Category Archives: In the Moment – Mindful Eating App

Reason #1001 Why My Husband Is So Smart

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Without the proper rest, we could end up like this – “dog tired” (and very sad-looking).

I married a very, very smart man.  Why?  He listens to me.

Peter loves to ride his road bike, and he likes to go on long rides, long enough to be “completely worn out.”  He knows that going out 2 days in a row will just be too much, yet he has such a hard time resisting the urge to ride when the weather is nice.

After a brutal Wisconsin winter, recent glimpses of spring weather have provided quite a challenge for him, to lay low on alternating days and swim instead.  One such day came along last week – sunny, 70-ish, perfect riding weather – and he told me “I might not be able to resist.”

I put in my 2-cents worth.  It went something like this:  “You have a right to do that.”  (In my head I was saying, “You have a right to make an unsupportive choice.”)

I knew he could tell what I was thinking.  When I returned home in the middle of the day, I found this note on the counter:

Kim – Went to the club to swim.  Listened to my body.

As I said, he is a smart man.

How well do you listen to  your body.  There are many opportunities to make unsupportive choices, even though we know we won’t feel well later.  Being more mindful – without judgment – of what the body really needs can be a doorway to a healthier lifestyle, but only when we realize that we are not “wrong” no matter what we choose.  In other words, we need to know we have a choice.

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Quick Start, Pause, Cool Down

Vacations are great for pausing to reset, but everyday practice is even more important.

Vacations are great for pausing to reset, but everyday practice is even more important.

These are the choices on the treadmill I use regularly:  quick start, pause, and cool down.  I can also enter a pre-programmed workout, but I always just press “quick start.”

Without an iPod this morning, and with no interest in the TV options, I found my pace and settled into my thoughts.  My eyes again glanced at the words:  “quick start, pause, cool down.”  They began to mean more to me than options on a treadmill.

“Quick start.”  I’m good at that, I thought.  Get going, just do it, take action!  I have that mastered!  I am someone who finds it uncomfortable – really! – NOT to be productive.

I started thinking about the potential down side to that.  Possible  drawbacks include anxiety, trouble sleeping, . . . all of the consequences that result from not using another choice on the treadmill:  RESET!

Everyone needs to reset hormones and brain chemistry, which in turn resets mood and restores a healthful balance.  Adequate sleep, healthy eating, enjoyable physical activity, and pleasant interactions with people all help to keep body chemistry “happy.”

It goes beyond that as well.  Balance brings more balance.  Erratic hormones and brain chemistry, left unattended, often lead to more chaotic emotions and a less balanced lifestyle.

Among the many benefits of attention to self-supportive care are better sleep, less anxiety, and all-around better self-care.  I know this sounds a bit repetitive, but my point is that good self-care leads to more good self-care.  Unfortunately lack of attention to self-care makes it all too easy to skip a workout, eat poorly or skip meals, and let unsupportive thoughts run wild.

What we do not see is how body chemistry that we create through our actions can affect how we act moving forward.  This is powerful knowledge!  Work with your body, because mere will-power is no match for body chemistry!

This is where a “pause” or “cool down” can be very helpful.  I’m right there with all of you overachievers and perfectionists!  This can be hard, but it is absolutely necessary for health.  For me, sleep is key.  I know I need to wind down and pause at the end of my workday and resist the temptation to schedule one more appointment, answer one more e-mail, or make that last phone call.   I know that ultimately this will lead to more efficient use of my time once I’m ready to “quick start” again.

I remind myself I can start again, but the most productive thing to do at that moment is to take a break and pause.  Do you notice how I managed to call a pause “productive”?  That is one way to make pausing a little easier for a productivity freak like myself.

There’s no shame in procrastinating! OWN it for better eating.

I can see myself doing it.  I’m procrastinating again!  I have a work project I had intended to work on today, but I keep getting up from my desk.  “Just a little snack . . . a couple of nuts . . . then back to work.”

Who am I fooling?!  I’m just not going to finish this project right now, so I may as well do something else.  I am a disciplined person.  I like setting deadlines for myself, planning out my work, keeping on target.  So why would I advocate just quitting for now?

The simple answer is that I AM quitting right now.  I can either embrace it, OWN it, lose the guilt, and do something else (productive or just plain recreational), OR I can keep pretending I’m working on my project and keep drifting into the kitchen for that little “something” to give the illusion of taking a needed break.

I’m not hungry!  I don’t need to eat, so why do I do this, as so many of us do?  I think it is because eating in small little spurts like that is “really not much of a break” and “It’s not like I’m sprawled out on the couch watching soap operas or anything!”  In short, I am justifying.

When I hear myself doing this, I laugh.  It really is ridiculous, don’t you agree?  We are the masters of fooling ourselves, especially when it comes to eating.

I can usually spot this pattern quickly, now that I recognize it for what it is.  This has taken lots and LOTS of practice.  I now find that admitting to what I’m doing is the beginning of the way out of the habit.  Then I can decide if it is realistic to expect myself to buckle down and do my project now, or lose the guilt and do something else.

Sometimes just stepping away, even when a deadline is looming, allows my head to clear.  Then, magically, creative thoughts start flowing and I’m engrossed in my endeavor – and loving it!

To be able to say, “Yes, I am procrastinating, and while I’m at it, I intend to do an incredible job of it!” eliminates the guilt surrounding it.   A psychologist friend recently told me that guilt is an emotion that has absolutely no positive side to it.  I believe it usually just drives procrastinators into deeper pits of paralysis, which leads many of us to munch on food we don’t really need or want.

How many unnecessary calories do you think you consume while procrastinating?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  It’s hard to really know, because procrastination is often so mindless.

My phone app (In the Moment – Mindful Eating) addresses this issue, so it may help the procrastinator in you to be more self-compassionate during these times.  Here is a screen shot that gives a glimpse.

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Ahhh, now I feel better.  This post is a perfect example of productive procrastination.  Now I think I can go back to work on my project – refreshed.

Time Out! Change scenes. Shake it up!!

Ahhhhh!

Ahhhhh!

I am noticing my breathing again.  Sounds in our beachfront room appear seemingly out of nowhere:  waves, birds, wind, voices floating in and out.

I am on vacation, and I feel like I’m checking back in with the world.  In my everyday life, habits and schedules seem to rule, and time just clicks by.  November, December, January . . . February already!

I have my tools for taking time out on a daily basis, but it is so hard to keep nagging thoughts from interfering!  At home, I sit and take a deep breath, and the washing machine stops suddenly, reminding me to switch the laundry.  I begin to read a magazine, and my phone lets me know another e-mail just arrived.  And then I remember I really should check my voicemail messages.

I’m not saying that relaxation at home is impossible.  It is necessary, because I spend a lot of time there.  Still it amazes me how much easier and more deeply I relax on vacation.  The change of scenery is key:  fewer work reminders and less compulsion to stay busy.

It makes sense that when I have trouble unwinding at home, I find it much easier to do so when I leave the house (or work).  A change of surroundings really helps!  I can consciously focus on the new things around me.  A walk outside is the best, because I really enjoy focusing on the natural environment.

Unfortunately, this is not the best time of year for me to enjoy walking outside – it’s cold in Wisconsin!  That’s OK though.  A trip to the grocery store or the mall works too.

You can use a change of scenery to help break momentum when eating starts to spin out of control.  If this is a frequent challenge, try just stopping and leaving your space.  I realize this isn’t always possible, but if it is, it can be a powerful tool.  Leaving creates a valuable delay, and new surroundings break the momentum.

Once a binging habit starts to play out, eating becomes mindless.  What is really needed is a jolt back to present time, a break in the pattern of the habit.  This is precisely why a change of scenery helps.  Habits play out effortlessly in familiar situations.

Shake it up – get out – and see what happens.  It may not work every time, but at least it will put you back in the driver’s seat of your decisions. This is one of the many tools that can help with in-the -moment eating challenges.

In the Moment – Mindful Eating, the phone app I created to help my clients and others bring more mindfulness to eating, is now upgraded (version 1.1.5) and works on all iPhones that are 4s and newer.  An Android version is available as well.

Updates for In the Moment App Now Available!

Check out some new content:

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I love this new bubble choice: “I want to stop!”

 

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If you choose “I want to stop!” this is some of the content you will see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just received approval from Apple for the updated version (1.1.1) of In the Moment – Mindful Eating.  

 If you already have the app on your iPhone, just go into your “updates” and you should see it waiting for you.  If you have never downloaded it – and maybe don’t even know about the app yet – just go to the App Store and search the name.  It is a great app for support of your New Year’s intentions.  That darned human side (ie. emotional side) does seem to get in the way of healthy changes, doesn’t it?

To read more about the app, visit the Facebook Page.

iPhone App Fix Coming Soon!

Attention iPhone users!  It seems that the latest iOS operating systems updates have caused a glitch for the app In the Moment – Mindful Eating.  It is likely that if your app works, you have not yet performed these updates.

We are working on it, and it should be fixed soon, and more!  There will be a couple of upgrades added at the same time.  Please be patient in the meantime, as anyone looking at the app for the first time will think the app doesn’t do much – because in its broken form it doesn’t!  Watch for updates here or on the Facebook Page.  It should be fixed by the first week of January.

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating: Not the Usual List

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I don’t know about you, but I am tired of reading the re-runs of holiday eating tips this time of year.  Every time I see the teasers on the cover of every magazine in the grocery store rack, I can’t resist looking to see if anyone has come up with something different than “Bring a veggie tray to the party” or “Don’t go to a party hungry.”

Those who struggle with weight know that the biggest calorie gluts come during the times they feel defeated, hopeless, or simply tired of trying so hard.  “I give up!”  or “It doesn’t matter anymore; I’ve already blown it.”  Strategies for these times and these moods will save far more unnecessary calories than choking down endless carrot sticks and celery at a party while simultaneously exhausting willpower by resisting even the smallest bite of anything pleasurable.

Before the pent-up tension sets the same old pattern in motion again this year, or if you are one who just “punts” until January 1, try my tips instead.  They are not tips for a “perfect” eating plan, but they are tips for improved eating this season, improvements that can continue into the New Year and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope your feast includes delicious food as well as many happy moments with family and friends.

Life itself is the proper binge. – Julia Child

Kim’s Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating  

1.  Look at your holiday eating beliefs.

  • Are you going into the holidays believing you will gain weight? Do you believe you can’t control yourself?
  • What you believe is powerful! Thoughts can become actions. Try entering the season with a more curious attitude. (“I have had trouble in the past controlling myself around holiday baked treats. This year I will stay more mindful and observe what happens.”)

2.  Consider your stress level and simplify (not just food, but holiday expectations !).  Stress can – and often does – affect eating.

3.  Modify your plan and be “intelligently flexible”.

4.  When facing an eating decision, ask these questions:

  • What am I looking for right now (body nourishment, pleasure, something else)?
  • Does this feel kind?  Please treat yourself kindly.

5.  Do what you can to balance your brain chemistry for better self control.

  • Don’t go hungry.
  • Control blood sugar levels and mood by eating plenty of high fiber fruits and vegetables, along with a good portion of protein.
  • Eat concentrated sweets in moderation.
  • Get plenty of sleep, sunlight, laughter, exercise, friendship, and positive thinking to keep brain chemistry in a happy balance.

6.  Stay present: If you disappoint yourself, remember that you only have this moment to make changes. You cannot have a re-do, but in this moment you can do something more important – forgive yourself and change your long-term thinking.

7.  Try the app I developed to help people with the human side of eating challenges (In the Moment – Mindful Eating).  

Put the entire situation into perspective. How many days of “holiday” are there – really?  What will you do and how will you treat yourself on all of the many other days in between the few special events?