Wellness Resolutions In Action: Developing Your inEating Plan

Start eating well

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You have set goals to nurture your body this year. You may have identified strategies to achieve these goals: exercise, eat mindfully, meditate, cook more, choose healthier drinks. Now, let’s plan the specific steps we will take to implement these strategies. Creating such a plan can help us link our intentions to our actions, so that we can form new habits.

You may find that simply outlining your plan, down to the daily actions, or tactics, will help direct you. We hope that using the suggested resources will inspire change.

Keep your plan on hand so you can reference it often. This will help remind you of the steps you must take to make lasting change.

Over the next three weeks, we will guide you through creating a comprehensive plan to achieve your wellness goals. This week we will focus on healthy cooking and eating. Next week we will discuss mindful movements, and in week three we will set meditation and mindfulness goals.

inEating Plan

1. For inspiration view this video: The Seven Practices of a Mindful Eater (See also page 124 of Savor)

2. Consider: Why do you want to eat more healthfully & mindfully? Journal your reasons. (See page 140 of Savor for guidence.)

3. Use the plan structure below as a model. Browse the strategies listed. Do any apply to you? If so- answer the corresponding questions. Consider the bulleted tactics. Use the links and page references to learn more.

4. For each healthy eating strategy you choose, reflect on the barriers and facilitators to accomplishing it. How can you overcome the barriers? How can you build on the facilitators? (See pages 143-144 of Savor)

5. Add your own strategies and tactics. If you are looking for more resources, post a question on the Savor Blog or Facebook.

Goal: Healthy Eating

Possible strategies to choose:

Strategy 1. Eat breakfast every day.
Strategy 2. Monitor your portions
Strategy 3.  Limit late night snacking
Strategy 4.  Limit restaurant and fast food consumption
Strategy 5. Cook Mindfully
Strategy 6.  Only eat when you are hungry
Strategy 7.  Maintain a consistent diet
Strategy 8. Eat mindfully every day

Strategy 1. Eat breakfast every day.

Do I skip breakfast? How often? How do I feel when I skip breakfast?

Research suggests that people who skip breakfast tend to weigh more and gain more weight over time than people who eat breakfast. If you find yourself skipping breakfast, utilize these tactics.

• Prepare breakfast the night before.
• Broaden your idea of breakfast. (Savor, pg 130)
• Make sure you’ve got an appetite for breakfast: Don’t overeat at night. (Savor, pg 130)
• Include protein and fiber in your breakfast, try this hulless barley breakfast cereal.

Strategy 2. Monitor your portions

Do I know how much I’m eating? Do I stop eating when I feel full? What are some obstacles to portion control? What can I do to get around these obstacles?

Over the past few decades, portions have grown to huge sizes, in restaurants, grocery stores, even cookbooks. This leads us to unconsciously redefine what a “normal” portion size is. Downsize your portions if you often overeat. You can always make, order or dish up more if you’re still hungry. Some portion control tips:

• Use smaller plates and serving utensils. (Savor, page 133)
• When out, order smaller portions, skip the bread and soda, get a to-go container and pack up the rest of your entrée once full. (Savor, pg 136)
• Avoid distractions while eating.

Strategy 3.  Limit late night snacking

Do I eat after dinner? How much? How do I feel when I go to sleep/ wakeup?

Snacking at night may reduce our appetite for breakfast. Some tips to avoid night time snacking:

• Find something else to do with your hands. (Savor, pg 134)
• Turn off the T.V. Choose screen-time alternatives.
• Go to sleep earlier, give yourself a bed time.
• If you’re going to snack, choose fruits and veggies.
• Reduce your stress, relax. Enjoy this relaxation exercise.

Strategy 4.  Limit restaurant and fast food consumption

How many times a week do I eat out? What are some obstacles to cooking? What are a few ways around each of these obstacles?

Home cooked food is more nutritious than eating out. You know what the ingredients are, you can control salt and portion sizes, you can include more vegetables and whole grains, and you can make dietary adjustments to suit your body.

Make more time to cook
and when you do eat out utilize these tactics to make healthier choices:

• Research restaurants ahead of time to choose a healthy option.
• Go a-la-cart rather than buying fast food meals. (Savor, pg 136)
• Order coffee or tea after dinner, instead of dessert.
• Know the top sources of salt and how to avoid them.
• Know how much sugar is in your beverage, be it soda, iced tea, or juice

Strategy 5. Cook Mindfully

Do I grocery shop and cook mindfully? What healthy foods do I like? What healthy foods would I be willing to try?

We have the opportunity to nurture our bodies and those of the people we love by shopping and cooking mindfully. This is a gift of health, community and peace. Enjoy your time in the kitchen more and make healthy choices with these resources.

• Enjoy this guide to cooking mindfully, includes audio meditation.
• Replace white rice and bread with whole grains. Pantry Makeover: Whole Grains.
• Replace excess salt and unhealthy flavorings with healthy herbs and spices. Pantry Makeover: Salt, spices, flavoring.
• Utilize this guide to buying seasonal fruits and veggies.
Healthy snack recipes.
Hot & Cold Veggie Recipes.
Healthy entrée and dessert recipes.

Strategy 6.  Only eat when you are hungry

Do I engage in emotional eating? What emotions trigger me to eat?

Our emotions and our food consumption are intimately linked. Stress, anger, sadness, loneliness and boredom may cause us to eat. Consider these tips to help you avoid using food to manage your feelings:

• Use mindfulness to recognize the difference between physical and emotional eating. (Savor, pg 139)
• Keep tempting foods away from your high-stress zones. (Savor, page 139)
• Seek alternative ways to cope with stress and emotions, such as walking meditation, breathing meditation, or talking with a supportive friend. (Savor, pages 78 and 170)
• If emotional eating is too big a problem for you to handle on your own, consult with a professional who specializes in emotional eating.

Strategy 7.  Maintain a consistent diet

Do I eat more on the weekends, holidays, vacations, as a guest in other peoples’ homes?

People who stick to the same eating patterns on the weekends tend to be more successful at maintaining their weight loss. Some tactics:

• Make social time active time, not eating time. (Savor, page 138)
• Keep a food diary.
• Plan for meals when you are on the go.

Strategy 8. Eat mindfully every day

Do I eat mindfully? How much of the time? What are some of the unmindful eating habits I could most easily leave behind?

Eating mindfully has many benefits: It can bring you greater enjoyment from your meal. It may help you eat less and digest your food better. And most important, it will give you an opportunity to reconnect your body and mind. Read more about why we eat mindfully. Tactics:

• Savor each bite, take your time. Enjoy this apple meditation.
• See the whole cosmos and all the hard work invested in each dish. (Savor, pages 124-128) Reading The 5 contemplations before meals can raise our awareness.
• Use all of your senses while eating. (Savor, pages 124-128)
Savor sweets too.
• Maintain your mindful eating practice on special occasions.