Weight Loss

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!

Breaking the Cycle of Weight Gain and Depression

People are always looking for ways to lose weight. And for some, they will try every pill, gimmick, drink, etc., trying to drop those unwanted pounds. Only to discover after much frustration that nothing they buy or try will work. And as their weight hangs on or even keeps going up depression sets in—or could it possibly be the other way around?

What comes first, weight gain and then depression? Or depression first and then weight gain? Unfortunately, the experts don't know. But one thing they all agree on is that weight problems and depression are both heavy burdens to bear and they often go hand in hand. While some people experience weight loss with depression, weight gain is much more common and can lead to serious health issues.

So the question is, why, are depression and weight issues so closely linked? Well, to put it simply, the part of the brain responsible for emotion also controls the appetite. And when this emotional part of the brain gets disturbed in someone who is depressed, their appetite gets disturbed as well.

EMOTIONS AND APPETITES 
Emotional eating is when you eat not because of physical hunger but rather emotional hunger. When a person eats in response to their emotions, they are trying to soothe themselves by the food as it changes the chemical balance in their brain. Some foods, especially foods with high sugar and/or fat content may make you feel better, but only temporarily. And because the person associates the “feel good” feeling with the food, they want to eat more which leads to weight gain which in turn makes them feel bad about themselves which then leads to more eating and the vicious cycle has begun. Breaking that cycle can be quite challenging.

Because depression and weight are so closely linked, it is important to tackle both problems in order to get the upper hand on the situation. It’s not so important to figure out which problem came first but rather which one should get the most attention initially. If someone is severely depressed and overweight, the depression should be the primary focus. However if someone is exhibiting an eating disorder such as bulimia, and their eating is out of control, that would become the primary focus.

So assuming the person is depressed, overweight and is looking for help, what do they need to do? It might be surprising but the same tactic to control weight applies if you have depression—Decrease calories and increase physical activity. Now we know that when a person is depressed, they probably find it harder to muster up the energy to just get out of bed in the morning let alone make wise choices on what they are going to eat. However, it is critical to find a way to do both despite the effects the depression is having on them. So below I will offer some tips on weight management that will also help with depression.

BE MORE ACTIVE
Get moving! Most people with depression and weight gain have over time reduced their amount of physical activity. The low energy that comes with depression can be debilitating. But exercise is so key to treating not only the weight but the depression as well. Look at it as something you can do for yourself. And by taking an active role in caring for yourself it makes you feel good which in itself can be therapeutic.

And keep in mind that every bit of physical activity helps. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym and lift weights or run on a treadmill—unless that’s what you like. If you are struggling with low energy start out small. Set a goal to get out of bed in the morning and doing some stretches for a few minutes every day for a week, then add a walk and then other activities that bring you pleasure. By building on these small changes, overtime you will feel more in control, have a more positive outlook, and become more motivated to exercise.

MAKE GOOD CHOICES
Depression and food unfortunately results in unhealthy eating choices. People with low self-esteem often use food as a way to stuff their feelings of inadequacy and depression. So to turn this beast around examine the relationship between your depression symptoms and food. Consider the feelings you have about your weight and be mindful of how and when you use food. Food should be seen and used as a source of nutrition, not as an outlet for depression.

To help you start each day with the intention of eating healthy, I am going to give you a list of affirmations I found in an article by Self-Esteem Experts that I really like. Each day pick an affirmation from the list below or make up your own and repeat it to yourself throughout the day.

  • Today I choose to eat healthily because I love myself.
  • I eat for nutrition, not for boredom.
  • Today I replace sugary food with healthy choices.
  • I forgive myself for overeating. I will make healthier choices today.
  • I eat food that is good for me.
  • I make wise food choices.
  • I nourish myself with water, exercise and healthy food.

FEEL BETTER
Ahhh, that will be the reward!—To feel better. By taking charge of your life a step at a time and addressing the relationship between your weight and depression it will help to create a better body image. And as you decrease your weight by eating healthy you will also find that it will lead to higher self-esteem and a feeling of empowerment and content.

If you would like some help as you journey through this process of making the connection that by feeding your body you are also feeding your mind I encourage you to make an appointment with me at (616) 516-1570 or clicking on the “connect tab.” I look forward to helping you down the path of emotional and physical well-being.

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!

 

Healthy Fats Have Calories Too!

 

healthy-fats-600x450Fat. Now there’s a word that can have a multitude of meanings. And, I’m probably not being grammatically correct in using it as a one word sentence but since I’m just blogging and not publishing a book I’m going with it okay? Now, the kind of fat I’m talking about today is dietary fat.

In ages past, I imagine the hardest part of anyones diet was knowing that if you wanted to eat you had to go out and actually catch it or grow your own food. And then trying to find a way to preserve what you had so it wouldn't go to waste. These days even though we have food conveniently surrounding us even down at the corner gas station (and I use the term food lightly here) I think the hardest part of eating today is knowing what to eat. It seems like one day something is okay and then the next day it’s not.

I have this picture in my head of a wheel like the one they use on the game show, “Wheel of Fortune.” Instead of money and prizes to be had when they spin the wheel this wheel has various foods, methods, diet plans, latest fads, etc. Every once and awhile the diet and nutrition industry spins it and wherever it lands, that becomes the latest and greatest new product, health advice or method that every magazine, social media, morning talk shows and food manufacturers tout until it has run its course and then the wheel gets another spin to start it all over again.

Over the years dietary fats have been added to that wheel. Those of you who are old enough will remember your grandmothers using lard, saved bacon grease, and butter. It’s what they had and I don’t think they gave it a second thought if it was “healthy” or not to use it. Then the powers that be determined that those products were a no-no and came up with the inventions of products like oleo (margarine), Crisco, Spry and numerous oils through unnatural means.

Well, lo and behold somebody has spun the wheel again and now we are starting to see a swing back to some of the old fats that our ancestors used as being more healthy. Go figure! Honestly, it makes my head hurt! On a side note, I did run across an interesting fact about how Crisco came about. Supposedly, it’s because the Procter's (Procter & Gamble) were looking for an easy way to store soap fat. YUP! And now people cook with it.

One might think that all of our weight problems could be solved if we just eliminated fat from our diet right? Wrong! It’s really not that simple. In all reality, we actually need fats, (to which we all sigh a happy sigh of relief). In fact, we can’t live without them because they are an important part of a heathy diet. Fat is a nutrient that our bodies need in order to function. If you were to restrict fat too much you could encounter serious health consequences and even mental health deficits like depression and vitamin deficiencies could occur. But that doesn’t mean you should make it one of your main food groups either.

You’ve heard it said that all calories are not created equal right? We know that 1500 calories of wholesome food will affect our bodies differently than 1500 calories of processed and junk food. This is true on a large scale. But gram for gram, carbohydrates, fats, and protein all have different caloric values.

Carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories per gram which means that 100 grams of protein, carbohydrates, or a combination of the two will equal 400 calories. But fat has 9 calories per gram which is more than double the carb or protein measurements!

EXAMPLES:

A 1-ounce serving of walnuts which is about 1/4 cup contains 185 calories and 18.5 grams of fat.
A medium avocado has 232 calories and 20.5 grams of fat.
One tablespoon of olive or coconut oil has roughly 120 calories and 14 grams of fat.
One tablespoon of butter has 102 calories and 11.5 grams of fat.
Two tablespoons of almond or peanut butter has 190 calories and 16 grams of fat.

A tablespoon here, a tablespoon there, a handful of nuts (or two), etc., you can see how you might be eating a high fat diet and not even know it. And even if your portions are small, chances are by the end of the day you could be eating more calories than you think.

Finding the balance — Oh, how that little statement applies to so many areas of life. And so it seems we can also apply it to dietary fats too. So, what do we know? We know there are several types of fats — some good (healthy) and some bad (unhealthy). We also know that we should try to eat mostly the good and try to stay away from the bad. One thing they have in common however is that they both contain calories. Just remember that your fat consumption should be proportional to your weight. If you are trying to change your body or become healthier, it should be proportional to your goals. You will want to look at how many calories you need to consume daily to lose weight, maintain, or gain weight (yes, there are those people out there) to reach those goals.

So in wrapping up this blog, I want to say that I can’t tell you which fats to use or not use. You will have to do your own research on that. But the message I really wanted to get across is that no matter what kind of fat you do use, just be conscious of the calories they contain. It’s so easy to think just because something is healthy and good for us that it doesn’t matter how much of it we eat — But it does! Calories matter as far as weight goes. Or should I say as far as weight comes and goes?

EVERYTHING we put in our mouth has a calorie. And sometimes those calories sneak into our diet without us even thinking about them. They say that knowledge is power so knowing where our calories are coming from puts us in the drivers seat of being in control of our diet which is a good thing!

If you struggle with eating a healthy diet and feel like you just don’t know where to start, I would love to help you get on the right track. There is no better time than right now to get started! Please call me at (616) 516-1570 to schedule an appointment or click on the blue “Contact” tab on the upper right portion of the page and “Let’s Talk!”

Is Menopausal Weight Gain a Trick?

life tricks 2

 

I have come to the conclusion that life likes to play little “tricks” on us. How so you ask? Well, it starts out when we are little. We want something such as candy, ice cream, etc., when we are young and our parents say, “No, it’s not good for you!” Now, our little minds really can’t understand that and so we say to ourselves, “When I grow up I am going to buy all the candy I want” or “When I grow up nobody is going to tell me how much ice cream I can eat.” Do any of those statements sound familiar?

Then we get a little older and one day we’re given some money from Grandma or some chore done around the house and when somebody finally takes us to the store we sadly find out that we don’t have quite enough money to purchase all the candy we want. However, in all of our 7 year old wisdom we know that when we grow up and get a job, THEN we’ll have enough money to get that candy.

Well, you know how that works out. By the time we get that job in our teens we aren’t thinking about the candy anymore. We have moved on to important things like clothes and movies. (wink-wink). And so goes the “wants” and “means” as they evolve over time going through many phases.

So I was just thinking one day on how as kids we want something and an adult tells us we can’t or shouldn’t have it and we have no choice but to accept it either willingly or kicking and screaming at the check out . And then fast forward to the day when we find ourselves being the adult and having to tell ourselves, “No, you can’t have that, it’s not good for you” even though we have the freedom and the means to buy it for ourselves. This being one of the many little tricks that I was talking about.

Wow! I said all of that to say this. I am now considered a “mid lifer.” That is someone of middle age for those of you that don’t know (yet) but hold on you will eventually. And with that middle age comes something called menopause for us women.

Now when we are let’s say in our mid to late 30’s we might be thinking, “Come on menopause!” It’s time to move on from “certain issues” in our lives and we think menopause will solve some of those. But au contraire, anyone who has truly reached menopause knows that in fact your so called “certain issues” have just been traded for “other issues.” Hence this being another little (or big) trick depending on what’s going on and how your body has reacted to the “change of life.”

But for the sake of this blog I’m just going to talk about one of the new issues that seems to pop up, (or should I say pop out) and that is weight gain. Even though we know we haven't changed our eating habits we wonder in frustration what in the world is going on when we try to fasten our favorite jeans.

Menopausal weight gain has been reported to be one of the most frustrating symptoms of menopause. Have you noticed a change in the size and shape around your abdomen? Maybe a bulge above your waistband that you didn’t have before? Some people refer to it as the “Middle age spread.” This is usually caused by a change in your hormones.

Even if you have never had a weight problem in the past, you might find it harder now to manage your weight when you find yourself approaching menopause. Many women gain around 10-15 pounds during the perimenopause to the actual menopause period at a rate of around 1 pound per year on average. And you will probably notice that your weight is not distributing itself the same as it used to be. And while some women might not see an actual weight difference on the scales the proportion of body fat has increased. Can we all just say, Yippee, Yippee Yay?

Now remember when I said that the weight gain could be attributed to hormones? Well, that is just partially true. Our hormones do play an integral part in influencing menopause and weight gain in relation to our appetite, metabolism and fat storage. However, there are other factors as well.

Age and lifestyle are the main culprits. Aging is associated with slowing of the metabolism. In fact most women experience a 5% decrease in metabolic rate per decade. And because metabolism slows as women approach menopause, they need about 200 fewer calories a day to maintain their weight as they enter their mid to late 40’s. Our lean body mass also decreases with age while body fat accumulates throughout adulthood. Another Yippee Yay right there right? Also, women generally become less physically active as they go through their 40’s and the years beyond. So it’s really not hard to see that because we are less active our weight and fat mass increases and with decreased activity our muscle mass decreases.

So, what are us “mid lifers” to do? Do we have to accept that it is inevitable we are going to gain weight? Not necessarily. Although there’s no magic formula to avoid weight gain as we age, the strategies below can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight:

  • Be proactive. Get ahead of the game. Knowing that weight gain is in the cards don’t wait for the weight to add up before switching to a healthier lifestyle. One interesting fact is that menopausal women who manage to retain their “youthful figure” are usually those who have always been active and continue to do so. They might notice a change in the distribution of their weight but overall they look trim, fit and healthy.
  • Increase your physical activity. Find an activity that you enjoy (think aerobic) such as jogging, dancing, cycling or good old fashion walking, and do it on a regular basis for at least 45 to 60 minutes four to five days a week thus boosting your metabolism which aids in burning fat.
  • Do strength training. Exercises such as weight lifting can boost your metabolism as well as increase muscle mass and strengthen bones. Use resistance bands or use your own body as resistance and do push-ups, squats, or lunges. Even heavy gardening such as digging or hoeing weeds can be classified as strength training. Building muscle mass is also more likely to protect against future weight gain.
  • Watch your diet. You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Take a good look at your diet and see what you can do to improve it. I’m sure you can find some refined carbohydrates hiding in there somewhere that can be cut out. It doesn’t hurt to look at portion sizes either, remember, women need about 200 fewer calories a day just to maintain their weight as they enter their mid to late 40’s. But don’t forget to keep up with the daily calcium requirements if you are simultaneously trying to lose weight though as women are at an increased risk of bone density loss at this age.

Whew! that was a lot of information. Hopefully you are not dealing with menopausal brain fog and you got all of that. Okay, a little humor there! Well, that’s it. I guess we have more control over weight gain than we would like to admit. We can’t just blame it on menopause. We have some responsibility too.

So if you are nearing or in the “change of life” time frame and would like some coaching to help you put these strategies into motion to ward off menopausal weight gain, please call me at (616) 516-1570 and together let’s just see if we can’t play some tricks of our own on menopause.

Get Moving on Diet and Exercise!

 

get movingPeople, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the squirrels are having fun playing, “Tag - You’re It!”  (At least I think that is what they are doing.) So why then are you inside sitting on the couch? Watching T.V? Come on — our spring and summer season is so short for us Michiganians you need to seize the season and take full advantage of it.

I know, it’s easy to get in a rut though isn’t it? You work all day, come home and just want to veg on the couch. But if you find that you are sedentary for most of the day and you know you should be exercising I am here to encourage you to get up and out and get moving. That’s right, get moving! If you are someone who hates to exercise, now, is the perfect time to at least be more active. Try to change it up and enjoy new outdoor activities. There is SO much to do out there. Besides, if you work inside all day wouldn’t it be more fun to go for a walk outside than back inside on a treadmill?

Think about where Michigan is located. You know, Michigan is surrounded by the five Great Lakes and for us who live in West Michigan we are only minutes away from the beautiful Lake Michigan shore. If you don’t like to swim, go for a walk along the waters edge. Or, go to the park and play Frisbee Golf or take up gardening. Just find something you enjoy outside and then—well, enjoy it!

Remember, changing your exercise routine is good for your body and increases the calories you burn. Because your body and muscles are working harder it challenges your muscles and increases your metabolism.

Now with that being said, I must bring to your attention though that if you are looking to lose weight you can’t do it with exercise alone. You still have to be mindful of what you eat. There’s a reason that the phrase “diet and exercise” seem to always go together. While many people might try to do one without the other it is just simple math that if you are not burning off more than what you consume you will not lose weight. And that is especially true if you need to lose more than just a pound or two. You might be best friends with your treadmill but if you eat more calories than you walk off, basically what you end up doing is just taking your extra pounds you carry for a daily walk.

Now don’t get me wrong. Exercising does help you increase the calories your body is burning, but, It’s often not nearly enough compared to the calories you’re consuming. So if you are willing to cut back on food and exercise you will see a much better result faster. And just to be clear, I’m not necessarily saying to eat less food but to be mindful of what kind of food you are consuming. However, if you know that you do overeat then it’s a given that you need to eat less.

Studies looking at different weight loss methods such as diet-only, exercise-only, and a combination of both have concluded that programs based on physical activity alone are less effective than combined BWMPs (behavioral weight management programs) in both the short and long term.

Maybe there are behaviors that you have regarding eating that you don’t even realize you have. For some, it started in childhood whether it was being told to always finish your plate even if you were full or were punished or rewarded by food. For others, food has become a way of dealing with stress or a way of comforting themselves in bad times.

If you can accept that your habits or behaviors have contributed to your weight gain, then you can realize that it is more than just a matter of reducing calories to lose weight. To make a permanent change you must change those behaviors that caused the problem in the first place.

That is where Behavior Modification Therapy which has been shown to be very successful can be helpful to reduce or eliminate behaviors and habits that are destructive, unhealthy, or undesirable and learning more appropriate behaviors. Just because there is a saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” doesn’t mean that it is true. And just because you might have learned a defective approach to diet and exercise somewhere along the way does not mean that you can’t unlearn those behaviors and replace them with a new and healthy way of thinking.

So, enjoy your summer and all of your new outdoor activities. And if you decide to be more active by traveling our beautiful state and hiking, walking, swimming or whatever, just be mindful of the goodies you might find along the way. You know, like Coney dogs, ice cream at Captain Sundae’s, Mackinac Island fudge (no, I did not just say that. Okay, just a little piece!) Who knows, by the time the cold and snowy weather comes back around you just might be in better shape to go cross county skiing or tobogganing with the kids… OKAY! Maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up now? Summer people, yes, let’s focus on summer!

Weight management involves adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a knowledge of nutrition and exercise, a positive attitude and the right kind of motivation. If you would like to explore the idea of Behavior Modification Therapy and how it could help you with your eating and exercise habits please give me a call at (616) 516-1570 or click on the “Contact” tab at the upper righthand corner of your screen. I look forward to meeting with you!

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.

 

Cooking Shows – Watch but don’t eat!

 

food showsI have a “friend” on Facebook that has recently taken up a new hobby which I suspect is to help her fill the void of not having any more kids at home seems as how her last one left for college last September. She was always a busy mom with kids in sports and so I’m sure it was a huge adjustment for her when all of a sudden those activities that took so much of her time just disappeared.

So the new hobby she started is cooking and then taking pictures of her makings and commenting on each dish. I have to tell you her pictures are beautifully done and quite impressive. Looking at the pictures being posted I have to admit she has made me hungry more than once. At first glance I was thinking, “Oh, how nice, she’s picked up a new hobby. Her work already looks so professional.”

I have been tempted a couple of times though to ask her just who is eating all of this food because I know she is a petite woman and avid runner and the food definitely does not look like lo-cal food. When I started paying more attention to her posts I noticed that she was getting a lot of her ideas for the dishes from cooking shows on tv.

Now I have watched those shows too and while the recipes always look delicious, I know if I ate that way all the time I would get into some serious trouble. So it got me to thinking of how many people watch these programs and do they have any effect on peoples health and or weight gain.

And what do people today do when they want to find out something quick? Yep! They google it!
After typing in “Watching cooking shows and weight gain,” a whopping 5,510,000 results popped up. Now, I didn’t go through all of the sites and I’m sure the message would have started straying off topic somewhat at some point but after perusing through quite a few of them I came to the conclusion that there was something to be said about the correlation between watching the shows and weight gain.

Lizzy Pope, a researcher in nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont and the
lead author of a study done on this topic came up with some interesting findings. The study consisted of a national panel survey of 501 females between the ages of 20-35 that assessed how the participants obtained information on new recipes and asked a series of questions about their cooking habits, their height and their weight.

With all the information they gathered, they then calculated the participants’ BMI (body mass index) and applied statistical analysis to determine if and what associations there was regarding how obtaining information about new foods, cooking from scratch, and the effect it may have on their BMI.

According to the study’s results, they found that the women who watched cooking shows and cooked frequently from scratch had a mean weight of 164 pounds. By comparison, women who watched the shows but didn’t cook much from scratch weighed, on average, about 153 pounds. They also noted that the same women who watch and then cooked the recipes had a higher BMI than the women who just watched but did not cook.

Another interesting finding was that when the women obtained their recipes and cooking advice from other sources such as magazines, online, or family and friends, the data did not show a significant association with BMI.

So what do we make of all this information? It seems we are always hearing about how eating out at restaurants all of the time is bad for your health so one would think that cooking at home is healthier right? But just because you are cooking at home does not automatically mean that you are cooking healthy dishes or that you will lose weight.

If your inspiration for cooking is mainly coming from TV where celebrity chefs entertain the audience with calorie laden, drenched in cream pasta and decadent desserts then you might as well eat out at a restaurant. Let’s face it, butter is butter whether it comes from your kitchen or on your plate at a restaurant.

It is important to keep in mind that for the most part these shows are for entertainment purposes only. And while there is nothing wrong with “watching” them occasionally to relax and maybe even getting a few ideas to try, you want to be mindful of how and what you cook and realize that the shows are not necessarily going to portray healthy recipes.

So once again it really boils down to one fact, and that is, we have to choose to eat smart. It always does doesn’t it? But in the society we live in and the availability of so many options coupled with the media be it tv food shows or social media with beautifully displayed pictures or videos popping up on our newsfeed constantly is it any wonder how easy it is to get “off track?”

So my fellow Americans I believe the take-home message for today is go ahead, watch a show or two for entertainment but when you go into your kitchen to cook for you and your family be sensible and pick from recipes that emphasize health and nutrition. And let the celebrity chefs give their dishes to feed the cameramen and the staff that produce the shows.

If I can be of any assistance to you whether it be providing education, strategies, or just support to encourage you to get back on and stay on the right track of healthy eating please feel free to contact me at (616) 516-1570. Bon-appétit!

 

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!