Help Patient’s Love Themselves: Part 1 – Eating Well

Learning to love ourselves and making sure our bodies and minds are healthy is not as easy as it seems. Teaching patients to do the same can be even more of a challenge. But, using health coaching techniques, such as Motivational Interviewing (MI), Active Listening & Goal Setting, it can be made easier.

Throughout this Valentine’s themed series, we will focus on ways to love yourself, or to get your patients to love themselves using healthy techniques. Today’s blog will specifically identify some simple guidelines for healthy eating and will touch on the concept of Mindful Eating.

Here are some basic tips for healthy eating for the general adult public (if a chronic condition requires specific dietary considerations, please make sure you are suggesting what is accurate for your patient):

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables (variety is key!)
  • Make at least half your grains whole (if not gluten intolerant)
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Vary your protein choices
  • Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
  • Eat Mindfully

What do we mean when we say “eat mindfully”? It is best to eat with intention, attention, and without judgment. So often we snack because we are bored rather than actually being hungry. When you eat you should be present in the moment and aware of your hunger level. Eat when you reach a certain hunger level and eat without distractions, enjoy the moment! You need to eat to nourish your body and for pleasure, so be aware of when you are eating, what you are eating and how much, but without judging yourself. Learn from your body what it needs, when it needs it, and how much it enjoys it! Take a MINDFULPause if necessary to determine what you are needing beforehand and to recognize how the experience made you feel afterwards

Here are a few, quick Mindful Eating tips:

  • Notice your cravings
  • Minimize distractions while eating, focus on the present moment
  • Set a satisfaction goal BEFORE eating
  • Check your portion sizes and use smaller servingware
  • Create MINDFULPauses before, during, and after eating
  • Be mindful of your hunger level before, during, and after eating
  • Create your personal “I’m done” signal
  • Express “mindful attitudes” of self-compassion, non-judgment, kindness, patience, joy & gratitude

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