Over time, small changes can add up to big results!

Here are 3 simple health hacks that can help you to improve overall health.

Challenge yourself this month and give one a try.  

 

1. STOP EATING 3 HOURS (or more) BEFORE BED

Eating right before bedtime can present many health challenges such as heartburn, insomnia, and can lead to weight gain.  Ideally, you want stop eating at least 3 hours before bed(1).

Making this a lifelong habit has many health benefits including:

  • Supports detoxification: instead of your body needing to digest food while you sleep, it can use its energy to repair, heal and perform general maintenance functions.  
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Supports good digestion: lying down after a big meal can cause the acidic stomach content to rise, causing a burning sensation in your throat.
  • Improves sleep: eating before bed, especially drinking alcohol, stimulates your body and keeps you from having a sound night sleep.

2. KEEP A FOOD LOG

Track you food intake for one week (or longer).  It’s time consuming, but the benefits are worth it!  Simply write down everything you eat and drink manually, or use an app like MyFitnessPal.  For a deeper analysis you can track by using Chronometer.com.

Studies show the following benefits of tracking your food intake(2):

  • Weight loss
  • Teaches portion control
  • Detects food sensitivities
  • Helps track nutrient intake
  • Identifies triggers for unhealthy eating
  • Builds awareness and helps make you more accountable for what you’re eating

03. PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING

Mindful eating is a practice used to change your relationship with food.  It focuses on being aware and intentional of what you’re eating, being present and in the moment with your food, and learning how to savor each bite.  It’s the opposite of fast-food and eating on the run(3).

How to practice mindful eating:

  • It’s not so much about what you are eating; it’s about    why are you eating? Ask yourself: am I hungry, or am I eating out of an emotion (stress, depression, boredom, etc.)?
  • Eat slowly.  Eating slowly allows you to savor each bite. Count the number of times you chew each bite of food.  Ideally, aim for 32 times to chew each bite. This gives your brain enough time to calculate how much you’re eating so you don’t over eat.  
  • Eat when your calm. Digestion shuts down when we are stressed.  
  • When you eat, eat!  Put away all distractions so you can enjoy and pay attention to the food you’re eating.
  • Listen to your body.  Are you content? Do you need more to eat?  

 

Benefits of mindful eating:

  • Better control over your weight by helping to prevent overeating & emotional eating
  • Improved digestion.
  • Reduces binge eating by identifying true hunger or emotional eating.
  • Enhanced eating experience!  You enjoy your food when you pay attention to it and not to other distractions.

By: Michelle Solis, MS, Clinical Nutrition


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288903/
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708080738.htm
  3. Nelson J. B. (2017). Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 30(3), 171-174.