I’ve never been a fan of fad diets. I am a huge proponent of just being mindful and living a healthy balanced lifestyle. I have many clients who struggle with their weight, though, and I’ve found simple ways to help them out.
As a yogi who loves her greens as much as anyone else in the MindBodyGreen community, I’ve learned it can be somewhat unrealistic and impractical to tell some of my clients to buy a juicer and start ingesting loads of kale every morning.
Instead, I meet my students where they’re at. I teach them some easy tools to help them become more mindful of what they eat and gradually make changes so they can lose the weight for good and feel better in their bodies. Many of them eventually go out and buy a Vitamix on their own; or they just find ways to naturally eat good whole foods that feed their body and soul so they can feel their best every day.
Here’s some fun tricks everyone can incorporate in to their lives to stay present, savor each bite and feel nourished and healthy while eating foods that look and taste ah-mazing!
1) Eat everything for one week with your non-dominant hand. Make just this one adjustment and I promise you, your whole world will change. You will automatically be forced to slow down and really take in to account what you are eating. Our stomach’s need at least 20 minutes to digest before they register they are full. By eating with our opposite hand, we have no choice but to pay attention and take our time. It keeps us from mindlessly grabbing a snack and also allows our brain to grow by stimulating new neural pathways.
2) Instagram is your friend! Use it to take a picture of everything you eat.You will think twice before sharing that picture of a pint of chubby hubby; but you’ll feel like Picasso when you share a plate of beautifully arranged colorful fruits and vegetables. The prettier your pictures are, the more likely you are to share; and you’ll get positive reinforcement back from friends and family. If it’s not something you’d want to share, chances are it’s not something you really want to be eating.
3) Eat eggs for breakfast, or ingest any source of protein in the morning, for that matter. Wether you add nut butter to a piece of toast, protein powder to a smoothie or have a high protein greek yogurt, it’s important to get some protein in early in the day to stay satiated. And if you’re not eating breakfast, start now! It’s literally “breaking the fast” and you’re metabolism will appreciate the morning fuel. Breakfast starts revving you up for the day and helps you burn more calories all day long. You’ll eat less overall and you’ll think more clearly, feel better and have sustained energy. So get your motor running!
4) Eat like a kid. Have you ever noticed how picky children can be when they eat? They not only have very strong food preferences, they also take their time and make mealtime fun. Too often we rush through our meals or eat bland food at our desk while mindlessly typing out emails at the same time. Kids have so much fun eating, they literally play with their food. Why can’t we play with our food as adults? Dive your baby carrots in to some hummus, sensually dip strawberries in to anti-oxidant loaded dark chocolate for dessert, cut your pb&j in to fun shapes, add smiley faces to your morning oatmeal with your dried cranberries and walnuts, make eating a joyous experience. The more you appreciate the entire dining process, the more you’ll appreciate yourself and the food you’re eating. And chances are, the less you’ll end up eating overall. Many kids get up and play and leave food on their plates.
5) Take a deep breath. Anytime you can breathe a little deeper and take a moment before you eat anything, you can become present and truly stay mindful of your body’s own internal hunger cues. Many times we eat because we are anxious, our breathing is rapid and we need to do something to control it. Or we eat out of boredom, we’re holding our breath just waiting for something to happen. It’s easier said then done; but just pausing long enough to take a deep breath can help us listen in and find out what we are truly hungry for. It could be that our stomachs are physically growling and we need to eat. If that’s the case, even broccoli would satisfy your physical hunger. If broccoli won’t cut it, chances are you may be hungry for something else. Take a yoga class, call a friend, read a good book, go for a walk, hug your spouse, play with your children. Then sit down to a good meal to round out the rest of your enriched life—you’ll feel satisfied and full before you even take the first bite.