This 3 Minute Exercise Can Make You Eat Less While Still Feeling Satisfied

In my last post, I shared a cooking-free way to make your food more satisfying, tasty, & filling.

What was this technique?

Mindful eating.

Eating mindfully helps you eat less while still feeling satisfied. It also makes your food taste better.

Last week I shared specific ways for you to eat more mindfully.

Another way to mindful eating is to use eating as a meditation of sorts.

So I made a recording especially for you to help you in your mindful eating practice.

All you need is a raisin, a few minutes, and to hit the play button below.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!
 

The Raisin Exercise for Mindful Eating

People who’ve tried this tell me the exercise:

  • increased their enjoyment in eating
  • made eating more satisfying
  • gave them gratitude for the plants, farmers, and preparers of their food

So what are you waiting for? Give it a try! What do you have to lose?

In Health & Happiness,
Skye

do you want a cooking-free way to make your food more satisfying, tasty, & filling?

Who wants to eat less while feeling just as satisfied?

And who wants their food to taste better and be more satisfying?

Unless you are a masochist, my guess is you answered “Me!”

What if I could share a way for you to do this that did not require any cooking?

There is one simple, real, and freeing way to do this. Get ready . . .

Eat mindfully.

Americans often approach eating like a visit to a gas station. You try to find the cheapest option, quickly refuel while multi-tasking (talking on the phone, checking your email, washing your windows), and zip away to your next task. The process fulfills its purpose (refueling), but does not provide enjoyment, pleasure, or satisfaction.

Think about your eating. Is itdone quickly, while watching television, while working at your desk, in the car, or while walking? Do you view eating as a quick refueling or task on your agenda?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you could use an eating makeover.

There is now a term when you consume food when it is not your primary focus. It is called “secondary eating” and Americans spend more time as Secondary Eaters than they do as Primary Eaters (i.e., less meals and more eating on the go or in front of the television). While we think we are gaining time andconvenience with secondary eating, we are actually losing.

When we eat without it being our primary focus:
    •    Our brains are less able to enjoy our food
    •    We lose the ability to fully taste and appreciate different flavors
    •    We have more difficulty telling when we are full

Truly I understand you lead busy and hectic lives. Being as efficient as possible is hardwired in many brains (especially mine).

But eating is not where our time saving should come from.

The average American spends 34 hours a week watching television. That’s just less than 5 hours a day. With the rise of mobile devices (hello iPhones and iPads), people are finding more time. In fact, five hours a day is the estimate. And somehow we don’t “have” time to eat or exercise.

Eating in front of the television or while working is tempting (even for me). But ask yourself, what can you gain by consciously eating?

You can more fully enjoy your meal, better understand when you are full, and likely eat less. All while feeling more satisfied. If I were selling a pill that did those things, I would be a millionaire.

Make eating a savor worthy experience.

To help combat the temptation of eating in front of the television, I offer you some suggestions.

1. Eat with others (family, friends, co-workers).

It’s more fun and the conversation will be stimulating. Plus studies show eating with others is linked to lower body weight.

2. Set the table.

Clear off your table if it has become your mail filing system, work space, or anything other than eating space. Put out your dinnerware and flatware.

3. Add some flowers.

Studies show food tastes better when there are flowers on the table. Plus, it makes eating feel special (as it should). Maybe even light a candle or two if you’re feeling crazy.

4. Enjoy each bite.

Chew your food and enjoy the texture, flavors, and smells you are experiencing.

5. Savor the moment.

Appreciate that you are exactly where you are meant to be, doing exactly what you were meant to do. Be present. Enjoy where you are.

From Information to Action

This post has been on my mind since the inception of A Better Way Wellness. With fall around the corner and holidays on the horizon, the time to share is right.

I challenge you, savor eating today.

Make your next meal a special and enjoyable experience. Savor and appreciate where you are.

In health & happiness,
Skye

The Number One Tip Fit Women Follow

I had an entirely different post planned for today.

And then something pulled at my heart so strongly I knew I had to share with you.

Yesterday Krista Gray from Brit + Co published an article titled “15 Rules Fit Women Always Follow.”

Krista interviewed a group of incredibly bright, healthy, and inspirational women (including Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser and Jillian Lorenze, co-founder of The Barre Code). Little ol’ me was lucky enough to have her wellness ideas in the article. Not only was I included, but my tip is listed as number one.

The other tips in the article are great and I encourage you give it a read through (I especially love tip #14 from athlete Michelle Parker). But I believe my tip was top of the list because it looked beyond what we typically think of as fitness.

My tip was to focus on wellness first — not on appearances.

Which either seems super obvious or never crossed your mind.

For years the concept never crossed my mind. I focused on the wrong aspects of health. My goal was to look a certain way or to reach a certain weight. How I felt was inconsequential.

I deprived myself of eating foods I truly loved. I equated sacrifice with success. And deprivation with dutifulness.

I viewed exercise as an unavoidable chore. It was something I had to check off my list before getting to the next task. I would feel ridden with guilt if I missed a session and a little smug when I went to the gym more times than planned.

And despite my greatest efforts to control my diet and exercise consistently, my health wasn’t improving.

My mind and body were stressed out. And whose wouldn’t be, really? I was obsessed with ever-changing goals and at times unrealistic expectations.

And then a gradual shift occurred. My focus turned to self-care and self-love. I stopped wondering what I could do to lose a few pounds or to fit into my skinny jeans. Instead I started asking what could I do to support my body? My goals? My dreams?

I wanted to feel my best so I could be my best. The version of myself that was kind, attentive, energetic, and present. The version of myself that could give to and help others.

So instead of eating processed low-calorie food that left me hungry and without pizzazz, I started eating food that tasted delicious and left me energized and happy on the inside and out. Instead of drinking things I didn’t enjoy, I chose beverages that hydrated and nourished me.

Instead of exercising for the sake of exercising, I moved my body in ways that were challenging, fun, and left me feeling happy and healthy.

I filled my mind and leisure time with influences and activities that would make me feel more like the best version of myself.

And as a result, now I eat better. My food looks better, tastes better, and makes me feel better. I exercise because I want my body to be strong and healthy. My hobbies and work fill my cup instead of emptying it.

The beauty of this is that it’s completely sustainable. Because each decision I make is for my wellness —for my best interest. It’s not a sacrifice to turn down food that makes me feel bloated and cranky. It’s a gift to myself. It’s not a chore to exercise. It’s a way to honor and support my body. It’s not a waste of time to read an uplifting book. It’s enrichment for my mind and spirit.

Is every day perfect? Absolutely not! There are times when I make choices that don’t make me feel the best I can be. But I don’t torture myself about it. I learn from the experience and vow to treat myself better next time.

When your motivation is your personal wellness and overall health, you make better decisions instinctively.

It’s not a diet, or a fast, or an exercise binge. You don’t need to stress or obsess about going out for a meal or traveling.

You just make daily decisions to be and feel your best. And this change is real. Better. It is the true, effective, and sustainable path to lasting wellness.

Maybe you already do this instinctively. I commend you and encourage you to keep it up. But if your wellness is not your priority for fitness, consider a different way. Consider a way that puts the emphasis on feeling healthy and good in your body. Consider a way that encourages you to treat yourself with kindness and grace. Consider a better way.

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How to Mediate Guide (+ What Meditation Is & Why You Should Do It)

What if I told you there was a scientifically proven way to feel less stress? A way that made your anxiety dissipate. A way that could lower your blood pressure and decrease pain. A way that could ameliorate headaches and improve your sleep quality.

What if I told you this solution could benefit almost every single person in the world? That this solution was not a drug and not a sham.

Now what if I told you this solution was free?

My guess is you would be interested in learning more.

So what is this incredible solution?

Meditation. And this post will give you the foundation to start your own meditation practice.

What Meditation Is

What is meditation? Meditation is a practice that relaxes the physical and mental state by freeing the mind.

The word meditation may conjure different images in your mind — maybe a Buddhist monk or a hippy or something else entirely. This is because there are many different types of meditation. Types of meditation include:

  •     Chi
  •     Concentrative
  •     Kundalini
  •     Mindfulness
  •     Mantra
  •     Transcendental (very popular right now)
  •     Zen
  •     More!

These different types of meditation are practiced in varying ways.

What the different forms of meditation have in common is the resting of the mind to attain an improved state of consciousness.

With my patients I find there is much confusion surrounding meditation. So here is a quick rundown of what meditation is and what it is not

What meditation is:

  •     Resting of the mind
  •     A way to attain a special state of consciousness
  •     Something that can be done independently or with others
  •     Scientifically proven to have many health benefits

What meditation is NOT:

  •     A religion
  •     Something only hippies or monks do
  •     Expensive
  •     Difficult to learn

How Meditation Promotes Wellness

The evidence surrounding meditation is robust. In fact, there is more compelling data to support meditation than there is for many drugs on the market. For those of you who love to know the evidence, the following is an overview of the peer-reviewed scientific evidence for meditation.

  • Meditation for 8 consecutive weeks significantly reduces blood pressure and heart rate in patients with high blood pressure.
  • Meditation for 8 consecutive weeks significantly reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Meditation further reduces anxiety in patients already using anxiety medication
  • Meditation for 8 consecutive weeks can decrease the perception of back pain.
  • Meditation for 8 weeks can improve subjective quality of life in adults and older adults.
  • Meditation for 4 weeks can significantly decrease blood sugar in patients with diabetes (decreases hemoglobin A1c by 0.5%).
  • Meditation may improve cognition and aging.
  • Meditation for 1.5 hours each week can significantly improve perceived stress levels.

If you are an evidence-based medicine lover, feel welcome to contact me for links to the original research articles that support the listed benefits.

How to Meditate: A Simple Way

Now that you know what meditation is and what it can do you for, I will share simple instructions on one way to meditate. Beginners generally find basic or guided meditation to be easiest. Below you will find instructions on basic meditation.

STEP 1: Settle yourself into a comfortable meditative posture.

You may think you have to be seated on the floor in full lotus position to meditate. This is not true. If sitting in full lotus on a hardwood floor is comfortable for you, excellent. If not, there are many different options.

The best posture for meditation in one that is comfortable and allows your head, neck, and torso to be straight while you are seated. This may mean sitting crossed legged on the floor, on a cushion or pillow, or even on a block. Or it may mean you are seated in a comfortable chair. Whichever way you can sit comfortably whilst keeping your head, neck, and torso aligned is perfect.

My personal preferred meditation posture is sitting on a mat in half lotus position. If my hips are feeling tight, I will add a cushion or block under my seat.

STEP 2: Close your eyes gently.

There is no need to squeeze your eyes shut. Just gently lower your lids into a comfortable position.

STEP 3: Bring awareness to your body.

Take a few moments to notice how your body feels. Perhaps you become aware of the strength of your core or the tension in your neck. Just notice without judgment.

STEP 4: Bring awareness to your breath.

Notice the depth and quality of your breathing. Breathe using your diaphragm (not just your upper chest). Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply.

Continue this for 10 minutes. You may find setting a timer is helpful when you are new to meditation.

Notes:

Don’t stress if your mind wanders, especially when you are new to meditation. This is common. When thoughts bubble into your consciousness, try to observe them without reaction or judgement. Or mentally invite them to rest until a later time.

If you have severe asthma or other pulmonary disorders, consider physician advice before starting a new meditation practice. Do not meditate while driving or operating heavy machinery.

When to Expect Results from Meditation

Some meditators experience positive results immediately. Others notice benefits gradually — a few weeks pass and they realize they do not react as strongly to irritations, their anxiety level is lower, or they feel more peaceful. While you may not immediately notice results, understand positive changes are occurring in your mind and body. Persist with your meditation practice and you will experience transformative results.

My Personal Meditation Practice

Meditation has been a truly transformative practice in my life. I flirted with meditation about seven years ago. For several years I had an on-again off-again relationship with meditation. I appreciated the immediate benefits, but did not experience tangible lasting results.

About two years ago I truly devoted myself to meditation practice. I was in a particularly stressful period of life. Lots of change (two cross country moves, deaths in the family, and new jobs, to name a few) had left me feeling fatigued, irritable, and frankly looking less than well.

Because of my evidence-based quest for wellness (read more about that here), I knew the strong data support for meditation. I even recommended meditation to my patients. So I decided to truly practice what I preached and made a pledge to meditate for twenty minutes for an entire month.

My instant gratification came in the form of immediate calm and relaxation after a meditation session. Then later I actually noticed myself getting frustrated and irritated (obviously not the desired effect). I noticed myself tensing in certain situations and being irritable. This was confusing and seemed entirely counter-intuitive. I wondered if I was doing something wrong.

Then my husband and other loved ones commented that I seemed more relaxed. Calmer. Happier, really. And then I realized that even though I was noticing myself tensing more, I was actually reacting less. Basically, before meditation I would tense and feel anxious or irritable without even recognizing it. Now I recognized it and was able to choose my reactions. This phase lasted for a few months and then dissipated. Eventually, I stopped noticing myself tensing because my mind and body had actually stopped tensing. I was progressing.

Before meditation I didn’t have the awareness to recognize my stress and anxiety. Once I started meditation, I became more aware of my stress reactions (and falsely assumed I was tensing and stressing more). With consistent meditation, my stress reactions decreased significantly in a noticeable way for myself and those around me.

I share my personal experience in case yours is similar. If you start a meditation practice and feel like you may be reacting more to your circumstances, do not fret. You are likely noticing your reactions more. This means you are progressing in a positive way. Persist with your practice and you will experience the transformative effects of meditation.

Your Turn: From Knowledge to Action

You understand what meditation is, why it can help you, and how to start. Now that you have a solid meditation foundation, what will you do? I challenge you to start a meditation practice today. Make a commitment to yourself and get meditating. It’s a small investment of 10 minutes (or less) a day with a huge return on investment.

So there you have it. A how to meditate guide.

What are your tips and experience with meditation? I would love to hear!

Sending you light until next time.

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Traveling Well Part II: 5 Ways to Feel Amazing Once You've Reached Your Destination

I have a confession. I used to feel anxious about traveling. Don’t get me wrong; I adore experiencing different cultures and making new friends.

What made me anxious was feeling like travel derailed my wellness progress. Like it set me backward, upset my belly, caused me to breakout, and made me gain a few unwanted pounds. Travel left me with mixed emotions — excitement for new adventures and remorse for feeling “unhealthy.”

After incorporating all I’ve learned about wellness into my life, I no longer feel apprehension about travel. I love it. Because I’ve found a better way to travel. A way that reinforces my wellness, keeps my belly happy, calms my body, and leaves me lighter and brighter.

Today is part II of Traveling Well (check out Part I here) and I’m sharing my secrets to feel fantastic once you’ve reached your travel destination.

1. Be a Breakfast Genius.

This means being smart about what you choose to nourish yourself with. Breakfast sets your tone for the day. If you have a greasy and heavy breakfast, you’re going to feel greasy and heavy the rest of the day. If you eat something supportive and energizing, you will feel supported and energized throughout the day.

WARNING: to be a breakfast genius you need to be prepared. Know what makes you feel great in the morning, and find a way to make sure you get it. This requires preplanning.

Green smoothies, to me, are the greatest breakfast — nutrient dense, easily digested, and filling. How do I make sure I get green smoothies when I travel? If traveling by car and I have access to a refrigerator, I pack a few homemade smoothies stored in Mason jars for the trip. If not, I google “smoothies” and my destination. Most times, I can find somewhere within walking distance that serves smoothies.

If you can’t find a smoothie joint or are already committed to other eating establishments, you can get creative. Most restaurants have whole grain toast (and often gluten free) and avocados. Ask for whole grain toast with avocado! It’s delicious, nutritious, and satisfying.

2. Green Up.

Back in my dark ages, I used to just order an entree (sans salad) when eating out during travel. I used to think a salad wouldn’t fill me up and felt guilty spending an extra few bucks on greens. I’ve since learned my lesson.

Eating vegetables makes you feel better. They are full of vitamins and minerals that energize you and fiber that fills you up and helps keep your digestive system regular. They are a travel win-win.

Try ordering fresh vegetables with every meal. Or better yet, replace one of your meals with a larger salad. Trust me, your belly with thank you. It’s like suiting up, but with vegetables.

3. Move It.

As mentioned in last week’s bonus, moving your body and exercising will make you feel better. Period. So find a way to do it wherever you are.

This may mean packing special shoes and clothes or borrowing them. Some hotels make this easy by allowing you to borrow exercise clothes and shoes. Westin hotels partnered with New Balance and for $5 you can have clothes and shoes delivered to your room in 15 minutes or less.

Do whatever movement suits you best. If you like gyms, find one to use. Are classes your thing? You can easily find a studio and buy a single class pass (try the Zenrez app for last minute class deals in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and the Bay Area). Personally, I like to walk, bike, and run when I travel. I find it an excellent way to see the sights and often find some great hole in the wall places to check out in the process.

4. Be Mindful.

My mindfulness practice comes with me wherever I go. Just because I’m away from home does not mean I forgo one of my wellness foundations: meditation. The beauty of meditation is you can practically do it anywhere.

On a plane, train, or automobile (just not while you are actually driving). In a tent, hotel room, or airbnb. On the beach, mountain top, or valley. It doesn’t matter.

Wherever and whenever, you can seat yourself comfortably, close your eyes, and breathe.

5. Dress for Success.

This means traveling with clothing that makes you feel your best. Clothes that are comfortable, but don’t limit your activities.

This means different things for different people. For me this usually means:

  • Packing pajamas I love. Ones that are soft, warm, but still cute.
  • Bringing one pair of athletic shoes that I can walk, run, or bike in. My favorites right now are Brooks.
  • Toting athletic clothes that are comfortable and stylish (that can take me from running to casual breakfasts and coffee shops). Zella leggings are my holy grail (and go on sale soon during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale). Other brands I love are Patagonia, Saucony, Brooks, and Lululemon.
  • Taking my trusty Oakley sunglasses that look great when I am glammed up, but function when I’m running or biking.
  • Wearing fashionable, yet comfortable shoes (I don’t want sore feet to keep me from exploring by foot). For sandals I go for Uggs and Sperry. Chloe and Josef Seibel flats are versatile and functional. Isabel Marant booties are my obsession (I can’t believe shoes with a heel can actually be this comfortable for walking all day). During winter, my Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots go everywhere I do.
  • Slipping into a great pair of skinny jeans. I’ve tried them all and Rag and Bone are my winners.
  •  Bringing a flowing dress that compliments my shoe choices.


There you have it! A better way to travel. Follow these tips and you will feel fantastic when you travel.

Do you have any healthy travel tips to add? If so, please share!

Sending you light until next time.

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Traveling Well: 5 Ways to be Healthy While Traveling by Plane

Two weeks ago I was on a plane to Seattle en route to a speaking engagement. In the past, flying left me tired, puffy, and feeling less than well. That day, I realized I was on my seventeenth flight of 2016 and that I had finally figured out the secrets to traveling that kept me feeling and looking my best. A better way to travel, really.

With the official start of summer approaching, you may be departing for a well deserved vacation or two. I’m excited for you and because I want you to have happy and healthy trips, I am sharing my top tips for staying healthy while traveling.

This week I will focus on travel by air (something this airline MVP member has plenty of experience with). Airports and airplanes can be wellness vampires leaving you feeling tired, bloated, and irritated. That’s not how I want my vacations to start. I want to feel rested, relaxed, and ready for fun. So fret not! Follow these simple tips to stay healthy while traveling by plane.

Buckle your safety belts, make sure your tray is in the upright and locked position, and get ready to travel in A Better Way Wellness Style.


1. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle for Water)

Whether you are traveling by foot, car, or plane, you will feel your best when you are appropriately hydrated. What’s the easiest way to stay hydrated?

Bring your own water bottle.

Did you know you can bring empty water bottles through airport security? This is my personal practice because I love my water, but don’t love drinking it out of expensive plastic bottles sold at airport shops for outrageous prices. In fact, many airports now have filtered water bottle filling stations (SFO, SEA, SLC, GEG, JFK, and LAX, to name a few). So you can take care of yourself, your wallet, and the environment. This is a win-win-win.

My favorite water bottles are made of glass. One reason is I’m not keen on plastics leaching into my water. Another is everything just tastes better out of glass. Trust me.

Right now I’m loving my 1-liter bkr bottle. bkr bottles are my go to — glass, protected with silicon, durable, and cute. Bonus: these bottles are dishwasher safe.

2. Pack Your Own Meals

When I travel, I want to feel rested and ready for action when I arrive at my destination. Airport and airplane food is notoriously subpar, expensive, over salted, and makes you feel blah. The fix?

Pack your own meals for the plane! You can bring food through security, just like an empty water bottle. Insider tip: make sure your food is not considered a liquid (such as soup, yogurt, or a smoothie). Liquids will get confiscated through security. Salads, wraps, and even leftovers can be taken through security without a problem.

For my last trip, I packed red pepper, arugula, and mushroom pitas. They tasted amazing, left me feeling great, and may have been the cause of more than one jealous stare.

3. Stash Some Sanitizer

Let’s be real here. Do you know how often airplane seats and trays are cleaned? Neither do I. But my guess is not often because when I wipe my tray down, my white wipes always turn brown. Yuck!

Keep yourself healthy and clean by stashing some hand sanitizer. My current favorite spray is Dr. Bronner’s lavender. If you, like me, are concerned with too many liquids at security, try the EO wipes.

To keep yourself healthy, sanitize your tray and seat belt as soon as you board. Then clean your hands before you eat or drink.

4. Say “No, thank you” to Salty Snack Foods

Have you ever had a free airplane snack that was so delicious you couldn’t stop thinking about it? I didn’t think so.

Most of the complimentary foods are barely palatable, at best, and include more questionable ingredients than a Twinkie. These snacks are often chock full of preservatives and salt, which will leave you dehydrated and puffy. That’s the opposite of how I want to feel when I land.

Instead of the pretzels/snack mix/weird cookies, just say no thanks. If you have it in front of you, the chances are you will open the little packet and nibble. Plus, since you brought your own food, you won’t need the free snacks to fill you up.  

5. Meditate in the Sky

As soon as I board a plane, I stash my bag, sanitize my space, and put in my Bose noise cancelling headphones (the greatest Christmas gift from my husband). Next, I close my eyes and do some deep breathing and meditation.

Mindfulness is an incredibly important part of wellness and can be done anywhere (even at 10,000 feet). Air travel can be stressful and anxiety provoking. I find that simple meditation — merely counting my breaths in and out — can make me feel relaxed in the moment and better when I land.


BONUS TIP: Take the Stairs and Avoid Moving Walkways

Moving your body and exercising will make you feel better. Period. So do it even while traveling by air.

While I LOVE that the San Francisco airport has yoga and mediation rooms (which I highly recommend), that trend has not swept the nation. Instead, move your body. Take the stairs. Avoid moving walkways. Instead of sitting in the boarding area, go for a stroll. It’s amazing how many steps you can actually accumulate while traveling.

I find walking and moving while traveling is much easier when I wear comfortable shoes. This doesn’t mean you need to wear athletic shoes (but if you want to, more power to you). There are many stylish and comfortable options. My favorites? Josef Siebel and Isabel Marant (the Dicker boots are amazing).

There you have it! A better way to travel by plane. I challenge you to try all five tips (plus the bonus) on your next trip.

Do you have any healthy travel tips to add? If so, please share!

Sending you light until next time.

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Why I Built A Better Way Wellness

Why I Built A Better Way Wellness

From struggle & experience came the solution

As I rounded out my twenties, I knew there was something off.

On the surface things looked shiny. I lived in a fashionable part of town in a snappy condo with my loving husband, worked as a professor at a top 10 school for my discipline, and had a group of genuinely wonderful friends.

But something felt off. My body felt strange to me. Sure, I thought I was eating the “right” things (boy was I wrong) and completing vigorous exercise almost daily and sometime twice daily. But my weight was creeping up, my arms and stomach felt more than a little doughy, my skin was breaking out, my anxiety level was increasing, and my glow and energetic disposition were dulling. Something was wrong.

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