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April 19, 2023

🌿 Intentional Living: Why Do You Eat? 🤔

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In This Issue:

Featured Wellness Message: Why Do You Eat?

Recommended Resource: Amparo Penny’s Creating Sustainable Health Habits e-book

My Psychology Today Article: 9 Tips for Improving the Gut-Brain Connection

My Featured Post: Can Ancient Toltec Wisdom Improve How We Relate to Food?

Why Do You Eat? 🤔

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Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to change your eating habits? For starters, consider that you have been doing it for a lifetime. It’s not easy switching up a rhythm you’ve honed over months, years, or even decades. But it is possible.

If on most days you are restricting food, obsessing about food, emotionally eating, or eating mindlessly, now is a good time to find out why. Ask yourself, Why do I eat? I don’t mean that facetiously! Besides, the obvious answer—your body needs food to survive—what actually prompts you to reach for food?

Do you eat because “it’s time,” or because food is readily available? Do you typically eat because you are bored or stressed? Do you wait to eat until you’re practically starving? Do you snack reflexively while watching TV or screens? Do you avoid certain foods because they’re “bad”? If you’re not sure, try this simple experiment: track your eating for 3 days, making note of what prompted your meals or snacks. Your log can offer a lot of insight into your automatic eating.

Once you understand what prompts your personal eating habits, you can pause before acting on them. You can choose actions that lead to the habits you want, rather than the habits you have. This means eating more in tune with hunger and fullness cues, energy levels, your schedule, your tastes, and nutritional needs. Trust me, your brain will respond. You will start creating a new, natural style of eating that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit.

XO,

Dr. Gia

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"Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex."​
—Norman Vincent Peale

Creating Sustainable Health Habits

I talk a lot about the importance of healthy habits, and how understanding the science of habit formation is key to long-lasting, positive change. Yet the old adage rings loudly for most us: Change is easier said than done. ​

That’s why this short but powerful e-book from licensed therapist and health and mindset coach Amparo Penny is a tool not to be passed up. Creating Sustainable Health Habits can help you establish a realistic routine that you can stick with for life. It cuts to the chase by distilling the most effective habit-building strategies and explaining why they work. The mini book ends with worksheets, including a chart to track your progress.

Penny’s mission is to help people stop obsessing about food and their body, and create healthy habits for life. She got into this work after her own 20+ year battle with disordered eating, yo-yo dieting, and using exercise as punishment. You can find her at www.amparopenny.com and on her Facebook group, "Food: Your New BFF" (https://www.facebook.com/groups/yournewbff).

9 Tips for Improving the Gut-Brain Connection

What you eat can improve your digestion and mood—and reduce disordered eating

Whole-body health is one of the most comprehensive models we have for integrative mind-body-spirit wellness. And with new findings regarding the gut-brain axis, we’re closer to understanding just how connected we truly are on the insides. The gut and brain communicate in an effort to regulate emotions, cognitive functioning, digestion, and other bodily functions.

While the gut-brain connection means that proper nutrition may result in substantial improvements to mental as well as physical health, disturbances to either side of the axis may contribute to problems. Both eating disorders and anxiety produce physiological imbalances that alter the amount and composition of gut microbiota, the microorganisms that live in the gut.

Fortunately, there are many ways to positively modulate this relationship. One way is to eat a variety of foods. Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods (such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, and nuts), along with regular consumption of fish, poultry, and dairy products, increases microbial diversity in the gut while providing a range of nutrients (such as omega fatty acids and antioxidants) that improve overall brain health. Research shows that foods typically consumed by those living in the Mediterranean region are particularly beneficial to the gut microbiota and the brain.

For all 9 tips for improving the gut-brain connection, read the the entire Psychology Today article.

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Can Ancient Toltec Wisdom Improve How We Relate to Food?

Learn how the lessons in The Four Agreements may lead to a healthier relationship to food and your body—and curb disordered eating

Our self-talk can prop us up or hold us back, keep us going or slow our stroll. The words we say can be motivating and expansive, or they can be limiting and narrow. How we talk to ourselves impacts how we talk to others, of course. Interestingly, our self-talk also impacts how we eat.

It makes sense, then, that learning a language based in truth, compassion, and love is beneficial. As is following a code of conduct that teaches us to be authentic. One renowned book, The Four Agreements: A Personal Guide to Freedom, by bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz, does just that. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, it provides guidelines that can help us lead a more fulfilling and better life. When these four simple concepts are applied in the context of how we relate to food and our bodies, a surprising amount of healing and growth can happen.

These powerful concepts can help you build healthy habits for a lifetime. They may even help you end emotional eating, impulsive eating, binge eating, or an eating disorder. The four agreements are: 1. Be impeccable with your word 2. Don’t take anything personally 3. Don’t make assumptions 4. Always do your best.

To discover how each can be specifically applied to your thoughts about and behaviors around food, read my full blog post.

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