Grow Better Health Through Mindfulness #MindfulMarch Challenge

I’m hosting 30-Day Challenges Every Month for FREEEEEE!

Hooray for March! A new month and a new challenge for anyone who is looking to better themselves. Body Kindness is all about being good to yourself. I can’t think of a more important improvement to your well-being than practicing mindFULLness. (as opposed to what we normally do, mindEMPTYness) Learn why I love mindfulness (and how you can sign up for free) below.

Mindful March Challenge mindfulness

You Got to Start Somewhere, Start Where You Are

If you have health concerns, weight concerns, and you want to make changes in your life you need mindfulness in order to succeed in the long run. Mindfulness is presence, being in the here and now, and asking one very important question…

What the heck is going on?

That tiny little useful piece of information is there to guide your next choice – the choice that can shape up the goals you want for yourself (or the choice that can sabotage your best intentions and deepest desires for improving your health and well-being.)

When you practice mindfulness, you have self-awareness. You know where you are and you can figure out what you need to next that serves your goals that matter, instead of doing what you usually do and feel bad about it later. (Turns out you don’t need diets or someone else’s “foolproof guaranteed plan”. You need to stop, think, and act if you want to change.)

Mindfulness is the starting point for any long-term behavior change.

Mindfulness is presence, being in the here and now, and asking one very important question #MindfulMarch Click To Tweet

How To Sign Up and Participate

It’s as easy as one, two, three…

  1. Join the challenge by signing up for my e-mail list. (This is the list I use to send the weekly challenges and motivations)
  2. Invite your friends to the challenge. (OK, this is totally unnecessary, but you’ll have more fun if you have someone you know taking the challenge on. All you need to do is share this post.)
  3. Post your updates and questions on my Facebook page. (I will be there every day just waiting for your questions and brags about how AWESOME you are doing. You’ll get encouragement from me and others. What a wonderful way to get support and make new like-minded friends. You can also message me privately on Facebook.)

The more you put in to these challenges, the more you will get out.

Mindfulness is the starting point for any long-term behavior change. Join me for #MindfulMarch Click To Tweet

How to Be More Mindful

Just start “noticing” things. It’s that simple. You can notice anything you want to – anything that’s important to you. For health and well-being here are some of my favorites:

  • Thoughts and feelings – Probably the most important in my book because “bad” thought and emotions usually result in “bad choices”. Humans really, really don’t like feeling bad. (“I’m tired” or “This is hard” leads to skipping a workout. “I’m too busy” leads to not planning meals, skipping meals, and eventually poor eating choices.)
  • HALT – I’m sure you’ve heard of this before…  hungry, angry, lonely, tired. It’s another way to “check in” on feelings, just simpler and more focused. If this speaks to you, go for it. (If you are hungry, of course you eat.)
  • Your “hunger number” – See below! (This helps you figure out when to eat and how much.) Read more about this simple mindfulness exercise.
mindfulness, hunger number

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

  • Notice what makes you “happy”. While it’s a futile attempt to expect you will be happy all the time, choices that bring YOU joy (that’s YOU, not others)… Choices that bring you joy flood you with positive emotions and “feel good” neurochemicals that boost your mood.
  • Experiment and notice differences. What’s the difference in your day when you sleep enough and when you don’t? What’s the difference in your mood when you make time for yourself and when you feel time starved and deprived of fun in your life?
  • Try meditation. (More on that below)
Mindfulness is noticing what's happening and thinking about your next choice as an opportunity to grow.… Click To Tweet

Make The Time

Practice. Practice. Practice. Commit to a daily mindfulness practice to get better at it and see all the wonderful ways it enhances your life.

How much time do you have to give? 15 minutes? 5? 1? Just be willing to start and continue all of March and be sure to share how you’re being mindful with the hash tag #MindfulMarch

You can be mindful in a minute. Join me for the #MindfulMarch challenge. Click To Tweet

Get Over Your Meditation “Mental Block”

Many people use the terms “mindfulness” and “meditation” interchangeably. They aren’t the same thing. Remember mindfulness is awareness. Meditation is “quiet time” and it can help you be more mindful throughout your days.

You don’t have to buy a meditation pillow or a statue of Buddha to start practicing meditation. Maybe #MindfulMarch is a good time for you to dabble in meditation as part of your mindfulness goals.

You’ll love the resources on the website Mindful.org. (I looooove their tagline: Take time for what matters. YES! YES! YES!) Start at the “start here” meditation section. Come on, they can’t make it any easier.

Mindfulness is not the same as meditation. Both are good for health. Learn more about #MindfulMarch challenge. Click To Tweet

Hearing Negative Voices?

Yay! If you notice you’re thinking “nah…” about meditation then you’re already practicing mindfulness. Just let that thought tell you “no” and keep reading. Is there anything in the meditation excuses / benefits chart below that changes your mind?

Meditation, mindfulness

Ready? Set. Let’s Go!

I’m sharing many more ideas, tips, and motivations in my weekly challenge e-mails. Be sure to sign up today (it’s FREE!).

Remember… the more you put in to these challenges, the more you will get out. Take action if you want change to happen.

  1. Join the challenge by signing up for my e-mail list. (This is the list I use to send the weekly challenges and motivations)
  2. Invite your friends to the challenge. (OK, this is totally unnecessary, but you’ll have more fun if you have someone you know taking the challenge on. All you need to do is share this post.)
  3. Post your updates and questions on my Facebook page. (Spread your inspiration by showing off how awesome you’re rockin’ the mindfulness! This is also a great place to post any questions you have for me or other new like-minded friends. You can also message me privately on Facebook.)

Tell Me, How Do You Do Mindfulness?

What works for you? What would you like to try this month?

Like Podcasts?

Body Kindness with Rebecca Scritchfield, RDNHave you heard that I’ve launched a brand new podcast called Body Kindness? A positive antidote to the diet obsessed world, Body Kindness is grounded in the “radical” idea that health begins by being good to yourself and changing your habits is about love, not hate.

Speaking of love. I’d love if you’d consider spreading the word about my new show Body Kindness by subscribing and leaving a rating on iTunes. Here’s a direct link to the show or you can cut and paste this into your browser: http://getpodcast.reviews/id/1073275062.

This simple mindfulness exercise could help transform your eating habits.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

Check in on your numbers to determine when you should eat and when you should stop.

What If I Told You Healthful Eating Is Not About The Food?

OK, that’s not totally true. Nutrition matters. The simplest way to follow nutrition advice is to look at your plate and fill it up with nourishing foods you love. There’s a room for a little bit of this and a little bit of that and there’s no need to eliminate an ingredient (like butter or salt) or food group (like banishing carbs).

But… We Overthink “What” Is On the Plate and Underthink “Why” and “How Much”

Humans, for the most part, suck at mindfulness. We are a culture of distracted, dedicated multitaskers. When we do 2-5 things at once we aren’t paying attention to any of it. We might be there but we are not aware.

The Culture of Busyness: We’ve made busyness a competitive sport in our busyness as a badge of honor culture. We brag about how tired and exhausted we are, how much stuff we cram onto our calendars, how we’ve run around and been so productive and crossed so much stuff off our to-do lists, and yet have so much more to do. It’s become so ingrained, we don’t realize we’re doing it! – Brigid Schulte, author The Overwhelm

My social media feed is overflowing with “what” to eat or “what” to definitely avoid.  In busyness reality, if we stop to think about “what” goes on our plate at all, we are best served to view it as an opportunity to energize, feel better, and improve health, but it is not nearly as extreme as you would think. My 3 year old will devour kale, but she needs it to taste good. When I saute kale with butter and salt, it wins dinner. I’m OK with that.

How Often Do You Think About “Why” “How Much” to Eat?

This hunger scale can help you make choices about eating more easily using a basic mindfulness skill we all have access to – self awareness.

  • Why eat? – Hungry (for the most part… this is not a rule, but a guide based on your body’s needs)
  • How much? – Until you get comfortable full, no longer hungry.

All you need to start using self awareness is two things: 1. Stop 2. Pay attention That’s it.

Eating should feel good before during and after and you will feel your best physically and emotionally eating in the range of 3-7, on a scale out of 10.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

 

How Can Mindfulness Transform My Habits

The definition of a habit is a routine you do without having to think about it. It’s mindless. Now, that’s a good thing when it’s a habit you want to keep. But what if you’re trying to eat better?

All the focus on calories, nutrients, and morally good and bad foods is exhausting and unnecessary. It’s a big ole waste of time you don’t have. Using mindfulness as a guide you don’t have to worry about anything except eating when you feel hungry, making a balanced plate (when you want to prioritize health and nutrition), and savoring your meal as you notice getting more full.

Paying attention will help you make food choices and it’s so much easier than dieting and calorie counting.

“I Can’t Figure Out My Numbers”

Yes you can.

You get good at mindfulness by practicing mindfulness. You get good at connecting to your body by trying to connect to your body. You get good at choosing a hunger number by practicing choosing your hunger number.

You are a resourceful person. You can do great things. But you need to slow down. Sit down. And focus on eating. I know you’re busy, but you deserve that time.

Tweetables

This #free hunger scale is an easy guide to help you decide when to eat and when to stop. Click To Tweet The simplest way to follow nutrition advice is to look at your plate and fill it up with nourishing foods you… Click To Tweet we are best served to view eating as an opportunity to energize, feel better, and improve health Click To Tweet All the focus on calories, nutrients, and morally good and bad foods is exhausting and unnecessary. Click To Tweet

Want More Like This?

Sign up for my e-mail list and get my FREE Feel Great Guide, a handy health and happiness journal, invites to free monthly challenges, and more.

Ditch Your Diet and Make Small, Satisfying Changes Instead

On average, women will try – and quit – 9 diets in her life. And recent research shows the more diets people go on, the more weight they gain. Instead of hopping on that pointless diet roller coaster again, make little changes that are healthy and enjoyable.

Little Changes Big Taste

Blueberries are jam-packed with fiber, vitamin C, and manganese plus there are only 80 calories in 1 cup.  And you can add them to practically anything – these little blue dynamos pair perfectly with everything from oatmeal to savory dishes. Try them in this salmon and avocado flatbread for a quick and nourishing meal.

Snack Smart with Sargento

Sargento cheese snacks have 4-8 grams of protein/serving to keep you fueled and satisfied with a natural source of protein.  It’s a wholesome snacking option that doesn’t sacrifice on taste – there are 14 varieties like sharp cheddar, Colby jack, and pepper jack to help you stay fueled even when you’re on the go.

Make a Better Breakfast

When it comes to breakfast, you want a delicious and nutrition option, and it’s great if it’s also convenient since we’re always on the go, especially in the morning.  New KIND breakfast bars are soft baked with a crispy outside, and loaded with whole grains for sustained energy throughout the morning.  Each two-bar pack provides more than a full serving of whole grains and is a great source of fiber to fill you up. Try them on their own, dipped in Greek yogurt, or paired with fruit, milk, or your morning latte.

Don’t Deprive Yourself

Don’t cut out all the things you love. Studies show that the more you try to avoid something the more you want it and the greater chances you have of overeating eventually.  For my sweet cravings, I love enjoying these Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties – they are made with 4 ingredients or less and have have a dark chocolate shell made from 100% cocoa that’s filled with 100% raw organic honey blended with natural flavors like Mint, Pomegranate and Peanut.

Upgrade your Sports Drink

It’s not just food, but we need exercise to be healthy. When we work out, it’s crucial to stay well- hydrated.  If you’re an athlete or have a very active child, you might benefit from more than just plain water during activity, especially if it’s over 60 minutes. Parents will often ask me, what’s the best sports drink for my active child and I recommend BodyArmor because it has no artificial ingredients, is low in sodium, and has more potassium-packed electrolytes and vitamins that any other sports drink, and it’s made with coconut water.  Try 7 great tasting flavors like fruit punch, orange mango, and strawberry banana.

Hear it From You

Let us know! What are some of your favorite tips to “ditch the diet” and stay healthy?  Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! I’d love to hear them!

Find out more about these products and topics by connecting on Twitter

Want More Like This?

Sign up for my e-mail list and get my FREE Feel Great Guide and get a handy health and happiness journal and more.

Disclosure: I was compensated by U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Sargento, KIND snacks, Heavenly Organics, and Body Armor for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

 

Is Your Diet Making You Unhappy?

‘Tis the Season (to be merry, bright, and full)

It’s basically a given that overeating, to some degree, is going to happen during the holiday season. So how do we eliminate overeating during the holidays? We don’t! It’s unrealistic, and honestly, unnecessary. Overeating is part of the holiday experience, but what we can do, is ensure this occurs in a healthy way.

Most of my clients feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for indulging in the holiday spreads, which leads to shame. Let’s not forget ’tis the season to feel joyful. My hope is by sharing posts on Intuitive Eating it will help you forgive yourself for feeling guilty and be merry instead.

dear diet

3 Signs That Your Plan Isn’t Working and How to Change it

1. You Can’t Follow The Rules.

When you’re following a plan that is inflexible with “yes” or “no” or “good” or “bad” food rules, guilt always follows. This type of restrictive eating is controlling and rigid, often making you preoccupied with food thoughts. So how do we deal with these moments and get on with enjoying the important part of the holidays like our family and friends?

Make a truce with yourself right now that you are going to overeat and you are going to savor every bite you choose to take with awareness and gratitude. When making your plate, ask what do I really want (not necessarily what is healthiest/you should eat). When you eat, use all your senses like sight, smell, taste, touch (texture on your tongue) to enjoy your food.

Best non #diet tip: When you eat, use all your senses like sight, smell, taste, touch (texture on your tongue)… Click To Tweet

 2. You’re Measuring Success by “Losing”. 

Whether you’re measuring weight loss by pounds or inches lost or by what you are not eating, you’re labeling your success by deprivation. As humans we needs rewards and positive praise. I have never met a single person who said they got pleasure and enjoyment out of denying themselves foods they love. Don’t measure success by deprivation, instead start counting the positive stuff in your life, like spending time with people who bring you joy.

Don't measure success by deprivation, instead start counting the positive stuff in your life. Click To Tweet

3. No One Wants to Hang Out with You

The holiday season is a time for socializing, connecting and celebrating with people that bring joy to your life. But when you’re standing around the hors d’oeuvres blabbing out “I shouldn’t have that!” or “I’m going to regret this later,” you’re ruining everyone’s holiday cheer, including your own. When you’re so caught up in how you look or too worried about what you’re going to eat, people begin to sense the negativity and don’t want to be around it. 

Are you ruining your own #holiday cheer with #diets and food rules? 3 signs your plan isn't working. Click To Tweet

Imagine what would happen if you just let go and gave yourself permission to eat? In my experience (personal and with clients) you tend to enjoy the food without the guilt and you tend to eat it in moderation. You still get the healthy stuff you like too. Not because you have to, but because you want to.

Join in #WhatMattersMost

whatmattersmostDiets shouldn’t exist, but healthy lifestyles should! Let’s kick off holiday cheer with diet-ditching, body-loving self-care together! What matters more in your life than counting calories or dieting? I’d love to hear from you! Share your tweets or snap a picture using the hashtag #whatmattersmost.

Want More Like This?

Sign up for my e-mail list and get my FREE Feel Great Guide and get a handy health and happiness journal and more.

You’re Thanksgiving Full, Is It Time to Diet?

I sincerely hope you enjoyed every bite of delicious food and did not worry about calories, food rules, or anything but your comfort, joy and happiness.

Usually, my clients come back from Thanksgiving feeling guilty.

Even if you got “stuffed like the turkey” it happens to us all and as you probably noticed it goes away with time to “rest and digest.” You may have even noticed you felt better after a nice brisk walk with family or play time with kiddos.

If you have guilt for overeating, or some emotional eating check in with yourself. Is it your “diet brain” talking? Is it the fear of weight gain?

After you get curious about your guilt, forgive yourself immediately! I’m not talking about apologizing for indulging. I’m talking about forgiving yourself for feeling guilty.

Last time I checked lots of people indulged on Thanksgiving.  There is no special reason you should feel bad. Even if you got too full, even if you felt uncomfortable, I’m 100% confident you weren’t the only one.

There’s a reason we use “Thanksgiving full” as the 9 out of 10 on the fullness scale I use with clients. It’s that once-a-year full (OK maybe more often than once, but it’s not what you usually do at most meals and snacks. You wouldn’t because it’s not comfortable.)

Practice Loving Kindness

If you would like to practice self-forgiveness, try the Loving Kindness Meditation (or Metta) which has been shown to increase positive emotions and happiness.

RS-LovingKindness

Over the next several weeks I will be sharing a series of posts that focus on the practice of Intuitive Eating and how our relationship with food influences our happiness. Before you consider your next diet, hear me out on why you should reconsider…

Why Diets Don’t Work

As anyone who has ever been on a diet knows, it is difficult to permanently and safely lose weight. Why is this? It seems straightforward – calories in, calories out, right? Actually, one of the biggest problems associated with weight concerns is that most people have problems discerning the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger.

Take a minute to think about what your weight was the first time you went on a diet…now where is your weight? With each diet we often end up regaining all the weight we lost, plus more. Why is this? When we diet we are manipulating our metabolism — slowly depriving it of the fuel it needs. Over time it becomes very “efficient” by slowing down so it is able to function on minimal energy. This makes it very difficult to maintain any weight loss and over time our set-point weight creeps higher and higher.

What Matters Most

I would like to invite everyone to think about what matters most in your life? Often we think we will be happier if we lose weight, but take a second to think about what in your life will change when you lose the weight?

  • Will your friends and family still love you?
  • Will you still have the same job?
  • Will all the things that make you happy still make you happy?

Our lives really don’t change unless we change our habits. And if you’ve been on even one diet and stopped it, you know that it didn’t do squat for your habits. Instead of focusing on your weight, focus on your habits and how they make you feel.

It’s not just weight loss that won’t make you happy. Jobs, relationships, money and others also don’t do much for you for very long. Read 7 happiness myths you should stop believing from researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

Join in #WhatMattersMost

What matters more in your life than counting calories or dieting? I’d love to hear from you! Share your tweet or snap a picture using the hashtag #whatmattersmost. Stay tuned, next week we will be discussing emotional hunger and how you can respond in useful ways.