Perimenopause

Dealing with Depression and Weight Gain

What happens first – you gain weight and then feel depressed? Or, you’re depressed and gain weight because of it?  It’s a good question and one that frustrates a lot of people.

This can be a tough time of year for many people. The long, cold, winter days can linger and emotionally the mundane moments can really take a toll on your thinking and your physical being. You feel different, you act different, you move different – it’s like working your way through sludge.

If you experience depression, or know of someone who struggles with it, the ‘heaviness’ can really crush your spirit, and the physical symptoms from carrying more weight, start to affect you. It gets hard to redirect yourself without support, education, and in some cases – medication.  

So I wanted to share the following information with you. There is some interesting insight on the connection between weight gain and depression in this article and I think many of you will find it helpful!

Is Depression Wrecking Your Weight?

They are both heavy burdens – weight problems and depression, And they often go hand in hand.

Some people gain weight when they’re depressed. Others lose weight, to an unhealthy degree.

Which comes first? And how can you untangle the link between depression and weight – especially if depression has sapped you of your energy to makes changes? Here’s what experts say you need to know.

Depression and Weight Gain

A March 2010 review of 15 studies, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, linked obesity to a greater risk of developing depression – and vice versa.

But do people gain weight because they are depressed? Or do they become depressed because of the excess pounds they are carry” No one knows.

“It’s a chicken and the egg phenomenon,” says psychologist Leslie Heinberg, PhD, who directs the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “But we do know that depression has lots of symptoms that can worsen obesity – appetite disturbances, lack of energy, lack of motivation to do things.”

In 2009, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham reported that depressed people tend to gain weight faster than people who aren’t depressed.

The bulk of those extra pounds was concentrated around their waists. That’s not good. Belly fat is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Depression, of course, comes with its own set of risk factors, including suicide, social isolation, drug and alcohol addiction, and anxiety.

Whichever comes first – depression or overweight/obesity – it is a very unhealthy combination. Often, it is a self-reinforcing combo as well.

Eating Yourself Blue

“Some foods, especially foods with high sugar and/or fat content, make you feel better, if only briefly,” says psychiatrist James Gordon, MD, author of  Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey out of Depression. 

“That good feeling makes you want to eat more, which in turn makes you feel bad about yourself,” Gordon says. “That leads to deeper depression, and more eating, and greater amounts of weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Getting out of that cycle can be a real challenge.

“When you are depressed, it is much harder to get out of bed, much less pay attention to what you are eating,” says Edward Abramson, PdD, an emeritus professor of psychology at California State University at Chico and the author of Emotional Eating: What You Need To Know Before Starting Another Diet.

For doctors, it’s less important to know which came first: the patient’s depression or with weight problems. The question is, which one should get the most initial attention?

“If someone comes to me who is severely depressed and overweight, the depression is going to be the primary focus,” says Abramson.

However, he continues, an eating disorder that causes a patient to binge might need to be addressed first: “If their eating is out of control, that becomes the primary focus.”

Although weight gain is commonly associated with depression, weight loss can also be a problem.

“With severe depression, you might lose weight because you’ve lost your interest in food, which comes from losing in interest in pleasure.” Gordon says. Loss of pleasure is a hallmark of depression,

Depression may also accompany an eating disorder. In Heinberg’s practice at the Cleveland Clinic, patients with anorexia nervosa are often depressed.

“In patients with low body weight, the brain becomes starved and they develop symptoms that meet the criteria for depression,” she says.  “Often, once you feed them, the depression goes away. It’s resolved, and it’s generally resolved quickly.”

If You Move, You Lose – Pounds and Depression

Treating depression often takes a multipronged approach that may include talk therapy and medication, as well as exercise, a healthy diet, and other lifestyle measures.

It’s important to know that weight gain is a common side effect of some of many prescribed antidepressants.

Fortunately, patients who are both overweight and depressed can help themselves with the same prescription: exercise, which can help counterbalance drug-related weight gain.

“I won’t necessarily tell them to watch what they are eating at first,” says Abramson, “but I will work with them to get them to move.”

At the beginning of therapy, that usually means walking. Abramson recommends picking up a pedometer before hitting the sidewalk. By measuring the number of steps they take each time they walk, they can monitor their progress. And, says Abramson, “small victories equal positive thoughts.”

Heinberg often prescribes walking as well. She likes to focus on her patients’ depression for the first six to eight weeks of therapy, introducing low-key exercise only to keep weight steady rather than bring it down. Once the depression is under control, she says, it becomes easier to address weight problems.

Be Active, Make Choices Feel Better

Exercise is a key part of treating overweight and depression, in part because it allows patients to play an active role in caring for themselves. In fact, Gordon maintains that exercise is the best prescription for treating mild to moderate depression, as well as being helpful for severe depression.

“People feel good about doing things for themselves – that, in itself, is therapeutic,” Gordon says.

Gordon also recommends taking a break from fast food and other unhealthy eating habits: instead, he says, make time to cook a meal for yourself.

“It goes beyond just preparing something healthier to eat than fast food,” says Gordon. “People get engage in their own care, and that’ crucial to dealing with weight.”

Gordon, who is the founder and director of the Center for Mindy Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., includes alternative and complementary treatments in his practice. Key among them is meditation.

“You have to become aware of what and how you eat, through mindfulness,” says Gordon. “Very often, if you are anxious, you are going to eat more. But if you are in a state of relaxation, you won’t be eating frantically or mindlessly.”

by Matt McMillen
article WebMD

www.hendersoncounselingservices.com

Eating Choices and Healthy Decisions This Week

Have you caught yourself making healthier choices or decisions this week?

You seem to point out all the things you do wrong to yourself all the time.  How about flipping the script in your head and make a decision to start counting all the things you did right – or good – for yourself this week and keep building on that success.

Sleep Your Way to Better Health

Can SLEEP really help you be healthier?  I would have never believed this myself had I not changed my own personal sleeping patterns last year, but getting an adequate amount of sleep can be really beneficial.

Doctors, research, and even your Mother will tell you the value of getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night.  When you don’t get enough sleep, you know it. You function very differently during the day and your ability to perform can be compromised.

Sleep management is about time management according to the beloved Dr. Oz, so he encourages you to plan for sleep.

Count back 8 to 8 1/2 hours before the alarm clock needs to ring, and spend 10 minutes on absolute musts for the next day (making your kid’s lunch), take 10 minutes for meditation (prayer) and 10 for hygiene….then go to bed.

Some other ways to help:

*Create the perfect sleeping environment. A cool, dark room is best.

*There should be no laptop, no TV, no food in bed. Ideally, the bed is used for sleep and sex, it’s not an office or a restaurant.

*Be consistent. your body clock loves it when you follow a predictable schedule. Even on the weekends, try to rise within an hour (at most, two) of when you have to get up on weekdays, even if that means you need a power nap later. Otherwise, your body thinks you have jet lag on Monday morning and will protest big time.

*Other interrupters of quality sleep are caffeine, which keeps you from falling asleep as well as staying asleep, and alcohol, interrupting your sleep cycle and contributing to the ‘hangover’ that many experience.

 

 

 

Fat Trap for Perimenopause/Menopause Women

Welcome to arguably the toughest “fat patch” of all. Well, that certainly caught my attention as I started to read the article.  The phrase “fat patch” when you’re staring straight in the face of perimenopause doesn’t sound too……hopeful! Hmmm, thought I’d better pay attention to this. The newest Health September issue article on how to Fat Proof Your Life is definitely a must-read, so please read on:

Welcome to arguably the toughest “fat patch” of all. We’re due for an average gain of 12 pounds within eight years after menopause, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have shown. And fat burning plunges by 32 percent in post-menopausal women, possibly due to a drop in estrogen, reports a study in the International Journal of Obesity.

“You burn on average around 150 to 250 calories fewer per day,” says lead study author Jennifer Lovejoy, PhD. Fight back with these expert fixes:

Cut calories: To ward off the pounds, you may need to slash about 200 calories a day now. Make sure you’re getting enough lean protein and fiber to keep full, but stick to a low-fat plan, since your body isn’t as efficient at burning fat as it once was, Lovejoy says.

Sleep on it: Stress hormones like cortisol can creep up now thanks to hot flashes and other discomforts, making you crave sugary foods, which your body then turns into belly fat. The best way to metabolize stress hormones and reverse this trend: Get enough zzz’s, says Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.

Sculpt Muscles: Don’t want to eat less? Lift more. Since muscle mass diminishes with age, if you don’t do anything to replace it, your body will shift to more fat and less muscle – which slows down your metabolism even more, says Dr. Northrup. Aim for two 40-minute sessions of weight training a week to keep muscle and bones at pre-meno level.

Other days, try for 30 minutes of cardio, like dancing or the elliptical. That simple formula – strength plus cardio – really can keep mid-life gain away.

 

 

Looking for Weight Loss Results?

I love lemon meringue.
Cherry limeade is delicious.
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These are no ordinary chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavors – although if you want, you can have those too.

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I’m getting some pretty amazing results with these protein enriched, nutritional shakes that are making a huge difference with me.  Not only with my weight (my husband is dropping the pounds too), but the health benefits of the pre-botics and the fibersol – which is a new patented fiber blend that helps keep you feeling full – is really helping with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms that I can struggle with.

Here’s 6 reasons that you need to try it!

#1:  It’s a unique, concentrated and absorbable blend of proteins processed to remove fat, lactose, carbohydrates and is flavones to provide pure, concentrated protein. When mixed with milk or soy milk, provides 20-22 grams of protein, the right mix to burn fat and build lean muscle.

#2: Low sodium. Lower than other brands.

#3:  Contains a servicing of whole milk, for bone healthy calcium.

#4:  Contains a full serving of fruit or vegetable fiber, without gas.

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How about apple pie or……banana nut bread or……blueberry peach cobbler or……chocolate peanut butter cup or……turtle cheesecake…..I’ve got a whole list of flavors that you can try.

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Living with a Tummy in Turmoil

Is your gut reaction to stress effecting your gut function? Then shake things up for better health.

If you’ve ever experienced an upset stomach,  you know the difference between that and what millions of Americans suffer with – irritable bowel syndrome.  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be very frustrating to deal with, especially with the symptoms of inflammation, cramping, diarrhea and/or constipation, fatigue, bloating, and other numerous symptoms.  Basically, in layman’s term, it means your digestive tract is out of whack – it doesn’t work, or function, correctly.

Once you’ve been diagnosed, usually the first thing you’re looking for is r-e-l-i-e-f.  There are several things you can do to relieve the symptoms:

Make dietary changes. Keeping a food diary of what you’re eating and symptoms experienced can help eliminate some food culprits that might be adding to the problem, such as fatty foods, milk/dairy products (this was a hard one for me to give up but it‘s not worth the aftermath), alcohol,  and some caffeinated drinks.

Adding fiber (slowly) to your overall diet can be very helpful.

Look at medicine options. Consult with your doctor about the options of laxatives or antispasmodics that may work for you

Stress.  This should come as no surprise to anyone that stress can affect our emotional and physical health in ways that are hard to understand.  The nerves in the digestive tract can become more active during stress, causing the intestinal track to become more sensitive and spasm more.

Use exercise, prayer/meditation, counseling, or even hypnosis to help manage your stress levels.

Finally, I should share with you that the reason I understand this so well is I’ve struggled with IBS for decades and not only is it painful, it can show up at the most awkward times and cause embarrassment and inconvenience (like on a recent trip).  To put it bluntly, I don’t always get enough fiber in my food plan, can’t always minimize my stress, and sometimes have a hard time finding time to exercise. Does that ring a bell for anyone else?

I will tell you though, I have found one thing that I’ve been using for the last four weeks that is making a significant difference with my digestive track (because of the probiotic’s and fiber) and is helping to eliminate any troubles that I use to experience.

The fact is that diet plays a direct role in our gut function and when you find something that works, you want to share it. Find the thing that works for you and know that you can manage your IBS symptoms and overall health.

5 Ways to Love What Your’e Eating!

I’ve decided to jump-start my weight loss efforts for the next several weeks and have been using a nutritional shake, which means I’ve been eating only one meal a day.

I’m finding for the most part, I’m absolutely fine throughout the day, and at the end of the day I plan accordingly for “dinner time” so I’m not grazing with mindless eating until dinner is done – or going stark-raving mad by the time I get to sit down and have my meal.

I will tell you though that planning is the key.  I figure I can do anything one week at a time so it doesn’t seem overwhelming, and I actually look forward to having a meal.

However, the one thing I noticed was how quickly I’m been gobbling down my one and only meal.  If I had to guess, it took me mere minutes to complete the meal. I’m not kidding! Then…. I had a light-bulb moment in the middle of scooping the food from the spoon to my awaiting mouth. My thought was – what on earth is the rush?

So I deliberately made a conscious choice to enjoy my food. Ya know, to actually taste it. I allowed myself to slow down – at least for 10 minutes – instead of rushing through things. Which I have a tendency to do, after all, there’s so much to do! Do you ever do that with meals?

I, like you, need to be reminded of things we do that may be sabotaging our weight loss efforts. While I try not to make food the focus of my day, when I need to, here are some key tips that will help you to really enjoy those well-deserved meals:

1. Eat sitting down (I’m even doing this with my shakes – taste what you’re putting in your mouth)
2. Time yourself with how long it takes to eat a meal. You may be surprised it takes you mere minutes to finish your meal too. Take 10 minutes or longer to eat your meal (it‘s good for your digestion too).
3. Try to have a relaxing, calming place in which to eat. We’re stimulated all day long with phone calls, tv, things to read, background noise, etc., find a relatively peaceful environment to enjoy your food.
4. Good dinner conversation is always a plus. Be careful of mindless eating though while your conversing, stick to your planned meal only, and enjoy your company and the conversation.
5. I’m a big believer that when you restrict a certain food is when you want it even more. Just be wise about portions. In the end, it’s all about portions.  Remember, cravings come and go and once you limit the foods you crave, your cravings will diminish significantly over time.

It probably goes against every dieting tip you’ve ever heard but I encourage you to love your food.

(By the way, if you’re interested in nutritional shakes, check it out at www.thinkingthinlifestyle.bodybyvi.com)

Accomplishing Your Goals and Staying Motivated

Benjamin Franklin said  Energy and persistence conquer all things.

Consistency is an action that is often overlooked by society. You probably don’t hear people telling you to be consistent in order to accomplish your goals. This quote reminds us that persistence and energy can conquer anything. On days when you don’t feel like doing anything, think about staying consistent.

Consistency with energy is a powerful tool for completing any task, especially your goals…so use it whenever you get a chance.   (sparkpeople.com)

**If you like what you read and see on this site, please feel free to “like” us and give some support!

4 Questions to Ask Yourself About Stress & Anxiety

I found myself pacing.
Walking back and forth with really nothing in hand.
Trying to find something, anything, that would satisfy.
On the last walk-through, I realized I wasn’t dealing with the real issue.

I wasn’t hungry but I was taking out my stress in the kitchen. With the final pass-through I realized what was going on. I wasn’t hungry, I was feeling anxious. I was anxious about a zillion little things that apparently have been building throughout the entire day. I knew it, I could feel myself do it, and now the outcome of all those thoughts were “kitchen time.”

Anxiety can come in so many forms, and not everyone who worries a lot has an anxiety disorder but some symptoms you may have are:

Emotionally: feelings of dread, feeling tense or jumpy, being irritable, experience restlessness, or just have trouble concentrating.

Physically: experience sweating, stomach upset, insomnia, fatigue, muscle tension, or headaches.

Now it’s true that long-term and on-going anxiety symptoms are typically something that needs to be discussed with your doctor or therapist but we can all have those moments of anxiousness that can just leave you feeling out of sorts.  And because of those feelings, you can find yourself wandering in places (like a kitchen), and doing things that only mask the real feelings that you’re dealing with.

So some good questions to ask yourself to help you deal with those anxious moments are:

Is there responsibilities that you can give up, turn down, or delegate to others?
Can you ask for help when you need it?
Do you get the emotional support you need?
Is there time each day for relaxation and/or fun?

Always seek “balance” in your life. Minimizing and managing your anxiety can really help the stress from accumulating and for you to stay in control – and to stay out of the cupboards and fridge.

Shake It Up with Good Nutrients!

Do you ever try to justify what you’re eating throughout the day – just like in this comic. We all do! Here’s to no more excuses for not eating right during the day….Have you ever heard of the Body by Vi – 90 Day Challenge? If you’re looking for a replacement meal for weight loss or fitness results…..you need to see the following at www.thinkingthinlifestyle.bodybyvi.com 

These delicious shakes are unbelievable and the results are fantastic. Email me with any of your questions at: thinkingthinlifestyle@gmail.com