Mindful Eating In 2018

Happy New Year everyone!  Being it is the start of a brand new year, I know many people are looking for new ways to strengthen their health & well being in 2018 and losing weight & eating healthier are likely at the top of that goal list.

Mindful Eating is a healthy living strategy that is clinically proven to help people gain control over their eating habits which can lead to reduced stress, improved mental focus, weight loss & many health other benefits, including:

  1. You learn to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re sated.
  2. You learn to really taste food, and to enjoy the taste of healthy food.
  3. You slowly start to realize that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as you thought, nor does it make you feel very good.
  4. As a result of the above three points, you will often lose weight if you’re overweight.
  5. You begin to sort through the emotional issues you have around food and eating. This takes a bit longer, but it’s important.
  6. Social overeating can become less of a problem — you can eat mindfully while socializing, with practice, and not overeat.
  7. You begin to enjoy the eating experience more, and as a result enjoy life more, when you’re more present.
  8. It can become a mindfulness ritual you look forward to.
  9. You learn how food affects your mood and energy throughout the day.
  10. You learn what food best fuels your exercise and work and play.

So how does Mindful Eating work?  You start by practicing Mindfulness – learning to be in the present moment while you are eating, fully attending to what you are eating, where you are eating, how you are are eating.  Easier said then done in today’s busy world I know, but if you want something different you must be willing to try something different – so think of this in terms of working smarter not harder & see what you can do to start incorporating a couple of these ‘8 Steps to Mindful Eating’ by Harvard Health into your life:

1. Begin with your shopping list. Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your cart in the produce section and avoid the center aisles—which are heavy with processed foods—and the chips and candy at the check-out counter.

2. Come to the table with an appetite— but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.

3. Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.

4. Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.

5. Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.

6. Take small bites. It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.

7. Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.

8. Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.

What possibilities lie ahead in 2018 for you?!?  What is stopping you from making this your best year yet?  One small step in the right direction is all you need to get started.

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Health Benefits Of Generosity

health benefits of service

Did you know there are many health benefits we can receive when we give to others?  Studies show that helping others or engaging in altruistic behavior (unselfish regard for others ) can positively impact our lives personally, professionally, mentally, emotionally, physically and socially.

A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that helping others can boost our self-esteem, mood and purpose in life, which in turn supports healthy well-being in a variety of ways.

According to a 2014 article in Huffington Post, here are “7 Science-Backed Reasons Why Generosity Is Good For Your Health”:

  1. It will keep stress in check.  Helping others keeps stress hormone cortisol in check to help manage stress.
  2. Happiness at work depends on it.  Being a team player makes people feel more committed to their jobs.
  3. It’s beneficial to the greater good.  We all benefit from each other’s generosity.
  4. You’ll enjoy more years of life.  Helping others reduces mortality risk.
  5. It keeps the cycle of “good” going.  Thinking about our altruistic behaviors leads to a cycle of giving.    
  6. Your marriage will be stronger.  Generosity is a key factor in happy marriages.
  7. It promotes mental health.  We feel better about ourselves when we give to others.

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And we can do a lot or a little to derive these great health benefits – one small thing can make a big difference for the giver & the receiver.

Cheers to giving!

Workplace Wellness

workplace wellness

Wellness in the workplace starts with wellness in our workforce.  Healthier, happier employees leads to greater productivity – a win / win for everyone.

And when we’re talking about workplace wellness we are, as this recent article in Entrepreneur suggests, talking about the human impact – people.  Workers are the core of our workforce, and their mental, physical, emotional, social health affects businesses greatly.

As Entrepreneur explains, workplace wellness programs “inspire & align” the workplace, and have significant impact on building a strong team in your workforce in that they:

Bring teams together

In a 2015 Mental Health America report of nearly 2,000 respondents, an alarming 80 percent said they tend to work alone because of an unhelpful or hostile work environment.  What’s more, among the 2,175 U.S. hiring and human resources managers surveyed by CareerBuilder in March 2015, 37 percent said office gossip was a top productivity killer. So how can HR turn gossiping coworkers into a supportive team? With workplace wellness.

Fosters trust between employees & leaders

In a survey of more than 800 full-time, U.S. employees conducted by Globoforce in November 2015, 47 percent said they don’t think their company leaders care about and actively try to create a human workplace. What’s more, in a 2015 survey of close to 800 North American employees conducted by Achievers, just 45 percent said they trust company leadership. Without that trust, employees are more likely to be disengaged from their work and to look for a new employer. Trust is key to getting the emotional connection to work, which is at the core of all business success.

Boosts morale & motivation

According to the Achievers survey, 57 percent of employees said they aren’t motivated by their company’s mission. And when employees don’t feel like their work has meaning, they’re less motivated to do it. That means decreased productivity and engagement.  Well-designed workplace wellness programs should reinforce the company mission and values at every turn, orienting newbies and reconnecting veterans in need of a boost.

For more information regarding wellness programming from Foundations Counseling, contact Lori@FoundationsCounselingCenter.org or call 847-497-0524.

Gratitude For Good Health

Benefits-of-Gratitude5

Here at Foundations we are big fans of gratitude!  Research shows that expressing gratitude can help improve our health in so many different ways – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, personally & professionally.  Happier Human provides a more specific list of the many health benefits being grateful can offer:

The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

While expressing gratitude by no means is a health cure-all, being regularly grateful for the things you do have in your life instead of ruminating about the things you don’t have or don’t like can provide you with a mindset that will lead to important health benefits such as:

  • Improved health & happiness
  • More fulfilled careers & social relationships
  • Increased optimism & decreased materialism
  • Healthier self-esteem & stronger resilience
  • Better quality sleep & increased calm
  • Higher rate of productivity & goal achievement
  • Stronger leadership skills

So if you are interested in finding tools to help you feel better & live a healthier, happier life, try expressing a statement of gratitude to yourself once per day each & every day for 30 straight days & see what happens!