end of rude behavior is extremely unpleasant – so, let’s not be guilty of the ones who are being rude.

It’s Time to Dust Off Your Manners

Don't be rude - Good manners show respect

There is no excuse for being rude and disrespectful. It is selfish and immature behavior that reflects a complete lack of concern for anyone except yourself.

My theory is that rude behavior begins at home. When children are allowed to be rude and disrespectful to family members (including their parents), it becomes a way of life when dealing with people in any situation. It’s the only behavior they know.

It’s time to change!

Unfortunately, we cannot control others’ behavior, but we can control our own.

You and I can choose to be kind and courteous to others – family, friends, associates, colleagues, clerks, service agents, and strangers. YES, I’m talking about EVERYONE.

Being polite and showing respect for others will never go out of style (maybe buried under a pile of “you know what”) – but never lost unless people accept perpetual rudeness as a way of life.

Respectful behavior that is fueled by kindness is the foundation of a good life and a joyful society.

. . . and it starts with you and me dusting off our manners and displaying common courtesy even single day.

To pique your memory, I have compiled a list of common courteous behaviors from years past. They are not difficult to perform, but if they are not currently part of your behavioral patterns, it may take time and practice for them to become automatic, as they should be.

  • Get in the habit of saying please and thank you!
  • Say hello and goodbye when entering and leaving a room or group of people.
  • Stop swearing in public.
  • Say, “I’m sorry” when you bump into someone.
  • When meeting someone for the first time, smile and introduce yourself.
  • Give an elderly or handicapped person, or pregnant lady your seat on the bus or subway.
  • Cover your mouth when you yawn, sneeze, cough, burp, etc. and say, “Excuse me.”
  • Put your phone away in public! Don’t text or scroll through messages while walking, driving, or during a face-to-face conversation with someone. Phones should be used when you are sitting/standing alone and you will not disturb anyone else.
  • Hold the door open for those behind you or for anyone who may need help.

Let the other person enter the building, the room or the elevator first.

  • Promptly R.S.V.P to any invitation.
  • Send thank-you notes (preferably handwritten) for dinner parties, gifts, etc.
  • Acknowledge and accept differences of opinions (even on social media) – acknowledgment is not agreement.

Introductions

Don't be rude - say hello politely
Credit-phototechno-iStock

  • Always introduce people to each other.
  • Make introductions immediately
  • When you are being introduced, listen carefully and remember names.
  • Respond – “It’s nice to meet you.”
  • Ask a question to let them know you are interested in who they are.
  • When leaving, say, “It’s nice to have met you.”

Polite Conversation

  • When someone says hello – smile and say hello back (or be the first to say it)
  • Listen attentively without interrupting – let the other person finish before you speak.
  • Be kind and respectful in your response to others.
  • Consider all opinions – you don’t have to agree, but be willing to listen.
  • Respond to questions with kindness and respect.

These are only a sampling of good manners. There is so much more but these are a good place to start.

Model the behavior you would like to see in your children and would enjoy when in the company of others.

We usually get back what we put out into the world. Let’s start putting out kindness and respect! That is today’s challenge! 

Are you up for it? I hope so.

Related Posts:

From the Reader’s Digest –  50 Little Etiquette Rules You Should Always Practice

Want to Change the BUSY Habit? Saying No is the First Step

Are you crazy busy all the time?

Do you often feel that you don’t even have time to breathe?

Being busy to a point can be a good thing, but being “too busy” all the time is not!

Why are you so busy?  That is the question!

The answer may be as simple as – you are not saying NO enough.  You may be trying too hard to please others, to get them to like you, to fit in, to fulfill a sense of obligation or responsibility,  or maybe being busy has become a badge of honor that signifies your importance in the world.

Whatever the reason . . . it’s time to change!

Just Say No carved on Tree Trunk

When every minute of the day is focused on doing what others want you to do that there is little or no time for things that matter to you – you are putting your mental and physical health at risk.

James Altucher states in his book The Power of No,

When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself. Click To Tweet

Saying NO Can Be Difficult – but Necessary

You can’t do everything – choices must be made. If you are caught in the YES trap because you cannot bring yourself to say NO, your life will be controlled by everyone around you. You are living for others, not for yourself.

Your daily habits define your life. What you do repeatedly day-in and day-out is what you become good at doing.  If you want to change a behavior, you must destroy the root of the problem.

If you are too busy, the root of the problem is probably your inability to so NO.

NO is an incredibly powerful word! Learning to say it can change your life.

Think about the impact of saying no to foods you shouldn’t eat, to things you don’t want or shouldn’t do,  to taking on others’ responsibilities, to people who make unreasonable demands on you, to toxic relationships and just because it is your choice to say no

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time, of course.

How do you stop saying yes?  With one NO at a time!

If you have been a habitual YES person most of your life, this change will not happen overnight – but you can make the change. Slay this particularly dangerous dragon one battle at a time. Small steps will deliver amazing results.

Start saying no in one particular area of your life.  Say no . . .

  • When your child or spouse asks you to do something they could (and should) do for themselves.
  • When a friend wants you to do something that holds zero interest for you.
  • When you are tempted to eat the second piece of candy (rather than stopping at one).
  • When your significant other asks you to have dinner with friends you do not want to be around.

You get the idea!

When your comfort level with saying no in that situation increases, choose another. Slowly, it will become easier and easier to say no when it is in your best interests.

A Daily Challenge

Challenge yourself to say a “difficult” NO at least once a day. Keep a record of your successes. Use an app on your phone (i.e. BEAR for IPhones or NOTEBOOK)  or keep a small notepad handy for quick recording when it happens.

Don’t worry when you falter and say yes instead of no.  Changing a deeply ingrained habit takes time. So, be patient with yourself and keep on keeping on.

Why Saying NO Is Important

  1. It is essential for your mental and physical well-being.
  2. You have a greater sense of control over your life.
  3. You have more time to do what you want to do.
  4. You will have more fun engaging in activities of your choice.
  5. People will respect you more.
  6. It establishes healthy boundaries in relationships.
  7. It sets clear expectations about what others can expect from you.
  8. And . . . many other reasons.

Keep in mind the words of Tim Harford, “Every time we say yes to a request, we are also saying no to anything else we might accomplish with the time.” Click To Tweet

 And . . .  time is your most important asset.  Pedro Sorrentino warns us, “If you don’t guard your time, people will steal it from you.” Click To Tweet

It’s time to stop being crazy busy by learning to say NO, and using your time in ways that will create the life you want to live.

 Related Post:  10 Crucial Practices for a Healthy Life

 A related article I highly recommend:  How to Say NO: 10 Powerful Tips