Develop Healthy Eating Environments Principle #3

“If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail” . Benjamin Franklin once said. We have to set ourselves up for success by creating an environment that encourages us to be mindful of our food. It is so important to pay attention to our internal cues. For example; ever leave the house and not plan enough food for your day? Do you then find yourself mindlessly wandering around looking for whatever food is insight, or eating at random times and places? Of course everyone snacks from time to time. This develops unhealthy environmental cues such as how much and what to eat. These continued practices create bad habits. A client of mine has done this to herself by needing to eat something crunchy. She feels the need to snack at work every time she does paperwork. Or, my husband who spends a ton of time on the road and feels the need to have a sugary, caffeinated drink. For me, it’s twizzlers on a road trip, because I just wasn’t satisfied with my earlier food choices of gas station/fast food. These are all unhealthy patterns that we have created.

By taking time to plan our food and eating at set time and place it increases our mind/body health, creating a better mood and sleep schedule. So what does a healthy environment look like? Well… it means sitting down at an actual table, putting your food on a plate (sorry KBK and Artie’s lovers), using utensils and possibly sharing a meal with someone else. Incorporating this practice plus the other principles we’ve discussed will allow you to slow down which will keep us from overeating, under eating or eating for emotional reasons. Flexibility is important especially if your internal cues say “it’s time to eat” or around special occasions and holidays, be prepared, don’t regret poor choices.

Distracted Eating Principle #4

We’ve discussed the practice of creating a healthy eating environment in principle #3. This leads us to the next principle, eating when distracted. In today’s society time and social media have taken over, we, the American people suffer from overeating because of distraction. Ask yourself, can you remember the last time you didn’t eat dinner in front of the T.V. , on your mobile device or in the car? Multi-tasking and eating at the same time is a recipe for ignoring your body’s needs and wants. People who eat while doing other things tend to overeat. Have you ever been to cinema grill where you eat and watch a movie? Eating everything on the plate because you are so distracted by the movie. Not even being able to see what is actually on the plate because it’s dark. Is it possible that you actually enjoyed that food by not being able to see what you’re eating? Or sitting down and reading your tablet and snacking on chips/cookies and 30 minutes later you’ve completely devoured the whole bag and don’t even remember eating them and surely not remembering if it tasted good or not.

So, I challenge you to stop eating while distracted. Don’t eat while driving, reading, or watching T.V. Try eating at a table with your food on a plate. Recognize how it tastes, how it makes you feel. Does it please your senses, is it filling, what had to take place for this meal to happen, who do you get to enjoy it with, will you be able to perform the way you need to physically and mentally? Stop, slow down and enjoy your food and the people who care about you. Mindful eating is being aware of what is present for you mentally, emotionally and physically in each moment.

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Your Fitness Coach,

Terra Haag