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Mindfulness-Meditation-Slowing Down in Our Daily Lives

What is mindfulness?

The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness.  It is being on “automatic pilot,” out of touch with our bodies and our experience in the moment.  For most of us, our minds are often constantly wandering.  We are often quite literally “not here” in the present.  And we can be absent in many ways from the best moments of our lives because we are caught up in our thoughts, memories, plans, or feelings.

Mindfulness is moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness.  It involves paying careful and detailed attention in the present moment—just noticing and exploring whatever our experience is from one moment to the next, without judging it as positive or negative.

 Mindfulness includes just observing:

  •  Paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgment.
  • Allowing yourself to just “be”—versus always having to “do” something or change circumstances or your experience in some way.
  • Objectively observing your experience, and perhaps quietly naming it to yourself (such as “thinking,” “planning,” “remembering,” or “sad,” “happy,” “worried”).
  • When your mind wanders, simply bringing it back to your breath or other object of focus and the present moment—again and again.

 

Mindfulness meditation

Formal practices of mindfulness are at the heart of mindfulness meditation—also known as “insight meditation.”  Mindfulness meditation enables us to be more grounded in the present moment and develop a greater understanding of our experience and how we relate to it.

One of the benefits of this type of meditation is that we can focus the meditation on the experiences we typically deal with every day.  We learn and practice mindfulness meditation by focusing on the breath—but we can also focus the meditation on our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and experiences.

Mindfulness meditation will help you learn and experience nonjudgmental awareness in the moment. Practicing mindfulness in meditation can change the quality of your everyday life by increasing your awareness and your ability to be present and alive in the moment, attuned to all of your experience and the world around you.

You can also practice mindfulness in many ways during your ordinary daily activities. Being mindful of your experience during your activities can be very enriching—and informative. Everyday mindfulness can also help you prevent and decrease stress and other unpleasant experiences.

Try doing ordinary activities “mindfully” as you slow down

There are many ways to practice mindfulness. Try doing some of your daily activities mindfully. Consider the activity the most important thing you can do in the moment—and something that deserves your special attention. Slow down and pay attention moment by moment.

Using all of your senses, pay attention to your experience in your body and your mind. What do you see? What do you hear? What scents or smells do you notice? What do you feel with your hands or in other parts of your body? What feelings or moods arise? What thoughts do you notice?

Practicing mindfulness is not to “think about” your experience, but simply to notice your thoughts. As thoughts and feelings arise, note them to yourself, and allow them to change or shift as they will—and gently bring your attention back to the activity at hand, and your direct sensations.

Activities to practice doing mindfully could include:

  • Making and drinking tea or coffee mindfully. Notice each step in the process, every sensation and every detail. Drink in slow motion, noticing every aspect of your experience as you sit and enjoy your drink.
  • Taking a slow-motion bath or shower. Using all your senses, simply notice and enjoy a warm bath or shower.
  • Washing dishes mindfully. Consider washing the dishes to be the most important thing you can do in the moment. Wash them thoroughly, with careful attention to your complete experience.
  • Taking a mindful walk. Notice every part of your body and all of your sensory experience as you walk. Notice all of the details in the environment around you—take them in with all of your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel?
  • Brushing your hair in slow motion for several minutes, or brushing your teeth mindfully and thoroughly. Pay attention to every detail from start to finish.
  • Taking a mindful drive. Notice every thing you do and experience during the drive, including your experiences in your body, your feelings, and your thoughts.

Lifestyle Awareness Training: Do less. Enjoy what you do more. How?

  • Just don’t do something. Sit there! Have unscheduled time. Practice slowing down and doing nothing every day. Practice useless gazing. Really, observe the world around you. You will probably feel uncomfortable at first. Choose to act outside of your normal routines.

Notice (be mindful of) what you are doing with each of your daily activities:

When you wake up

As you get ready for work

When you use the toilet

While you brush and floss your teeth

As you wash your hands

When you take out the garbage

Be present as you wash dishes or clean up the kitchen

Notice the sensations as you drink coffee or tea

Be present when you hug someone

Notice how your breakfast and other meals taste

Notice your “hungers”—for food, rest, affection, accomplishment, and nurturing activities

When you go for a walk

While you talk on the phone

As you drive your car

When you grocery shop or do errands

As you turn on the TV—also notice how what you see effects your emotions

Be deeply present as you meet others

When you get sleepy, celebrate your blessings of a comfortable place to lay your head

 

  • Pay attention. Don’t just do your activities on Have a sense of the sacredness of your life. Your life is rich and valuable. Celebrate your wild and precious life!
  • Resist rushing. An example from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Present Moment Wonderful Moment (mindfulness verses for every day life) and Peace Is Every Step deal with driving, something that most of us do every day.

For a PDF copy: Mindfulness—Meditation—Slowing Down in Our Daily Lives

Make Your Mind an Ocean: Become Your Own Therapist!

Four Foundations of Mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and all phenomena

Cultivate Health as You Celebrate Well-Being!

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Cultivate health! Celebrate well-being!

Vitality/aliveness/well-being is more than a number on a scale!

Ask yourself: What’s NOT wrong?

What are the blessings in my life that sometimes I might take for granted?

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Come to the banquet table of life.

Learn to nourish yourself in ways that provide lasting nourishment to the soul (heart).

Practice the recipes for nourishing the heart.

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Learn the art of cultivating joy.

Ask yourself, what nourishes joy in me? What nourishes joy in others?

Do I nourish joy in myself and others enough? Do I enjoy the precious jewels that I have?       

        Daily Check-in:

  Notice if there’s suffering (obstacles/patterns that don’t work well).

See a cause.

See a way out, and a path that shows the way out.

Practice the path.

     Ideas for Self-Nurturing Activities         By Bob Wilson, BS, DTR

(* = FREE) This list is euphoric and non-caloric!!!

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Paint Your Life with Creativity! The Painting Experience

Self-Nurturing Restorative Box

Sprinkle Dollops of Delight and Self-Care Towards Yourself

Ways to Learn to Love Your Body

Listen to my favorite music

Enjoy a long, warm bubble bath

* Go for a walk

* Share a hug with a loved one

* Relax outside

* Practice feeling contented

* Physical activity (of my choice)

* Spiritual prayer

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*Attend a caring support group

* Practice diaphragmatic breathing

* Do stretching exercises

* Reflect on my positive qualities: “ I am…”

* Watch the sunrise/sunset

* Laugh

* Concentrate on a relaxing scene

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Create a collage representing “the real me”

Receive a massage…ah…

Massage

* Reflect on: “I appreciate….”

Write my thoughts and feelings in a personal journal

Attend a favorite athletic event

Do something adventurous!

Read a special book or magazine

* Sing, hum, dance or whistle a  happy tune!

Play a musical instrument

* Spiritual meditation

MEDITATING DOG

Work with plants (gardening)

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Learn a new skill

See a special play, movie or concert

Work out with weights

Ride a bike or motorcycle

Make myself a nutritious meal

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Draw/paint a picture

MY FIRST PAINTINGI SAY YES TO MY LIFE

* Swim, float, wade, relax in a  pool, or on the beach

Do aerobics/dance

Visit a special place I enjoy

* Smile & say : “I love myself.”

* Take time to smell the roses  (and other flowers I enjoy!)

uncondition love ROSEP1040518

* Imagine myself achieving my goals and dreams

Go horseback riding

* Reflect on “my most enjoyable memories”

* Enjoy a relaxing nap

Visit a museum/art gallery

* Practice yoga

Relax in a whirlpool /sauna

Enjoy a cool, refreshing glass of  water or juice

* Enjoy the beauty of nature

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* Count my blessings: “I am thankful for…”

* Play as I did as a child

* Star gaze- stay up late, get up early!

* Window shop

* Daydream

* Tell myself the loving words I want to hear from others

Attend a special workshop

Go sailing/paddle boating

Reward myself with a special  gift I can afford

Take myself on a vacation

Create with clay/pottery

GIZO FRONTVOW PLAQUE

* Practice positive affirmations

* Pet an animal

* Watch my favorite TV show

* Reflect on my successes: “I CAN….”

Make a bouquet of flowers

LOVE OF FLOWER ARRANTEMENTS

* Relax: watch the clouds

Make myself something nice

* Visit a park/woods/forest

Read positive, motivational literature

* Reflect on: “What I value most in life…”

Phone a special friend

Go on a picnic in a beautiful setting

Enjoy a gourmet cup of herbal tea or coffee

Participate in a favorite sport, game, recreation

* Practice a relaxation exercise

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* Practice the art of forgiveness

Treat myself to a nutritious meal at a favorite restaurant

Participate in a hobby

* Practice feeling awe for life

woman meditating on rock

* Discover a new place

* Hug a tree!

* “Meow” with a cat; “ bark “with a dog, “chirp” with a bird !

* Create my own list of self-nurturing activities

LIVE LIFE

ABC's of Zestful Living-COLOR

Learn to Effectively Manage Social Gatherings

 Holidays are Here! So Be a Lamp Unto Yourself!

 BE A LAMP UNTO YOURSELF

Failing to plan is planning to fail!  An ounce of preparing is worth a pound of fat!

Prior Planning Prevents Painful, Poor Results!

Get to know your DANGER ZONES. Where is it difficult for you to stand up for yourself and make healthful choices?

autobiography in 5 chapters

Which situations and times do social groups influence you the most? At work? During pot lucks? At your church or spiritual group? With family and friends? At the neighbors? On vacations and holidays? At restaurants? When you’re feeling overwhelmed (too many needs and requests for your time) and out of balance? What’s your challenge?

Consider that you probably have been through these situations numerous times in the past. What can you LEARN from them? HOW can you make more effective choices next time?

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Take into account the mindset of  holidays or special occasions:

  • Special occasions are filled with people, food, and emotions. Because of this, the events may be enjoyable and stressful at the same time!

  • Notice that the gatherings frequently center around FOOD! You’ll probably find tempting treats everywhere!

  • Many times you may find that overeating is encouraged, “Oh you can go off your diet, just this once!”

  • Because the events may involve lots of preparation (cleaning up the house, shopping, food preparation) you may not find time to go for a walk or to practice other stress reduction activities (like taking a NAP!)

  • Watch out for being:  P-HALT? Are you too: P=Pressured, H=Hungry, A=Angry, L=Lonely, T=Tired?

  • You may discover that family dynamics may increase stress for you.

THE OVALS FINAL-COMPLETE WORKSHEET.pdf

SHORT-Journal tips and ideas-1.pdf

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Get to KNOW yourself as you develop wisdom. Pay attention to your choices as you notice a lifetime of holiday habits automatically play out. Prepare yourself to be successful on special occasions by exploring the following sections:

Use the Stages Of Change  and The Daily Personal Check-In for suggestions on how to become a more effective self-manager.

Remember, progress not perfection! Easy does it, but DO it!

Think Light For The Holidays!    Christmas Relish Tree

                                                                                                                                                            Think Light for the Holidays!                                     Christmas Relish Tree!

Understand Food Cravings, Brain Chemistry, and Body Weight

You BECOME what you think, what you eat, and what you do!

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Consider about how your lifestyle patterns, food choices, self-nurturing, and physical activity choices deeply influence your brain chemistry, your moods, addictive urges, your sense of well being, and ultimately your body weight.

 

Many brain neurotransmitters and nutrients in foods affect appetite and moods:

Aside from providing great pleasure and enjoyment, the nutrients and energy your body needs to function; food also has an influence on appetite and moods. Research shows that certain foods and lifestyle patterns affect powerful mood-modifying brain chemicals called neurotransmitters:

  • Serotonin — this is a chemical released after eating carbohydrates (sugars and starches). It enhances calmness, improves mood, and lessens depression. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. High levels of serotonin help control appetite, satisfy cravings, and provide a feeling of well-being and inner calm.
  • Dopamine and norepinephrine — these are chemicals released after eating protein (meats, poultry, dairy, legumes). They enhance mental concentration and alertness. These neurotransmitters come from the amino acid tyrosine.
  • Ghrelin — a neurotransmitter that sets up an irresistible urge to eat when elevated
  • NPY, neuropeptide Y — increases carbohydrate cravings when elevated
  • Galanin — increases the desire for fatty foods when elevated
  • Cortisol — the emergency gland of the body, the adrenals releases cortisol as the primary coordinator for the reactions of stress. Cortisol decreases the production of serotonin. If you normally eat to relieve stress, the hormone cortisol places the extra calories (fat) in the abdomen or stomach area of your body.
  • Endorphins — the body’s natural “high'” which gives pain relief and pleasure when elevated

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  How Do Your Lifestyle & Food Choices Affect Your Brain Chemistry?

  •   As you lower calories to lose weight, you starve your brain first and that depletes serotonin (a neurotransmitter which helps you feel calm, peaceful, and contented, and has a pivotal role in regulating appetite). This leads to increasing cravings for different foods, depression, anxiety, lethargy, feelings of hopelessness or rage all increase. Typical dieting means an immediate cutback on the production of chemicals that support health of your mind, your psyche, and your spirit.
  •  If you skip meals, this will lead to your blood sugar levels going abnormally low and intense cravings start. This also this causes an increase in ghrelin (a neurotransmitter that sets up an irresistible urge to eat) and also lowers neuropeptide Y, which increases carbohydrate cravings. This will lead to an unstoppable desire to eat lots of food and increases your eating frequency, which leads to binging on extra foods. Oops, not what you wanted to happen!
  •  As you lower calories to lose weight, this will lower insulin and thyroid hormone, which lowers your metabolism and also lowers the release of fat from your body (you can’t lose weight as easily and may end up on a plateau).
  •  As you eat more dietary fat, this will increase endorphins (the body’s natural “high”, which gives pain relief and pleasure). Research has also shown that the neurotransmitter galanin increases the desire for fatty foods. The more fat in a person’s diet, the more galanin is produced and the more galanin that’s produced, the more one prefers or craves fattier foods.  Research has also shown that eating less fat for several weeks reduces galanin levels and the desire to eat fatty foods. So the less fat (and refined carbohydrates you eat), the less you want.
  • Eating extra dietary carbohydrate (starches and sugars) will raise serotonin, which makes you feel calm and relaxed. So you can see how the usual combination of sugar and fat (many desserts) set you up to feel calm and contented, and can easily set up cravings for additional desserts because you want that inner state of calm and contentment.
  •  Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Two out of three people eat more under stress. Plus, we don’t usually overeat vegetables when we’re stressed (Did you notice that “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards?) You can make small changes over time to improve your eating habits. Do your best to choose foods rich in nutrients when you are under stress–vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fat-free dairy, and healthy fats in moderation. Limit sugar, unhealthy fat, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • When loneliness or stress increase, this leads to an increase in cortisol, which leads to deposits of abdominal fat and makes it more difficult to lost weight or keep it off.
  •  Do you sleep enough? 7 – 9 hours of sleep is vital to your health. There is a strong link between the amount of sleep people get and their risk of becoming overweight. Sleep deprivation leptin, a blood protein that suppresses appetite, and ↑ grehlin, a substance that makes people want to eat. After a night of sleep deprivation, people typically consume 10% more calories! Check out sleep disorder information online in NHLBI’s Diseases and Conditions Index (DCI) at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/  Also Read the Comprehensive Booklet Your Guide to Healthy Sleep here a PDF file: Healthy Sleep.pdf
  • If you feel inferior, have the “blues,” think you need to find something or want a reward, this leads to the increase of dopamine, which will lead to an increase in desire for food and an increase in attention to searching out enjoyable eating experiences or rewarding actions.
  • Calming and positive thoughts lead to an increase in serotonin, which lowers your desire for food, and increases your satisfaction, all of which helps control your temper, improve your sleep, while balancing sexual urges, and enhancing your memory.
  •  When you eat favorite food this will increase endorphins which may also lead to an increase your eating speed, which causes you to eat more eating more.
  •  A rise in norepinephrine causes an increase in negative feelings, feelings of distrust, and increasing the desire to fight or flee from unpleasant situations
  •  Endorphins (the body’s natural opiates which give a “high”) when they are low, this leads to an increase of the urge to get relief or pleasure, desire for junk foods, excess exercise, or alcohol.
  •  Exercise naturally raises endorphins and control NPY (neuropeptide Y) which lowers anxiety and carbohydrate cravings and increases feelings of contentment.
  • After a person exercises, abnormal cortisol levels lower, dopamine lowers (arousal hormone), and norepinephrine lower, which leads to appetite suppression and mood stability…ah…you feel better.

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Nutrient, Food & Mood Links:

  Think about this nutrient depletion……………..Might cause some common symptoms   

Sodium Confusion and poor memory
Potassium Apathy and confusion
Chromium Depression
Iron Confusion, lethargy, and difficulty learning
Magnesium Depression, confusion, and change in personality
Maganese Seizures
Selenium Anxiety and depression
Zinc Mood changes
Vitamin B1 Mental confusion, personality change, poor appetite, memory loss, mood swings, short attention span, irritability, depression, and fatigue
Vitamin B2 Depression
Niacin, Vitamin B6 Mood swings, depression, sleeplessness, restlessness, disorientation, and irritability
Vitamin B12 Memory loss, confusion, and senility
Folic acid Irritability and depression
Choline Memory loss
Vitamin E Lethargy and depression
Essential fatty acids Lethargy, irritability, and depression
Amino Acids (protein) Mood changes

“Stop Gaining Weight” (Second Edition) by Dr. Laura Pawlak Taken from page 228
Reviewed by Gudrun Zomerland, MFT     http://www.chinnstreetcounseling.com/zomerland/zomerland_10.shtml

For additional exploration about how vitamins and minerals affect our emotions and health see resources below The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.

Review below some excellent resources that can assist you in meeting your essential nutrient needs that contribute to emotional well-being:

How can you balance brain chemicals, achieve natural well being, as well as, reduce food cravings?

CAR TUNE UP

Are you feeling a bit stressed out or overwhelmed? Agitated or grumpy? Exhausted? Burned out? Do you feel like running away from all of your daily responsibilities? The first essential skill to explore is to restore balance to your lifestyle choices. Consider taking some time to simplify your life. Relax a bit and consider an emotional-spiritual tune-up. Ah… Now, frolic around and explore the following suggestions:
 

  1. The first step to achieving a healthier weight is practicing healthy thoughts. Nothing has a greater ability to change your brain chemistry and your desire to eat, more than the way you think! Think of your brain as a computer that is impacted by everything inside and outside your skin. Since our moods (and brain chemistry) are dramatically affected by our thoughts, practice thinking positive, uplifting, celebratory, and thankful thoughts! Ah…doesn’t that feel better?  Stress-related thoughts lower serotonin, which increases cravings.
  2. Don’t forget to eat! Don’t allow yourself to get overly hungry.  Most people find that if they wait too long between meals that they eat very fast and end up overeating. Running many errands on an empty stomach or leaving home without a snack sets you up to make a bad choice. Take fruits and veggies, whole grain low-fat crackers along with you. Perhaps bring along a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
  3. Eat healthy meals, with fewer amounts of junk foods. Buy plenty of fruits and vegetables for snacking and meal preparation. If you’re short on time, consider ready-cut or frozen items for convenience (and bring along a food bag). Make sure you tune-up your brain by eating enough healthy fats. Explore Healthy Fats and Risky Fats
  4. Keep problem foods out of the house. Avoid buying foods that are high in calories and bringing them into your home: i.e. potato chips, chocolate, cookies, brownies, cakes and pies, candy, etc. You can’t eat what’s not there! That doesn’t mean that wouldn’t ever have any of these foods. You just might purchase single-serving sizes and eat them when you’re out of your home.
  5. If you’re feeling low, practice self-nurturing techniques, and go for a walk or talk yourself into a stable mood before eating. When we remind ourselves of the benefits for changing, it can help us get back on track and keep us motivated.
  6. Note the benefits for physical activity. Physical activity can lessen stress, control blood pressure, decrease resting heart rate, etc. But it also helps to deal with stressful situations be increasing your mental sharpness, concentration, problem solving skills, and creativity. Shifting our attitudes will also help us overcome our resistance to doing exercise.
  7. Get support from other people, find a clan.  You don’t have to do it alone! Remember, HUGS are euphoric and non caloric! Frolic around: Various Hug Coupons!

To explore Douglas Bloch’s Your Personal “Brain Maintenance” Program

from Healing From Depression

 

Make an investment in you!

For a PDF version of Make An Investment In You–Learn Core Skills.pdf

21 Steps to Aging Successfully!

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Small Baby Steps Lead to Success. YES, I Can Change!

Whether you believe you CAN, or you believe you CAN’T, you’re right!

Many people can feel defeated and unsure they will be able to make lasting changes in their lifestyle because they haven’t been successful in the past. They hold their PAST unsuccessful history against themselves.

To change our INNER VISION and self-perception, it is really helpful to try out “baby steps” of new lifestyle options. Focus on an area that you want to change, explore resources, come up with a PLAN for change and try it out. 

BELIEVE that you CAN  do it! IMAGINE that you CAN succeed! VISUALIZE that this IS possible for you to accomplish. Belief, imagination, and visualization strengthen the actuality of your achieving lasting change.

Take action! If you have not been successful before, you CAN BE this time! Seize the Moment.

A National Weight Control Registry survey found that 91% of people who were ULTIMATELY successful at losing weight and KEEPING IT OFF had tried numerous times before they finally figured out a strategy that worked for them. I found that this was also true for me with my weight loss and also my FINALLY stopping use of alcohol and drugs.

You can BEGIN in any area of your life that you want to.

The steps that you select should be FUN and enjoyable! Self-care does not have to be torture. You can learn to celebrate a healthful lifestyle! In fact, making FUN your focus will insure that your new patterns naturally become your new way you create your life.

Skip off to visit:

We find our way one step at a time.

 For a printable PDF version: Small Baby Steps Lead to Success.pdf

Here are some examples:                                                   Take Small Steps Today!

RULES FOR HEALTHY LIVING

1. Walk to work (at least part way); or park in the far-away parking spot.
2. Use fat free milk over whole milk.
3. Do sit-ups in front of the TV (during commercials).
4. Walk during lunch hour–at least for 10 minutes!
5. Drink water before a meal.
6. Eat leaner red meat & poultry.
7. Eat half your dessert.
8. Walk instead of driving whenever you can.
9. Take family walk after dinner.
10. Skate to work instead of driving.
11. Avoid food portions larger than your fist.
12. Mow lawn with push mower.
13. Increase the fiber in your diet (see my article).
14. Walk to your place of worship instead of driving.
15. Walk kids to school.
16. Get a dog and walk it around your neighborhood or in a nearby park.

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17. Join an exercise group.
18. Drink diet soda (or just water!).
19. Replace Sunday drive with Sunday walk.
20. Do yard work.
21. Eat off smaller plates and use smaller glasses.
22. Get off a stop early & walk.
23. Don’t eat late at night.
24. Skip seconds.
25. Work around the house.
26. Skip buffets.
27. Grill, steam or bake instead of frying.
28. Bicycle to the store instead of driving.
29. Take dog to the park.
30. Ask your doctor about taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
31. Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV.
32. Use vegetable oils over solid fats.
33. eat more carrots, less cake.
34. Fetch the newspaper yourself.
35. Sit up straight at work and stretch once each half hour.
36. Wash the car by hand.
37. Don’t skip meals and have healthier snacks.
38. Eat more celery sticks.
39. Run or walk faster when running errands.
40. Pace the sidelines at kids’ athletic games.
41. Take wheels off luggage.
42. Choose an activity that fits into your daily life.
43. Park further from the store and walk.
44. Ask a friend to exercise with you.
45. Make time in your day for physical activity (even 5 minutes!).
46. Exercise with a video if the weather is bad.
47. Bike to the barbershop or beauty salon instead of driving.
48. Keep to a regular eating schedule.
49. If you find it difficult to be active after work, try it before work.
50. Take a walk or do desk exercises instead of a cigarette or coffee break.
51. Perform gardening or home repair activities.
52. Avoid laborsaving devices.
53. Take small trips on foot to get your body moving.
54. Play with your kids 30 minutes a day.
55. Dance to music.
56. Keep a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes in your car and office.
57. Make a Saturday morning walk a group habit.
58. Walk briskly in the mall.
59. Choose activities you enjoy & you’ll be more likely to stick with them.
60. Stretch before bed to give you more energy when you wake.
61. Take the long way to the water cooler or restroom at work.
62. Explore new physical activities.
63. Vary your activities, for interest and to broaden the range of benefits.
64. Reward and acknowledge your efforts.
65. Choose fruit for dessert.
66. Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all.
67. Take stairs instead of the escalator.
68. Conduct an inventory of your meal/snack and physical activity patterns.
69. Share an entree with a friend.
70. Grill fruits or vegetables.
71. Eat before grocery shopping.

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72. Choose a checkout line without a candy display.
73. Make a grocery list before you shop.
74. Buy 100% fruit juices over soda and sugary drinks.
75. Swim with your kids.
76. Flavor foods with herbs, spices, and other low fat seasonings.
77. Remove skin from poultry before cooking to lower fat content.
78. Eat before you get too hungry.
79. Don’t skip breakfast or other meals.
80. Stop eating when you are full!
81. Snack on fruits and vegetables.
82. Top your favorite cereal with apples or bananas.
83. Try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.
84. Include several servings of whole grain food daily.
85. When eating out, choose a small or medium portion.
86. If main dishes are too big, choose an appetizer or a side dish instead.
87. Ask for salad dressing “on the side”.
88. Don’t take seconds.
89. Try your burger with just lettuce, tomato and onion.
90. Try a green salad instead of fries.
91. Bake or broil fish.
92. Walk instead of sitting around.
93. Eat sweet foods in small amounts.
94. Take your dog on longer walks.
95. Drink lots of water.
96. Cut back on added fats or oils in cooking or spreads.
97. Walk the beach instead of sunbathing.
98. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling them.
99. Carry your groceries instead of pushing a cart.
100. Use a snow shovel instead of a snow blower.

For a terrific summary of 171 lifestyle change ideas upload: SMALL STEP GOV IDEAS.pdf

7 RULES OF LIFE

Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!

 

Practice Skillful Contemplation and Meditation in Our Lives

WE ALL GET PULLED AND DISTRACTED IN MANY DIRECTIONS 

Last Sunday PM we had a terrific discussion in the Question & Answer session at meditation group, in response to a question:
HOW do we make life meaningful and a practice skillful life choices even after our meditation sessions?

Here us a summary of the excellent discussion:

 GLOBE MEDITATION.

Serenity Prayer

Bob’s Story…How Did I Continue Healthier Choices for Over 43 Years???!!??

Be Free to Climb Up Mountains!  Meet Bob.

Losing about 250 pounds allowed me to achieve my dreams. How did I do it? I climbed up the mountain—step-by-step—and transformed my life in the same way.  

    

   246Wil-R1-36 (I’m hiking in a  wilderness area–I’m the guy on the right with a 50-pound back pack!)       

bob wilson jpep-FAT PICTURE-2                              

Bob above at 260 pounds—my high school graduation picture. At my maximum, I weighed over 100 pounds more.   I could NOT have gone hiking!!                                    

Hi! I wanted to share with you my step-by-step journey. I lost about 250 pounds and have kept it off for over 43 years, and have been drug and alcohol-free for over 28 years. I weighed about 400 pounds in the eighth grade.

My story shows an example of how one person worked with the process of making lifestyle changes. For me, it turned out to be pretty easy to learn about new foods and to become more active in my daily life. I found the difficult areas to transform to be life-balance, self-esteem and self-talk, my depression, intense emotional eating, and learning the skill of problem solving when things weren’t going well. These are all steps up the mountain of lasting lifestyle change. All of these areas influenced my food and activity choices.

When I started my journey, my lifestyle behaviors were out-of-control and unhealthy. I was always the fattest kid in school. My eating habits and lifestyle kept me that way.

I found that success at achieving a healthier life requires learning a series of new lifestyle skills. These skills allowed me to create my life in a NEW way. Before I started my journey, I didn’t know any of these skills. Learning them opened for me the prison door to my isolation cell of overweight. I was no longer a victim of my out-of-control, unhealthy habits. It was so ENJOYABLE to discover the freedom of new options for living.

Skill power, not will power, is the key to success!

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SKILL #1: Take time to create a new life. I found that choosing to take the time is absolutely essential. If I don’t make the time to evaluate my patterns, select skills to try out, and practice them, I will find myself stuck with the same old habits (patterns) that keep me overweight and unhealthy.

For me, the pattern of “over commitment to others and under commitment to myself” sets me up to make unhealthy choices in my life. This pattern has been a key obstacle in being healthier. Does your brain and heart dream up commitments that your body can’t keep? Mine sure does! I had to find out how to slow down and chill out!

Footwork of Recovery

SKILL #2: I couldn’t change what I didn’t observe. Keeping a food & lifestyle journal is like looking in a mirror. I can see the type and amounts of food I eat each day, and how my emotions, people, places, and events, influence my choices. I can notice my problem eating and lifestyle patterns. I can also see the benefits of trying out new foods or different lifestyle choices. Keeping a journal allows me to “write away” the pounds. I can learn new things and try them out. I discovered how to be my own lifestyle trainer and coach.

 Cabbage-carrot steam HPIM0285.JPGJon Birthday Cake-smile

SKILL #3: Make great tasting, healthy eating a priority-even in the midst of a hectic lifestyle. I plan ahead. An ounce of preplanning is worth a pound of fat! I take time to plan meals and snacks for myself (and my family). To help me, I discovered menu planning that celebrates vegetables and fruits! I use food to fuel my busy lifestyle and to provide energy for all the activities I enjoy. I found a new, healthful style of eating happens one new recipe and new food idea at a time. Also, mouth fun, enjoying what I eat, is essential if I’m going to make my new choices a permanent part of my lifestyle and not just a “diet.”

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SKILL #4: The reward for consistent physical activity is vibrancy! I tried to be flexible and jump into a variety of different physical activities. I began to feel the power, to celebrate the inner strength and sense of well being that come from allowing my body to experience the joy of movement.

I make fitness a priority. I plan family and personal vacations around fitness, or invite a colleague to “do business” over a walk rather than lunch, coffee or drinks. I walk to the bank to use the teller machine. It’s like winning the lottery. I put your card in and money comes out!

My increased physical abilities brought me a sense of awe and appreciation for life. The quality of my life has improved dramatically because I lost weight and became more full of zip. I never would have been able to hike to the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area if I hadn’t made a commitment to myself of regular physical activity. I am SO grateful for the miraculous changes in my life!

 Bob on hike

 Bob’s Workout!

 My normal workout is with daily activities—that is I have a home in NE Portland—so I mow my own grass, edge the lawn (with a push edger!!), do my own gardening, paint the house, repairs, etc. Then there is the inside of the home too…mopping, scrubbing, cleaning…cooking!  That burns off many extra calories, and saves $$$ too. Even my garage door doesn’t have an automatic opener—I’M IT!

  • I also blend two activities at once—take a 30-block walk as I walk up to the bank, post office, or store, etc.
  • I walk 6 times/week—just around the neighborhood—in a number of large loops, OR, plan walks in the many, beautiful Portland parks and gardens & green spaces.  I love going on walks with friends—and plan them regularly. Instead of going out for dinner, we get together for activities, and perhaps bring along healthy snacks!
  • Then, there are the weekly hikes to many of the beautiful sights in Washington or Oregon—wow!  Cheap fun!  I get into my aerobic zone for hours—and it is enjoyable!
  • Then, lastly I make a date with—ME! I put my gym & yoga appointments on the calendar—every Wednesday & Friday mornings—there I am at Yoga from 6-7 am, then I do an hour strength training, and 15 minutes on the stationary bike.  I also plan another days— just strength training.  I’ve done this for the last 15 years and have raised my metabolism by 300 calories/day (I know this because I kept records of my calorie-weight-maintenance levels). This has also kept me injury-free and pain-free.
  • WHAT’S THE BENEFIT TO ME??  Blending in regular physical exercise has been an important part of helping me maintain a healthy body, mind, and emotional life.

WHEN A BABY CRIES YOU PAY ATTENTIONShine the Light of Loving Self-Care

SKILL # 5: Learn the skills for emotional nurturing. They’re euphoric and non-caloric! Learning and practicing these skills helped me transform emotional eating and low self-esteem. I learned to celebrate my life! I became a compassionate and loving friend—to  me. I make a commitment to give myself more pleasure and enjoyment in my life, to nurture myself. I remember that I deserve the best! I try to be kind to the being that lives inside of my own skin.

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SKILL #6: For me, counseling and support groups have been invaluable. I tried to fix the “unfixable family, friends, and work places!” This proved to be quite frustrating, unproductive and self-destructive. I didn’t have any role models about how to live a healthy life and to find out about wholesome relationships, problem solving, and conflict management. Through reading books, individual counseling, and various support groups, I was able to dismantle unproductive conditioning and responses to life events. Ah. I’m so GLAD this help was available. It saved my life.

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SKILL #7: Cultivating life-long health: Learning and practicing all these skills can bring friskiness and life-long well-being throughout all of the seasons of our lives. Weight and a healthy life is managed, not cured. It’s an ongoing investment in ourselves. It is similar to good dental hygiene. There is brushing, flossing and use of a periodontal tool, and regular visits to the dentist and hygienist. Making the investment in yourself pays rich dividends: you can chew foods of any texture without problems, you don’t experience the pain of gum disease or cavities, you save lots of money, and you feel self-empowered and capable because of your self discipline.

It is rare to have someone tell you that your life may be out of balance due to MANY different choices you make on a moment-to-moment basis. It is your environment, lifestyle, genetics, and personal habits that keep you off track. It’s not JUST diet or exercise, but ALL of the factors in your life that influence your choices. Your life is an ECOSYSTEM.

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As you learn about your choices and the patterns they form, make small changes, and learn new skills, then day-by-day, overtime, you form new habits. These new patterns gradually bring to you NEW RESULTS (being healthier, happier, and thinner). This happens as you learn to practice problem solving when you relapse to old ways of doing things. Over time, you learn what works and what doesn’t work for you. You cultivate within yourself the answers and skills to manage the challenges that you face!

Explore Bob’s EXPANDED STORY for additional ideas about how I applied all of the Essential Skills that I listed, plus lots more. See also Bob’s Story, Be Active!

For a PDF version of this story: GUTS TO GLORY Walk About Article.pdf

I encourage you to check out the rest of  this site. I share all of these Essential Skills for life-long success, plus TONS of other fun ideas. Happy exploring. May your life blossom into friskiness! 

🙂  Hugs and love, Bob