Habits of people who keep a healthy weight – Part 3

Those who maintain a healthy weight have a common set of habits that we are going to share with you in our 3 part blog.  If you wish to reach and maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health then be sure to read all three parts that will be posted over several weeks.  Enjoy reading our third and final part in this series.

 

11. Listen to their bodies

 

Mindful eating is the practice of being aware of what we are eating. Listening to our body. Sometimes it takes time for the brain to catch up to the stomach which can lead to overeating if we don’t stop and listen to our body’s signals. Mindful eating increases our awareness of how hungry we truly are and how the food makes us feel – our emotions and mood. Are we eating because we are stressed, bored or angry or are we nourishing our body with goodness because our brain is sending us signals it needs energy?

Try these three tips to start mindful eating today.

  1. Eat Slower. Meal times should be enjoyed. Take your time to savour every bite and finish each mouthful before taking the next. Practice putting your cutlery down between mouthfuls and only pick them back up when you have swallowed the previous mouthful. Let your food take a journey through your body, starting in your mouth. Feel the texture, taste the flavours and enjoy every bite.
  2. Listen to your brain, not your gadgets. Turn off your gadgets and the TV and allow your brain to talk to you. Allow it time to catch up to your stomach and it will tell you when you are full. If you do this, you will not over eat.
  3. Eat for nourishment. By thinking about what and why we are eating, we are more likely to choose healthier options. Scoffing down a chocolate bar because you’re angry at a colleague or spouse, is only hurting your health. Mindful eating will make you stop and think about healthier ways to resolve your emotions rather than chomping down on a sugar laden snack.

Try mindful eating to appreciate yourself. Your mind and body, your health and happiness. It doesn’t need to be another commitment we need to make which sets us up for failure. Simply stop and think and enjoy your food as it’s meant to be enjoyed.

 

12. Do not skip meals

It would seem logical that skipping breakfast, lunch or dinner should result in overall weight loss. One less meal per day equals less calories, right? Unfortunately, not. Forgoing an entire meal not only causes terrible hunger pains, but it can also have a lasting effect on long term weight loss and maintenance.

For starters, skipping a meal will cause the blood sugar level to drop, increasing feelings of tiredness, lethargy and irritability. Then starvation mode enters! Without energy from food, the body attempts to conserve fat stores by reducing the overall metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate will stay low for the next meal too as it isn’t convinced a steady supply of calories are coming. This means you will not burn the incoming calories efficiently, resulting in fat storage. Hunger pains drive us to desire high carbohydrate or high fat foods, rather than nutritious choices. We’ve all been there! No one wants to eat salad when they’re starving. Continued meal skipping can lead to the body burning muscle stores for energy, which in turn leads to further reduced metabolism. Convinced yet?

 

13. Get enough sleep

Sleep is a critical part of our health as it is required for the repair of organs, tissues and cells in the body. It is involved in rebalancing of hormones such as the stress hormone cortisol and appetite hormone ghrelin. Adequate sleep reduces overall stress and appetite, assisting better management of weight and mental health. The amount of sleep required varies between individuals, so it is important that you find the amount that suits you and try to achieve that as much as possible. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, while teenagers require 8 to 10 hours and school age kids need even more between 9 and 11 hours. Getting enough sleep and achieving a regular sleep cycle is crucial to managing a healthy diet and exercise routine, so don’t just set an alarm to wake you the next day, but set one to remind you when it is time to go to bed too.

 

14. Manage their stress levels

Mindful eating is the practice of being aware of what we are eating. Listening to our body. Sometimes it takes time for the brain to catch up to the stomach which can lead to overeating if we don’t stop and listen to our body’s signals. Mindful eating increases our awareness of how hungry we truly are and how the food makes us feel – our emotions and mood. Are we eating because we are stressed, bored or angry or are we nourishing our body with goodness because our brain is sending us signals it needs energy?

Try these three tips to start mindful eating today.

  1. Eat Slower. Meal times should be enjoyed. Take your time to savour every bite and finish each mouthful before taking the next. Practice putting your cutlery down between mouthfuls and only pick them back up when you have swallowed the previous mouthful. Let your food take a journey through your body, starting in your mouth. Feel the texture, taste the flavours and enjoy every bite.
  2. Listen to your brain, not your gadgets. Turn off your gadgets and the TV and allow your brain to talk to you. Allow it time to catch up to your stomach and it will tell you when you are full. If you do this, you will not over eat.
  3. Eat for nourishment. By thinking about what and why we are eating, we are more likely to choose healthier options. Scoffing down a chocolate bar because you’re angry at a colleague or spouse, is only hurting your health. Mindful eating will make you stop and think about healthier ways to resolve your emotions rather than chomping down on a sugar laden snack.

Try mindful eating to appreciate yourself. Your mind and body, your health and happiness. It doesn’t need to be another commitment we need to make which sets us up for failure. Simply stop and think and enjoy your food as it’s meant to be enjoyed.

15. Have a great and encouraging support system

Having a strong social and support system can assist in maintaining a healthy level of well-being. The size and quality of our social structure and support is an important mediator in depression, anxiety and physical conditions. It has also been shown to reduce your risk of obesity, illness and depression. Knowing you have someone to turn to when you need it makes those mountains seem a little less daunting.

Those with a good social network also tend to have healthier lifestyles as friends encourage more physical activity, laughter and healthy eating, rather than sitting on the couch drowning your sorrows in chocolate and ice cream.

If you find yourself in a situation where your network has changed, such as moving to a new neighbourhood or changing jobs, then seek alternatives such as walking, support or community groups.   And, if a situation seems so overwhelming that you aren’t comfortable confiding in friends or family, then seek out a psychologist or councillor you can meet with to guide you through the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the link to part 1 of this series

Here’s the link to part 2 of this series

Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer healthy eating cooking classes, weight loss programs, private dietetic consultationspaediatric dietetics and fussy eatingschool nutrition and corporate wellness programs.

If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call today on (08) 9385 7755.

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