September 12th is Mindfulness Day. Mindfulness is a key component of the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less and Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes programs. Take a moment today or this week to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is simply defined as being present in any particular moment. To go deeper, it involves being conscious and accepting of one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions during the moment. Mindfulness has been studied and practiced around the world to show the benefits in everyday life including one’s physical health and mental health. With practice, an individual is able to become more proactive with their thoughts and behaviors. Additionally, those who practice mindfulness have proven to show better self-emotional regulation, self-control, and self-compassion.
An important element of mindfulness is the different aspects of everyday life that it can be applied to such as eating habits, commonly referred to as mindful eating. Mindful eating is a practice with the end goal of controlling cravings, reducing body weight, and improving eating habits. The Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less team summarized peer-reviewed articles and concluded that there is strong support in utilizing mindful eating as a weight management strategy, providing benefits to the treatment of overweight and obesity.
How I Have Been Practicing Mindfulness and Mindful Eating:
- Mindfulness: One of my favorite ways of practicing mindfulness has been at night before I go to bed. This is the time where I spend a lot of time on my phone scrolling aimlessly through social media which has resulted in me getting less sleep. A couple of times a week I listen to Deep Healing music on Youtube before I go to bed and have noticed a significant difference in my sleeping, getting closer to 8 hours of sleep. This is considered a form of meditation and is a great way to practice mindfulness at night.
- Mindful Eating: With sports starting back, dinner in my house has been eaten in front of the tv almost every night. Although I love to enjoy a meal during a basketball game, I find that when I eat dinner at the table with my family (no tv), I am able to be more conscious of how much I am eating. I also find myself going up for a dessert less often when dinner is eaten at the table as opposed to while watching tv. Another way I practice mindful eating is by changing the environment that I eat in. When eating in my room or even at the kitchen table, I find myself eating more and faster. Simply changing my environment to eating outside or in a park has helped me pay more attention to what I am eating and prevents me from going back for seconds.
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