Category Archives: Educational Tips

With No Added Sugar On Top Please

sugar-258113_960_720The new Federal Drug Administration food labeling rules are a big win for the consumer.  According to their May 20, 2016, announcement, the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods will “reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.”  In essence, you will be able to make better informed decisions about what you eat in order to be and stay healthy.

The highlight of the new rules is that big business, especially The Sugar Association, lost their fight to keep the “added sugar” content off of the label.  Instead, all labels will now specify what percentage of the total sugar content has been added by the manufacturer. A lot of food has naturally occurring sugar, so this new label will help the consumer see how much extra they would be getting.  We can thank the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization, Michelle Obama, and others for their recommendation to decrease the intake of added sugar.  This recommendation is based on lots of research that indicates added sugars raise the risks for obesity and other chronic conditions.

Mindful eating helps you to be aware of those extra sugars by attending to your taste buds.  Train yourself to pay careful attention when you eat and you will be more aware of extra sugar and other chemicals. Over time you will notice that your taste buds are great detectives. For me, I will take the food with no added sugar on top. Thanks!

Other highlights of the new rules include updating the serving sizes so that they more accurately reflect how people eat, putting servings in larger, bolder type, listing the calories in larger type, updating the daily values that you need based on newer scientific evidence, eliminating the calories from fat but leaving in the type of fat that is in the product, adding nutrients such as Vitamin D and potassium to the label along with calcium and iron but letting Vitamins A and C be included on a voluntary basis.

Things move slow on these types of changes, but I am elated that we are moving in a direction that helps instead of tricks people. Large manufacturers will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018, so it will still be a while before you see these labels come into effect.  Click on this link to see get more information on the FDA website.  And see the labels below for a comparison of the old (on the left) and the new (on the right).

new_labelold_label

Print Friendly

Eating for the Right Reasons

Young woman enjoying ice creamHow many of you eat even when you’re not physically hungry? My guess is that would be all of you. And, from time to time this is not a problem. Once in a while it is nice to have a special treat just because something tastes good. I particularly savor my first trip to the ice cream parlor in the spring when the weather starts getting warm. However, if you commonly eat to reward and entertain yourself and to ease emotional distress there is a chance you lose control over eating and think about food a lot.

The Eat for Life class that I teach at the University of Missouri is a mindfulness-based intuitive eating program that helps people discover why they eat when they’re not hungry and how to be more in control of what, when, and how they eat. In addition, the program shows how to turn exercise into fun and eating into a healthy joy. The research I conducted indicates that after the program people are more mindful, they eat based on physical instead of emotional cues, they appreciate their bodies more, and they binge less often.

My research indicates that mindfulness training was the key to success in all of the other improvements that people experienced. To support that finding, recent research by Mason and colleagues published in the journal Appetite demonstrated that adding mindfulness training to a diet and exercise intervention called Supporting Health by Integrating Nutrition and Exercise (SHINE)significantly improved weight loss.  This randomized controlled trial adds to the support of mindfulness training as an important part of any weight management or weight loss program.

Summer classes for the Eat for Life program are now registering.  This is great opportunity to learn to eat and live in a way that supports your physical and emotional well-being. There is an in person class in Columbia, Missouri, and an online class that you can take from anywhere in the world.  I hope you can join me.

Print Friendly

Mindful Leaders Matter at Work

performance level conceptual meterIf you’ve had a job for any length of time, it is not lost on you that your supervisor can have a significant impact on your day.  Your relationship to your supervisor can make you feel like being more or less productive and empowered. As a leader, it is important to know what brings out the best in your employees.  As an employee, it feels great to work for someone who understands and practices effective leadership skills.

The role of mindfulness in the workplace has increasingly been recognized as an important quality associated with better task performance, lower emotional exhaustion, better social relationships, and enhanced well-being (Narayanan, Chaturvedi, Reb, and Srinivas, 2011; Glomb, Duffy, Bono, and Yang, 2011).  Research has also examined how supervisors’ mindfulness impacts their employees’ well-being and performance (Matthias, Narayanan, and Chaturvedi, 2014).

How mindfulness can help leaders in their ability to strengthen the workplace was directly examined in a recent study of a variety of work settings (Matthias, Narayanan, & Chaturvedi, 2014). The study found that employees whose supervisors who were more mindful had less emotional exhaustion and better work-life balance. Further, mindfulness of the supervisor was positively related to overall employee performance and job satisfaction and negatively related to employee deviance.

Mindfulness, present-moment awareness with an observing, non-judging stance, can influence the workplace in the following ways:

  1. Move people from an adversarial mindset to a more collaborative mindset (Riskin, 2002)
  2. Improve social interactions between co-workers and supervisors (Wachs & Cordova, 2007)
  3. Cope better with stressful relationships (Barnes et al 2007)
  4. Understand others’ emotional states as well as better understand one’s own emotions (Arch & Craskse, 2006)
  5. Be fully present in interactions with each other in order to demonstrate respect

To become the leader that truly inspires, cultivating the skill of mindfulness can increase awareness of yourself and others in order to increase your emotional intelligence and authentic leadership ability—two concepts known to be associated with great leadership.

For more information about mindful leadership, check out Janice Marturano’s book “Finding the Space to Lead” and her website which has lots of mindfulness meditations you can use throughout the workday.   Books on the Neuroleadership website by David Rock and “Search Inside Yourself” are also good resources for enhancing your leadership skills.

Print Friendly

Go Ahead and Smile!

A handsome young black man against a yellow background

With the current Fitbit craze, you’re probably aware of the health benefits of getting in 10,000 steps a day. But are you aware of all of the health benefits of smiling?

I’d like to invite you to do a little experiment. Put a smile on your face right now and leave it there for 30 seconds. Notice how it makes you feel.  According to the facial feedback hypothesis, facial muscles not only express emotions, but they also have the ability to modulate how you feel. In other words, if you put a smile on your face you can change from feeling angry or anxious to feeling happier or initiate a happy feeling “out of the blue.” When you smile, you are literally sending messages to your brain that you’re happy and eventually you agree. Continue reading

Print Friendly

Mindful Eating at a Hotel Breakfast Buffet–Hold The Sugar Please!

Sugar2I recently traveled out of town and found myself scanning a typical hotel breakfast buffet to find something I could eat. Imagine my horror! If you immediately know what I’m talking about then this blog will be old news for you. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then please continue to read, for your health’s sake. Continue reading

Print Friendly