wellness - FIT & NU™

Woman meditating on beach
Photo by Chelsea Gates on Unsplash

According to research by the Economic Research Service (ERS), Americans spend about 75 minutes per day eating and drinking, but we’re often doing other things too, like watching Netflix, scrolling through our phone, or working. Multitasking while eating can distort our perceptions, which can result in over-eating or under-eating. It can also distort our relationship with food and prevent us from truly enjoying what we’re eating.

Researchers like Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Nutrition Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, have referred to this type of distracted eating as mindless eating. Her research has found that mindless eating is a contributor to obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Are you eating mindlessly?

Ask yourself the following questions and see how well you can answer them.

  1. If you close your eyes, can you envision your plate and everything on it? How big was the plate? How full was it? What colors did you see? How full was your spoon or fork when you took your first bite? How about the second and the last?
  2. What did you drink (either along side your meal or alone) and what kind of glass or container was it in? How full was your cup? How heavy was it? What did your beverage smell like as you raised the glass to your mouth? How many glasses did you have, if you had more than one?
  3. Do you recall the sensation of eating and drinking? What was the temperature when your food or beverage entered your mouth? What was the texture like? Did the flavors of your food or drink change while you swallowed? How did it feel as it went down your throat?

Now, take a second and reflect on how your environment or habits may be affecting your ability to answer these questions — and do it with self-compassion. Keep in mind that the vast majority of people engage in mindless eating, even if they’re not looking at their phones or laptop screen. They may be lost in their thoughts about the day or deeply engaged in a conversation with a friend. This isn’t all bad, necessarily. It’s just that we should be aware of how this might be affecting our health and how we can control these behaviors.

Tips for Mindful Eating

Head Nutrition Coach of FIT & NU, Joslyn Raquel Reese
Head Nutrition Coach and Co-Founder of FIT & NU, Joslyn Raquel Reese. Photo by Richard Cummings

Mindful eating is the opposite of mindless eating and it takes practice. It’s also a skill that we all have the capability of mastering over time.

Here are 3 tips to get you started:

  1. Don’t multitask while you’re eating. Remember, distractions can draw your attention away from signals like when your body is full.
  2. Eat nutrient-dense foods at regularly scheduled times. If we wait long periods of time to eat, we can get so hungry that we end up eating more than we typically would when we’re not so depleted.
  3. Stay hydrated. Not only does drinking more water potentially help you feel more full, it may also play a key role in concentration and mood. All of which can affect your ability to eat more mindfully.

Mindful Eating Exercise

If you’re ready to take the next step, here’s a mindful eating exercise inspired by clinical psychologist, Dr. Steven Hayes’s book, Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

  • Start by giving yourself permission to move through your meal slowly. Take your time performing every action. Try not to get too hung up on any judgments that may come up. Just notice these thoughts along with your experience of eating mindfully. If you have any other thoughts or feelings as you’re eating, notice those too. Then bring your attention back to your physical experience of eating the food.
  • Notice the details of the plate or bowl that’s in front of you.
  • Notice how the food sits in the plate or bowl. Look at the colors and textures.
  • Notice any smells. Take a second to try and describe them.
  • Place your hand over the plate or bowl and notice the temperature.
  • As you prepare to take your first bite, when you lift your fork or spoon, notice how heavy it is in your hand.
  • As you bring the food toward your mouth, notice the temperature and smell.
  • As you place the food in your mouth, notice the sensation and texture as it moves across your tongue.
  • If your food requires chewing, as you chew, notice the texture while you chew. Does the flavor change with each bite?
  • As you swallow, notice any sensations as the food travels to your stomach.
  • Repeat these steps until you are finished with your meal.
  • After the plate or bowl is clear, notice the sensation in your stomach. Try to describe what feels like to be full.


If you tried this exercise, as always, we’d love to know what your experience was like. Was there anything that you struggled with? Did anything surprise you? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

NOTE: This blog was also published on the HEAL•THY•HABITS Inclusive Wellness Blog.

Editor’s Note: The initial post incorrectly attributed the second photo to Blake Jackson. The caption has since been edited to credit Richard Cummings.

Diabetes Prevention
Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/pA0uoltkwao

FIT & NU™ is working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Prevent T2 lifestyle change program to prevent type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet, or legs.

People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:

  • Are 45 years of age or older
  • Are overweight
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active fewer than three times per week, or
  • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Nationally, 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes, so the need for a prevention program, like Prevent T2, has never been greater. The PreventT2 program is a research-backed and scientifically proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of certified coaches that help individuals establish healthy habits. Studies suggest that the Prevent T2 program can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% through modest lifestyle changes.

As trained lifestyle coaches, Joslyn Reese and Brittney Rae Raeese will guide participants as they work in groups to develop the skills they need to make lasting changes to improve their health, including losing weight, increasing physical activity, and managing stress. The program focuses on eating healthy, adding physical activity to participants’ routine, managing stress, staying motivated, and overcoming challenges that can get in the way of healthy changes.

PreventT2 groups meet for a year. Weekly for the first 6 months and then once or twice a month for the second half of the year to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar barriers and working toward the same changes. Participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles together.

To learn more about the program, visit FIT & NU’s website or go to the CDC’s website for more information.


Written by Teniqua Pope

I don’t know who needs to hear this but, Sis: the times are always uncertain. Think about it: unless you dabble in the tarot or own a bedazzled Thanos glove, you’d be hard pressed to even predict what will happen later on today, let alone your entire life. Granted 2020 has definitely been next level chaotic (I’ll spare you the trauma of a recap) both your worst nightmares and your wildest dreams can sprout in chaos. Choose wisely. 

Know this: Comfort cannot coexist with breakthrough. And amazing things are often planted in the unknown. 

Fingers clenched around the familiar cannot grasp greatness. Even if what you’re holding on to is good, you have to let good go to reach better. Uncertain or not, right now is the time to make your move. Whatever that is. Lean into this moment and prepare to be amazed.

Key word: prepare. 

Yes. You do have to prepare to be amazed. Nine months in and 2020’s got too many of us pregnant with fear instead of hope. Again, I’ll spare you the recap, but please know that what you give birth to will be the product of one of the two. What do you want to deliver this month? If you’ve been on a steady diet of doom and doubt for the last 8 months, it’s not too late to detox and replenish yourself and the vision living within you. 

You owe it to yourself, and the vision you’ve been carrying all this time. Prepare. A lack of preparation will only cause delays in your destiny. 2020 has thrown enough banana peels in your path. Don’t let your own limited thinking hold you back. Here are 7 steps you can take to eliminate self doubt and align yourself with amazing:

  1. Solidify your why. Once you have clarity about who you are and what you really want out of life, you’ll need to get solid on your why. Why is this so important to you? How will your life be different once you have/lose/achieve this?
  2. Make room. Declutter your schedule, your space and your mind. Leave room on your calendar for daily self-care and chance encounters. Rearrange your living space if need be. Explore new mindfulness habits.
  3. Set boundaries unapologetically. Get really comfortable saying no. Without explanation or excuse. This will position you for the yes that you truly desire.
  4. Get radical about self-care. Beyond your daily routine. Plan (within your means, of course) to do a little extra once a month. Give yourself something to look forward to. Normalize luxury. You are the occasion.
  5. Invest in you. Somehow you found the money to invest in the travel agency and the cosmetics line your mom used to wear. (Or maybe that’s just me.) Put your money where your dream is. Reserve the domain. Take the certification course. Invest in you.
  6. Share wisely. Your vision is for you. It’s ok if not everyone in your circle can see what you see. Find the cheerleader, the helper, and the sage in your friend group and lean on them for encouragement, inspiration and accountability.
  7. Be that woman now. This ain’t about faking it ’til you make it. You are already that chick. Right now. Shine accordingly.


[About the Author] Teniqua Pope is a trained and experienced Life Coach, Mediator and Transition Strategist based in Denver, Colorado. Her first guided journal for women, “The Self-Care Dare: A 30 Day Journey to Radical, Unapologetic, Life Affirming Self Love” is set to be released in Fall 2020. To book a complimentary coaching discovery session with her, please visit teniquapope.com


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Rhoda Johnson is a certified Image Consultant and Founder of Rhoda Design Group. She is passionate about guiding women into an authentic and successful personal brand with Trademarked beauty products and services. Contact her today for your free Image Analysis atwww.rhodadesigngroup.com.

Jaketa Rowe, the Owner of Filetta’s Couture Boutique, empowers women to look and feel elegant with unique fashion; stop by or schedule a personalized fashion consultation at www.filettas.com.

Brittney Rae Reese is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor and Co-Founder of FIT & NU. She is devoted to inspiring women to enhance their physical and mental strengths through an active lifestyle and a better understanding of fitness for the ever-changing female body. Sign up for your free consultation with FIT coach, Brittney Rae today at www.fitandnu.com.

Joslyn Hopkins is a certified Holistic Health Coach, National Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach and Co-Founder of FIT & NU. Joslyn’s goal is to unveil the influences of our love affair with food by exploring imbalances with career, relationships, spirituality and physical activity. Sign up for your free consultation with NU Coach, Joslyn today at www.fitandnu.com.

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Rhoda, Jaketa, Brittney Rae and Joslyn