Saturday, November 1, 2014

Stop. Think. Chew. And, Stop Again.

We live in a world of multiple screens, multi-tasking, no time, and plenty of stress. Too often, we eat on the run, sometimes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, way too often, meals are fast food, as in eaten- fast food (even fast food is wolfed-down fast). Here’s the problem.

The whole process of digestion starts with chewing.  Chewing breaks food into manageable bites, making it easy to swallow. You can’t swallow much solid food whole. Chewing thoroughly releases saliva that coats your food with digestive enzymes—which actually begin to digest the food before you swallow it. At the same time, those same enzymes begin digesting the carbohydrates and fats, meaning less work for your stomach. If food is swallowed un-chewed, or not chewed thoroughly, important nutrients remain locked in the fragments. These fragments in turn, create an environment in the colon that can contribute to digestive distress—bacterial overgrowth, gas, and bloating.

The act of just seeing your food causes your brain to send signals to the pancreas and stomach to secrete digestive acids and enzymes that are essential to digestion. The longer your food has contact with your taste and smell receptors and the longer you chew each bite, the stronger those signals become. Strong signals mean more digestive molecules, less indigestion, and superior nutrient absorption. Enough Biology 101.

We enjoy food. We’re supposed to enjoy it. And, if we slow down and appreciate what we eat, we end up eating less. This is being mindful of what and how we eat. And, eating more slowly gives your body a chance to tell your mind that it’s full, so that you stop eating before you go overboard. Consider trying the following tips along with your next meal.
  • Don’t eat in front of distractions such as the TV or computer, or while driving.
  • Give yourself enough time to eat—at least 20-30 minutes to eat the meal.
  • Be mindful while you eat. Notice the smell, temperature, texture, color, and subtle flavor differences of each food you consume.
  • Take smaller portions and take a 5 minute a break before serving yourself seconds.
  • Put your fork down after each bite.
  • Eat slowly, chewing each bite as many times as necessary to pulverize any texture.
  • If you’re eating in a group, challenge yourself to be the last to finish.
In addition to the physical benefits of eating mindfully, if you allow yourself to slow down and chew thoroughly, you’ll find yourself eating less and enjoying your food more.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes

Have you heard that before? It’s so simple, and it’s so true.  

If you follow this Blog, you are already familiar with LoneStartNow. You know we promote a gratitude attitude, as well as making modest yet meaningful changes in daily lifestyle behavior choices. We also ask that you are open to new opportunities and make the most of them when presented with fresh information or a new direction.

This is where change comes in, real change, and sometimes it means making a really big adjustment. Sometimes it means simply (or not so simply), changing your mindset.

All of us have made up our minds about any number of things—things we care about, don’t care about, what we think is right, what we think is wrong, what makes us happy and what makes us unhappy. When it comes to healthy behaviors and healthy lifestyle choices, most of us know what we should do, but maybe not how we should do it. And, if we’re lucky enough to know both the what and the how, we still need to figure out the from here to there part of changing a mindset to reach those healthier goals.

This is where you need to ask yourself a few questions, and provide honest answers.

Consider what it would mean if something you believe is absolutely set in stone right now, is really flexible? What might happen if you open some of those non-negotiables up for discussion—with yourself? And then, what might happen if by changing the way you think about all of those fixed mindsets in your life, you could create real change in your life?

Changing your thoughts, or mindset, is the first step in changing behavior and lifestyle behavior choices. So how do you go about changing your thoughts? You can start by reconsidering those mindsets you thought were permanently fixed. Question yourself about what matters most, and then it’s time to make what may be a few hard choices. Let your mind consider options that might be a little outside of your comfort zone.  The opportunity for change just might open the floodgates.

At the same time, it’s time to begin looking beyond yourself. Your change in thoughts may require some help from friends and family. Reach out to those you trust—you’ll be amazed at how ready they are to help you meet your goals—they may even want to join you on the journey.

Finally, you have to realize everything doesn’t happen all at once. Changing just one modest, but meaningful thing is a start. And, keep in mind, that first step is sometimes the easiest—it’s the steps that come after that require commitment and dedication.

You will come to see that when your mind is open to new ideas you will find greater flexibility in how you view what you can and can’t and will and won’t do.

 Change your mind—change your life. Just remember, “if nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A New Beginning

Shiny as a new penny. A fresh start. Now really is the time. Right? Heard it all before?

What does it take to convince yourself that you are worth what it takes to begin to take control of your health and well-being. No one else can do it for you, and no one else could even begin to do it as well as you can. You know what drives you. You know what you will and won’t do. And, you know the reasons why (and why not). You also know it’s all really up to you.

But, why do you need a new beginning in the first place? There are beginnings which are exciting opportunities. And then, there are new beginnings, which come about when those exciting new opportunities (and all that goes with them) don’t always meet expectations. The reasons are endless. Maybe goals were set too high. Maybe enthusiasm waned. Maybe there was an illness or unexpected disruption in your day-to-day routine. Maybe it was too hard. Maybe you just lost interest. Maybe you felt defeated. Doesn’t matter. All is not lost.

Whatever the reason, there are always new beginnings, and those come with lessons learned. You had your reasons when you decided then was the time—aren’t those reasons still valid? Maybe they’re more valid now. If so, now will be a most excellent time for a new beginning.

If not now, exactly when?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Where's Your Core?

We all have one, a core. Different from a soul or spirit, our core is the “who” of who we are. It’s about what we believe. We know success is based on action—yet our actions are the results of our beliefs.
So, here are a few ideas on how you can take beliefs and turn them into actions. And yes, this has a lot to do with your personal health, wellness and well-being.
  • You can do almost anything you have the desire and skills and drive to do. In today’s world it no longer matters so much that you are discovered. You get to discover yourself. Through social media, today, everyone can publish their own work, create their own products, and attract their own customers. The only thing holding you back is your willingness to take the leap and try. Don’t wait for others to select you—select yourself—then spread the word.
  • Pay it forward—great movie, great idea. And, it works. Sure, you expect to be compensated for your efforts, whether it involves weight loss, smoking cessation, increased physical activity, or the effort you make through work. The thing is, you don’t know ahead of time, ahead of making the effort, whether or not the effort you make will pay off.  Yet when you see your “compensation” as the reward for the effort rather than the reason for the effort, you are paying it forward.
  • Wellness, like illness is contagious. Doing what “everyone” else does means you will do no more than the average of your friends, associates, co-workers—you get the picture. Do more. Be more. It’s true that sometimes the best opportunities are those found in those places where no one else is looking. Look for those places in your life where you can go that proverbial extra mile.
  • What does perseverance have to do with success? It’s not always about being the first one with the newest idea. It’s not always about having the best idea. Sometimes those new ideas result in burn-out and discouragement. When that happens others may stop trying. Being the best can sometimes mean, you’re still there plugging along. No compromises.
  • More on success...According to Steve Jobs, “You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future.” At the same time, it’s important to note that success is not inevitable—it only seems that way once it has been achieved. There’s a lot in between that each of us must do to make that happen.
  • One more thing, and it’s important...implementation is everything. Intent is important, but it doesn’t get you where you want to be. You need a plan. You need to implement that plan. You need to change it when change is needed. Your success doesn’t come from intentions. It comes from the implementation and execution of those intentions.
The takeaway?  If you’re willing to make a change, try something new, something better, there will come a day when you will look back with pride on your accomplishment. You will look back in pride on the part you played in making your life a little better—and that in itself is a huge accomplishment. 
How’s that for creating a foundation, getting to the core, or heart of who you are, and who you want to be?