Tag Archives: Weight-Loss

5 Mistakes that Destroy Weight Loss

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Cherry Blossom Tree

Cherry Blossom Tree

I know what the calendar says, but it doesn’t feel like the first days of spring to me. I live in the Northeastern mountains of Pennsylvania and it is taking every bit of restraint for me not to push the thermostat up.

Having said that, I need to take a long hard look at where I am with regard to my weight loss goals for the year and I am not proud of my results. Although they aren’t disgraceful, my weight is not where I wanted it to be. And to be perfectly honest, I have to admit, I haven’t kept to my plan the way I should have if I really and truly wanted to achieve these goals.

That is what today’s blog is about…not just weight loss and goal setting, but I will delve into some of the excuses and justifications I have been telling myself (all of them untruths in some way or another.) These ‘untruths’ are the head games I’ve been playing that have kept me from reaching my weight-loss goals so far this year.

1. I can have this now. It isn’t like I do it all the time:

The damage here is quite devastating. First I am lying to myself that I can have it and ignoring the fact that somewhere within me, I believe maybe it isn’t a good choice to begin with. Let me explain. There would be little or no need for me to convince myself that I can have it, if I believed from the start that it is something I should be having.

This is damaging too, because it is wide-spread. It may be an extra amount of a particular food…or it could be a certain food that I know triggers me and increases my likelihood for more choices of this kind. What I mean here is that for me, some of the food choices I make may not be ‘harmful’ foods for weight loss at all. But they may be foods that carry emotional attachments for me that get me to feel entitled to other foods or different ways of eating that, in time, can set me on the wrong path.

In fact, it may even be something like eating too little or even missing a meal and then becoming extra hungry and more likely to choose something in a frenzy or when my frame of mind is nowhere that it should be prior to selecting foods that are best for me and my goals.

Sliver of Cake

Sliver of Cake

2. Just this little bit won’t hurt:

Once again, I am feeding in (pardon the pun) to my sense of entitlement that most likely will present itself at a time when I need to remain mindful and true to myself and my goals. When I start to let myself feel as if I ‘deserve’ or am entitled to certain things, I am truly coming from a perspective of feeling deprived. But if I am in the right frame of mind, the truth is that I don’t deprive myself when I eat well and make good choices. In fact, it is just the opposite. I am doing more good for myself and treating myself better with the health food choices and I know that to be true. I nurture myself better when I eat healthfully and mindfully. I enjoy the meals I take the extra time and care to prepare. I put more effort into selecting foods I really enjoy and savor and I feel great about my dedication and conviction to my overall well-being.

If I am able to recognize this head-game as the huge damage it can do and the major step it causes me to take in a direction that is bad for me, then I will not fall prey to the major harm this teeny little statement can do.

3. I can always work it off later:

Wow, is this one a crock! If you’re like me, making time to consistently keep to a regular workout is tough enough let alone actually adding in the extra day or extra time for the workouts. There’s no way I’m going to put in EXTRA time and energy; not realistically, anyway. And since this is about being honest and truthful so I don’t trick myself into making mistakes that sabotage my efforts.

Here’s the reality. If I am telling myself that I can work it off later; I am very well aware of the fact that it is not something that is on my ‘should choose’ list to begin with. By seeing it for what it truly is, I can then make a very mindful decision of whether I want to include it in my daily intake or not. If I do; then I have a much better chance of truly paying the price at the gym or on the treadmill, whatever it takes.

Monday Morning

Monday Morning

4. I’ll start over again next Monday:

This is killer! Even if I am truly willing to start over again when Monday comes around again, I’m giving myself permission to let myself go for the rest of the weekend and for any remaining days of this week. But in addition to that, I’m also looking at my commitment to eating healthier as a very temporary endeavor rather than as a lifetime improvement or decision. This is not about just losing the weight. This is about living a healthier lifestyle and taking better care of myself through better nutrition. It is not a Monday through Sunday event.

With the proper mindset from the beginning, I am much more likely to see full-time, life-lasting results and improvements. I also don’t see this a period of deprivation or doing without. I see it as something I can keep doing and building upon; something I can get better at and improve and work into my everyday life.

Weight Loss

Weight Loss


5. Its all about the number on the scale:

This is perhaps one of the worst ways to measure progress, actually. Women know more than men, how the changes in weight, just based on water-gain or loss in just a single day, can blow an entire week of good choices out of the ballpark.

Scales don’t truly tell the tale in other ways as well. There are plenty of times when inches are lost and weight gets redistributed which is a clear sign that your life changes are taking hold the way they should.

And, if your scale is anything like mine, basically, the wind can alter the number. There have been times when I have gotten on the scale, weighed myself, gotten off the scale, weighed myself again; and there have been two different numbers, sometimes with a variation of 4 to 5 pounds. Needless to say; not the most reliable of measures.

Being Bad

Being Bad

But I believe the most harmful thing we do to ourselves when it comes to psychologically hurting ourselves regarding our weight-loss or healthful eating goals is we confuse our choices and our behaviors with our inner selves. We actually start to believe that ‘we’ are bad when we choose to eat foods that are not good for us; or we believe we are bad because we gained a pound. I know I felt this way at times if I gain weight when I’m trying to lose. I feel as if I’ve failed and I feel like I’m bad for making the choices I made.

We learn early on as parents, that when a child does something inappropriate, it is vital for that child’s self-esteem that we separate the behavior from the child. We make it clear that the child is not a bad child, just that the behavior choice was inappropriate. Good people make wrong choices all the time. It doesn’t make them bad people.

We are not our weight. Our weight does not define who we are. Somewhere, society has convinced us that if we are obese then we are ‘less than.’ How ironic is that? But in any case, our weight does not define who we are. In fact, the more negative our emotional connection is to food and our weight, the more likely we are to overeat or make wrong food choices. We need to work on shedding the excess baggage above our necks, not just the excess weight. Learn to know yourself and care and love yourself, and the battle of the bulge will not be as overwhelming.

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!

The Food-Mood Link

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Citation: Newswise Life Wire

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Remember Peter Pan? He sprinkled some of Tinkerbell’s Fairy Dust on Wendy, John and Michael Darling and as soon as they managed to think happy thoughts, poof, they became light as a feather and were able to take flight!

Well, I can’t promise that you’ll grow wings and take to the skies, but according to a new report published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology called “Better Moods for Better Eating: How Mood Influences Food Choice,” you can start yourself on the path to becoming as light as a feather. https://cornell.box.com/MoodsAndFoods

Our moods absolutely impact the way we eat. The study indicates that not only do our moods have something to say about the type of foods we choose to eat, but also how much we consume.

Professor Brian Wansink, from Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and co-author of the paper claims the study proves that people turn to food to feel good. This means we eat to keep ourselves happy and also to make ourselves feel happy. So, here’s the logic. If we are already feeling happy, we are more likely to eat make more healthful choices when it comes to food.

Mindfullness3

Just a quick plug for my previous blogs about mindfulness and eating: For those of us who deal with weight loss issues and struggle to maintain a healthy weight, we now know exactly what it is that works against us if we don’t practice becoming more mindful about what we eat. We want to feel happy and we believe that in some way, eating will help us attain that goal. We can intercept the cycle of reaching for foods that may not be the ‘smarter’ choice, through mindfulness.

Associate Professor Meryl P. Gardner, Wansink’s partner and co-author from the University of Delaware’s Lerner College department of Marketing, believes “when we think about the future, it’s almost as if we are physically taking a step back, enabling us to see our more fundamental values – like health and nutrition. We can use that to make wiser choices rather than letting our moods dictate our behavior.”

Yep! That sounds like mindfulness to me.

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

So, here’s what we now have more reason to know…Being mindful about how we are feeling, checking in under our own hood, and thinking ahead a bit can really help us eat healthier and manage our weight better. The happier we can feel before its time to eat, the more likely we are to choose well and reap the benefits of feeling and looking better.

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!

If At First…

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New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

It is almost impossible to sneak five minutes on the internet or make it through a single television program or radio broadcast without being pummeled by blogs, commercials or advertisements that are connected to New Years Resolutions.

It is like this every year, I know, but maybe because I am more in touch with what people are writing and talking about this year than ever before, I am much more aware of the overwhelming amount of budget and debt relief, weight loss and exercise and return to school to improve your career type of leads.

If your preference is more of a world view or macro perspective, you can read about how the Pope and all many other human rights and world leaders raise their voices in a resounding resolution of hope and a better, less violent, more caring world; while more business-minded experts speak about where they see their particular niche likely to lead this year.

Hope

Like most things in life, I’m learning that there are two sides to this resolution gig. The fist way of looking at it would be to focus on what is being said, how people are looking ahead to the brand new year ahead and determining what improvements and changes they are (at least for the time being) willing to commit to because they are trying to make their lives and hopefully the lives of others, better than this past year.

What is not being said, is that there must be a fair amount of dissatisfaction with the way they feel about the status quo – in other words –something about this past year; behavior, occurrences and final outcomes, that can be improved on, bettered and or mastered. This is not a harmful type of dissatisfaction, it is the type that turns into action with motivation, determination and perseverance. It is not about developing a poor self image or a lack of acceptance, but rather one in which we look at the 1st of the new year as a type of blank slate, a fresh start, a new beginning in which we can try again, begin again, reassess and recommit.

One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time

Here is the rub…in reality, each and every single day of the year, holds within its 24 hours, the same exact opportunity to start fresh and try again. Weight loss and exercise regimes do not have to begin on Mondays, or at the beginning of a month, or on the 1st of a new year. In order for them to be effective, they just have to begin – and they have to be kept up. The ingredients that contribute to successful results when it comes to goals (which are a type of resolution) have no correlation to their start date. The only connection lies in the fact that you have to have a starting point, whenever it may be. And if you not successfully reach, as long as there is a new commitment, renewed motivation and a new measure of persistence and perseverance, we are absolutely free to try again.

I wish everybody nothing but complete success in achieving all their goals and in achieving positive results in every resolution considered, but let us keep in mind that we are human and perfectly imperfect and as I learned as a young child….if at first I don’t succeed, I can try, try again….any day and any time I so choose. We all can!

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 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!

The First Step in the Fight Against Obesity

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Obesity's Negative Effects

Obesity’s Negative Effects

By now, many of us are inwardly responding with “blah, blah, blah” when we hear all the hype about the epidemic of obesity. We see it all around us in our daily lives because obesity is one of those disorders that is out there in plain sight. It is worn out for the world to see.

There is a strong emotional component to obesity that often gets less attention because of how at risk an obese person’s health becomes. But prior to all the physical harm which takes its toll over time, there is the teasing and taunting and the battering of self-esteem and of self-regard. There is the endless inner berating that comes from wondering ‘what is wrong with me?’ ‘why can’t I control myself?’ ‘why can’t I be more like everybody else?’ ‘why am I so broken?’

It doesn’t take rocket science to realize the detrimental impact this type of self talk does to a person’s sense of worth and esteem. Not only does this cause the emotional torment, but where is a person who has turned to food for emotional reasons in the past going to go when they feel emotionally battered? Right back to the food, their solace; their safe haven. And so the cycle continues.

According to present-day research, there are more than 90.5 million (that’s MILLION) Americans who meet the medical diagnosis of obesity. 12.5 million are children. THAT is why there is so much talk about the obesity epidemic. The research proving the connection between obesity and increased heart problems and diabetes is overwhelmingly indisputable.

Spending Money

Spending Money

The out of pocket costs of obesity are insane, justifying in excess of $3 million dollars annually for celebrity endorsements of major weight-loss programs. But the macro concern is that of health costs of obesity to insurances and the government. Predictive costs are through the ceiling and needless to say, that gets people’s attention.

I have to wonder, how many people who suffer from being overweight keep track of what they eat during the day. Although there are so many different plans and programs available, I don’t think any one of them works more effectively than mindful accountability.

Taking Baby Steps

Taking Baby Steps

None of us is being force fed. We are eating because we choose to eat. And while economics play a huge factor in the healthfulness of the types of food we can afford, the portions can always be smaller. We don’t have to eat as much today as we did yesterday and for many of us, that can be the first step to taking control back over something that we have given up control to.

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!

Your Mindfulness-Food Connection

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Weight Loss

Weight Loss

Once more, mindfulness is being totally present and in the moment and avoiding judgment. So how do we connect our increased practice with mindfulness to our eating behaviors and attitude to food?

Sadly, we let our lives become so busy that things become automatic, even some of the things we should devote more of our focus and energy toward. Eating is one of them. Even if a person doesn’t have issues with overeating, it has been proven that being mindful to our food and digestion when we eat is much healthier for us.

If we teach ourselves to eat mindfully, we give ourselves the opportunity to examine what we think and how we feel which in turn affects the way we eat or don’t eat. If we can gain an understanding of this process (which is entirely unique for each one of us and is subject to change at any given time), it only stands to reason, we are that much ahead of the game at being able to better manage things we don’t believe to be in our best interest.

If I ask you what you ate today before noon and you were honest with your response, odds are it is the same thing you ate yesterday or the day before. We tend to eat habitually, many times, the same thing each and every day. This habitual eating gets us stuck in a routine that we may not even be aware we are in.

How about if I asked you what your last meal smelled like or what the texture of the main ingredient in your last dinner felt like? It is more than likely you would have to think about it now and this would be the first and only time you will have given it this type of attention. When we eat mindfully, we experience each bite of the food we eat. Try it!

Texting

Texting

What about the percentage of your attention and focus that went into your last meal or snack? Were you in texting someone while munching on your salad? What about your last snack? Were you reading something that took up much of your focus? If you want to eat mindfully, you will need to just eat when you eat.

Do you pay attention to how hungry you are before and while you eat? If you set yourself up some type of internal scale with which to measure your degree of hunger during your meal, you can reconnect with when you have had enough to eat to satisfy your hunger and avoid overeating (or at least have a better chance at avoiding it).

Magic of Mindfulness

Magic of Mindfulness

Something mindfulness has been super effective at teaching me is that a thought is just a thought and a feeling is just a feeling. Neither are facts. If you eat mindfully, you also will be more aware of the thoughts and feelings you experience while you eat and be more able to avoid incorrect thinking that could negatively affect how much or the type of foods you choose.

Practicing the mindfulness eating connection routinely and effectively can be one of the most powerful tools in your weight loss or healthy weight maintenance toolkit.

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!

Where There’s A Will

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Thanks to new research in an emerging field of study called prospection, that studies the way people project themselves into the future, by mentally stimulating future events; there is new hope for developing behavioral interventions that can help overweight women thanks to a new study from the University at Buffalo. In last month’s journal Appetite, research has been published that disagrees with previous studies regarding different levels of difficulty for obese and lean women when it comes to delaying gratification and impulse control.

Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

Previous studies historically led researchers to conclude that overweight and obese people are more likely to forego health and more normal weight bodies in the future, in order to eat more desired, calorie-dense foods now.

But this new study shows that whether obese, overweight or lean, women who thought about future scenarios were able to postpone gratification, and were equally capable of the impulse control that lean women exhibit.

Put into everyday language, delayed gratification equals willpower. And it involves being able to delay immediate results for a better reward in the future. In the past, studies indicated that obese and overweight people found it more difficult to delay their gratification; to display willpower.

This has very long-lasting and significant implications for people who took on the findings as part of how they saw themselves; weak willed, possessing poor impulse control, not having the will-power or control over themselves that ‘normal’ people have with regards to food and eating.

Leonard H. Epstein, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who was senior author on the research and renown obesity specialist notes that many people find it hard to resist impulses and opt for immediate gratification, and it has no connection to whether they are overweight, slender or obese.
The wonderful part is that it is likely to prove that if people can modify delay discounting, and delayed discounting can be taught. It is possible to teach how to mentally simulate the future in order to moderate present behaviors and this type of intervention can help people become more successful at losing weight.

Self-Control

Self-Control

“This research is certainly welcome news for people who have struggled to lose weight, because it shows that when people are taught to imagine, or simulate the future, they can improve their ability to delay gratification,” says Epstein.

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!

Easy Weight Loss

Standard

Weight Loss Ad

We have all been nothing less than inundated with advertisements and commercials about easy ways to lose weight. Everybody who is anybody, even those who have little or nothing to do with weight loss and healthful nutrition, have joined the multi-billion dollar bandwagon for quick and easy weight loss.

There are various times throughout the year when weight loss can be found more in the spotlight. Springtime is one of them because cold-weather comfort food eating is behind us, and swimsuit season is just around the corner. So, weight loss, once again, becomes the Holy Grail for many of us. There are countless new commercials on television and ads in newspapers aimed at filling our heads with hopes of transforming our out-of-shape bodies.

But here we are, months after our New Year resolutions and many of us have already resigned ourselves to yet another episode of frustration. We find ourselves facing yet another defeat in our battle against sustained, healthy weight-loss.

Why? What is it that makes for success for some of us and continued failure and frustrations for others? What tips for successful weight-loss have they found that we have not?

People tend to say that it is the diet or the weight-loss technique that fails or succeeds. This may be more than just a matter of semantics. Getting your head straight is perhaps the single most significant factor in successful, sustained weight-loss.

But, this is an intangible – something that isn’t formulated and put into a pill or beverage that can be marketed and boost sales. And we want quick results. We do not want to hear about all the work that it takes, over and over again. So, there is very little emphasis and attention put on mindset and the need to completely alter the way we look at ourselves and at food if we are in the market for successful, sustained, weight-loss.

Here are some of the main emotional and mental ‘ingredients’ we need to bring together if we are to reach our weight-loss goals and most importantly, to sustain them.

* Honesty
* Self-respect
* Consistency
* Tenacity
* Embrace/Rethink Setbacks

What does honesty have to do with weight loss? Well… EVERYTHING! If you need to lose more than 30 pounds and you have been overweight for a good part of your life, more than likely, you have learned to be dishonest with yourself and other people about your issues with food.

Gorging

Gorging

Many times, overeating is not the problem. It is the result of the other problems in our lives. We have inappropriately learned to use food as a method of coping with our feelings. We need to be brutally honest about ourselves, our lives and our relationship with food if we are to sustain weight loss and find lasting success.

Self-respect
and self-acceptance go hand-in-hand. We need to sincerely feel we are worth all the hard work and effort we are going to put into losing weight and becoming healthy. If we don’t really learn to love and feel good about ourselves, then our weight loss will only be temporary. We need to believe in ourselves and in our right to a healthy and rewarding life.

Consistency and tenacity are two more ingredients that go hand-in-hand. Consistency means you keep on keeping on. It is doing what has to be done – especially at times when we feel like not doing it. Tenacity is the determination and willingness to stay on track and even more importantly, to get back on track during those times that we may find ourselves being imperfectly human.

Setbacks are inevitable. We are human. We are imperfect. We will NOT be able to keep perfectly to our plan, no matter how much we may want to succeed. And the sooner we learn to live with that aspect of our own humanity, the more likely we are to handle the ‘bumps in the road’ along our way to sustained weight loss and keep them in proportion.

Weigh-in Scale

Weigh-in Scale

How do people lose weight and keep it off? By learning the truth about themselves and staying strong in their commitment to change their lives. They need to become healthy emotionally and mentally and keep putting one foot in front of the next once they find what works for them. They need to be flexible and willing to change things up, if something that worked before doesn’t work anymore. And most importantly, they need to internalize a new way of believing and thinking about themselves and the world they live in.

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 u