7 Mindful Eating Strategies that Can Help You “Eat Better”

Set your intention.

Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention. Assuming that your intention is to feel great, think of dietary changes as choices you make in order to feel your best both short and long term (rather than some externally applied diet).

Consider what your body needs.

When deciding what to eat, ask three questions: What do I want? What do I need? and What do I have? The question “What do I need?” is all about acknowledging your personal health needs, including medical issues, allergies and reactions, family history, and health goals.

Use nutrition information as a tool, not a weapon.

Nutrition knowledge is helpful for making decisions, but it is not the only criteria for deciding what to eat.

Balance eating for nourishment with eating for enjoyment.

There is room in your diet for foods eaten for pleasure! In fact, regularly including foods you love makes it less likely that you will overeat those foods because you ran out of willpower. While it may seem counter-intuitive, when you are free to eat whatever you want, food loses the power it had over you so you don’t even need willpower! As a result, your choices are likely to be more balanced instead of “all of nothing.”

Don’t miss the lesson.

One of the many benefits of mindful eating is that your awareness helps you make connections between what and how much you eat and how you feel—as well as how you feel and what or how much you eat! This direct feedback is very helpful for making changes in order to feel good – not to be good.

Recognize and address your non-hunger triggers for eating.

When a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it. By learning to meet your other needs in more effective ways, you won’t use food for that purpose nearly as often.

Eating is for fueling living.

In our food-abundant, diet- and weight-obsessed culture, eating occupies too much of our time, attention, and energy. Your were born with the instinctive ability to eat enough food to fuel your life. Learning how to get back to that place where you can trust your ability to manage your eating without a bunch of rules gives you a pattern of eating that you can sustain almost effortlessly.


Source: amihungry.com

Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget: Shop around!

Some stores offer better prices than others. Try to buy items when they are on sale. Aldi’s is often a great place to go for fresh produce without spending a fortune. Sam’s and Costco often have the best prices for the low-fat or fat-free dairy products, which have gotten very expensive over the past several years. If you see a healthy food that you eat often for a great price, consider stocking up on it and saving it for later if it’s something packaged that will last a while or is freezable. Check out the sales before you go shopping. All grocery stores have their ads online, but you likely get them in your mail every week as well. See where the best savings are before you even plan your list. If you see that ground turkey, peppers, onions and canned diced tomatoes are all on sale at one location, perhaps this would be a good time to make a healthy chili recipe.

Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget: Eat Like a Vegetarian Once per Week

What makes up the majority of your food bill? It is likely that all those animal protein sources like chicken, fish, turkey, etc. are what are costing you the most every week. In an effort to save a few bucks, you can pick one day per week to avoid these expensive items. There are still plenty of ways to get your protein in without meat. Do you realize how inexpensive eggs are? And they are a great source of protein. An easy, healthy, high-protein breakfast can be made with eggs! You can get protein from beans, which are also very inexpensive. If you can catch a great deal on tofu, that would be another meatless option for protein.

Free 5 Days Holiday Mindful Eating Program

For this holiday season, Dr. Susan Albers has created a mindful eating program to help you manage holiday stress.

All you have to do is spend 2 minutes a day watching 2 short videos sent right to your text messages or email during the next 5 days.  You will get:
  • a 1 minute Mindful Eating Challenge
  • and a 1 minute Yoga practice.

The Truth About Holiday Weight Gain

How Much Weight Do We Really Gain?

Most people think the average American gains about 5 pounds over the holidays. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, most of us gain an average of 1 pound (5 pounds for overweight people) between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. The reality is, we fail to lose that 1 pound of holiday weight gain. And that adds up to a lot of weight gain over the years.


Why Do So Many of Us Gain Weight over the Holidays?

When you think about it, the holidays really boil down to just three days: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. If you gorge only on those three days, you probably wouldn’t cause too much damage.

However, many of us take on that holiday mentality of six weeks of nonstop feasting. And we use the “I’m so busy” excuse and put our exercise routine on the back burner.

So start preventing weight gain NOW is crucial!

Happy Mindful Halloween!

If you choose to eat candy this Halloween, here is a list of tips to help you to do it MINDFULLY:

  1. SELECT MINDFULLY: Choose your favorite candy. Examine all of your options before picking one.
  2. SIT DOWN: Before you eat candy, take a seat! Sitting helps to reduce distraction so you can enjoy the candy more.
  3. SLOWLY CHEW: Remember: Pace, don’t race when it comes to eating candy. Take a little bite. Don’t worry. Eat slowly!
  4. SAVOR EACH BITE: Fully enjoy this piece of candy from start to finish before you move onto the next bite or decide if you want another piece. That first bite might be just enough so take some time to think if you really need or want another piece.

P.S. It’s of to give kids another non-food options (spider rings, vampire fangs, stickers, glow bracelets, pencils).

Source: eatingmindfully.com


Cocoa Roasted Almonds


  • 2 cups (280g)raw unsalted almonds
  • 1 Tbsp (5g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp (2g) Truvia


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking tray, and bake at 350°F for 5 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, shake it back and forth to move around the almonds, and continue to bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until the almonds are lightly fragrant and toasty.
  3. Cool the almonds on the tray for 1-2 minutes, then carefully pour into a medium bowl. Add in the cocoa powder and Truvia, and stir to coat all of the almonds. Pour them back onto the baking tray into a single layer to cool.


Yields: 16 snack-size servings (2 tablespoons per serving)

Calories 103; Total Fat 8.8 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Unsaturated Fat 7.6 g; Cholesterol 0.0 mg; Sodium 0.1 mg; Carbohydrate 4.0 g; Dietary Fiber 2.3 g; Sugars 0.7 g; Protein 3.8 g

Notes: Substitute your favorite sweetener in place of the Truvia. If you prefer a sweetener that actually “dissolves” into the cocoa powder, use powdered sugar.

Source: amyshealthybaking.com

Workout Wednesday: The FITT Principle

FITT Principle: Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type


Image result for frequency exerciseHow many days each week should I exercise? Physical activity guidelines put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that we should exercise most days of the week to see the benefits. Try to exercise 4-5 days a week at least. As a bariatric patient, exercise should be a priority and part of your daily routine. You must fit in fitness!


Image result for intensity exerciseHow hard should you exercise? The exercise you choose should allow you to maintain that activity for the duration you have chosen. If you want to exercise longer you may have to decrease the intensity of what you are doing. How to rate your activity can be done by the “talk test” and the “RPE scale” rating of perceived exertion.

  1. The RPE scale is used to measure exercise intensity. The Rating of Perceived Exertion scale targets how short of breath you feel as well as how much fatigue you feel in your extremities. On a scale of 0 – 10 the American College of Sports Medicine suggests levels to be worked at should be a “2” being light exercise, up to a “4” being more strenuous. These levels can be your target for aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, swimming, etc.).
  2. The Talk Test is probably the simplest way to measure your workout intensity. The goal is to work at a level where you can answer a question but not comfortably carry on a conversation. In other words, you are working out too hard if you have to take a breath between every word you say. You should be able to speak understandably and with mild to moderate effort.

Note: Work at an intensity that allows you to breathe comfortably during all phases of your workout. This will ensure a safe and comfortable level of exercise. If you are working too hard, lower the resistance level or slow down. If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness, you may be overexerting yourself and should slow down or stop.

TimeImage result for clock runing

How long should you exercise? Each exercise session should last 30 to 60 minutes per day most days of the week. Set aside a portion of your daily schedule to perform your walking program. One thing to consider is that smaller bouts of 10-15 minutes several times a day adds up. When walking, three sessions lasting 10 minutes each are just as beneficial as one 30-minute session.

Image result for type exerciseType

What type of exercise should you be doing? The main type of exercise for bariatric patients right after surgery is cardiovascular or aerobic exercise with the focus on walking. A few other types of aerobic exercise including cycling, swimming, or water aerobics may offer variety and / or be used in case of orthopedic limitations such as knee, hip or low back pain.

As you progress in your fitness program, adding in strengthening exercises will be very beneficial to increase lean muscle. This type of exercise is also beneficial for improving your balance by strengthening muscles that support your joints. If you are unfamiliar with safe and appropriate strengthening exercises seek out a qualified exercise professional for proper instruction.


source: Mercy Bariatric Center – Jefferson Home Fitness Toolkit

Disclaimer: This information provided in this content is not intended to be professional training advice. The information provided is for educational purposes only. Always consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any exercise regimen. All exercises you perform are at your own responsibility and your own risk. Heart of America Bariatrics is not liable or responsible for any injuries incurred during or after performing any exercises included in this content.

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