Eating Like Children

Babies are the perfect eaters. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Small children are perfect eaters too unless adults unknowingly alter their relationship with food by using it for bribes, threats or treats.  Eating like children could be our solution to overeating and the way to enjoy food more.

Parents often complain that their children are fussy, don’t want to eat at mealtime or don’t eat enough. If parents offered them nutritious food throughout the day, they would eat enough and choose adequate variety of vitamins and minerals.

In our zeal to be good parents, we worry about them not getting adequate nourishment. That would only be a concern if we also offer them processed snack foods regularly. The allure of the sugar, fat and salt is tough to refuse.

But if children are freely given small portions of varied whole foods, they will pick and choose their favorites (what we should do), eat with enjoyment (yes, us too) stop as soon as their bellies are full (perfect weight management) and not differentiate between a juicy orange or an ice cream cone (imagine us doing that).

Remember, they are not born knowing that veggies and fruits are “good” food and sweets are not. We place that value on them and teach them our biases. So emulate small children eating… whether slurping an ice cream cone on a hot day or delighting in a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

Pretty little girls eating ice cream in the summer

© iuliia29photo – Fotolia.com

Friendship and Health

Social contact and friendship are good for your health, physically, mentally and emotionally. Those who have strong social ties tend to be the happiest people.

We all want to share our joy, excitement, pain and sorrow with a supportive friend. There may be some loners who prefer being without friends, but they are a true minority. A report from the University of Chicago illuminated some startling facts about loneliness:

  1.  Associated with progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
  2.  Obesity
  3.  Elevated blood pressure
  4.  Diminished immunity
  5.  Increased vascular resistance
  6.  Depression
  7.  Poor quality of sleep

Who is your best friend? Some people find themselves with virtually no real friends, only acquaintances through work, their children’s school or church. Life gets in the way and friendship takes time and effort to nurture. Children, work and family take up the bulk of our energy and time unless we consciously weave friendship into our priorities.

Once you’ve made the decision to have more friends, make it a priority. Let go of the preconceived idea about who your friend should be; maybe they will be older or younger than you or richer or poorer. Invite someone to coffee or lunch and take the time to get to know the person before making a judgment. If you want to be healthy, hang out where the fit and healthy people do and if you want to tap into your creative side, take an art class.

If you are an introvert like me, you can still make friendship a priority, but make it on your schedule. Typically, introverts enjoy friends, but don’t like to be overwhelmed with large crowds. Know what your boundaries are and stick to them.

Smile, make eye contact and say hello. People will know if that you are genuine. And have fun!Two female friends meeting for a coffee

© Kaspars Grinvalds – Fotolia.com

Grocery List and Weight

I’m the first to tell you to eat the foods you like, whether or not you’d like to lose weight. The important difference with Mindful Eating is to choose foods both pleasing and nourishing. So when I recently read in Medscape that shoppers who use a grocery list made higher quality food choices and had lower body weights, I was interested.

The research included 1,300 mostly overweight or obese people. The research could not determine if some paid more attention to their food and weight, so they also planned more or if the people that planned more were able to resist temptation and stick to their list.

I’m not sure it really matters because I know that if you want to eat healthier, lose weight or cut down on sugar, the food you have in your immediate eating environment determines how successful you will be until you are able to slowly, over time, change your undesired eating behavior.

So if you make a grocery list of all the foods that you like and want to keep abundantly around you, your chances of achieving your goal are much higher than if you did not plan and came home to then decide what to eat.

You can even make the process easier for you by making a master grocery list to check off your most used (and liked) items and an area to write things in for each shopping trip.

Keep in mind that grocery stores are carefully set-up to tempt you to make impulse buys. They pay consultants big money to show them the most convincing displays and areas to reach you. And don’t forget that the manufacturer’s spend tons of money to make the packaging have compelling eye appeal… and buy appeal.

You can see that having a grocery list just to overcome these food evils alone will be helpful. You will increase your success even more if you plan a menu and shop from that. It doesn’t have to be exact or written in stone. Leave flexibility for those crazy nights when things change… because they will.Couple shopping at supermarket

© stokkete – Fotolia.com