Food Addiction

Are You Addicted to Food? / Here’s How to Find Out!

In my last blog titled, “Cravings - Who Hasn’t, “ I mentioned that addiction could be one of the reasons behind the cravings. And because I was only able to briefly touch on the subject I wanted to dedicate this entire blog to address it more fully.

Typically when you hear the word, “addiction,” your thoughts go immediately to substances that are potentially harmful or illegal, such as, alcohol, tobacco, street drugs, or maybe a behavior like gambling. So it might seem strange that you could actually link addiction in the same sentence with food. However, in some cases it’s true. The brain and body can become dependent on a healthy substance like food.

Whereas an individual would have to purposely seek out a source as to where and how to purchase a street drug, food on the other hand is everywhere. We need food to survive, that’s just a fact. It's also used as a source of pleasure and a means of social interaction, holidays, and special events.

We not only use food to comfort ourselves but we also use it as a way to nurture our loved ones. For example, I have many memories of my dear beloved grandma coming over to our house to drop off cans of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and an eight pack of Coca-cola whenever me or one of my sisters was sick. Of course this was also the same grandma who would let us have ice cream for breakfast because she said there was eggs in it, but I digress. The point I want to make here is that because we have to have food to survive we can’t just abstain from it like we could with any other substance or behavior that is addictive — that’s why it can be difficult to control.

When the need to consume food becomes compulsive and uncontrollable, that, is when you know that food has turned into a source of addiction. Even though the person might try to control the addictive behavior through dieting, they usually will fall back into overeating in response to emotions and stressful life events. However, when they take this course of action, the initial rush of pleasurable sensations or the release from emotional distress will quickly be followed by feelings of shame, guilt, and physical discomfort.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS                                                                

Food addiction can be recognizable by many signs and symptoms. The following are just some of the possible symptoms:

  • Obsessive food cravings, going out of the way to obtain and consume certain foods.
  • Continuing to eat even though you are no longer hungry.
  • Eating to the point of feeling ill.
  • Eating in secret, isolation.
  • Repeated attempts to stop overeating only to relapse into addictive behaviors.
  • Needing to consume more food in order to get the same sense of emotional release or comfort.
  • The behavior is having a negative impact on family, work, finances, or social life.

CAUSES OF FOOD ADDICTION

So how does one get to be addicted to food? Well, it’s likely the culmination of several factors that interact in the overall cause of this disorder. It may be the result of biological, psychological, or social reasons.
Emotions and stress - Responding to stress by eating, even when not hungry. Eating to enhance positive emotions and to reduce negative emotions. Often turning to high-calorie or high-carbohydrate foods that have minimal nutritional value as a “reward” for an accomplishment or when something bad happens because the individual feels, “they deserve it.” Emotional eaters often crave “comfort foods or feel good foods” like ice cream, cookies, pizza, french fries and chocolate, etc.
Brain chemistry - Foods that are rich in fat and sugar can change the reward centers of the brain in a similar way as drugs and alcohol. In fact, in some studies it has been shown that sugar might actually have a stronger effect on the brain’s reward system than addictive drugs like cocaine. Eating these kinds of food prompt a part of the brain to make endorphins. These “feel good” chemicals can trigger binge eating. The foods also spark dopamine which motivates feeding behavior and the prefrontal cortex which influences decision making. In some people, the actions of these brain chemicals that regulate the reward systems can overcome hormonal signals and any conscious attempts to stop eating even though they are full. And the strong pull of wanting the high-calorie foods wins out over the knowledge that what they are eating is damaging to their health.
Genetics - According to the National Institutes of Health about 40% to 60% of addiction risk is attributable to genetics. However, a persons DNA is not their destiny. Lifestyle and environment can influence how a gene functions. That means that everything from the food we eat, our activity levels, stress levels, and the pollution we’re exposed to can change a gene’s expression. Dr. Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH a science and nutrition expert explains that poor choices, such as eating a lot of sugary snacks, for example, have the potential to “switch on” genes related to obesity and addiction in her book, The Hunger Fix. But she also states that efforts to improve your diet and environment can enhance the functioning of good genes and dampen the bad ones.
Trauma - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious potentially debilitating condition that may occur as a result of experiencing or witnessing events such as a natural disaster, sudden death of a loved one, violent personal assault such as rape or other life-threatening events. PTSD and eating disorders often co-occur. Individuals suffering from an eating disorder usually report a history of trauma. It is suggested that the engaging in the behaviors of an eating disorder may be a way of controlling or coping with the troubling emotions and experiences linked with PTSD.

At first glance, people may think of food addiction as relatively harmless compared to an addiction to alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. However, compulsive overeating can take a severe toll on physical and emotional health. Professional treatment is often required to break the cycle of addictive overeating and restore a healthy relationship to food. If you recognize that you are dealing with a food addiction, don’t ignore it, please call (616) 516-1570 to make an appointment. I would like to help you break that cycle and help you live a more healthy and fulfilling life!

Food Cravings? – Who hasn’t?

 

There I was going about my business one day and I started to get the “urge.” I pushed the thought to the back recesses of my mind and carried on with the business at hand. It worked for a little while and then, there it was again. This cycle repeated itself several times over the next couple of hours. Now, I don’t know how or when it happened but the next thing I knew I looked down at my desk and there was this pile of silver Hershey Kiss wrappers laying in a most accusatory fashion. I looked around for someone to blame — really hard! But, my door was shut and since no one had entered my office I eventually had to come to the conclusion that I, yes I, had caved to the crave.

Cravings — If you are alive, chances are pretty good that you have experienced them. People can crave all sorts of things such as attention, drugs, alcohol, etc. But in this blog I will be discussing food cravings.

I’ve never met a person who hasn’t had a food craving. And whether you have a sweet tooth or you tend to reach for a salty snack, I’m sure it has hit you at one point or another. And when you do succumb to your cravings, you probably feel guilty for having strayed from your otherwise healthy lifestyle habits.

Have you ever noticed how we can crave certain foods, even when we are not hungry? What’s up with that? Well, there is not just one answer that fits all people. So, below I will offer a few possibilities that are the most common reasons why we get food cravings along with some tips to help fight them:

SIMPLE CONDITIONING
One of the biggest psychological reasons people crave certain foods is because of conditioned responses to things such as certain activities, people or places that act as a trigger. Many of these can be from childhood where they learned through experience that certain foods made them feel better or made them feel emotionally satisfied. As an example, when you were young you were always offered something sweet after you had finished your chores or after losing a baseball game your family headed to the nearest ice cream parlor. If this practice became more of a daily occurrence instead of a once in a while one, it set up a pattern that you probably carried into adulthood where you find yourself rewarding yourself with the same kind of “treat” because you feel that you deserve it. Conditioned responses go hand in hand with emotional eating.

Tip: If you can figure out what triggers your craving, you will be better able to control the temptation. It’s actually a simple concept albeit a tough one to carry out. But it can be done. So to break the “habit” that has been established, the first thing to do is to identify when the food craving hits so you can see if there is a pattern. Second, take note of what specific foods you crave at those times. Think back on life experiences in which food was connected to a specific food. What emotions were connected to the food? (happy, sad, upset, anxious, fear) When you figure out the “why” behind your food cravings you can then start to actively fight them. Remember, tell yourself that your body does not need the food you are craving only that it has been conditioned to crave it, therefore, you can also condition the craving to stop!

ADDICTION
Have you considered that you might be addicted to the foods you crave? It’s entirely possible. Let me explain. While you can be addicted to any food, most of the time it’s going to be foods with a high sugar, fat or salt content. Eating these foods stimulate the reward center of your brain by producing endorphins in your body. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that are naturally manufactured in the brain. They are called the natural opiates of the body. Opiate drugs, such as morphine, codeine, heroin, and opium, are powerful painkillers derived from the poppy plant. These drugs alter pain perception, making it easier to tolerate, and elevate mood. Now isn’t it interesting that the human body produces its own opiates, called endorphins. So when we eat these kinds of foods and experience that, “feel good” feeling we want more—similar to the way drug users get addicted to narcotics. In fact, there are studies that show sugar can actually have a more intense feeling of reward than cocaine.

TIP: No real easy way to do this but if you are serious about wanting to break this habit, the first thing you need to do is “detox” your body by not eating the foods you are addicted to. That’s easier said than done because you will go through a withdrawal process. But if you can hang in there for about two weeks you can reset your hormones and break the food-addiction cycle. After the detox period, you can begin to introduce some of the foods back into your diet very slowly.

PHYSIOLOGICAL CRAVINGS
Some food cravings can be physiological or biochemical in origin, and could be caused by hormonal and chemical imbalances in your brain and nervous system. For example: Serotonin is involved with the regulation of mood and impulsive behaviors. Many studies have identified links between mood changes and low serotonin levels with food cravings. When serotonin levels drop or are deficient, you can develop cravings for carb-rich foods. Unstable blood sugar levels can be also be a physiological trigger. Whether from eating large amounts of carbohydrates, especially high-glycemic carbohydrates causing your levels to spike quickly then come crashing down or experiencing low blood sugar from not eating because of a too restrictive diet.

TIP: Keeping your blood sugar stable and eating high-quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables instead of high-glycemic carbohydrates (cakes, cookies, processed foods, etc.) can help. Also, once again, exercise is good for you by increasing your serotonin levels and it might as well help to decrease your food cravings. Instead of totally cutting out certain foods (which can sometimes cause you to crave even more) try to substitute with a lower-glycemic food that is similar to what high-glycemic food you are craving.

So, as you can see, there really isn’t a “simple” answer as to why we experience food cravings. We are all different and each persons cravings can be caused by one factor or multiple reasons. But, if you can learn the basics of how your own body works, then you can make better food choices to control the cravings instead of the cravings controlling you. If you would like help in doing just that, please give me a call at (616) 516-1570 or you can also click on the “contact” tab in the upper right hand side of the page. I look forward to your call!

ON YOUR WAY TO HAPPY AND HEALTHY!

 

There’s a well known drugstore whose advising slogan is that you can find their stores at the corner of “happy and healthy.” I know it is implying that they have what it takes to help you to be just that—happy and healthy. I get it — it’s a catchy slogan. The store fills much needed prescriptions, vitamins and other health related aids. And I even frequent their stores quite often. However, we all know that we need more than the corner drugstore to make us truly happy and healthy.

I know, I know, it might seem like I’m making too much out of it but just bear with me a minute. I want to ask you a question. Who or what really has what it takes to accomplish what the drugstore is advertising? What’s your guess?

I’ll tell you where I found the answer just in case you are wondering on where to look. In fact it’s super easy for anyone to find the answer. All I had to do and what everyone else needs to do is look in a mirror. Yep! That’s all there is to it. It’s me, it’s you. Okay, I hope I didn’t just pop someones bubble right there but it’s true!

Now let’s go back to the drugstore for a minute. I’m glad we have them because they are much needed. But let me point out something to you. To get a prescription, bandaids, cold medicine, vitamins or what ever else might be needed from there, you have to go to the store to either pick up a prescription or buy what you need right? Now if you wander around in the store a little it won’t take you very long before you come across some items that might be on the temporary “happy” list but are definitely not on the “heathy list”

And don’t even get me started on the after holiday candy sales! Ugh! I say, “Will power don’t desert me now!” It really should be against the law to sell chocolate at 50 or 75% off. Isn’t it ironic we can go into a store, buy a weight reducing product and then get tripped up on the way out by those “great” deals we just can’t pass up. Go figure!

But getting back to the point. Sure the drugstore is filled with good and healthy items for us to use and that’s great. But you can also pick up not so healthy items. So you see in the end the responsibility lies with us.

Now! Even though I pointed out that the ball falls in our lap, it doesn’t mean that we can’t use some help along the way. Nor did I say that it’s a cakewalk either. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have use the word “cake” in my statement. Sorry about that!

Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice. It’s not a “one and done” kind of choice either. It’s an ongoing commitment we have to make to ourselves and for ourselves. A commitment that involves maintaining healthy eating habits and engaging in regular exercise. So let’s break those two commitments down into practical daily living.

HEALTHY EATING

  • I think we tend to forget a very simple fact. And that is that food is fuel for the body. I’ve said this before but it’s good to repeat it. “We don’t put junk fuel into our vehicles so why do we put junk fuel into our bodies and then expect our bodies to run efficiently?” Not going to happen!
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products. These foods contain the most vitamins and minerals that will provide you with quality energy for the least amount of calories.
  • Limit processed and prepared food such as take-out, fast food and convenience foods which usually contain high amounts of calories, sodium, added sugars and fat. Ironically these types of food contribute to health related problems which could eventually require a trip to the drugstore I mentioned earlier to fill a prescription.
  • Learn and practice eating what the appropriate portion size is for the various foods you eat. In the long run it’s not always the best deal at a restaurant when they give you enormous portions for the price paid. It might be cheap food but it is an expensive price to pay if it leads to bad health.
  • Make note of when and why you eat. Are you truly hungry? Do you eat when you are bored or stressed? Or perhaps you are happy or sad? Practice mindful eating which is paying attention to your hunger cues and your level of fullness.

ACTIVE LIVING

Contrary to some peoples opinion, the word “exercise” is not a dirty word. Rather it is a “healthy” word. Physical activity is an important factor in healthy living. I’m not saying you have to run a 5k but most everyone can walk around the block. Whether it be by aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening (very important to the over age 40 crowd) or any other activity that gets your body moving regularly, staying active helps with the following:

  • Weight control
  • Minimizes stress level
  • Maximizes energy level
  • Improves sleep
  • Enhances mood
  • Reduces risk for chronic disease
  • Strengthens bones and muscles to prevent injury

So if you desire to lead a happier, healthier life, making the necessary choices are up to you. If you can wake up every morning and incorporate eating healthy and staying active into your daily routine it won’t be long before it becomes a good habit. And then, you will realize that you've arrived at the corner of happy and healthy.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – BEAT THE STATISTIC’S!

 

 

A very belated Happy New Year to everyone! Yeah, I know, I’m rather late. I’m going to blame it on a very busy last couple of months for me, okay? Come to think of it though, the time from mid November through the first part of January always seems to fly by in a blink of an eye for me every year. So I guess this past year was no different. It’s probably the same with everyone else too. During that time of the year there is always so much to do and I might as well add right here, so much to eat. And then, all of a sudden, your spinning world comes to a halt and you find yourself in January standing in front of your closet looking for your “after holiday” clothes.

Ugh! So you stand there and berate yourself because you realize that, “Once again” you didn’t take care of yourself (health-wise) like you promised yourself you would do. Or maybe it’s the bathing suits that are now hanging in the stores that has abruptly brought it to your attention. That’s where the New Year’s resolutions come into play — not that that’s a bad thing. But if they are made more so of a knee jerk reaction because of a momentary sense of regret then you will probably find yourself in the percentage of people that don’t stick to them throughout the year. I know I’ve talked about this before but it bears going over again.

Even if those resolutions are made with good intentions, let’s be honest. Research shows that it doesn’t take long before they are gone by the wayside. Let me share with you a couple of statistics from the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

  • According to research done in 2016, the number one resolution made in the new year was………you guessed it, to lose weight and or to eat more healthy.
  • 72.6% maintained the resolutions through the first week. By 6 months that percentage had gone down to 44.8%.
  • People over the age of 50 were less likely to achieve their goals than people in their twenties.
  • Only 9.2% felt they were successful in achieving their resolution.

Now the reason I show you these statistics is in no way to give you an excuse for NOT making a health related goal for the new year. Rather it is to acknowledge that it’s obviously not easy or else the percentages would be higher. Right? And also to encourage you that if you did make a resolution to lose weight to push through so you can be counted amongst those that do make it! Those people are out there and you can be one too!

So what do we take away from this? Yes, people make resolutions and sometimes are not successful. Okay! So what? I’m going to say that at least for a little while they had a goal. They tried! Maybe this year will be the year that they stick with it. Maybe you will be one of those in the 9.2%. One thing is for sure though, you 100% of the time won’t reach your goal if you never make one in the first place. So let’s give the people in this research props for at least attempting to complete their goal.

And besides, you know what these statistics really show don’t you? It shows that a large percentage of people gave up and quit. That’s what we DON’T want to do! Think about all the achievements you have in your life. Aren’t you the most proud of the ones that took some struggle to bring about the results that you wanted?

Really, to be successful at this “getting healthier” thing, you have to retrain your brain into a new
way of thinking — to create and carry out good habits. And let’s face it, just like an unruly kid, your mind doesn’t always want to mind either. When we feel like we might be deprived of something, sometimes we turn into that little kid at the grocery checkout throwing a fit because he can’t have what he or she wants! You know what I mean?

We also live in a microwave society where we expect everything to happen fast in mere minutes. But there’s nothing fast about weight loss. You’ve heard the old saying, “A pot watched never boils.” Theoretically, we know it’s going to boil, but when you stand over the pot and wait, it seems like it takes forever. So don’t get discouraged and give up when you don’t see immediate results. Resist the tendency to slip back into your old habits. Stay the course!

And just a note on slipping back into old habits. From one of the statistics above we see that it’s even harder to lose weight the older you get. Maybe it's because it’s just easier to follow your old habits having  done them for so long you don’t have to think about it. But I also know for us women in the pre/menopausal years it can be quite challenging to lose weight. Our bodies do not respond in our 50’s like they did when we were in our 20’s. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.You just might have to go about it in a different and more determined way.

So, let’s wrap this up. We are now in the latter part of January. And even if you made some resolutions and you haven’t followed through with them, it doesn’t matter. You can start over. In fact, today is a good day to start, don’t you think? Start out by making a daily goal, then a weekly goal, a monthly goal and so on. Don’t let the time frame of a whole year intimidate you. And if and when you blow it, don’t let it be an excuse to totally give up. Forgive yourself, square your shoulders and get right back on the path that you need to be on to reach your goal. Do it for yourself, you're worth it!

 

Eating Healthy for Life

 

family-eating-together

This might have been out there for a while but I just recently saw for the first time a meme on Facebook that said, “ Apparently you have to eat healthy more than once to get in shape. This is cruel and unfair.” I laughed because I thought it was funny and got what they were meaning but is it true? Well, it probably depends on your concept of eating healthy, getting in shape, cruel and unfair treatment. I will try to break this to you as gently as I can okay? YES, it’s true! Well,… at least partly. You WILL have to eat right (healthy) more than once and sometimes it will SEEM cruel and unfair to get in shape. There, I said it!

I think the cruel and unfair feelings come into play when we think about the people we may know that seem to never struggle with weight no matter what they eat. You know, THOSE people! Where do they come from and how did they get to be so lucky? I do not know the answer to that. But they are out there and we hate them don’t we? No, not really, I’m just being a little facetious right now. Just to put things into perspective, EVERYBODY at some time or another will have their own issues to deal with. So if your struggle is weight, rest assured THOSE people are wrestling with their own problems. Nobody gets through life without struggles of some kind. So keep that in perspective okay?

They say we are what we eat. Oh boy! For some of us that is quite scary. But really, if you really think about it, if we continue to eat unhealthy and neglect our bodies by getting and staying out of shape, couldn’t you classify that as being cruel and unfair — to yourself? Ouch! That should make you get up off the couch put the Snickers down, huh?

Now, back to the issue of eating healthy more than once. Yes, most of us are not so blessed to have the metabolism to eat whatever we want and instead have to choose wisely what we eat on a consistent basis to get AND stay in shape. And yes, sometimes it can seem hard but being out of shape can be hard also don’t you think? The choice is yours to make — you determine which way you want it. Either become disciplined with healthy choices right now and start to enjoy the benefits of being in shape or enjoy every morsel of food that comes across your path no matter if it is good for you or not and have a hard time later on as you huff and puff your way through life. Does that make sense to you?

You know, I actually believe most people do want to get in shape and eat healthy but let’s face it, it takes motivation, determination and discipline. And there’s the rub. That can be the hard part. We’ve all jumped on a band wagon at some point in our lives to start some new diet that came along and thought, “This is it!” We probably went to the store and bought all the foods and supplements that were suggested and allowed. Or, we plunked money down on some kind of exercise equipment that was recommended. And then after all the excitement and expectation died down, the day of good intentions was met by the days of reality and pretty soon the fresh vegetables turned moldy and the equipment eventually found its way to Craigslist. So how do you find the motivation, determination and discipline?

MOTIVATION

Motivation is what gets you going. It’s the daily spark that ignites a change in the way you think about a situation. It’s what gets you up and off the couch to make you take the first step to do what you want to do. The best way to get and STAY motivated long-term wise is to find a lot of different reasons that are specific to you to eat right and get in shape. Your reason for getting in shape might be different than someone else. Some examples are:

  • Wanting more energy
  • Being at your ideal weight
  • Eliminate or decrease health issues
  • Wanting to be able to be more active and be able to keep up with family, (kids,grandkids)

Figure out how eating healthy benefits you and make your own list. That way you will have more than just a vague idea of “getting in shape” to help you stay on track.

DETERMINATION

Determination is what keeps you going after the spark of motivation. It will help push you through the hard times. Even though you might want to give up, determination makes you dig deep and give it your all so you can succeed at what you are trying to do. Some helpful tips to stay determined:

  • Give yourself a pep talk - Be positive, write or state your goal and cheer yourself on.
  • Find a support system — Family, friends, online support groups for encouragement.
  • Reward yourself for successes along the way - Think pampering or money jar, not cake.
  • Focus on the benefits of reaching your goal.

DISCIPLINE

Self discipline is the number one trait needed to accomplish any goal and especially when we are talking about eating and exercise that will lead to long-term success. Self-discipline allows your choices to be made by informed, rational decisions instead of by impulses or feelings. Some people might find this surprising but self discipline is actually a learned behavior. It requires practice and repetition in your daily life. Some methods to help you to be successful:

  • Be realistic in setting short term and long term goals - Short-term goals should be benchmarks that lead up to long-term goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, set a six month goal, but break it down into smaller pieces, such as losing one pound every two weeks. When you reach the mini-milestones it helps to keep you motivated which in turn then helps to maintain your self discipline.
  • Remove temptations - Why have junk food sitting around calling your name. Removing the distraction from your environment is a crucial first step while you are working to improve your self-discipline.
  • Plan ahead and have a schedule - Don't leave your eating up to chance. Waiting until you are hungry is not the best time to figure out what you are going to eat. Know what you will be eating and have it ready.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice - Think of any great performer that you admire. Even if they started out with natural talent they still had to practice to perfect it. The more they practiced their talent, the easier and better it got. The same applies for self-discipline. You will find the more you practice it the better you will be at it.

So, how’s your motivation, determination, and discipline? If you need some help to get you going or keep you on the right path, call me today at (616) 516-1570 and soon you will be making the changes of eating not WHAT you want but eating FOR what you want and that is, “Eating healthy more than once and getting in shape!”

Weighing in on the Weight Loss Industry

weight-loss-collage

I saw a quote the other day that went like this, “You’re not rich until you have something that money can’t buy.” How do you take that? After pondering on that for a little while I came to the conclusion it must mean that even though money can buy a lot of possessions, fun, ease of living, and so on, sometimes the things you really want and even need just can’t be bought with cold hard cash.

If you think about it you can come up with a lot of things in your life where this statement holds true. For me the most important things that come immediately to mind are my health, family, and peace of mind. You certainly cannot buy that so I guess if I apply that statement to myself it means I’m rich even though my bank account says otherwise. Now I can’t think of anybody that I currently ‘hang’ with that is rich to where I could ask them what they thought about that quote but it would be interesting if I did.

Now wait just a moment! I just thought of someone I know who IS rich, Oprah. Everyone knows Oprah! (okay, I might be talking tongue in cheek here) but, whatever! Now if there is anyone who has the cold hard cash to buy ANYTHING that her heart desires, it would be Oprah right? Well, Yahoo ran an article this week about Oprah losing 26 pounds on Weight Watchers. Oprah. Losing weight. Again!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Her struggle is real AND public which makes it all the more hard and I don’t want to make light of it. But, no matter how large her bank account is, the one thing that seems to be out of her reach is maintaining a consistent healthy weight that she can be happy about. If you have or still do follow her you will know that she has lost weight many times using various means. And I guess you want to say, “You go girl” because she keeps on trying. And really you don't ever want to give up striving for something that is good for you.

One of my friends used to say, “Hey! When they invent the magic solution that works for weight loss you can bet that Oprah will tout it from the rooftops! (and then buy the company)”

But alas, no such miracle product is out there so can we all just take a moment to commiserate together that some genius out there by 2016 has not invented the one thing/one pill /one drink that would just melt the fat away while we sleep and keep it off FOREVER!

Have you ever wondered just how much money has been spent by people looking for that magic bullet that would miraculously help them shed those unwanted pounds? Well, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a research firm that tracks the industry showed that the U.S. weight loss market totaled $64 billion in 2014.

Now wouldn’t it be interesting if someone could find out the statistics on how many of those dollars spent were from first time users of a product or service compared to people who tried multiple products or were repeat users?

I’d say the weight loss industry has a good thing going as far as making money wouldn’t you say? That is not to say that for some, these products or services such as Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, etc. haven't helped people lose weight. On the contrary, there are people who would swear by them. BUT, let’s be honest, if after stopping whatever program or product they used to lose the weight, if they went back to their old style of eating you can bet they put their weight back on and in some instances probably gained even more.

And should I even bring up the advertising that some of these companies use to hook (oh, I’m sorry, I meant) encourage people to try their products. The next time you see an advertisement for a product make sure you read the fine print that flashes for about two seconds on the bottom of the screen or pull out your magnifying glass to read it toward the bottom of an article. Now that’s where the real truth will be hiding.

So, I guess the point of this whole blog would be that no matter how much money you have to hire a personal trainer, private chef, or buy countless weight loss products you just can’t buy or hire weight loss. And even though you might not have a lot of money, when you yourself make the move to decide to get in shape and lose that extra weight you have been carrying around for too long and then maintain that healthy lifestyle you will find out that you are indeed rich because you attained something that no amount of money can buy.

If you are tired of buying products or services that promise so much but deliver so little I would love to help you discover that YOU have the ability to make the necessary changes to attain what money cannot buy. And also to work with and encourage you to discover how weight loss can be achieved with a different focus and a different way of thinking.

Please call me at (616) 516-1570 to make an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

NEVER GO “ON” A DIET AGAIN!

 

 

Never go %22on%22 a diet again! 2Parties are over. Decorations are all down and put away. Unwanted or wrong size gifts have been returned to the stores and the Christmas goodies are all gone which means folks, the Holidays are officially over.

But for some, at least for parents, the signal of the end of the holidays are that the kids are back in school. And in honor of those poor children who had to go back last week I thought we should share in their suffering a little and have a little class time ourselves.

So with that being said class, the word we will be studying today is DIET. Isn’t that exciting? And for some of you out there, it just might be. But now for the rest of you, just saying that word probably puts you in somewhat of a panic and makes you want to gather your cookies (or whatever else you think you have to give up) close by your side so they can’t be confiscated.

But what if I told you that you never have to go on a diet again? No, I am not saying to throw all caution to the wind and just eat whatever, whenever, and all you can eat. And I am not saying to not ever set weight loss goals or strive to eat more healthy.

Then what am I saying? Well, did you notice that what I stated above was the words, on a diet? Now let’s take a moment and look at the word diet. The word diet was originally used as a noun and it just meant “the food and drink that we habitually consume.” It also had the meaning of “a way of life.”

Over time the meaning began to change to include using the word as a verb or an adjective. So much so that in todays modern world, most peoples usage of the word include, “To diet,” or “going on a diet,” with the meaning that they are going to restrict what they eat. Usually to lose weight or maybe to “get healthy.”

So with that in mind, I would like to propose a suggestion. Let’s return to the use of the word diet as a noun. And then take the same word and mix the letters up a little. Do you know what you come up with? The word we come up with is edit.

Now looking at the word edit we see that some of the descriptions that are associated with that word are as follows:

  • supervise
  • to collect, prepare, and arrange
  • revise or correct
  • expunge or eliminate
  • add

Can you see where I am going with this? Instead of being a dieter, how about becoming an editor? Or simply put — edit your diet (daily intake of food). If you take your normal daily diet and look at it as a rough draft with the mindset of an editor using the terminology above, let’s see how you could apply them to your daily intake of food.

SUPERVISE
A supervisor oversees and gives direction. As such, YOU are in charge of what you eat whether it is the groceries you buy and take home, dining at a restaurant or attending a celebration or party. You need to peruse what is before you and give yourself direction on what is a good choice.

TO COLLECT, PREPARE, AND ARRANGE
Be conscious of what you are collecting at the grocery store. You have to start with something that is workable in the first place. Unless you are a magician you aren’t going to transform that frozen pizza, cookies, potato chips, etc., into a healthy offering no matter how you prepare it. And, the same goes for something that starts out as nutritious. How many good nutritious food is ruined when you get it home and load it down with all sorts of non nutritious condiments or deep fry it.

REVISE OR CORRECT
Revise means to reconsider and change or modify. Everyone has their favorite “comfort” foods. And no one says you still can’t have them. However, what harm can it do to look at it and see if the recipe needs modifying somewhat to make it more healthy? Or, on the other hand maybe what you need is to be honest with yourself and revise what you think a true portion is. Come on, you know what I’m talking about! It can also mean to change your opinion. We need to really look at our daily diet. If we are honest with ourselves I am sure there are things in there we need to reconsider as to whether or not it is truly wholesome.

EXPUNGE OR ELIMINATE
Ohh, that sounds a little painful doesn’t it? Let’s face it, just because you can buy an item at the grocery store does not mean it is good food for you. A lot of items on the shelf today even seem to be more chemicals than actual food. So if there is something that no matter how hard you try to justify it you just know it is so bad for you, give it a burial and move on to new and better things. Your health and well being are worth it!

ADD
Now here’s the good part. Most of the time when people say diet they are really thinking about all the food they like but have to give up. The truth is that deprivation can actually fuel desire. So just like editors working on a book or whatever else it may be, they don’t just take things out but also add whatever is needed back in to make a successful product. Sometimes we can get in such a rut and eat the same meals week after week. Be adventurous and look for ways to broaden your horizons with new recipes. Try it, you just might like it!

So you see, you don’t have to be a dieter anymore, just become an editor of your diet. Mindful moderation and conscious consumption are thinking about the quality and quantity of what and how much you are putting in your body.

So, if you know that your “diet” needs some editing but you believe that it would be beneficial to have someone helping to guide you in creating a food plan that works for you please call me at (616) 516-1570 and together we will work at reaching your goals for a healthy, happier and better you!

 

A little Holiday humor!

 

Sugar, Sugar, EVERYWHERE!

sugar sugar everywhere

Well, we stepped over the first landmine (Halloween) just over a week ago. Did anybody get hurt out there? You know, as if having a bag of 150 candy bars and roughly only 45 trick or treater’s that came to your door wasn’t dangerous enough, I found it interesting to say the least that the next few days after, all the tv news shows and web articles were giving out “helpful” hints on how to use that leftover candy in a dessert. Apparently, a candy bar can’t stand on its own, you have to mix it with a cookie crust, brownies, ice cream, pudding and whipped cream to make it go away.

I guess that is one way to get rid of the extra candy— But are you really getting rid of it? You might get it off your counter but where do you think it will show up? YEP! You guessed it. Right around your waistline and clogging up your arteries!

If you did opt for this, I hope you will at least spread it out over time. Put the candy in the freezer and then pull it out and use it for special occasions and especially when you can take the dessert somewhere else where you will have lots of help eating it.

Or you could still just put it in the freezer and take one out here and there say after a walk around the block or after you bag that mountain of leaves that is in your yard right about now.

But please use some common sense when it comes to using the candy. I saw a recipe that was described as a giant chocolate chip cookie with tons of Halloween candy and lots of frosting. In the recipe itself it also called for cream cheese, marshmallow creme and caramel sauce. It was touted as a dessert that was sure to leave you in a sugar coma as if that was a good thing.

Really, why go through all the extra steps of making something like that up when you can just pop open a 5 lb. bag of sugar and pour it down your throat in one easy step? Of course I am being facetious in what I am saying but I am trying to get a point across. There is absolutely nothing redeeming nor remotely nutritious about a recipe like that. Why would we want to serve something like that to our family?

We are so accustomed to having sugar in our daily diet we don’t realize how much we are actually consuming. Naturally occurring sugar is the sugar found in whole, unprocessed foods, such as milk, fruit, vegetables, and some grains. What is unsettling is that the average American consumes around 156 pounds of added sugar per year or roughly 22 tsp. every day according to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). And what is even more disturbing is that people are consuming excessive sugar in the form of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. This is a highly processed form of sugar which is cheaper yet 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar. That’s why many food and beverage manufacturers decide to use it in their products.

The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. Our body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar and can cause a whole host of problems that can have far reaching effects on your health, weight gain just being one of them.

You are probably thinking, “I don’t eat that much sugar.” But, if you are not in the regular habit of checking the labels on the foods you purchase, you would be surprised at how many foods contain added sugar. Over the course of a day with every thing you put in your mouth the grams of sugar you eat can really add up. Even foods such as spaghetti sauce, canned soup, and bread all contain added sugar. What is even more disheartening are the products with a healthy sounding name but with an ingredient list that is anything but healthy such as granola bars, yogurt and Green tea.

Just for kicks and giggles, the next time you go to the grocery store, take a little time and notice how many items make claims in eye catching large print such as, “More Protein,” “Made with Whole Grains,” or “Fat Free” which grabs your attention making you believe it is healthy but in reality has added ingredients such as added sugar, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup or some other form of sugar.

So, going back to that recipe I mentioned above, it really doesn’t sound like a good idea does it? I don’t like to be wasteful, but maybe all those leftover Snickers bars hanging out in your cupboard calling your name should just be given a permanent home at the local landfill instead of on your hips, just saying!

Sometimes navigating through the holidays can be quite a struggle  making wise choices. If you think you would benefit from someone holding you accountable and walking you through some new ways to think about food or help you with an exercise program to get you moving in the right direction, please call me at (616) 516-1570 or use the contact tab on the upper right hand corner of the screen and “Let’s talk!”

Taking Charge at the Beginning of the Season!

 

pumpkin-spice-7

Well, it’s time. The official season has begun. Everyone is going to be doing it you know. Some of us could hardly wait for it. Have I piqued your interest yet? Okay, I guess I can tell you now. Are you ready? We are all going undercover. Yes, I said undercover but I don’t mean as in detective work.

I’m of course talking about hoodies, sweaters, long pants, and eventually coats. Anything that covers up. Some of us are saying,“Thank Goodness!” Covers up what you might be asking? Well, how about that pumpkin muffin, donut, bread, latte, ice cream, etc., etc., that you’ve been scarfing down on a daily basis lately. Really……how many things can you put pumpkin in? Everywhere I look there’s something with pumpkin in it. I’m surprised they haven’t put it in toothpaste yet. Now, if it was just eating pumpkin there would be no problem. It’s the cream, butter, sugar, oil and flour you have to add to it to that can cause the problem.

As fall rolls around don’t you notice how your eating patterns can change. All of a sudden our minds and tastes goes in a whole new direction. It’s a seasonal thing. In April and May we are excited about the warmer weather coming and we’re thinking and looking forward to grilling out, eating fresh fruit and garden fresh veggies that are just around the corner. We’re also thinking about getting into shape so we can wear those cute shorts and bathing suits without embarrassing ourselves.

But, living in Michigan those months go way too quickly and it seems like September and October are here before we know it. And with the colder weather we start turning to the heavier and more “comfort food” dishes that we associate fall and winter with and our ovens start churning out baked goods like a factory.

So, before we get too far into the season we would be mindful to remember that just as an undercover agent eventually has to come out of the shadows and reveal his true identity, we too will one day next spring have to come out of our “undercover disguise” and reveal our true identity (figure). So that means making wise choices in the days ahead especially with the holidays (Halloween being the grand kick off) in the not to distant future.

So, I think we need a game plan to stay fit don’t you? The first step is to believe you can do it! The next thing to do is to take control and stay there. This isn’t your first rodeo so you know what your weaknesses are. Coming up with strategies to navigate the potential dietary minefields of the months ahead will help you to avoid them. Below are a few that you may find helpful.

  • Stay ahead of the game by spending a few hours at the beginning of each week stocking your kitchen with healthy foods and planning your menu for the upcoming week. That way as the week starts to get busy you won’t have to scramble at the last minute and cave into the temptation of eating what is convenient (and most of the time unhealthy)
  • Don’t slow down just because summer is over and cooler weather is here. Keep exercising. If you have been inactive, start going for a 30 minute walk at least 3 days a week. Whatever you do, don’t put it off and fall into the procrastination pit. What better time to start exercising than fall when it’s cooler weather and enjoying the beautiful colors is an extra bonus.Keep track of what you eat. It helps to keep a food journal. It will help to keep you honest and help you to pinpoint your trouble areas. A little donut hole here and a cookie there and whatever delectable you walk past and pop in your mouth mindlessly can really add up by the end of the day.
  • Give yourself some wiggle room for goodness sake. Just like we look forward to juicy watermelon in the hot summer months we should be able to enjoy the comforting foods of the seasons coming up. Denying yourself of certain foods that you love can set yourself up for giving in and bingeing on them at some point. So, if there is something that you want, just limit the amount you eat. As long as you stay within your daily calorie limit and eat an overall healthy diet, then allowing yourself a small portion of something sweet or higher in fat won’t harm your waistline. And remember, if you happen to fall off the wagon during a weak moment don’t throw your hands up in despair and give up. Just pick yourself up, wipe the whipped cream off your face and get back up on that wagon. Take hold of the reins and steer it back in the right direction!

It’s still the beginning of the season and if you focus on maintaining your weight throughout this whole season coming up you won’t have to kick off the next new year with the annual, “New Years Resolution” to drop the weight — which we all know how that ends up. If you need some extra help to stay strong and would like someone to be in your corner coaching you along the way (in a pumpkin free environment) please call me at (616) 516-1570.