Eight simple tricks to mindful eating

Eight simple tricks to mindful eating

Eating is such a significant part of our daily lives, yet it’s so easy to get disconnected from it. One moment our plates are full, and the next moment, they’re empty and we’ve hardly tasted or enjoyed one bite.

Practicing mindful eating can bring us awareness of our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations, plus insight into the roots of health and contentment. So what is mindful eating and how can we achieve it?

Below we explore what it means to eat more mindfully and steps you can take to help focus on your food.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is having awareness of physical and psychological sensations associated with eating, which includes:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities available through food preparation and eating by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
  • Learning to be aware of physical hunger and fullness cues to guide your decisions to begin eating and to stop eating.
  • Acknowledging responses to food without judgment – Someone who eats mindfully acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.

Tips to Eat More Mindfully

  1. Chew 25 times: There is reliable scientific data that extra chewing results in less overall food intake.
  2. Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand: Making things more difficult is a great way to force yourself to pay attention to what you’re doing. Start slow by just doing it for breakfast and snacks.
  3. Put your fork down between each bite: This is an excellent complement to the chewing habit. Setting your fork down forces you to focus on chewing your food rather than letting yourself mindlessly pick at your plate for your next bite.
  4. Tune in: Take your first bite with your eyes closed and tune into the sound of the bite and swallowing. This will help you to slow down as you consume your meals.
  5. Try to identify every ingredient in your meal: This is a great way to focus on the present moment.
  6. Put your food on a plate: This may sound obvious, but eating out of a bag is not practicing mindful eating. Get in the habit of placing small snacks on a plate before you eat them. This forces you to acknowledge exactly what and how much you will be eating.
  7. Sit at a table: This formalizes a dining experience, helping you draw attention to your food and eating habits.
  8. Eat in silence: Put away your phone and turn off the TV. Eat distraction free so that you can focus on the taste and smells of your meal.

By KentuckyOne Health Weight Loss & Surgery Associates

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A few goals to help keep your weight loss on track

A few goals to help keep your weight loss on track

Are you considering or have you undergone weight loss surgery? If so, then it’s likely you’ve thought about personal milestones or goals you would like to achieve on your journey to living a healthier you.

During our bariatric support groups, we often talk about realistic goals and tips as we cheer each other on during this life changing experience. Below are a few goals that will have you thinking beyond the number on the scale and directly impact your health!

Eat Enough Protein

When it comes to your diet, Rule #1 is “eating enough protein.” Eating a diet rich in protein can help reduce hunger, improve your immune system and build strength. Your provider or dietitian can work with you to determine how much protein you should consume daily. Even if your bariatric surgery is long behind you, it’s a good idea to be aware of your protein intake to be sure you’re reaching your daily goal.

Drink More Fluids

Lose more weight, stay fuller and prevent dehydration fatigue and headaches by getting enough fluids. The goal for most adults is to drink at least 64 ounces of water, or rather fluids, each day. If you find yourself struggling to reach this goal, here are a few tips:

  • Create a visual reminder of how close you are to reaching your daily goal by filling up four, 16-ounce water bottles (or a 64-ounce pitcher) and make sure you finish them by the end of the day.
  • Get high-tech and set up a hydration reminder that syncs to your smartphone.
  • If plain water is too boring, try adding lemon or mint for a little flavor without the added sugar. Low-calorie flavored water, decaf tea and coffee can also be good choices when it comes to reaching your 64-ounces-a-day goal.

Find a Friend

Make it one of your goals to not go it alone. A friend can provide that extra encouragement and motivation that we all need some days. If one friend is good, more friends are better – the more the merrier when it comes to finding help and support with eating right, exercising and reducing stress.

Go to the Doctor

If you are considering weight loss surgery, it’s easy to see why going to a doctor is necessary. But you shouldn’t only be scheduling an appointment with your surgeon. Whether pre-op or post-op, seeing your primary care provider and any other of your regular doctors can help you get healthy and stay healthy. By routinely going to your doctor, you can actively monitor important health and wellness measures, like blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Together with your physician, you can also create action plans for any other conditions, such as knee pain or sleep apnea.

Take Your Vitamins

There is no substitute for a healthy diet, but a healthy diet is not always enough. If you’ve had weight loss surgery, a multivitamin may be part of your daily routine. Talk to your surgeon or doctor about any vitamins you should take and then be sure to take them as recommended to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Remember, staying nourished can also help you lose weight by keeping up your energy levels and metabolism.

Smile

And finally, make it a goal to smile more. Smile when you greet people. Smile when you say goodbye. Smile when you are talking and listening. Smile for no reason at all. Why? Because the very act of smiling can help convince your mind that you are happier. Plus, smiling at other people will make them more likely to be friendly to you, which in turn will make you happier. All that extra happiness can make it easier to do your daily duties, like eating right and working out!


Jessica Gies

Jessica is a registered dietitian with KentuckyOne Health Weight Loss & Surgery Associates.

Five Bariatric Surgery Myths and Realities

Five Bariatric Surgery Myths and Realities

If you’re struggling with your weight and related conditions, it’s likely that you’ve tried just about everything. While bariatric surgery is not a quick fix, it can be part of a plan to help you achieve significant weight loss and start living a healthier life.

As you explore your options, including weight loss surgery, it’s important to keep track of any questions you may have. That way, once you meet with your provider or bariatric surgeon you can be sure to have this list as a reference to discuss any information or concerns you have before making a decision.

There is an abundance of information out there regarding bariatric surgery, including some misconceptions. We’ve put together a list of some of the more common myths about bariatric surgery and what you can really expect below.

Myth 1: Weight loss surgery prevents you from regaining weight.

Not true. Most patients are successful in maintaining their weight loss one to two years after their surgery, however, it is possible to regain the weight you’ve lost. Weight loss surgery works in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes. Your provider will discuss the necessary lifestyle changes you may need to make following your surgery.

Myth 2: Weight loss surgery is a cop-out.

Also not true. Most people undergoing bariatric surgery have tried every diet and pill out there. And while diet and exercise will benefit someone who is severely obese, it may just not be enough for others. Undergoing a weight loss procedure is a tool to help you lose weight. In order to lose weight and keep it off, dietary changes and regular exercise regimens will need to become part of your lifestyle.

Myth 3: After surgery, I won’t need to change my lifestyle.

Weight loss surgery is not a cure for obesity. If you do not change your lifestyle and return to old habits, you will regain weight and experience a relapse in your obesity-related condition. You don’t have to become a marathon runner who adapts a vegan lifestyle, however, your provider will work with you to determine any dietary restrictions and exercise needed to maintain success.

Myth 4: The surgery guarantees weight loss after recovery.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. Within the first few months following weight loss surgery, it is common to see more pounds dropping each month. After those initial few months, it becomes a slower weight loss, which is normal. Keep in mind that weight loss will depend on your ability to make the best choices possible and live a healthier lifestyle.

Myth 5: You do not have to go for follow-up care.

The first few weeks after weight loss surgery are crucial, and you need to be diligent about making it to your follow-up appointments. These appointments allow your health care provider to monitor your healing and advance your diet safely. A year after surgery, follow-ups depend on how you’re doing, but checking in with your provider helps ensure that your progress is monitored and any issues or questions you have can be addressed.

If you are interested in learning more about bariatric surgery, join us for a free informational seminar. A board-certified surgeon will explore a full range of weight loss surgery solutions, and answer any questions to help you make the right decision for your life. Call 502.513.6026 or fill out the quick online form to register for an upcoming seminar near you.

A New Place to Start a Life-changing Journey

A New Place to Start a Life-changing Journey

A New Place to Start a Life-changing Journey

Kentuckiana patients now have another option to turn to for surgery that can help them shed pounds and transform their health.

Weight-loss surgery reshapes the stomach to allow it to hold less food and sometimes alters the hormones and intestinal bacteria that regulate hunger, depending on the type of procedure. Surgery is an option for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or a BMI of 35–40 occurring with an obesity-related chronic health problem, such as Type 2 diabetes.

“Exciting research is emerging that says weight loss surgery is an extremely effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes,” said David Geller, MD, bariatric surgeon at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health. “Some studies suggest the surgery may be appropriate for diabetes patients with BMI lower than 35.”

Much More Than Surgery

 

This spring, Dr. Geller and general surgeon Robert Farrell, MD, began offering three types of weight-loss surgery — sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and gastric band — at Jewish Hospital. The operations, however, are just one part of the new surgical weight-loss program.

Learn more about each procedure on our Weight Loss Surgery 101 infographic. 

 

“Patients meet with the surgeon to determine the most appropriate operation for them, and then they have appointments with a mental health professional, an exercise physiologist and a nutritionist,” Dr. Farrell said. “They also
attend a support group meeting with pre- and post-operative patients.”

After surgery, patients continue to receive the multidisciplinary support they need to make the lifestyle changes that are crucial to success.

“Positive, long-term results depend not only on the success of the surgery, but on patients’ willingness to get active and follow a healthy diet,” Dr. Geller said. “Our team helps them navigate the transition and maintain those modifications.”

Register online to attend a free weight-loss surgery seminar or call 502.912.8751.

Transformation Before Transplantation

 

For individuals who need a liver or kidney transplant, having a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher can increase the risk of complications after surgery.

“Obesity can be prohibitive for patients who otherwise qualify for a transplant because they are more likely to experience issues with wound healing after surgery,” said Dr. Farrell. “The immune system-suppressing drugs they need to take after transplantation may compound those issues.”

Weight-loss surgery for transplant candidates is available at Jewish Hospital. Approximately six months after the operation, the surgeon evaluates patients’ BMI to determine whether they have lost sufficient weight to be listed for a transplant.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Spring edition of One Health magazine