Archive for November, 2009

The effects of denial on your weight, part 2

Denial, according to Wikipedia, is “a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimization, or admit both the fact a seriousness but deny responsibility (transference). The concept of denial is particularly important to the study of addiction.”

Food, like tobacco and alcohol, can become an addiction. We’ve all heard someone say, “I need chocolate!” or “You can’t watch hockey without pizza and beer!” We all know young children who see candy in a colorful wrapper and will kick and scream until they get it. These people are in denial.

Denial can be deadly for some. For instance, the signs of a heart attack are so varied and complex that they are often ignored and shrugged off as heartburn. I know of a young, vigorous firefighter trained in first aid and rescue who felt chest pains at the station one day. Instead of informing his colleagues, he carried on to the end of his shift.

Driving home, he finally admitted to himself that he was in so much pain that he ought to stop at the hospital. He was lucky he did. It turned out that his “indigestion” was a heart attack. He could easily have collapsed and died during a rescue or by crashing his car, leaving behind a wife and two children, all because he denied his symptoms. Denial can kill us!

We know that what we put into our bodies can eventually lead to illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. So why do we continue to eat processed foods, trans fat, and refined sugars? We’re living in a state of denial. It won’t happen to me. The effects of denial are not easily measured, seen, or even felt for years, sometimes decades. But a life of excess eventually catches up to everyone.

Here are examples of the levels of denial, as they relate to weight:

1. Simple Denial: Ignoring the facts altogether. This is the person who has diabetes and high blood pressure, takes all kinds of medications, and yet continues to eat sugary cereals and chocolate bars.

2. Minimization: Acknowledging the truth, but denying its seriousness. This is the person who tells everyone that the doctor has instructed him or her to lose weight yet continues to indulge regularly on cheeseburgers and fries.

3. Transference: Acknowledging the facts and the seriousness, but denying responsibility. This is the person who says, “I know I’m fat, I have diabetes, and it can kill me, but my family won’t change how they eat and it’s too much trouble to make separate meals for myself. I can’t change.”

Pay attention to your denials. Think about this. Notice what you’re thinking, doing, and saying. You might be saying, “I’m not in denial about anything!” — which is a denial in itself.

Come back later this week to learn more on how self-worth can take a toll on your weight.

 

Eight tips for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and holiday cheer. And lots of food. And perhaps some wine or beer. And some more food. And some sitting. But mostly lots of food. It happens every year. Do you enjoy the holiday, but dread the toll it takes on all of your healthy living and ideal weight goals?

Here are eight simple tricks to making this holiday enjoyable for you and your pants.

  1. Remember to eat throughout the day. Eat a balanced breakfast and a small lunch leading up to your main Thanksgiving meal. This will keep enough glucose in your blood stream to keep your body in a nice, happy range and out of the stressed, starvation mode. Skipping meals before any big event will only lead to overeating and binging when you finally see food.
  2. Contribute to the meal to ensure ample healthy selections to choose from. If Aunt Doris always makes sweet potato pie chocked full of sugar and extras, why not bring a turnip dish sweetened with maple syrup and cinnamon as a healthy alternative? Knowing that there are healthy options available will help bring some balance to your plate, and peace for your mind.
  3. “Upgrade” your traditional menu to a healthier version. Serve whole grain buns with butter instead of white rolls with margarine, make cranberry sauce from scratch instead of plopping it out of a can, use wild and brown rice for stuffing instead of white bread, and make whip cream from actual whipping cream. There will be no real change to the menu, but your body and family will benefit from the improvements.
  4. Ensure a rainbow on the table. Red cranberries, orange yams, yellow onions, green beans, purple beets. All colors of the rainbow benefit different systems in our bodies. And the more vegetable options available, the more veggies in total will make it down the hatch.
  5. Fill your plate only once. When we fill our plate our brain registers what is going to enter our stomach. It starts to prepare mentally and digestively for what it is about to receive. When we go back for more, our brain doesn’t register “full” quite the same, and we are more likely to over eat. Look at your plate — is it half covered with non-starchy vegetables, with the other covered with half turkey, stuffing, and potatoes? This is a good way to divide your dinner.
  6. Have a glass of water after each glass of wine or beer. Alcohol is dehydrating, removing two glasses of water with each glass of wine, beer, or spirits. Double-fist in a different way — one hand with water. Water will also fill you up and cause you to want to eat less.
  7. Tidy and go for a walk after dinner before eating dessert. Sugary or fruity desserts digest very quickly — the opposite of turkey, stuffing, and starchy root vegetables, which take their time in our stomach and intestines. If dessert is eaten directly after dinner, it will ferment and cause belching, bloating, and tiredness. Take the time to clean up, go for a family walk around the neighborhood, and THEN come back to enjoy (one) serving of your favorite holiday treat.
  8. Eat the 80/20 way. Always remember your 80/20 rule. Eat 80 percent whole, health-promoting foods that your body recognizes, has a purpose for, and will use towards your healthy goals. The other 20 percent is for “extras,” those items that may not be the greatest for us but that we truly enjoy, which include a glass of wine, a slice of pie, etc. If it’s not good for you or truly enjoyable, don’t bother. That’s where those holiday pounds come from.

Remember to give thanks this Thanksgiving for all that you have and all the love that surrounds you. Show your family and friends that you care for them and yourself by serving whole food options this holiday. Not only will it help you stay committed to your wellness and goals, but it may kick start them into joining you.

 

The effects of denial on your weight, part 1

For many people, denial is a constant companion — so much so, that they don’t realize they are participating in it. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a quick test.

Most people you meet in the course of a day are “fine.” How are you? Fine. How is your family? Fine. How is your job? Fine.

In reality, most of us can think of many aspects of our lives we would like to change. Perhaps we are dissatisfied with our jobs, co-workers, or bosses. Maybe our family life is either stressful, in chaos, or achingly lonely.

Each person who has ever walked the planet has experienced the frustration of wanting to be more, do more, and have a calm, balanced life. Yet most of us float through life never being consciously aware of what we do or why — and that includes the way we eat.

Americans spend billions of dollars each year on magic diet books or programs that promise to transform their lives into what they dream about, believing that these easy fixes will solve all their problems. I want you to understand there is no magic pill. No amount of money, no person, no medical procedure, and no program will ever bring you total happiness.

The reason that none of these external sources will make your life better is that you, and only you, have the power to change the course of your life. You determine how you live, how you respond to life, and how much abundance you’ll experience. The power to choose your life and the ability to change anything you don’t like lies totally within you!

You might be thinking, “If this is true, then why do I feel so trapped? I don’t believe I’d ever choose to be overweight.” This is a completely normal reaction. The only way to understand how to improve your life is to look within.

It’s a challenge to understand why you think and act the way you do, who you are, and how you’ve created your current life. The first step in changing yourself is awareness. You must understand where you are right now and how you got there. Only then can you create something better.

More on this to come soon!

 

Loving yourself is easier than you might think

In the world of diet and fitness, positive thoughts are extremely important. Many people have strong emotions and internal programming that’s connected with their physical appearance. Past experiences, either positive or negative, create a stream of dialogue that runs through each person’s head constantly. The tone and content of those thoughts are determining factors in reaching your ideal weight and fitness goals.

If you’ve never used affirmations, you might push them aside as something silly. After all, it’s a little self-indulgent to say things like “I love myself” or “I believe in myself” out loud to no one, isn’t it? NOT AT ALL!

In a way, every thought you have and every word you say is an affirmation of some kind. All our self-talk or inner dialogue is a constant stream of affirmations. The only reason that positive affirmations might seem awkward at first is that so many of us are so habitually negative in our thoughts and words toward ourselves, it feels strange to say something positive!

We’re continually affirming subconsciously with our words and thoughts, and this flow of affirmations colors our life experience in every moment — which makes it all the more urgent that the messages be positive.

Our beliefs are learned through patterns that we’ve developed since childhood. Many of these beliefs still work well for us, but others might now be working against us. These dysfunctional beliefs might be sabotaging us from achieving what we want.

For example, your parents might have rewarded you with ice cream or some other food-related treat for passing certain milestones when you were young. Though that system of rewards worked and served you in your youth, it set up a habit of food as a reward, which can be detrimental in adulthood.

One way to overcome this embedded behavior is through the use of positive daily affirmations. These are short, positive statements targeted at a specific subconscious set of beliefs, to alter and replace negative beliefs with self-nurturing beliefs.

These thoughts and ideas are of your choosing, whereas many of the thoughts and beliefs from childhood were not. It’s important that everything we say and think is a positive affirmation.

The more determined you are to exhibit changes in your life, the better affirmations will work for you. Repeating positive affirmations forces the subconscious into one of two reactions: resistance or acceptance.

The bigger the issue you’re trying to change in your life, the more likely it is that you’ll experience resistance. That is, your own subconscious will “argue” with you when you state your positive affirmations.

Conversely, if you experience a sense of joy and well-being as you state your affirmations, your mind is instinctively responding to something it believes to be true. When you feel this emotion, you know your affirmations are working.

Repeating your affirmations with conviction and passion will weaken even the strongest resistance. Once the resistance is broken, your subconscious will begin to accept the new, self-nurturing beliefs. The effect can be startling, and things can change very quickly as the dysfunctional beliefs are identified and replaced by your own new inner truth.

If you find yourself experiencing serious resistance or have identified an area of trauma in your life, and your weight and health are evidence of that trauma, it’s strongly recommended to seek professional counseling to first resolve the underlying issue.

The journey you’re undertaking will assist you in letting go of the past, but having proper support around you as you go through the process will make it that much easier. As positive thoughts replace negative ones, you’ll find that positive change comes easily and naturally.

 

Study shows Mediterranean diet might prevent depression

You might have heard about the Mediterranean diet, which is a diet rich in fish, lean meats, vegetables and olive oils. Nutritionists have found many benefits to this diet, including reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Now Spanish researchers have found perhaps another reason to eat Mediterranean.

They discovered in a recent study that depression was over 30 percent less likely to be experienced by those who ate diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and cereals, and who cut their consumption of alcohol and meat.

Jim Farber of the New York Daily News covered the study. And like I commented on the article, I
think avoiding depression is yet another great reason to eat whole foods, like those found in a traditional Mediterranean diet. Not only is it great for mental well-being, but also great for reaching your ideal weight. Anything that has a positive effect on your body and that is based in whole, healthy foods, is something worth considering incorporating into your lifestyle.

 

How to tackle your "terror barrier" that prevents weight loss

If you’re like many people, you’ve tried numerous diets and perhaps even had some success. But maybe you have slowly returned to your old habits and weight. Why does this happen? It almost seems as if our body conspires against us at times, but the true culprit is our mindset! There’s a weight that we’re comfortable with; we wear it like an old sweater. It makes us feel safe and secure.  We don’t even know we’re enabling the habits that keep it on, but we are.

People naturally resist ambiguity and uncertainty. Contemplating weight reduction is no exception. When people don’t know what’s to come, they get fearful and lose the ability or desire to move forward. It’s ironic. We keep ourselves from succeeding, and then are confused when we don’t succeed!

No matter what area of your life you want to change, you’ll experience this same phenomenon — whether it’s weight, relationships, or career. We live our daily lives mostly on autopilot, following the deep-rooted habits we’ve created over time.

We don’t even consciously think about these habits until someone else points them out. This is often the case when people are asked how much they eat in a day. They will usually say a very normal or even small amount.

However, if you monitor people’s eating habits, you find they often eat two to three times the amount they say they do. They aren’t lying. They simply eat so much out of habit that they really don’t remember everything that goes into their mouths or the amounts.

It might seem to be a very simple task to change these habits and create new ones, but it takes much more effort that you might think. By their very definition, habits are entrenched in our subconscious, and it takes extensive repetition to replace one habit with another.

This is when it seems your body is fighting your efforts, but it’s subconscious programming you are up against. How many times have you started a diet, lost 10 or even 20 pounds, then watched those pounds creep right back, and maybe bring along a few friends?

This is your subconscious mind at work. There’s a range of weight that we’ve become accustomed to, and even if that range is morbidly obese, our minds accept this as our comfort zone. Therefore, while we might achieve success at the beginning, we lose interest or the ability to move forward. This is referred to as the “terror barrier.”

When the change we want to implement starts to move us out of our comfort zone, we have feelings of uncertainty. People respond to us differently and we act differently. Fear of this unknown territory, even if it’s positive, can inhibit our ability to continue, because it goes against what we’ve come to accept as our self-image.

If you believe yourself to be unattractive, then reduce your weight and start getting compliments, that’s good, right? Yes and no. Of course, it’s great to get positive feedback, but it also puts you in the position of gaining more attention from others.

This can make some people extremely uncomfortable, as they might feel their efforts are being scrutinized. Before you know it, they regain all their weight in a subconscious effort to relieve the stress of being noticed.

The only way to change this behavior is to know that the change will happen and accept it as so.  When you really and truly know something will happen, there is no trace of doubt, no lingering thread of skepticism. When fear enters the picture, logic leaves. Concentrating of that fear attracts more of the same and your goal seems even further away.

This is the point where many people may give up. Doubts become overwhelming and the subconscious begs to retreat back into what it’s known — back into the comfort zone.

Tackle your fears; you’re in control! You know now that by concentrating on the positive goal ahead and setting those fears aside, you’re imprinting new ideas into your subconscious. You’re empowering your mind with new thoughts that result in different actions to produce the results you desire: your ideal weight permanently!

 

Check out more of my tips and advice on Examiner.com!

In addition to writing this blog, I will also be contributing to Examiner.com. I will be offering my tips and advice on a range of weight management topics. I have two articles on the site now, so click over to read them!

In “How positive affirmations can turbo-charge weight loss,” I talk about why positive thoughts are extremely important to achieving the body you want. The tone and content of your thoughts are determining factors in reaching your ideal weight and fitness goals.

And in “How I started my career in the weight loss industry,” I talk about my journey through the weight loss industry. What started off as just studying nutrition in my free time developed into my passion for health and wellness. I had an extreme desire to make sure I stayed healthy for my young son and to continue to be a good role model. After all, obesity runs in my family.

 

Don’t let emotional eating get the best of you

Sometimes you just have to get real with yourself and look at why you do the things you do … like overeating or emotional eating. What’s that all about? Let’s take a close look at overeating and emotional eating, focusing on what you can do to recognize these negative habits and overcome them. Take note, that overeating and emotional eating can be tied together or stand on their own.

Overeating is simply the act of taking in more food than your body requires to sustain the weight that’s best for you. It can be a result of beliefs instilled in you since childhood or a result of modern-day progress.

Parents are notorious for demanding that children clean their plates. Social gatherings, festive events, special celebrations, and even sporting events are all designed around — you got it — FOOD. There are buffet tables, holiday baking, birthday cakes, the Super Bowl, and more. You name the occasion, and it usually involves eating!

Some doctors and dentists give kids candy for being good. Schools have hot dogs and pizza days and hallways lined with vending machines. We even use enticing names such as “happy hour” and “Happy Meal.” We’re bombarded with images of food on TV and on the street, in magazines and newspapers. It’s all about food. The drive-through, a modern addition to food service, makes eating fast and easy in our busy lives.

Overeating can actually be considered a simple matter of supply and demand. We have lots of choices and are given large portions, so no wonder it’s so prevalent. Throw in emotions, and the chance of overeating skyrockets. In fact, 75 percent of the time, a person’s emotional state causes overeating.

We eat to soothe our troubles. Again, this is something we’ve been conditioned to do since childhood. Macaroni and cheese is a great comfort food for supposedly helping you feel better. When you have a problem and you’re stressed out, a chocolate bar or cocktail or two look like a good way to help you feel better.

Emotional eating can be triggered by:

When emotional eating is triggered, reaching for a huge piece of cake might seem the best solution at the time, but we all know that it’s not!

Tools to overcome emotional eating and overeating

Evaluate whether you’re really hungry. You must learn to differentiate between real and perceived hunger. Overeaters will say they’re hungry even if they truly aren’t. Ask yourself:

  • Am I hungry, or is the urge to eat a response to an emotion I’m feeling?
  • When was the last time I ate?
  • Did this hunger come on all of a sudden or gradually? If it was suddenly, then an emotion has been triggered.

By answering these questions each time you reach for food, you’ll begin to gain control of the triggers that cause you to overeat.

Reminder: You need to eat every three to four hours. If you’re “hungry” within that time frame, then stop and do one of these things:

  • Find something else to do. You might be bored.
  • Drink water. Dehydration can mimic hunger.

There you have it, a closer look at two very important factors to consider when you’re on a weight loss/management program. Now that you know the symptoms, you’re the only one who can take action, putting a halt to those behaviors and changing your habits. But you don’t have to do it alone. For instance, MindBody FX Weight Management System has online support groups that can coach you through the rough patches. You can do it!

 

Understanding how paradigm shifts can help you reach your ideal weight

The body is the physical form and machine that’s instructed daily by our dominant thoughts and actions. The body carries out actions based on directions from the conscious and subconscious mind. It’s the evidence of what’s held in the mind.

For example, let’s say you decide you want to be a public speaker. If you’re nervous and worry about saying something inappropriate, or that someone will make fun of you, those thoughts will manifest in the body, resulting in sweaty palms, embarrassment, and stumbling over words.

However, if you spend time imagining how positively your audience will respond, how articulate you’ll sound, and how energized you’ll feel, that will manifest in the body as well. You’ll be confident and filled with energy, and your audience can’t help but respond positively to you.

When we intentionally change the thoughts to which we give the most focus and energy, and repeat these thoughts until they become desires, they are impressed on our sub-conscious mind and become emotions. Our bodies put those emotions into action and our actions become our results.

A paradigm, which can be a habit, belief, attitude, pattern, work practice, or expectation, gives you the guidance to interpret and approach the world around you. When you examine your paradigms around weight, you might find your current results aren’t what you want. Your objective of reaching your “ideal weight” is to move your conditioned results into alignment with what you want.

For instance, let’s say you used to drink one glass of red wine every evening, but to reach your ideal weight you have to change that to a glass of water with a lemon slice instead. This is a paradigm shift.

We know only too well what we have to do to be at our ideal weight; the problem is that we aren’t doing it! The secret to success is to gain an understanding of why we’re not doing it — what the primary cause of the problem is — and then correct it.

Remember when you were growing up and your teacher or parent would say, “Why do you do that?” You probably said, “I don’t know,” and then your mom would say, “What do you mean, you don’t know? You know you weren’t supposed to do that.” At that point, you dropped your head and would say “Yup, I know.” The crazy thing is that we still carry this silly “I don’t know” concept into our adult life.

We all do things we know we shouldn’t do, things we don’t want to do, and we do them anyway. We’re conditioned to believe that it’s our behavior that’s causing the unwanted results in our life. That’s really not true. We’re forever attempting to change those behavior patterns: Eat less, eliminate junk foods, and exercise more often — all without success.

There are millions of people in every country in the world going on different diets all the time to lose weight. These people aren’t trying to reach their ideal weight. Their whole obsession is with losing weight. There’s a dual problem with this.

First, they believe that eating the wrong food or eating too much food is the primary cause of their problem, which isn’t true. Their eating habits are a secondary cause of their problem. It’s the primary cause that needs to be corrected if the results are going to permanently change.

Second, when you lose anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, from your car keys to those 20 pounds, you’re subconsciously programmed to immediately begin to look for it. Unfortunately, when it comes to weight loss, you find it.

To experience any kind of lasting success with weight loss, you must address the primary cause of your problem, which stems from your thoughts and beliefs. Once you deal with the primary cause, you’ll find releasing excess weight and keeping it off will be easier than ever.

 

Eight healthy living tips

Most people want to be healthy, but not everyone knows exactly the best route to get healthy. I’ve listed eight essential tips for living a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Eat healthy. Eating healthy is such a worn-out and not very specific phrase that for many of us, it has lost its meaning. With all the fad diets that come and go, many people have no idea what is healthy, or why certain foods are good for our bodies and others are downright toxic. To live a healthy lifestyle, you must understand the chemical nature of food and how it works within your body for overall health. It’s important to find an eating program that will help you normalize two key areas — digestion and your endocrine system — as doing this will help you reach your weight and fitness goals.

  2. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is at an all-time high in the U.S., and the epidemic is getting worse. Those who are overweight or obese have an increased risk for diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Getting your weight to a manageable level ensures a path to better overall health and energy, while adding years to your life.
  3. Exercise. More than 50 percent of American men and women get enough physical activity to provide health benefits. For adults, 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity four to five days a week is recommended. It does not take a lot of time or money, but it does take commitment to creating new habits. Start slowly, work up to a satisfactory level, and don’t overdo it. Develop one routine, or you can do something totally different every day. Find fun ways to stay in shape and feel good. Some exercise is better than none, and once you start moving and experience the increased energy that exercise provides, it can be addictive.
  4. Be smoke-free. Even though we all know that smoking is bad for our health, a large percentage of the population still smokes. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease among those who are middle-aged. If you smoke, quit today! Help lines, counseling, medications, and many other forms of support are available to help you quit. The health benefits of doing so are immediate and substantial.
  5. Use preventive care. Based on your age, health history, lifestyle, and other important issues, you and your healthcare provider can determine how often you need to be examined and screened for certain diseases and conditions. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, and cancers of the skin, cervix, breast, prostate, and colon. When problems are found early, your chances for treatment and cure are better. Routine exams and screening can help save lives, including yours.
  6. Manage stress. Perhaps now more than ever, job stress poses a threat to the health of workers and in turn to the health of organizations. Balancing obligations can be a challenge, but not taking time for yourself can cause stress overload. Protect your mental and physical health by engaging in activities that help you manage your stress, such as relaxing, eating healthy, and exercising. Visualization and meditation can also reduce the effects of stress and allow you to react more positively to it.
  7. Know yourself and your risks. Genetics help determine who you are and what you might be predisposed to in the area of health. Your current habits, work, home environment, and lifestyle also affect your health and your risks. You may be at an increased risk for certain diseases or conditions because of what you do, where you work, or even how you play. Being healthy means doing some homework, knowing yourself, and deciding what’s best for you.
  8. Treat yourself well. Good health is not merely the absence of disease; it’s a lifestyle. Whether it’s getting enough sleep, relaxing after a stressful day, or enjoying a hobby, it’s important to take time to be good to yourself. Take steps to balance work, home life, and play. Pay attention to your health and make healthy living a part of your life.

Follow these rules and you can’t go wrong!

 

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