Mindful vs Mindless Eating

SUMMERS HARVEST = WEIGHT GAIN???

summer weight

 

Whew! It’s hot out here! I am literally sitting outside on my front porch with a fan blowing on me. Crazy, I know but for those of us who live in Michigan we all know how short our summer season can be and I am determined to sit out here and enjoy it before it is gone.

So, have you been enjoying this season as much as I have? I hope so! Don’t you just love going down the road and seeing all of the produce stands on the side of the road offering all the goodies you can only get in the summer. (They do all of the work and we get to enjoy it)!

Strawberries, blueberries, fresh corn on the cob, dark sweet cherries and watermelon to name just a few. I love them all! But, for some reason though, I tend to gorge myself with these season delectables and don’t give it a thought of how many calories I might be consuming.

The truth is, you CAN gain weight if you overeat these foods. Couple that with trips to go get an ice cream cone (it is summer after all folks) and cold sugar laden drinks to “cool off” and we have the recipe for weight gain.

Summer weight gain? What? We don’t typically think about that very often. I don’t know if it’s because we just assume that we are more active and are burning off the calories or that we think that the foods we eat are more natural and more healthy, but the fact is summer can be a prime time TO gain weight.

Think about it. Backyard barbecues and picnics with family and friends eating all the typical dishes like potato salad, baked beans and corn on the cob dripping with butter and of course something for dessert and then s’mores later on as we sit by the campfire. Summer vacations where all self control goes right out the window because, “Hey, we’re on vacation!” The whole season kind of sets us up for an atmosphere of party time and a laid back mentality don’t you think?

But we need to keep in mind that in a couple of months we will be faced with pulling our jeans out of the closet and hoping we can still button them up. It’s hard to think about that when we are out in the scorching heat in a tank top and shorts with the sweat pouring down our back.

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I’m sweating so much I should lose weight in no time?”
Probably because we feel like we are melting but the truth is it’s just the opposite! In order to prevent summer weight gain we need to know how to ride out the heat.

HEAT CAN LOWER YOUR METABOLISM

Did you know that your metabolism is actually faster during the cold winter months than hot summer days? During the winter when your body temperature is higher than the temperature outside, maintaining your core body temperature requires energy which translates into calories your body has to burn to create heat. However, during the hot summer months the amount of energy spent heating your body is at its minimum burning less calories and unfortunately, sweating does not mean you are burning calories.

LOWER LEVEL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

You know, we can be fickle creatures sometimes. In the winter we say “It’s so cold out I’m just going to stay inside and sit in front of the fireplace, (with a cup of hot cocoa of course!) and then
in the summer we say, “It’s just so hot I’m not leaving this air conditioned house until it cools down” But not moving because it’s hot drops our activity level. When it is really hot outside and we start to do something and our bodies overheat it’s easy to find ourselves taking many breaks or just quit doing anything all together except sitting in the shade with a tall glass of some overly sweetened drink. Over time the number of calories we burn daily throughout the summer due to lower physical activity can decrease contributing to weight gain.

Being exposed to extreme heat can cause you to lose your “Get up and go” and while it’s probably not a good idea to go on a long run when the temperature is in the 90’s, we can alter the times we exercise to the cooler morning and evening hours. Swimming is the perfect summer activity that can really burn the calories or you can still exercise indoors. Either way, you are going to want to find a way to exercise despite the heat.

PROPER NUTRITION

Fluids are not the only thing you lose when you perspire. As you sweat, you lose important vitamins and minerals that need to be replaced. Sweat is not just water. It is a mixture of minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients that our bodies need in order to function at optimal levels.

Without these nutrients our body’s fat burning capacity is impaired. The B vitamins are especially important in fat burning. However, you can’t just replace them by swallowing a pill. You need to make sure you are eating the right kinds of foods to replace what you are losing along with taking supplements.

A good source of water-soluble vitamins are found in an assortment of foods, including fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Well, I hope this information has been helpful to you. I LOVE the summer and enjoy the many opportunities for fun and relaxation it provides. Sometimes though keeping everything in balance can be a little challenging. If you would like someone to help keep you accountable or need some help getting on the right track with weight management, please give me a call to set up an appointment at (616) 516-1570. You still have plenty of summer to get started!

Say “YES” to a Healthy and Happy You!

be-healthy-be-happy-be-you-tiful-hot-pink-white-kids-t-shirt_design

Okay, Easter is over. How many Peeps, chocolate foil wrapped eggs, jelly beans, chocolate covered marshmallows and who knows what else have we mindlessly consumed over the last few weeks? What is it about all the holidays that make us lose control and eat stuff we know is not good for us? Think about it. It’s the same candy, only wrapped and shaped different to fit the holiday. And yet, we all fall for it like that pink wrapped chocolate egg is going to taste any different than the red and green wrapped chocolate kiss at Christmas. Our year is paced with holidays and the powers that be know how to market their products to make the consumer think they just have to have them even though we just bought the same thing only packaged different a month or so ago. And, combine that with all the traditional foods that we usually consume with each holiday and it’s not looking real pretty.

So when do we jump off the crazy merry go round that keeps going round and round year after year making us repeat unhealthy habits that are so bad for us. Unless we make a conscious decision to not fall prey to the marketing of these products and choose healthier more nutritious foods we are going to keep spinning around and around on that thing.

So now that we have a break in the deluge of holiday oriented goodies confronting us every time we go to the store I believe it is the perfect time to take control and seriously make a conscious effort to eat and live more healthy.

You might be wondering how and where do I start? One thing to keep in mind is that healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of the foods you love. You really need to realize it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook and stabilizing your mood.

We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but did you know your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing?

Studies have linked eating a typical western diet which is filled with red and processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food and sugary snacks with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder and anxiety. All the more reason to eat more fruits and veggies, cook more meals at home and reduce your fat and sugar intake.

While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. Switching to a healthy diet does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to make a difference in the way you think and feel.

One thing I would like to mention here is that if you do any research on nutrition, sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using a couple simple tips you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

TIP 1 - SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Take a number of small, manageable steps like adding a salad to your diet once a day rather than trying to make one big drastic change in your diet. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.


*
Prepare more meals at home allowing you to take charge of what you are eating.
*Make the right changes. Replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives.
*Simplify. Eat more fresh ingredients.
*Read the labels. Be aware of hidden sugar and salt even in packaged ‘healthy’ foods.
*Focus on how better you feel eating healthier foods.
*Drink plenty of water helping to flush your system of waste products and toxins.

TIP 2 - EATING IN MODERATION
Eat only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied but not stuffed at the end of a meal. Eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, for most of us, moderation means eating less than we do now.

*Reduce portion size of unhealthy food and don’t eat them as often.
*Think smaller portions. Learn what a healthy portion is.
*Take your time. Give your brain enough time to tell your body when you have had enough.
*Eat with others when possible. Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer to limit mindless eating.
*Eat breakfast and then smaller meals throughout the day.
*Avoid eating at night.

TIP 3 - FILL UP ON COLORFUL FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Try to eat the recommended daily minimum of five servings of both and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or vegetable or a small apple or banana for example. Remember the more colorful the food is the higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it contains.

TIP 4 - EAT MORE HEALTHY CARBS AND WHOLE GRAINS
Healthy carbs include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. They digest slowly and help you feel full longer along with keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Unhealthy carbs are foods such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that has been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients. Whole grains are rich in phytochemical and antioxidants which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.

TIP 5 - REDUCE SUGAR AND SALT
I think it’s safe to say that we Americans eat way too much sugar and salt contributing to so many health and weight problems. Do some detective work and look for hidden sugar and salt in most packaged food at the grocery store. Remember that sugar can have many different names such as honey, molasses, fructose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, malt syrup to name a few.

These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you along the way of a more healthy lifestyle and I do mean lifestyle because that is what it is all about, your LIFE and the STYLE in which you choose to live it.

If you are ready to make a life change and would like some support along the way I would love to assist you and share with you some strategies to achieve your goal of a more healthy you. Please call me at (516) 517-1560 or contact me through the website.

Eating for the future

Sitting at a conference last week the speaker threw out this question, “What would you like to be doing at 75 years of age?” As expected, people shouted out answers such as “traveling,” “playing with the grandkids,” “having fun.” Then she asked another question that kind of caught me off guard and I have to believe others too. “What are you doing now to make that possible?”

The interesting thing is, she was not talking about saving money or buying a motor home to travel the countryside. She was talking about what are you doing to your body NOW to make sure that what you dream of doing at 75 will be possible. I have to admit I had never thought about it that way.

Yes. I’ve thought of it in short terms like, if I eat this donut, cake, pizza et cetera, et cetera and not work it off, it will show up on the scale at the doctors next week. Or, I’m going on vacation and I have to put on a bathing suit so I’d better do something or it’s not going to be pretty. But have I really thought about how not eating right and exercising regularly now is going to show up when I’m 75? Well, to be honest, the answer is “no.”

Isn’t it ironic that we “plan” for the future financially but we don’t have the same passion when it comes to what we are putting into our “body bank” that we are going to draw on when we reach retirement age.

We really need to become more aware of what is in the foods we eat and what kinds of food we eat.

Lets’ face it. We are surrounded and bombarded by food everywhere we look. And may I add,
most of it looks, smells and tastes delicious and is hard to resist. Believe me, corporations have spent millions of dollars making sure of that. Which brings me to something I would like to bring to your attention;

HYPER-PALATABLE FOODS

Have you ever heard the term “hyper-palatable foods before?” I would venture to say that the answer is probably “no.” But most people eat them all the time. Now you might be asking, “What in the world is “hyper-palatable foods?”

Well, pretty much everything at a restaurant and most processed food but in a nutshell, hyper-palatable food is a highly processed foodstuff that has been engineered to pleasure the consumer and drive him or her to eat more than they initially wanted to, and seek that specific food in the future. (Uh Oh! I think I just described Oreo’s!) Do you get my meaning?

Our food environment has changed so dramatically over the years with the introduction of
these so-called “hyper-palatable” foods that it makes it hard to find it rewarding to just eat a traditional healthy meal. Our minds have been tricked by the artificial flavors and enhancers that are in so many of the foods we eat today is it any wonder that most Americans overeat and are overweight. Our brains were not designed to handle this kind of environment. We eat more because it taste so good not because we are satisfied calorically.

TRADITIONAL FOODS

  • Foods in their original form, as they were created — not modernized, not processed, not packaged.
  • Foods that have a long history of supporting good health.
  • Foods that are whole and nutrient-dense.
  • Foods that are simple and basic: meat and poultry, eggs, whole grains, fish, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit nuts, and seeds, dairy, fats.

BEING REALISTIC

Gone are the days of our great grandmothers spending all day in the house planning the meals and baking their own bread. However, with a little planning and the knowledge that is at our fingertips, we can certainly make wiser choices with how and what we eat. I’m not saying that you should never go out to a restaurant or “grab” that hamburger on the way home after a long day. But, if we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that we probably “go out to eat” way too often and buy and consume too many processed foods. For some, it’s become a way of life but should WE be letting OTHER people decide what to put into our bodies? “NO ”

There’s no time like the present to start “Thinking” before you put something in your mouth and ask yourself this question. “Is the convenience of this fast food going to turn into inconvenience later in life?”, “Is there a healthier choice I could be making right now?” Start out slowly and read more labels. Make some new healthier changes and then continue on until you’ve made a significant difference in your eating habits and your health. Your grandkids will thank you!

If you struggle with your weight management goals and maybe even realize that food has become addicting to you and would like some help, please call me at (616) 516-1570 and let’s get you on the road to a healthier and possibly thinner you!

Healthier Life Resolution

Listening on the radio the other day I kind of chuckled at the persons reply to the question he had been asked. He was being asked if he had made any New Year’s resolutions this year. His reply was “Yeah, losing weight. I’m going to work on that one again this year.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? It was the word “again” that made me smile.

Why is it that January 1 always seems like a good time to start a “diet?” How many people get caught up in doing that? Is it because of all the junk food we consumed during the holiday season and we feel guilty or just the traditional thing to do. I’m not even sure where that concept came from but we all do it don’t we? In the famous words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us have already fallen off the wagon of good intentions about dieting within the first few weeks. Food is everywhere and doggone it we get hungry right? We can have the best of intentions and then that co-worker comes in with the box of fresh baked doughnuts or it’s someones birthday and you just have to have cake and then before you know it, you finally wave the white flag and say, “To heck with it, pass the cookies and whatever else you’ve got!”

Really, the list of opportunities to not stick with that resolution we made is endless. Now don’t get me wrong, it is good to be thinking about our “diet.” But I don’t mean it the way most people refer to it. “Dieting” rarely works for the long term. While you can try restricting yourselves in the amount or types of food you eat and lose weight, most people find that they don’t keep the weight off. Over time the scale numbers start to slowing creep back up again and sometimes even go beyond what you started with. Yikes!

Instead of making a “new years resolution” to lose weight, try making a ‘healthier life resolution” Train your brain to think positive thoughts about living healthier instead of negative thoughts about what you have to give up to lose weight.

Think about it. When you say the word “diet” don’t you immediately think about all the stuff you might have to give up? Who likes to do that? That is why most diets fail. You can’t live in a perpetual state of denying yourself. There are times when it’s okay to have that piece of dessert
or that cheese laden lasagna.

We need to change the way we think and feel about food. This will be a process. As they say, “Rome was not built in a day” You can’t just change all your habits that you have had for years and expect in one day to eat a totally different way. Try thinking about what you can add to your “diet” to make it healthier and at the same time cut back on the not so healthy foods you usually consume. Before you reach for that snack ask yourself why you want it, do you really need it.

Just like we put gas and oil in our cars to keep them running we put food in our “engines” to keep us running. Isn’t it ironic that we would never think to put the wrong kind of gas or oil in our vehicles yet we sometimes don’t give a second thought about what kind of “fuel” we put in our own human machines? Thank goodness our body can process some bad fuel better than our cars can and keep running. However, over time our body will begin to tell us that we haven’t been feeding it right and will begin to tell us in various unpleasant ways.

We are creatures of habits and we tend to do what we know how to do even if it is not good for us. So if you find yourself with a lot of bad habits regarding eating, there is no time like the present to make new habits.

So let’s start treating our bodies better than our vehicles and think before we eat. If you are someone who likes to drink soda, start out by substituting a glass of water sometimes. Don’t drink your calories. Try a fruit infused water instead. If you always have three pieces of pizza, sneak a salad in and then eat just one or two pieces. Who says you have to have butter AND sour cream on that baked potato? Buy more from the outer perimeter of the grocery store and less of the processed foods in the aisles. If you look for opportunities to eat healthier you WILL find them and pretty soon they will become a good habit.

Over time the benefits will show up in pleasant ways. Some of that weight that’s been hanging around will disappear. Your body will feel better and run smoother with a healthier you. Remember to not get discouraged and depressed if you slip up now and then. It’s bound to happen. Expect it! Just make sure you pick yourself up, dust off the slip up and get back on that horse again and keep riding. You are worth it and CAN DO IT!

Let this be the last year that your New Years resolution is to lose weight “again.”

Happy 2015 New Year – Or Is It?

Ahhh, the New Year. We're on the cusp of experiencing a new year and all the expectations, goals, dreams and aspirations that a new 'something' brings. We start reminding ourselves about how important 'new beginnings' are and the importance of 'buckeling down' and 'taking things serious' at this time of year. It's a time of.....reflection....and re-purposing what we want to accomplish.

Pfft. Sounds great, doesn't it? But I think that all last about a day, tops. Okay, maybe two or three days but the reality is, as humans, we like what we know. Even if it's not good for us. Even if it's not healthy. Usually several days into a new way of thinking, reality tells us IT'S HARD TO CREATE NEW HABITS. Ugh. We always want to revert back to old ways of thinking because it's just easier (insert the whining right here).

Having worked for many years with clients who want to lose weight, or dealing myself with creeping extra weight (can anyone give me an amen to the pre/menopausal years?!?!!), or knowing friends or family who struggle with weight issues, I know, I understand, what a mind game that losing weight is. It's about retraining your brain to incorporate a new way of thinking that sometimes your thinking doesn't want to follow. It's about engaging the psychology of how to change your thinking. It's about learning skills and techniques that help you with problem-solving, and cravings, and the madness you feel in your head when you feel deprived of something you want, or crave, or have just eaten for so many years.

It's not about the measuring cups, the food plan, or the scale. It's about training your brain to respond and react differently to your health. To your body. To your plans for a better you.

Outside of my private practice, I work with a doctor and his staff (who work with bariartric patients). I provide behavioral groups frequently for the doctors patients who need a little extra weight loss support, motivation and education beyond the medical procedure that the doctor offers. I'm so thankful that the doctor and his staff 'get it' – they get that beyond the lapband procedure, that there has to be a way of changing your thinking in order to have long-term success with your weight. It's not about being a size 6, it's about being a healthier YOU. I'm so thankful for the individuals I've worked with through the years that 'get it' – that they have to put the hard work into changing the mindset in order to achieve long-term success with their health.

It's not about how many times you've failed. It's about how many times you started over. And stayed with it longer this time. And learned different things about yourself this time. That you didn't mindlessly start down the 'weight loss path' but that you recognize it's a process, a journey that you're on....and it will take time. Sorry to tell you that. It just will. It takes times to adjust to a new way of thinking. And forgiving yourself when you make a mistake, and – drum roll please – learning to re-adjust right away so you don't “blow it all day long” by continuing to eat-the-day-away because you didn't follow some weight loss rule!!

Maybe for you it's not necessarily what the numbers say on the scale but how your body physically feels. You find yourself saying more and more nowadays that you just want to FEEL BETTER, and you know deep down your weight has everything to do with the creaking joints and aching muscles. Maybe it's the high cholesterol, or blood pressure, or even sleep apnea. What can you start telling yourself, what can you start doing this very minute, that when you start thinking about it and working on it, might make a difference for YOU.

Make a plan to change your thinking about weight loss treatment, weight loss goals, weight loss strategies, weight loss foods, weight loss diets, weight loss EVERYTHING and focus on what good health means to you. Plan on what little things you can change. Plan how you would like your outcome to be different this time. If you need extra help or support with your New Years weight loss plans, let's talk. Call me at 616-457-5001 or look on website frequently for new weight loss classes starting.

Dieting? Right Now…I Can’t…No Way!

Well we are in full swing with the Holidays again and I got to thinking how many people get into full swing with their Holiday-eating-mentality. You know, the kind of Holiday-eating-mentality where you throw caution to the wind, and don't think about "eating right" or "dieting" until the end of the year. Or is it moreso at the beginning of the New Year?

Is that you?

Research shows over and over again that so many of us aren't even thinking of the word DIET right now. When is the last time you've seen advertisement on tv (at this time of the year) with some Company touting their weight-loss services or products! You don't.

It seems we turn off our mindful eating and all our good intentions and plunge hopelessly into mindless eating at this time of year. Let's face it, it starts with the temptation of Halloween candy (which if you think about it is plentiful all year long but for some reason the little Fun Size candy throws our capacity to think rationally into an eating frenzy) and it last until the last drink is drunk or the last meatball eaten on January 2nd!!

It's as if we re-engage our brains on January 2nd and think: Ugh. Gluttony. Extra pounds. Disgust. What's-the-name-of-that-diet-again-I-have-to-start.

And the vicious cycle of emotionally beating ourselves up about how we "must be good" starting in January continues.

May I (gently) suggest there is a better way of doing this......this...eating thing, this dieting thing? That we can enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and NOT let our emotional eating derail us.  That way you don't have to think about the "diet" you have to start in January.

Can I just (strongly) suggest that you can eat right, eat good, eat healthy now. You can mindfully make choices that will impact you emotionally and physically right now. That the diet you are on is the "diet" you should be on EVERY STINKIN' DAY.

I hope this is the Holiday season where you choose to do things differently. Because it is a choice. Remind yourself - this week, this very day - how often you are mindlessly eating and start to engage your brain when it comes to food choices.

Choose to think about dieting in a different way. Choose to think about "dieting" right now, and don't say you can't. Because you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Binge Eating Disorder

 

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder that is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.

Symptoms

  • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes.
  • Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating.
  • Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.

Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder

The health risks of BED are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity.  Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Musculoskeletal problems

About Binge Eating Disorder

  • The prevalence of BED is estimated to be approximately 1-5% of the general population.
  • Binge eating disorder affects women slightly more often than men--estimates indicate that about 60% of people struggling with binge eating disorder are female, 40% are male
  • People who struggle with binge eating disorder can be of normal or heavier than average weight.
  • BED is often associated with symptoms of depression.
  • People struggling with binge eating disorder often express distress, shame, and guilt over their eating behaviors.
  • People with binge eating disorder report a lower quality of life than non-binge eating disorder.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/who-we-are

Do You Have an Anxious Brain? Feeling Depressed?

Check out interesting information at www.hendersoncounselingservices.com
under the "Depression/Anxiety" tab

Depression – Teens & Adults

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 depressionpatterns.  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.

Psychotherapy a Powerful Tool to Fight Depression, Studies Show

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy worked as well or better than antidepressants, other care at preventing depression or relapse

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

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."

 

 

2013 Change

Here we are again....deciding what new things we want to accomplish, and a lot of times the things we want to accomplish have to do with our diet.

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.