Making the right choice about what to eat and when to eat, or when to exercise, requires paying attention to what is happening as it is happening. You need to be consciously aware that you are reaching for that second slice of cake, extra scoop of ice cream or large order of french fries in order to make a better choice. Mindfulness is present moment awareness: noticing sensations, thoughts, emotions and actions as they occur. Ignoring or "sleep walking" through those poor decisions will lead to regret at a later date. Mindfulness, being consciously aware of what you are doing as you are doing it, gives you the awareness and the time to decide if this is something you really want to do.
Mindfulness meditation with mindful breathing as a comfort activity:
Mindful breathing is simply focusing your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your eyes closed.
1. Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable.
2. Notice and relax your body. Try to notice the shape of your body, its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
3. Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
4. Be kind to your wandering mind. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It’s very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.
5. Stay here for five minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.
6. Check in before you check out. After a few minutes, once again notice your body, your whole body, seated here. Let yourself relax even more deeply and then offer yourself some appreciation for doing this practice today.
American Heart Association – Tips on healthy eating and resource on exercise.
Arthritis Foundation – Exercise and healthy eating tips.
Bob’s Red Mill – Recipes and healthy food store.
Choose My Plate – Healthy eating tips and exercise resource (US Dept Agriculture).
Glycemic Index – Ranks carbohydrates from 0–100.
Kids Health – Exercise and nutrition for kids and teens.
Mindfulness – Extensive resources on mindfulness.
Nutrition – Nutrition for all age groups and a variety of health issues.
The Nutrition Source – Nutrition research from Harvard.
YMCA – Health, well-being, and fitness advice.
References and Bibliography
The information contained in the pages of this website come from a wide variety of sources. When appropriate, specific references have been posted below information that came primarily from one source. All of the other recommendations, insights and advice come from several different reliable sources with overlapping, confirmatory and complimentary information. The resources noted above also serve as a bibliography for information on the website. In addition, Dr. Gray has added his insight and advice as appropriate and based on his 12 years of post-high school education (undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate training) and his 31 years of clinical experience and continuing education.
Biography: John C Gray
Dr. Gray is a doctor of Physical Therapy, a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. He has been a full-time physical therapy clinician for 31 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in Animal and Human Physiology from the University of California at San Diego; his Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Duke University; his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the Ola Grimsby Institute and he spent four years in a residency and fellowship program in orthopedic manual physical therapy. He has had extensive training in exercise science and nutrition through his 12 years of post-high school education and his 31 years of clinical experience and continuing education.