Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

Food has the power to temporarily alleviate stress and sadness, enhance joy, and bring us comfort when we need it most. Maybe it’s cultural, or maybe it is the way in which we celebrate victories, birthdays, memories, the end of each workday, and pass the time in between? It is no wonder experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is triggered by our emotions, not physical hunger. So much overeating is caused not by hunger, but by our emotions. Eating is a common coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil, but the ramifications can be significant. Most Americans are overweight and many suffer from resultant health problems because, for them, food is therapy.

Retraining our minds and consciousness to be more present and mindful of what we crave (whether it’s the social interaction between people, knowing and feeling that we are not alone in our day to day routine, or trying to heal from a real obstacle that is causing us physical and emotional pain), we are all capable to soothe ourselves through dozens of mindful activities-that do not involve the action of eating- and that are healthy for the mind, body and spirit.

It is no wonder why popular reality television shows such as “Biggest Loser,” “Heavy,” “Obsessed,” “Extreme Makeover” and “I Used to be Fat” have become so popular in mainstream American and other developed countries. These programs speak to the fact that obesity has become an overriding cultural obsession, but some experts see them as an unhealthy influence. They fret that these shows, which place great emphasis on body image, can encourage eating disorders and other dangerous behaviors. Some participants lose as much as 30 pounds in a single week and run the risk of heart problems, bone loss, and electrolyte imbalances. Some contestants on "The Biggest Loser" have admitted to fasting or dehydrating themselves to drop weight, and at least two had to be hospitalized after they collapsed during a one-mile race. There are innumerable people who find inspiration and motivation, however, in these shows. Maybe that is a start in realizing there is hope out there and that others share the same struggles in not only body image but body impulse toward food?

How about starting from the basics again and listening to our bodies signal to our brains when nourishment is needed? That seems too elementary and frankly “un-fun” and boring to people. How do we celebrate? How will we mark this occasion of a memory or perhaps plain afternoon boredom? There is a great read by author Susan Albers who wrote 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food, 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. Diving into more comprehensive reasons as to why people act the way they do toward food, she helps the reader discover easy ways to soothe urges to overeat. The reader will also learn how to differentiate emotion-driven hunger from healthy hunger. This book is designed to help these people find simple, quick strategies for easing emotion-driven hunger.

The notion that people can open this book instead of the refrigerator when they feel stressed and find techniques such as simple exercise, self-distraction, meditation, self-massage, and mindful imagery that can calm feelings of hunger rooted in anxiety, not the need for nourishment, is comforting. Unlike diet books, which tell readers what to eat...

...50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food helps readers discover why they are eating and discover new ways to deal with life's ups and downs.

The book is broken into five categories: cognitive techniques, meditation techniques, body techniques, distraction techniques, and connection techniques. I especially liked how Susan addresses the mind first and how to quiet the voices that control our daily actions and emotions. Listening to the breath and your inner calm is very important as a tool for a constructive and loving self-dialogue about soothing the mind and impulses.

Below are a few techniques I found easy to do and most beneficial:

1. Practice meditating with Dr. Nancy Lin's Podcast, "Braincation" and breathe your way to inner calm. Available for free, almost anywhere podcasts are.
2. Set your inner critic straight, Talk to your anxiety, guilty consciousness, and stresses.
3. Be calm, Practice calmness, Be in the now, say no to zoning out.
4. Change your thoughts, your expectations and change your eating choices. Check out Dr. Nancy's "Breaking the Bad" book on how to shift your mindset to a winning attitude.
5. Journal daily to boost mental health immunity and monitor appetite. Dr. Nancy's 21 Day Journal is the perfect habit to start adopting.
6. Chose optimism, abundance, and happiness.
7. Practice positive and soothing affirmations, power words and statements that lift you up. Leave negative thoughts that do not.
8. Entertain your senses and take a walk outside, walk in the grass barefoot and ground yourself.
9. Practice Yoga, or Exercise and Sweat.
10. Get a Massage, Use infrared saunas, relax and Get extra sleep. Give yourself permission and time to a nap.
11. Work on challenging and fun brain puzzles and games.
12. Create a bucket list, start and complete a craft.
13. Join a social network, volunteer, connect with someone live.
14. Adopt a furry friend or just visit one at a shelter or pet store.
15. Remind yourself of healthy ways to find peace of mind. Everything is great and exactly where it should be.

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Resource: Susan Albers: 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

Better Than Raisin Bran: Top 11 Sources of Fiber 

Better Than Raisin Bran: Top 11 Sources of Fiber

Go beyond raisin bran cereal and elevate the quality of high-fiber foods in your diet!

Fiber (along with adequate fluid intake) moves quickly and relatively easily through your digestive tract and helps it function properly. A high-fiber diet may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and diabetes.

Let’s check out the fiber content of some good-for-you foods. Make sure to read nutrition labels to find out exactly how much fiber is in your favorite foods. Women, try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, and men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.

1. AVOCADO.

One whole, medium avocado contains 17 grams of carbohydrate and a truly impressive 11 grams of fiber. That's almost half of the daily recommended minimum intake of fiber! The avocado is a real diabetes superfood, providing an excellent dose of those good-for-you, unsaturated fatty acids. And avocados deliver almost 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients—the special plant chemicals that convey myriad health benefits.

Guacamole tip:

To keep avocado dips from turning brown, leave the pit in the dip until ready to serve, press plastic wrap down into a bowl and smooth it tight to the edges, leaving no air pockets.

2. ARTICHOKE.

A medium artichoke contains about 14 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fiber. Like avocados, artichokes are bursting with nutrients, including an impressive amount of antioxidants, an excellent dose of vitamin C, as well as folate, potassium, and magnesium. Did you know that a medium artichoke also delivers 4 grams of protein? 

If you didn't grow up with artichokes, do not be intimidated by the funny looking globes. Just snip off the stem and a half-inch off the top, pull off five or six of the outermost leaves, and steam for 30 minutes or microwave in a couple inches of water for 7 to 10 minutes.

3. RASPBERRIES.

A cup of these delicate, vibrant berries contains 15 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fiber. High in vitamin C and several other nutrients, they are packed with antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties as well. The phytochemicals that make plant foods red, orange, or blue are potent disease fighters.

4. BLACKBERRIES.

Like raspberries, blackberries are rich in those health-giving pigments that give them their beautiful, deep blue-black coloring. They deliver the same amount of carbohydrate and fiber as raspberries, too. A cup contains 15 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fiber.

Raspberries and blackberries are both known as "bramble" fruit, and an increasing number of studies are showing that these and other intensely colored fruits and veggies improve health and fight disease.

5. LEGUMES.

Legumes are great sources of protein and fiber, but also contain lots of health-giving compounds. One type is called saponins, which may help lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels and reduce disease risks.

Did you know that just one half-cup of lentils contains about 10 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fiber? Lentils fall into this fancy-sounding food category, legumes, which are veggies that grow in pods. Lentils do not require soaking, so buy some and throw them into some broth with a couple of chopped vegetables and, presto, soup! Black beans are a type of legume, too, and contain all the same great health benefits as lentils. A bit higher in carbs at 22 grams, a half-cup of black beans delivers a hearty 7 grams of fiber. And if you subtract the fiber from the carbs, you end up with a manageable 15 grams of carbs in a serving.

6. BROCCOLI.

One of my favorite superfoods, one cup of broccoli contains just 9 grams of carbs and a nice 6 grams of fiber. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, and these superfoods are known to have anti-cancer properties, among a host of other body benefits. 

Remember not to overcook broccoli, or its nutrients begin to fade. Use a potato peeler to take off the outer layer on the stalks, and then chop them into one-inch pieces. This allows them to cook in the amount of time needed for the florets. Pour extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese over it before enjoying.

7. VEGETABLE SOUP.

Try making this from scratch with a vegetable broth base and a myriad of your favorite veggies and beans all chopped up into a color fiesta, which is lower in sodium and additives than ready-made soups in a can. A typical serving contains at least 7 grams of fiber. If your blood pressure is high, note the sodium in soups as they may contain too much for your daily recommendation.

8. PEAR.

A medium pear contains 20 grams of carbs and 4.5 grams of fiber. Be sure to wash them well and eat the skin. Fiber and other nutrients live in that thin outer layer of the fruit. Slice pears and drizzle with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown, give a nice tart counterpoint to their juicy, sweetness, and to moderate your blood sugar response.

9. APPLE.

An apple a day provides great phytonutrients (phyto=plant) and a good dose of fiber. One medium apple contains about 23 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber. Try to buy organic apples without wax, wash well and eat the skin. You should know by now that the deep red color is an indicator of nature's potent disease-fighting chemicals. 

10. OATMEAL.

A cup of cooked oatmeal contains 27 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber. Though 4 grams is not a huge amount, oat fiber contains beta-glucan, a special kind of soluble fiber known to help people feel full longer, have less of an effect on BG, and improve cholesterol numbers. Use old-fashioned rolled oat or steel-cut oats for the best health bang for your buck. These are the least processed varieties and retain the most nutrients and fiber.

With rolled oats, mix one part oats to two parts cold water and simmer for 15 minutes or microwave for two, stir, then microwave again until you get desired consistency. Add ground flaxseed, or a dash of a flax, almond, or walnut oil. A little butter will work, too. Then you can add your cinnamon, sweetener, and milk or cream. Quick tip: Store your oats in the fridge. The oils in them can go rancid over time.

11. BARLEY.

Barley holds the honor of being the lowest-glycemic grain (of the grains officially tested so far). This means it is the grain least likely to spike your blood sugar. A half-cup of cooked pearl barley contains 22 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber—but like oatmeal, the fiber is the magical beta-glucan. If you can find the less processed, "hull-less" barley, you'll get even more fiber and more blood sugar protection.

Barley is mild, tender, and versatile—it can be used in place of rice, as an ingredient in soups, or in the morning like oatmeal.

Vision Boards: Why They Work and How to Create One

Vision Boards: Why They Work and How to Create One

Everyone has heard of a vision board, but many people aren’t entirely clear on what one is or what it can do for them. A vision board is a visualization and reminder tool consisting of images, affirmations, and quotes that can inspire, motivate, and encourage action.

Many people find vision boards a useful tool in their quest to be successful and to realize their dreams.

A vision board provides important benefits, such as:

  1. Motivation. A vision board is an easy, fast and effective way to boost motivation. Once a vision board is constructed, a quick glance can regenerate positive feelings and motivation instantly.
  1. Focus. A vision board is a convenient reminder of what you’re trying to accomplish. Many people lose track of their goals before any significant progress is made. Vision boards serve as a constant reminder of your most important objectives.

Use these methods to create an effective and exciting vision board:

  1. Set your goals. A vision board requires a specific intention. If you don’t know what your intention is, it’s not possible to make an effective vision board. Be crystal clear on what you want to accomplish. This is the first step.
  1. View the vision boards of others. There are so many different style designs and ideas, you’re certain to be inspired by viewing the vision boards of others. There are plenty of photos online that can spark your creativity.
  1. Decide on a format. You could dedicate an entire wall to your vision. Or make a traditional poster. Perhaps a bulletin board is more your style.
  1. Find pictures that represent your goals. A vision board is visual, so you’re going to need some photos, drawings, or paintings that represent your goals. Again, the internet is the easiest way to go if you have a printer up to the task. Otherwise, you’ll have to go old school and cut up magazines or use photos.
  1. Choose words, quotes, or slogans. It can be effective to include text in your vision board. Certain words and quotes can also elicit strong emotions.
  1. Organize everything. Do you like everything neat and lined up? Do you prefer the look of a collage? It’s up to you. Lay your vision board out a few different ways and choose what feels the best to you.

How to use a vision board effectively:

  1. Look at your vision board at least twice each day. Just a few minutes is perfectly fine. Clear your mind and focus on the images and words that you’ve chosen to represent your objectives.
  1. Visualize achieving those things. Imagine how great it will feel to finally have those items, experiences, and achievements in your life.
  1. Add items that appeal to you. As the days pass, you’ll have new ideas and come across new pictures and text that you’ll want to add to your vision board. Do it! This is a process and not a one-time event.
  1. List action steps you’ve identified as most effective. A vision board is motivating, but it’s insufficient when it comes to changing your life. The actions you take are ultimately what matters. Identify the actions that will make your vision board a reality and actually do them!

A vision board can be a powerful tool for bringing positive change to your life. A vision board is highly motivating and focuses your attention on what you want. Anyone can use this powerful tool to experience more success in life.