no diet no gym no problem
Health

No diet, no gym, no problem

Slimming tips that don’t involve dieting and strenuous gym work. Sounds impossible, right?

Have you ever found yourself  sitting on the couch robotically throwing popcorn or some other moreish snack into your mouth – but still not felt completely satisfied once finished eating?

This is what the experts call ‘mindless eating.’ Have you heard of ‘mindful eating’? There are no menus, recipes or calorie counting involved – mindful eating is not a diet.

No diet, no gym, no problem

It is about being more aware of your eating habits, the sensations you experience when you eat, and the thoughts and emotions that you have about food.

It is more about how you eat than what you eat. Research shows that mindful eaters weigh less, eat less, and get greater enjoyment from their diet. Train yourself to become a mindful eater and it will soon become a natural way of eating. You will find yourself eating less as you taste more!

How do I eat mindfully?

Eating mindfully requires you to turn off any distractions, i.e. TV or computer, and focus your attention on the food in front of you.

The first step to mindfully enjoying food is to take it in with your eyes. What does it look like? What are the shapes and colours in your food? What is jumping out at you and making your mouth water?

Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center who specialises in mindful eating, weight loss, and body image concerns. Author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food (New Harbinger Publications) a collection of mindfulness skills and practices for relaxing the body in times of stress and ending your dependence on eating as a means of coping with difficult emotions. The book shows you easy ways to soothe urges to overeat. You’ll also learn how to differentiate emotion-driven hunger from healthy hunger.

Next time you feel the urge to overeat, have a look at Susan Alber’s awareness checklist:

  • Am I sitting?
  • Eating fast or slow?
  • Mindlessly munching or noticing each bite?
  • Asking ‘how hungry am I?” on a scale from one to ten.
  • Multitasking or truly focused on my meal?
  • Rumbling stomach or bored, stressed, tired, anxious, etc?

Shape up shortcut for new mums

When you’re sleep-deprived and learning the new-mum ropes, the last thing you might feel like doing is leaving your baby and heading to the gym.

Try walking

When you are ready to take a trip out with your baby it is nice to know that you are also improving your health both psychologically and physically. Pushing your buggy is a total body exercise that will improve muscle tone, enhance your cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. Getting out in the fresh air will also help to improve your mental state, improving your overall sense of wellbeing.

Meeting up with other new mums to take your baby for a walk will add a social aspect to something that might otherwise seem like a chore.

Make sure that you are wearing comfortable and supportive footwear. Prolonged walks in high-heals or sandals could result in sore feet, fallen arches and muscular imbalances.

New mums need to eat enough

If you’re breastfeeding, you need enough calories to fuel milk production. It’s very important for breastfeeding mums to get enough calories to make breast milk, the baby’s sole source of nutrition.

Drink lots of water, too.

You need energy. Eating often will help keep your energy up at a time when it’s probably pretty low. It will help you lose weight. If you’re overly hungry, you’re likely to binge on sugary foods for energy.

More like this:

10 easy weight loss tips
How to lose weight fast
Eating disorders in adults

Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.

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Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.