Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes — One Meal at a Time

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Today’s post comes from our new staff participant Mary, known by many of you as Merry Mary via her  blog.  We’re thrilled to have her with us for the next few months, during which time she’ll share some of her thoughts as she goes through the Green Mountain program.  Welcome, Mary!

Hello, A Weight Lifted readers! My name is Mary and I’m a healthy living blogger at my own site A Merry Life where I’ve spent almost two years writing about my weight loss successes and failures.  As much as I wish I could deny it, the up and down cycle of weight loss due to emotional eating had me trapped over the last year.  I recently came to Green Mountain for a three-month stay as a staff participant, hoping to permanently change the way I view and use food.

After two weeks I’ve already seen changes both in my body and the way I think.  But I’ve also noticed how hard it is to appreciate those changes in some moments.  Subtle changes can be overlooked when I realize how much work I still need to do to change my thoughts and actions.  When I focus on the big picture of what I want to accomplish, it is  easy for my successes so far to be overshadowed.

That is why I appreciate the things I’m learning here so much.  While my brain still wants to focus on the future and think about all the things that are going to happen, I am learning to be present and to focus on what is happening now.

So instead of worrying about the huge tasks, I’m shifting my attention to the things that are happening right now.  I am learning to focus on and enjoy my food at each meal, something I’ve never been taught to do.   Instead of rushing through meals, I am sitting down to think about what I am eating, how it tastes, and whether or not I really am hungry for more.   The concept of eating mindfully is new to me and I’m learning to embrace it.  Instead of looking at the huge process it takes to change years of bad habits, I am just taking it one meal at a time because I know that change never happens overnight.

Change isn’t easy for most of us.  How do you stay the course when success seems a long way away?


5 responses to “Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes — One Meal at a Time”

  1. […] ((My first blog post at A Weight Lifted (Green Mountain’s blog) is up now!  Go check it out!)) […]

  2. Congratulations on getting your site back up, Marsha!
    When success seems a long way away, I try to set up mini-goals for myself. Trying to accomplish too much at one time may overwhelm me, so I’ve found that doing things little by little helps me stay focused and lead to the ultimate goal in the end.
    .-= Nutrition to kitchen’s last blog post..Farmer’s Market and the Friendly Aquaponics Farm in Hilo =-.

  3. Julie says:

    Eating mindfully is so important and so downplayed in America today. It’s easy to get so busy that eating and preparing a meal becomes a chore or an inconvenience. That’s too bad, eating mindfully can be a pleasant revelation, everyone should be lucky enough to experience it. Nice post.

  4. Marsha says:

    Thanks for your comment, Tram. I’m with you about getting overwhelmed when I try to take on too much. The small steps theory works best for me.

  5. Marsha says:

    Hi, Julie! We’ve been teaching mindful eating at Green Mountain since the 80s. What distresses me is that so many people don’t really recognize their eating cues anymore — whether they’re hungry or not and when they’re satisfied. Mindful eating really helps us get back in touch with that. The benefits are obvious.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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