Tag Archives: Weight-Loss Tips

Have a Jolly Healthy Christmas

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Struggling with Weight Loss

Struggling with Weight Loss

Although my intention is to be helpful and provide useful simple break-downs to eating healthier and losing weight in a healthy way, it seems I ruffle more feathers whenever I write about weight loss and attempt to simplify things.
It seems many people who struggle with weight take issue with keeping it simple. Having spent a good portion of my life significantly overweight myself, I realize the amount of personal responsibility and accountability it takes It is very easy to discount a lot of the grazing type of eating that occurs frequently and to minimize the true amount of calories that we consume in the course of any given day.

Lets say I have a tendency to fail to recap that handful of peanuts I grabbed when my husband left them open on the counter just as I was walking through the kitchen before lunch. Or what if I totally forgot to consider the spoonfuls of dinner I “tasted” while I was preparing it?

As much as I hate to admit it, that could account for an addition 400 or 500 calories at the end of the day. If I multiply that by each day of the week (the likelihood of me doing it habitually is quite high) then that may add up to 3500 calories during the week that contribute to my gaining a pound while I am totally baffled at my weight gain.
So, while the calorie counting thing is a real pain in the excess flab department, it is entirely mathematical (unless I have some rare disorder that doctors haven’t determined).

If this sounds like gloom and doom, think again…because depending on the way I approach it psychologically, this can be the HOLY GRAIL to my losing weight without tons of stress and strain.

Low Calorie Foods

Low Calorie Foods

Since it is mathematical and since 3500 calories is the magic number of additional calories that equal a pound, it is also the magic number of fewer calories that equal a pound. If I can find a way to have 3500 fewer calories stick to my ribs during any given period of time, then that is 1 pound less that I weigh.

Here are a few very basic – but hopefully not too basic ideas and tips that can make this upcoming year’s weight-loss goals a reality.

• Avoid skipping any meals – even if you are in a hurry and can’t sit down to a complete meal, make sure you consume something with a good amount of sustaining protein. This will make sure you keep your energy up and will also help keep you from overeating later on because of being extra hungry.

• Get into the water-drinking habit – there are times when thirst masquerades as hunger. There are many positive benefits to drinking a lot of water. Weight loss gets a boost when we make drinking plenty of water a regular habit.

• Devote eating time to your food – although many of us develop the habit of eating while standing up or while working or watching TV, make it a habit to sit quietly and calmly at the table and take the 20-30 minutes to make your meal last and enjoy it.

• Journal your eating and exercise – it is much too easy to minimize or forget what we eat during the day. Journaling is one of the only ways to honestly account for what we are doing.

• Veggies are our friend – by filling half our plate with veggies (especially at dinner time) and avoiding coating them with dressings and unhealthy oils and fats, we will teach ourselves how to eat healthier and not feel hungry.

• Keep active – not only regarding exercise, but because many of us eat when we feel bored. By keeping busy and avoiding boredom, we can more easily avoid snacking because we think we are hungry.

• Re-invent your kitchen’s inventory – Emptying cupboards and refrigerators of unhealthy and unfriendly to weight-loss foods is a win-win situation. The tempting foods you want to avoid will be gone, making it easier for you to stick to your plan, and you can donate the excess bounty to an organization that will make sure those in need get the food, for an added feel-good benefit, especially this time of year.

Happy Weight-Loss

Happy Weight-Loss

Focusing more on all the benefits to eating better, it is easier to stick with it. Most people actually feel more energy with every few pounds lost, not to mention the emotional/psychological feel goods like endorphins from exercise and esteem from knowing we look better and are taking better care of ourselves.

There’s an week worth of eating between Christmas and New Years – why not get a jump start on your resolution and be on your way to a healthier 2014 before all the diet commercials start?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Have A Very Skinny, Merry Christmas

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Christmas Image

Christmas Image

Holiday time almost always means weight gain for many of us. However, the truth is that the hugest increase is one that doesn’t occur. Let me explain. In an article in the New York Times from quite a few years ago, Tara Parker-Pope referenced actual studies rather than opinion about weight gain during the holiday season.

Opinion clearly claims weight gains of anywhere between 7 and 10 pounds during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. If you ask people how much they actually gain, they report more like 3 to 5 pounds and some studies show the average person only gains about a single pound during the holiday season.

But the truth is whether it is only a single pound or ten pounds, the extra weight is unwanted and swiftly becomes part of our New Year’s resolution to lose weight and make healthier choices when it comes to food. So the question isn’t really one of how much but rather more of how to avoid weight gain entirely.

For millions of us, this is no easy feat. There are foods that some of us wait all year long to partake in and keeping things within a healthy proportion when it comes to them is not easy. For a large number of people, the weather is also a deterrent to outdoor exercise this time of year and it doesn’t take much to discourage those of us who are not really athletically inclined.

Now add to the desire to eat and drink preferred foods and the hindrance regarding exercise, the hustle and bustle of the season with parties and shopping and such; the likelihood that the average person will increase their overall caloric intake is pretty much a sure thing.

So, what’s a weight-conscious gal to do? If the goal is to stay on course with a weight loss regime, is there no hope?

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is that while exercise is extremely important for weight loss as well as health in general, caloric and fat intake are the heavies when it comes to weight loss. If you are serious about keeping extra weight off, you’ll have to consume fewer calories and less fat…no two ways about it.

Of course not! Here are a few simple practices that should keep your weight loss efforts fueled and your weight loss results a happy holiday surprise if you’ve struggled with this and have not been successful in the past.

Low Calorie  Foods

Low Calorie Foods

• Substitute Lower Fat – Lower Calorie Recipes – If your house is like ours, there is a lot more cooking and baking going on this time of year. By working with lower calorie, lower fat versions of your favorite foods (and the internet is loaded with them in both save and print options,) you can still have the foods you love without packing on the extra pounds.
• Go the Distance – While many of us won’t make the special effort to go out and exercise, once we are already out and running errands and such, we don’t have park close to the door. By taking on walking a bit more or taking stairs rather than elevators or escalators, we can keep our metabolism running a little bit faster.
• Two Step for Holiday Cheer – With holiday music to be found filling the air waves more every day (the internet also is a great source for finding your favorite holiday tunes,) don’t forget that dancing is a great and fun way to burn calories. Even if it is just bopping around the room, the extra movement will get your heart rate up.
• Watch your Impulses – There is bound to be extra food at places you normally frequent like the company break room or friends’ and family’s coffee tables. Make the effort to be mindful of what you’re eating and why. If you’re not really hungry, do with less or maybe even without.
• Liquid counts as Calories too – It is easy to forget that many adult beverages (especially those that contain alcohol) are usually high in calories. If you’re trying to keep daily intakes down, don’t forget to include beverage calories that you consume in your totals.

WomanHuggingScale-r

The truth is that food and drink are sideshows to a happy holiday, not the main attraction. Keeping things balanced and in proportion will help you have a wonderful guilt-free holiday!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Stressed? Eat THIS, Not THAT

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Chocolate Cravings

Chocolate Cravings

David Neal, Ph.D, the founding partner of Empirica Research and a psychologist who researched and co-authored a new, revealing study about people who eat during times of stress, presented his findings in Chicago at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Expo.

Neal’s findings contradict conventional beliefs about the types of foods people eat when stressed and the way people eat when they are stressed. Previously, it was believed that people who are stressed out opted for high-calorie, low-nutrient types of comfort foods. However, findings indicate that this is not the case at all. Previous beliefs indicated cravings dictated the way people ate when stressed out.

According to Neal’s study, however, “people default to what their habits are under stress, whether healthy or not.” The findings indicated that habits don’t change in high-pressure situations. And habits are cued by context, automated actions, time pressure and low self-control. They cause us to disregard rational and motivational drivers and take up approximately 45 percent of our daily lives.

Stress

Stress

This means that stress eating is not controlled by cravings, but rather by habit. We go into automatic pilot mode and fall prey to behaviors that we perform without intention or awareness. One is tempted to go out on a limb here and imagine similar findings with the way stress controls other behaviors we exhibit, not only those related to food. But for the sake of this post, lets get back to the implications for stressful eating behaviors.

Cravings tend to indicate some type of physiological basis, something that happens to us as opposed to something we have much say over. Habit, although often times quite strong and influential, is something we have developed and something that can, with determination and commitment, we can change and combat.

So, hopefully, these findings will provide many stress eaters with a bit of hope as they realize they have more of a say over their food choices than they believed they had, even when they are eating out of stress.

Eating Too Much

Eating Too Much

What screams out at me is that if we undertake efforts to practice mindfulness and learn how to over-ride behaviors that are performed out of habit; we can regain the element of choice that we have lost. We can practice being present and in the moment so we can opt for foods that are more nutritional and lower in empty calories. We can reach for a healthful snack that is high in satisfying protein rather than empty carbohydrates that pack on unwanted weight and still leave us wanting more.

So, not only does David Neals’ new study help empower us by reminding us of our choices and options, but it also validates what many of us have already experienced in our own efforts in achieving a healthier, lower weight.

By decreasing poor food choices from our environment, so we can’t reach for them as often at times of stress, we can help ourselves develop healthier habits that won’t sabotage our weight-loss efforts when stress overtakes us.

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!