Mindfulness – The Key to Fitness & Diet Success?

b889efa6cae6202aa8182720e1b87c6eed50d9e1_fotolia_75445380_subscription_monthly_mEver wonder why working out seems so hard for you, but so easy for others? A recent study sheds some light on this frustrating topic.

Mustering up the motivation to workout can be extremely difficult, especially during the winter months when snow and rain keep you indoors. Yet, all of us seem to have that one friend who manages to find the time to exercise every day. Whether it’s pouring outside or a hundred degrees, they’re out there burning calories.

So why is it that others are so instinctively motivated, and you’re only motivated by donuts? A new study, published in The Journal of Health Psychology, showcases findings that suggest mindfulness may have something to do with it.

Mindfulness is often associated with meditation, yoga and spirituality, but in experimental psychology it is defined as controlled attentiveness, a deliberate “awareness of what is happening in the present moment,” authors of the new study wrote.

They found that, “Both satisfaction and mindfulness relate to sustained physical activity.” In other words, the more satisfied and mindful you are the more likely you are to keep up an active lifestyle.

How to Achieve Mindfulness
Mindfulness can be applied to many aspects of a person’s life but for the sake of this article we’ll stick to achieving mindfulness in regards to diet and exercise.

1. Be mindful of what you eat. To increase mindfulness in your diet, take the time to consider and debate your food options. Often times we’re in a rush, so we’ll eat whatever is in reach. Unhealthy snacks and meals often seem more convenient than healthy options, but you can make them more accessible. Pre-cut fruits and vegetables make snack bags with smaller portion sizes, pre-cook skinless chicken breasts, all these tips can help you stay on track.

2. Learn what you need out of your diet. A quick evaluation by a nutritionist or doctor can help you choose a diet that’s right for you. Doctors can perform blood tests which can provide you with insights into your vitamin and protein levels as well.

3. Eat foods that will help achieve goals. If you’re low on certain vitamins, you can incorporate specific foods into your diet. If you’re low on vitamin B for example, you can increase the amount of vitamin B rich foods you incorporate into your diet like meat, fish and dairy.

4. Keep a food journal. There are apps like “My Fitness Pal” that can help you keep track of how many calories, fiber, vitamins, sugars and fats you eat daily. At the end of the week, you can review your results and make diet changes accordingly.
Always consult with a physician before starting any new diet plan. It’s important to make sure that a diet won’t affect or create health issues.

Fitness Mindfulness

Keeping up a workout routine is challenging. It’s easy to grow bored with your routine, and even easier to make excuses to quit.

Here are some quick tips for staying mindful of your fitness goals:

1. Focus on ensuring variety. One of the most popular reasons why people quit a fitness routine is that it becomes too routine. Don’t let yourself grow bored of your workout. Instead of using the same cardio machine at the gym each time, do intervals or use different machines each time. Mix in classes like Zumba or kick boxing to add variety and workout different muscles. Take a day off from the gym, and exercise outdoors. Take a run, a swim or a hike in the fresh air.

2. Create a workout calendar. Find it difficult to stay mindful of variety? Purchase or print out a calendar, then plan out your workouts. By planning out what you’ll do each day you’ll be more mindful of what parts of your body you’re working out and less likely to get bored.

3. Location, location, location. Do you hate your gym, but go there because it’s cheap? Is it always crowded, causing you to give up and go home? Where you exercise is almost as important as what you’re exercising. When choosing a gym it’s important to be mindful of your goals, and what has prevented you from working out in the past. If crowds have caused you to give up on exercising, or kept you from machines you need to use, be sure to pick a gym that has less members or more machines. If lack of parking has been an issue, get a membership at a facility with plenty of parking. If the cost of a gym has kept you from working out, scope out beautiful areas in your neighborhood where you can go for a run or hike.

4. Keep a journal. It’s easy to forget how many calories you’ve burned each day, and how many reps you’ve done. By keeping a journal you can keep track of all these things, so that you get the most of each workout and stay mindful of your goals.

5. Reward yourself. Give yourself rewards for achieving workout goals. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes or dress you’ve wanted to fit into set goals and rewards for yourself to stay on track.

We hope these fitness and nutrition tips have been helpful. Need help getting started? Need a nutritionist or physician to help you with your weight loss goals? Contact Dayton Dandes Medical Center today and schedule your appointment to meet with one of our trained professionals. Your health is our priority.

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References
Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: “Mindfulness and satisfaction in physical activity: A cross-sectional study in Dutch population.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.