“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825
(a stuffed turkey??!)
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825
(a stuffed turkey??!)
It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon when someone else loses weight and you want to mimic their success with the food plan they were on.
Or you hear of a diet – for example, I just heard recently of the Inflammation Diet – and because you have some physical alignment, you convenience yourself that THAT diet will eliminate any physical woes you experience. So off you go to research it, convince yourself that you could tolerate the foods they’re suggesting, and then make a trip to the grocery store to stock up with the ‘right’ kinds of food.
Real change comes from within. NOT THE FOOD PLAN.
Don’t get me wrong the right diet-of-life can significantly make you feel better, and lose weight.
If your ultimate goal is a significant lifestyle change, like weight loss, think lifestyle change, not short-term diet.
Various popular diets can help to jump-start your weight loss, but permanent changes in your lifestyle and food choices are what work in the long run.
The word alone always implies something you go off of at a certain point rather than developing a healthy lifestyle of eating throughout your life.
People always feel they have to be good during their diet, and, often part of that thinking is that you have to give up certain foods….for the rest of your life!!
Here’s the good news: making treats totally off-limits could sabotage your weight-loss goals, research from the University of Toronto suggests.
Dieting women who were deprived of chocolate for a week had more intense cravings than those without any food restrictions, and they consumed twice as much chocolate as they usually did when they were finally permitted to eat it.
The smarter strategy is to allow yourself a small portion of the treats you love. You won’t feel so deprived, or obsess about what you can’t have!
Depression is an equal opportunity illness for youth, teens, and adults. When depression takes hold, it can be very discouraging for some.
And there can be all kinds of reasons for depression. When I think of Michigan and all the beauty it holds in the Spring and Summer, I’m also reminded of the emotional struggles that people can experience in our Fall and, typically, Winter months.
Which makes me think of one kind of depression……Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder can also affect individuals as the Seasons change and days feels longer and darker. Serious mood changes can shift your sleeping patterns, energy levels, and eating patterns. More on this later….
A colleague turned me on to this article, and what researchers have found according to two new studies and the value of cognitive behavioral therapy. I think you might find interesting.
By Dennis Thompson
THURSDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) — Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a powerful tool for preventing depression, equaling or exceeding the effectiveness of antidepressants and other types of care, according to two new studies.
Follow-up cognitive therapy can be as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing a relapse for patients at high risk for another bout of depression, researchers reported in the first study, which was published online Sept. 4 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Adults coming out of acute depression are less likely to suffer a relapse if they receive an additional eight months of either cognitive therapy or the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) after finishing an initial round of cognitive therapy, the report concluded.
“Everybody did better than they would have if they hadn’t had treatment,” said study author Robin Jarrett, the Elizabeth H. Penn Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “If you treat a patient with cognitive therapy and they do well, then the patient would have a choice: You could treat them with either fluoxetine or therapy.”
In the second study, also published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital found that cognitive behavioral therapy did better than usual forms of care in preventing depression in at-risk teens.
Teens who received cognitive-behavioral therapy were significantly less likely to suffer a depressive episode than those who were referred to therapists for usual care, which typically involves either standard therapy or medication, said Dr. William Beardslee, director of Baer Prevention Initiatives at the hospital and the Gardner/Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
“People at risk for depression often have a very gloomy sense of the future and will misinterpret communications: I’m being rejected or those people don’t like me or what I do makes no difference,” Beardslee said. “What one tries to do is show that actions do make a difference, and do that in a gentle, supportive way.”
The first study involved 241 adults who had responded well to cognitive therapy but were at high risk of relapse for depression. They received treatment at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Researchers broke the group roughly into thirds. The first two thirds received eight months of continuing treatment, either through additional cognitive therapy or by taking Prozac. The final third received a placebo pill.
The people who received continuing treatment had relapse rates that were half that of the placebo group — about 18 percent for either cognitive therapy or fluoxetine, compared with 33 percent for placebo pills.
The protective effect, however, wore off after treatment ended. Two and a half years later, all three groups had similar relapse rates, although rates in the placebo group still tended to be slightly higher.
Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said there is a higher likelihood of depression reoccurring with each episode of depression.
“For example, with individuals who have had three or more episodes, there is a 95 percent chance of reoccurrence,” Varma said.
“I hate to break the bad news when my patients ask about this, but I tell them that there are some people who fall in this category who are going to need treatment indefinitely given their prior history of multiple depressive episodes and perhaps previous incomplete remission histories,” she said.
The second study involved 316 teenagers who were at risk for depression because either their parents suffered from depression or they themselves showed symptoms or had prior instances.
The teens received cognitive-behavioral group therapy in eight weekly 90-minute group sessions followed by six monthly continuation sessions at sites in Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.
“We try to get kids to think of a range of options,” Beardslee said. “State what the problem is — let’s say they can’t get over a relationship and they feel persistently sad — then try to get them to the goal by brainstorming all the possible solutions and trying some.”
During a 33-month follow-up period, the kids who received the therapy had significantly fewer depressive episodes than those who were referred for usual psychiatric care.
“We wanted to see if this intervention could be delivered systematically and reliably in four different sites in the U.S., and the answer is yes,” Beardslee said. “It’s a step on the way to eventually disseminating the intervention widely.”
There was one drawback. Kids who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy at the same time their parents were suffering depression received no benefit.
“This speaks to the fact that the parental depression must also be simultaneously addressed, and I imagine both individually but also in the family context through family therapy,” Varma said. “This study says that [cognitive behavioral therapy] prevention is highly effective, but we need to look at the big picture. And this makes sense. Depression for young people does not exist in a bubble, and if we can support the family we can help the adolescent.”
Every year, it seems, the needle on the scale is a little harder to budge. You cut back on portion size; you say, “No, thank you,” to dessert; you sign up for a Zumba class — and yet your jeans size goes up and your energy level goes down. What’s going on?
Starting in our early 40s, our bodies go through a series of changes that profoundly affect digestion, metabolism, and other bodily functions. Thanks to hormonal and other changes, the very growth rate of our cells slows down. It’s just something we have to learn to work around.
Sometimes, though, something’s gotten off track, metabolically speaking, and there’s an underlying medical issue that needs to be dealt with before the usual weight-loss measures will have any effect. Here’s a 10-step plan for understanding the challenges that prevent weight loss over 40, and for learning how to overcome them.
In long-ago times, older didn’t necessarily mean plumper. Think of those icons of the American prairie, the sinewy pitchfork-wielding farm couple pictured in American Gothic. But today, those of us over 40 face a twofold challenge: We’re living longer, and we’re no longer out there milking the cows at 5 a.m.
When it comes to burning calories, it’s a fairly simple equation. What goes in must be burned off, or it sticks to our ribs. Acquiring weight is absurdly easy — eating just 100 extra calories a day (100 more than what your body burns) will lead to a 9- to 10-pound weight gain over the course of a year, experts say. How much is 100 calories? Not a lot: A can of Coke contains 155 calories, a chocolate bar more than 200. Of course, that cola or chocolate chip cookie is no problem if we’re walking or running it off. But after 40, our activity level tends to decline, too. So the challenge is to bring the two into balance.
Look back over the past year, and think about when your weight seemed to be holding steady and when it seemed to be trending slowly upward. What were you doing during the good weeks? What sabotaged you the other times? Make a list of what works for you, and what throws you off. Your own healthy habits in the past are the ones most likely to work for you now.
Would it surprise you to know that thyroid problems strike as many as 1 out of 5 adults over age 40? And 8 out of 10 of those adults are women? The most common of these is hypothyroidism — an underactive thyroid — and it’s one of the primary reasons many women over 40 can’t lose weight. The thyroid is a tiny gland that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, and when it’s underactive, so is everything else. Think of low thyroid as having your internal thermostat set too low. Symptoms include feeling cold all the time, poor circulation in the hands and feet, clammy hands, tiredness and lethargy, hair loss (including eyebrows and eyelashes), and weight gain — despite real attempts to exercise and eat well.
If you suspect an underactive thyroid may be slowing your metabolism, the first step is to call the doctor and ask for a thyroid test. But beware: It’s not always that simple. Many thyroid experts consider the first-line thyroid blood test, known as the TSH, an unreliable indicator, and they argue that doctors should diagnose according to symptoms rather than a lab number. And there is extensive disagreement among endocrinologists about what should be considered a “normal” range for the TSH, what range indicates subclinical hypothyroidism, and what number indicates full-blown hypothyroidism. Since 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has been recommending that a TSH test result of 2.5 or above should be considered a possible indicator of hypothyroidism. But many laboratories still use an older standard, according to which 5.5 is the cutoff above which TSH is considered abnormal. And new recommendations issued jointly by a task force of the AACE and the American Thyroid Association (ATA) didn’t clarify things much; they basically say that a thyroid result of between 2.5 and 10 could indicate hypothyroidism on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the 2012 recommendations suggest that doctors use an additional test for elevated thyroid peroxidase antibody, or TPOAb, when diagnosing autoimmune hypothyroidism.
The takeaway: If your TSH result is above 2.5, make sure your doctor knows that the AACE considers you a candidate for thyroid medication, based on your symptoms. Then ask for a referral to an endocrinologist, with whom you can discuss the need for additional testing.
Your goal at this stage in your life is to keep yourself feeling full without succumbing to the temptation to eat like you could at age 20. One strategy recommended by internist Julie Taw, MD, of Englewood, New Jersey, is to eat more frequently but to consume less at each sitting. An added benefit of eating this way is that it’s easier to keep your blood sugar steady, so you don’t have the peaks and valleys that contribute to fatigue.
Here’s the rule: Try eating five to six small meals a day, and don’t go more than three or four hours without eating. For example, you might eat a light but healthy breakfast before you leave for work, then have a nonfat yogurt in the late morning. Then instead of eating a big pasta lunch and spending the afternoon in a stupor, eat a light lunch and spend the rest of your lunch break taking a brisk walk. An afternoon snack of nuts and an apple keeps you from needing the 4 p.m. sweet treat and makes it easier to avoid overeating at dinner.
Your goal is the opposite of the starvation approach to dieting — you want to trick your body into feeling satisfied and well-fed at all times, though the total amount you’re eating is less.
Most experts agree on one thing: Snack (or eat dinner) after 8 p.m., and whatever you eat is more likely to go straight to your hips and stomach. Happily, the opposite is also true — what you eat in the mornings, when your metabolism is revved up to its optimum operating speed, is much more likely to be expended efficiently.
Don’t like to eat breakfast? Sorry, but there’s no way around this one; eating a good breakfast is one of the key habits experts have identified that keeps thin people thin. When members of the National Weight Control Registry (people who have maintained a weight loss of 30 pounds for between one and six years) were surveyed, 78 percent reported eating breakfast every day and almost 90 percent reported eating breakfast at least five days a week. This was one of the only factors researchers identified that those in the registry had in common!
I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s true: It’s really not just about how much you eat, but how much of which foods. There are plenty of healthy foods you can eat all you want of — and no, that doesn’t mean stuffing your fridge with celery sticks, 1970s-style. Instead, make a few simple tweaks to your diet, incorporating foods that actually fight fat instead of those that trigger it. Then eat other foods in moderation, and you should be OK.
There’s one thing the exercise gurus have gotten right: The more muscle mass you have, the more effectively your metabolism burns calories. But sad to say, a natural tendency of aging is to lose muscle, gradually replacing it with fat. So in order to enlist the calorie-burning abilities of muscle, we do have to work at it.
The key here to long-term benefit is basic strength training. Buy some hand weights, a bar, and some stretch bands, and channel your high school gym teacher. And don’t ignore your core; planks, curls, and Pilates moves help strengthen the deep core muscles that are key to posture. Make it as pleasant as possible; work out while you watch the evening news or your favorite sit-com. Other tools that help: kettlebells, an exercise ball, and ankle weights. Slowly and gradually build up those biceps, abs, deltoids, and glutes, and you’ll have some key allies in your fight to prevent age-related weight gain.
As any perimenopausal woman or hardworking man over 35 can tell you, sleep gets ever more elusive as you age. It’s not just that we’re busier and more stressed. We also have multiple physical issues, from back pain to snoring to night sweats, any of which can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.
Yet, paradoxically, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to losing weight. In recent years, significant research has shown that lack of sleep is directly connected to weight gain because of the actions of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that control hunger and satiety, or feeling full. One key study concluded, “Sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism.” Here’s how it works: When you’re sleep deprived, ghrelin levels increase at the same time that leptin levels decrease. The result is more craving, less feeling full. Add to that the fact that sleep-deprived people often crave “energy” foods, which tend to be sweet or salty, and you can see how small changes in your routine can add up to big weight gain.
And there’s more. Recently, studies have shown that our bodies are most metabolically active while we sleep, and that sleeping less than six hours impairs glucose tolerance, a key precursor to diabetes. So the longer we sleep, the more efficiently our inner fat-burning and sugar-processing engines function.
Add these all together and you can see a pattern emerging: The older we are, the harder it is to get a good night’s sleep — and the less we sleep, the more likely it is we’ll gain weight. What to do? Take steps to combat sleep problems and your waistline will benefit, too.
If you’re dying for a sweet treat, give it to yourself, savoring it slowly so it registers fully with your brain’s pleasure sensors. A trick that many experts recommend: Cut the treat in half before you start eating, carefully wrapping the second half up to “save for later.” You may or may not want it — sometimes if you eat the first half slowly and consciously enough, you’ll feel satisfied. But knowing it’s there if you do plays a nice trick on your brain, which tends to crave things it perceives as being in short supply.
Also, don’t try to substitute artificially flavored sweets. Researchers have recently discovered that artificial sweeteners fail to trigger the body’s natural satisfaction response. So eating that 100-calorie artificially sweetened cookie only adds to your problems; you’ll keep on wanting the real cookie, so the 100 calories you just ate were in vain.
If, like most 40-somethings, you’re packing some extra pounds, you’ve probably made plenty of resolutions to go on a diet. You’ve also probably figured out by this point in your life that diets rarely work, and neither does suddenly embarking on a strenuous new exercise regimen. There’s a good reason that sudden, drastic changes don’t lead to long-term weight loss, and may even lead to a rebound. Have you noticed that your weight tends to stay fairly constant week to week, even if one day you go on a junk food binge and the next day you’re fairly good? Nature designed us with optimum abilities to maintain a steady metabolic rate, because it helps us weather food shortages and sudden demands on our energies.
Unfortunately, this means that when you’ve gradually gained weight over time, your body has adapted to the new weight and now does its best to hold onto it. So here’s what you do: You make slow, gradual adjustments to each end of the equation. And you — and only you — decide which end of the fuel-in, energy-out equation to emphasize and when.
Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds. To do so right now, you’d have to burn 35,000 calories — an overwhelming number that would require you to eat nothing at all for about 2 weeks, or jog for 51 hours, or walk for 126 hours. Not only would it be impossible, but attempts like those would send your body into starvation-mode metabolic slowdown, sabotaging your efforts.
But you could also, much more effectively, set out to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week for the next 5 to 10 weeks. Studies show that if you take the slow-but-steady approach, you’re much more likely to keep that 10 pounds off. Remind yourself that you are the only one in charge of tuning up your metabolic engine. Decide whether to focus on cutting down the number of calories you’re consuming, or on upping the number you’re burning. Most likely, you’ll strike a balance between the two that suits you.
If six half-hour walks a week is relatively painless for you, that’s a good choice; if you can only manage three, do that. If going outdoors in ten-degree weather is singularly unappealing and you wouldn’t be caught dead in a gym but it’s not too hard to give up dessert, then prioritize dietary changes instead.
Your primary goal should be making small, gradual lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your daily routine and stick with over time. That’s the ultimate secret to combating over-40 weight gain.
Hey, how’s your New Year’s Goal going? Typically we always think of a New Year’s Resolution that has to do with our health – and actually, they say that is exactly what the majority of people do. And typically, by Feb 1st their new health goals were just a memory.
I’m still hanging in there with mine, and doing pretty good if I do say so myself!! And yes, one of my New Year’s Goals had to do with living a healthier lifestyle. So today I’m bringing you a quick diet trick that I read recently in Winter 2012 Prevention magazine.
Change your thinking and you’ll change your behavior. Hope you enjoy the following…
THINK ABSTRACTLY: When debating whether or not to indulge in that chocolate croissant, try envisioning the flaky pastry as a negative concept rather than a delicious treat.
Ohio State University researchers have found that associating foods with abstract ideas (identifying an apple as “longevity” and a candy bar as “energy crash,” for example) helps people resist temptation and opt for healthier choices.
One of the ideas I want to encourage you to do is to change how you look at the word “DIET” – start to think of it as not something you go on and off, but as a lifestyle change. And commit to figuring out how to change your current ‘diet’ to a healthier eating lifestyle, so there’s no more thinking of “…..I blew it, I’ll start over tomorrow….” STOP THAT THINKING. It doesn’t work – never has, never will.
Change is hard. And it’s easy to get discourage when you try and don’t get the results you were hoping for. But the reality is that just making the effort is, in fact, progress.
Change is not an event with an exact start and stop point: it’s a process.
Each step you make, even if it’s a relatively small step such as making the resolution to change, is still a step in the right direction, bringing you closer to your ultimate goal.
It’s also important to recognize that even if you take a few steps back, it’s not the end of the world. If viewed and used correctly, the missteps can serve as learning opportunities, helping you become better prepared for the next log of the trip!
So here’s to CHANGE and hoping you will have a new year full of new thinking for a healthier YOU.
So true at times….from the top to the bottom!
I have always enjoyed SHAPE magazine and recently found this on-line. The article is written by Jennipher Walters and describes what symptoms to look for if you’re wondering if you could be addicted to food/eating!!
I often say that in college I was addicted to Pop Tarts. In graduate school, it was candy corn. These days, thankfully, I’m more drawn to more nutritious foods, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard others say that they’re addicted to chocolate, or chips or fast food. While we usually all say these things in jest, the more research that is done on the brain’s reaction to some foods, the more food addiction isn’t just a joke — it’s a reality.
The latest study to come out Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that a chocolate milkshake may affect the brain in the same way that cocaine might. Cocaine! Researchers are finding that high-sugarand high-fat foods, in a way, hijack the brain into not just craving but needing certain kinds of food. So how do you know if you are truly addicted to food? Or if you just really like and crave something? Below are five symptoms that may indicate an addiction to food.
5 Food Addiction Symptoms
1. Food is all you think about. If thinking about eating — or worrying about what you just ate — is getting in the way of your ability to go to work, be social or be a good family member, you may have a problem.
2. You want to stop — but you can’t. If you feel like your love of food is out of control or if you want to stop eating so much but can’t stop, it may be a sign that you need professional help.
3. You eat in secret or lie about what you’ve eaten. One characteristic of most people who are addicted to food is that they hide their eating behaviors or lie about what they’ve consumed. Feelings of guilt and shame when it comes to eating is another sign of disordered eating.
4. You eat beyond the point of fullness. Eating too much on Thanksgiving or your birthday is one thing, but regularly binging is another. If you regularly eat so much that you feel sick or can’t stop eating even though you’re full, you might be addicted to food. If you use laxatives or purge after binging, it’s especially important to seek professional help.
5. You are compelled to eat when you’re not hungry or are feeling low. While we all eat out of emotion every now and again, if you find yourself always going for high-fat and high-sugar foods when you’re lonely, bored, stressed, anxious or depressed, this can signal food addiction, as your body is using some of the chemicals in those foods to boost levels in the brain.
Jennipher Walters is a certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, and holds an MA in health journalism.
A French proverb says “A good meal ought to begin with hunger.” Well, there is some truth to that. Make sure you’re not experiencing a craving (which is just an intense desire for some particular thing) before you convince yourself it’s time to eat.
True hunger is the gnawing, growling feeling that happens in your stomach, an indicator letting you know you are truly h-u-n-g-r-y. So make sure when you experience true hunger that you’re eating a good nutritional meal.