Monday, February 4, 2013

Our Get Healthy Challenge: Week 17

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Welcome to Week 17 of Our Get Healthy Challenge! If you're just joining us, here is what you missed so far - so you can get all caught up. This series is running for the next six months with pro nutritionists, The GetReal Gurls. They are helping us make small changes every week that build upon each weekly task. Our challenge this week?

Getting "mindful" about our eating experience! Now, we all have those meals where you're so rushed you can barely taste the food as it flies into your mouth but most of the time, we'd like you to practice "mindful eating". This means consciously noticing how the food in your mouth tastes. Why do this? A practice like this slows down an otherwise warp-speed meal to a pace that lets your tongue experience the food and lets your mind tell you you're full before you've over eaten.

If you would classify yourself as a "fast eater" (ie, it takes you more time to brush your teeth sometimes that it does to eat a meal), you will see incredibly results in terms of food left on your plate (which equals weight loss) if you practice our Mindful Eating exercise consistently.

Like any new skill, moving from a mindless eater to a mindful eater takes practice, especially if you've spent most of your life scarfing down meals. Here is a simple 3-step exercise you can do at home to get started:

1. After sitting down at the table and getting rid of all distractions (re: cell phones and tablets) take a moment to appreciate the food on your plate – look at the colours, textures, shapes and don't forget to smell the food

2. Take small bites and experience the taste on your tongue

3. Put down your fork between bites

Or, if you want to try something different, set your kitchen timer to 5 minutes longer than what you think it takes you to finish a meal. So if you guess you eat supper in 10 minutes, set the timer for 15 minutes. See if you can make your meal last that long by trying the above tips on savoring your food. You may notice you eat less!

I once had a client who never knew she ate so fast until she did this exercise. She realized that it came from growing up in a household with siblings that would eat your supper if you didn't eat it fast enough! Needless to say, she quickly learned to scarf down her food and that habit stuck with her long after her hungry siblings were gone. By extending the time it took her to eat supper she noticed she became satisfied with less food and as the weeks past, she lost weight.

So here's your Do It, Post It Challenge for this week:

Do It: Practice the Mindful eating exercise above at least 2 meals this week.
Post It: How was your eating experience different than it usually is?

- A & M., 

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