Paying Attention To Your Meals Will Help You Lose Weight

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By Ann Musico

bigpantsLife is busy for everyone, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or the CEO of a corporation. So many of us eat on the go. We grab a burger and fries from the drive through, scarfing it down in the car or we stand at the kitchen counter bolting down our meal. Even something healthy like a smoothie can be gulped in the car on the way to work. Honestly you may be thinking – so what? What does this have to do with weight loss? As long as I’m not eating too many calories, what difference does it make?

More than you may have imagined. First of all, studies show that eating fast blocks the hormones that signal you are full and satisfied and lead to overeating. But there is another reason I want to focus on.

When you inhale your food, rather than treating it as a meal that you are aware of, and enjoy, savoring how it looks, smells and tastes, you will find that even though you may feel full physically, not long after you are searching the refrigerator for something else to eat! You see, your cells are starving and sending the message that they still need nourishment. They always say you eat with your eyes first – and there’s a lot of truth to that!

You can overeat and be obese yet in fact still be malnourished at the cellular level and many people are. This is part of the reason why. Choosing calorie-dense foods with little nutritional value is the other reason. But even if you eat healthy food in this mindless way, you won’t get the full nutritional value.

exercisebrainYou really have two brains – one in your head and one in your digestive tract! You may think you can fool the one in your gut, but you can’t! If your brain doesn’t fully experience the taste, smell, texture, pleasure and satisfaction from your meals, it interprets that missed experience as hunger! Even if you just filled your belly!

So as often as possible, sit down at the table, pay attention to the food, enjoy it, savor it and eat it slowly and mindfully. Even if it is a smoothie – savor the creaminess, flavor and aroma. Beginning the meal with a prayer of thanks is a perfect way to slow down and be intentional about fully experiencing your meal. Not only will you improve your digestion, you will also find losing weight becomes easier – and much more enjoyable!

“I encourage you to pay attention to how you eat the majority of your meals: mindfully or mindlessly.”

– Ann Musico is a holistic health coach who helps women, at every age, to exemplify lives of vibrant health and wholeness – spirit, soul and body. Her mission is to show women how to adopt a healthy lifestyle in a way that is simple and achievable, empowering them to take responsibility for their own health in order to be a positive influence on their families. You can visit her website at threedimensionalvitality.com

A.D.D. & Addiction

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By Bill Hanks

healthillustratedMy name is Bill Hanks and I’m, well…complicated. Clinically, I’m a recovering addict/alcoholic—with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to boot—who, after 22 years of consuming a plethora of mind-bending toxins, is very much grateful to be alive.

It is the relationship between ADD & addiction that I wish to expand upon. I happen to believe that a significant correlation exists, all stemming from what I call the “awakening” effect that chemicals have on the ADD brain. With that said, let me start by saying that in my day, we didn’t know ADD. Instead, I was simply dismissed as “incorrigible” and a leather belt took the place of Ritalin.

The commonality between ADD & addiction has to do with neurotransmitters in the brain. In the case of ADD/ADHD, there exists a chemical imbalance affecting the pre-frontal cortex and thus disrupting focus, attention, and impulse control. This would account for the fact that my thoughts often became words and actions before I was consciously aware of what I was thinking. In other words, I often found out what I was thinking from what I had just said. I spent a lot of time in detention.

In other words, when I began taking drugs as a 16 year-old kid, I went from making C’s and D’s in school to making A’s and B’s.

In the case of addiction, it is the introduction of drugs that disrupts the natural regulation of these neurotransmitters. In other words, when I began taking drugs as a 16 year-old kid, I went from making C’s and D’s in school to making A’s and B’s. Drugs empowered my neurotransmitters in such a way that an “awakening” effect took place. Upon discovery of this awakening, I turned to self-medicating, which quickly evolved into abusing—eventually leading to a physical & mental dependence—ultimately resulting in a frail hold on reality.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I entered rehab 22 years later that I was diagnosed ADD. All I knew as a kid was “drugs made me smarter,” thereby validating their use.

Like any disorder, the key is catching an early diagnosis.

Our understanding of ADD/ADHD has come a long way since the late 60’s and early 70’s. Diagnosing has become routine, and the use of medication along with behavioral modifications has proved to be an effective treatment. Like any disorder, the key is catching an early diagnosis. If you suspect your child of having any learning issues (restlessness, inattentive, impulsive, unfocused, etc.), please seek the advice of your family physician. Help is just a phone call away.

– Bill Hanks is the author of a self-help memoir titled “Serenity: It’s a God Deal” ~ (finding your way to sobriety, sanity, and serenity). For more information about the author and book, to read excerpts, reviews, and op-eds, go to www.billhanks-serenity.com.