Mindful Eating and Book Review #2

Book Review:

I started reading a wonderful book called “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food” by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. It’s a Shambala book, which comes from a background of Zen Buddhism. The book teaches us how to tune into our bodies and learn WHAT to eat, WHEN and HOW MUCH.

Through my journey I’ve discovered that I do not have a good relationship with food. I don’t know that I ever did. I’ve always viewed food as The Enemy, instead of Fuel. You would think after several years of relearning how to eat, I’d know this by now. Some habits are really, really hard to break.

If you have food issues of any kind, I highly recommend this book. Order it from Amazon.com and read the book. It’s short and there’s so much wisdom in it! Don’t worry if you’re not Buddhist. It has helpful ideas that everyone can benefit from.

“Have you watched healthy young children eat? They run in from a morning of playing hard, sit down at the table, and with obvious appetite they eat just enough. Then off they run to play again.[pg 15]” How did we lose that ability as adults? We inhale food while multi-tasking, in front of a TV, in the car, etc, without tasting, enjoying, or experiencing our food.

Each chapter has an exercise to do. Here are just a few exercises and tips:

  1. Try making a mindful meal once a week for yourself as if you were a guest. [pg 24] 2. Be aware of the sensations in the “stomach” during the day. How does the “stomach” signal to you that it is “hungry”? [pg 37]
  2. When you feel hungry, delay eating for awhile. Simply be aware of the sensation you call “hunger”. [pg 37] MY NOTE: Often times we are bored or dehydrated. If you wait to eat, sometimes you realize this.
  3. After you’ve eaten half your food, stop eating and take a few seconds to assess stomach hunger again. [pg 38] MY NOTE: Many times when I want to get seconds, my boyfriend wisely says “Wait 15 minutes and then see if you want that second slice of pizza” and he’s right—I usually don’t want it!

Book Review #1 & Weight Loss

“Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days–and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!” by Dean Karnazes.

I loved the book! It was really inspiring and made me want to get right out there and run a marathon. What Dean did is amazing, and crazy, to me. The book had a lot of really good tips for running, motivation, recovery and injuries. I think both seasoned runners and newbies could benefit from the book. I lent the book to a co-worker who has run Hood To Coast for 8 years and she loved it too.

Each chapter is a different marathon in each of the states. Here is an excerpt from one chapter:
“Follow the Losers: According to research data, these are the top three habits of men and women who lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off permanently:
1. Daily Exercise
2. Portion Control
3. Behavior Modification”

That quote just reiterates what I previously said about there not being a magic pill. Those three things are the key to success. I particular like the “Behavior Modification” theory. I know a few people who had gastric bypass surgery to lose weight. Even at 250+ pounds, I never considered surgery an option. I’m not trying to criticize people who have had such surgeries…but seeing two friends of mine go through it, I think I can give a pretty informed opinion.

The surgery helped them lose weight, yes. Both friends lost about 50 pounds and then stopped losing weight (and also gained a lot of weight back). Why? Because they did not change their behavior. They still ate the high fat, fried foods they enjoyed before the surgery. So why even have the surgery? Anyone can lose weight–it’s the keeping it off that’s really hard. It’s easy to slip back into old habits and get lazy with eating. I’ve been there. And I gained 15 pounds.

How many calories should we eat each day? It really depends on your sex, age, current weight, height, and how active you are. Everyone is different, but here’s a general guide:
Men, age 31-50 should eat 2200-3000 calories a day.
Women, age 31-50 should eat 1800-2000 calories a day.

In order to lose weight, you should try to eat 500 less calories a day.