Motivational Tips

Stop Emotional Eating Today

  |  in General, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

What is the single, most common problem that most dieters face when trying to lose weight? Will power? Nah. Temptation? Sometimes. Emotional eating? Bingo! That’s why it takes so much more than good intentions and information about nutrition and exercise to be successful. The ability to manage difficult situations and feelings effectively—without turning to food and eating—is a necessary foundation for a successful weight loss plan and healthy lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are many proactive steps you can take to keep functioning on all your mental cylinders during tough times. These steps range widely from basic relaxation techniques to the development of a reliable support network. Other options include:

  • Keeping a food journal to help you identify your emotional eating triggers
  • Cultivating mental and emotional well-being through practices like meditation, mindfulness, massage, and yoga
  • Developing good problem solving skills

But all of these things take time, and there are many instances when you need something you can do right now, to keep yourself grounded, focused and able to make good decisions. After all, you don’t always have time to take a walk, relax in a hot bath or call a friend to talk things over. That’s what we’ll be talking about here—a 3-minute trick for handling stressful situations in the moment.

Minute 1: Stay Grounded
Emotional eating happens when you lose your connection to your grounded self. Stress itself is not what makes you reach for something to eat. In fact, stress is often a good thing and your grounded self knows this! We need the physical stress of exercise to keep our bodies in good shape just as we need the stress of intellectual and emotional challenges to keep our minds healthy.

Nine times out of ten, what really leads to emotional eating is getting caught in a “mind storm” of worst-case scenarios, projections, misinterpretations, and all the emotional overreactions that come with these thoughts. This “storm” turns a manageable challenge into something that makes you feel helpless, overwhelmed, ashamed or afraid—and sends you to the kitchen to find something to stuff those extreme feelings. When you can stay grounded in the moment of stress, you have many more options.

Here are some simple ideas to keep you grounded when something (or someone) pushes your buttons and your feelings start to spiral out of control:

  • Take a few deep breaths. (You can also count to 10, if that helps.) If the stressful situation involves someone else, take a timeout and agree to continue the discussion in a few minutes.
  • Remind yourself where you are. Take a look around, noticing and naming the colors and shapes in the space around you.
  • Notice the physical sensations you are experiencing. Whether it’s a sinking feeling, turmoil in your stomach, tension in your hands or jaw, restricted breathing, or heat on the back of your neck, try to name the feelings that go with the sensation. Is that sinking feeling fear, or dread? Is the heat a symptom of anger?

The idea here is to stay in your body and in the moment—with what’s real—instead of going inside your mind where all those unreal scenarios are just waiting to get spun out-of-control.

Minute 2: Reality Check
Once you’re calm enough to start thinking productively, put all those thoughts that are clamoring for attention inside your head through a quick reality check. Here are several very common thought patterns that have no place in reality. Do any of these apply to you?

  • All or nothing thinking
    Example: You go over your calorie limit or eat something on your “forbidden” list, and then decide to keep eating because you’ve already “blown it” for today. Reality: Weight loss is not a one-day event. If you stop overeating now, you’ll gain less and have less to re-lose later. That’s something to feel good about!
  • Reading your own thoughts into someone else’s words
    Example: Someone made a mildly critical or unsupportive remark to you, and you feel completely devastated. Reality: The more bothered you are by such remarks, the more likely it is that you are being overly critical of yourself. When you treat yourself with respect, what others say won’t matter nearly so much.
  • Either-Or thinking
    Example: You make a mistake or have a bad day and feel like a complete and hopeless failure. Reality: No one does well all the time. Mistakes are a necessary and valuable opportunity to learn—if you don’t waste them by getting down on yourself.
  • Taking care of other people’s business
    Example: Something is going badly for someone you care about, and you feel responsible, or pressured to fix it. Reality: People need to learn from their own problems. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by trying to fix things just to make yourself feel better.

Minute 3: Putting Things in Perspective
Most common problems that you face in everyday life are much easier to handle when you keep them in perspective and avoid making mountains out of molehills. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you aren’t in the mountain-making business:

  • How big a deal is this, anyway? If I knew I was going to die in a week, would this be something I would want to spend this minute of my remaining time on?
  • Will any bad things happen if I postpone thinking about this until I have more time to figure things out?
  • Do I have all the information I need to decide how to respond to this? Do I really know what’s going on here, or am I making assumptions? Am I worrying about things that might not even happen? What do I need to check out before taking action?
  • Is there anything I can do right now that will change or help this situation?
  • Am I trying to control something I can’t, like what other people think, say, or do?
  • Have I really thought through this problem, and broken it down into manageable pieces I can handle one-at-a-time?

Use this approach whenever your thoughts or situations begin to feel overwhelming, and you’ll quickly find that the mountains that seem impossible at first can quickly morph into what they really are—manageable hills that you DO have the ability to climb. All it takes is three little minutes of your time.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=596

 

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Find Inspiration within your Temptations

  |  in Exercises, General, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

Getting motivated–and staying motivated–can be difficult, and when temptations abound, it seems like the world is conspiring to keep you indoors, on the couch and stuck in your unhealthy life.

Instead of viewing temptations as roadblocks, think of them as motivators–the devil on your shoulder, if you will. Their presence in your life should be just what you need to keep you from losing momentum, standing still or taking a break from your healthy journey. If you stop, they’ll get you; if you stay one step ahead, you’ll always come out on top. Temptations are like misunderstood Muses. They give you the chance to be creative while reaching your goals.

Temptation No. 1: Sleeping in or hitting the snooze alarm.

Inspiration: Taking care of your body.

Get your eight hours a night. If you’re consistently sleeping through your alarm or hitting the snooze bar more than twice, consider changing your sleep schedule. Try to head to bed earlier–even just 15 or 30 minutes can make a difference.

To help you stay healthy and manage your weight, you need adequate sleep. Sleep loss affects the levels of certain hormones, which can in turn affect your metabolic processes and adversely affect your health.

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.

Sleep loss also can cause a lack of desire to achieve goals because you feel fatigued and “run down.” Sleep is also important in developing lean muscle tissue. When you work out, you are actually tearing your muscles – sleep and proper nutrients help rebuild the muscle so that you get stronger.

Temptation No. 2: Grabbing takeout or stopping at a drive-thru.

Inspiration: Making smart choices.

Ideally, you should drive by the drive-thru and cook healthful meals at home every night. However, not all takeout is created equal, and you can find some healthful options at chain restaurants and even your neighborhood deli. See this temptation as a challenge to be creative and bring home a healthful meal when you’re in a hurry.

Plan ahead if you can, build a meal around vegetables and choose small portions to keep your takeout from taking away your self-control. (Find hundreds of tips and strategies to help you make smart, healthy choices when you’re away from home here.)

Follow the same rules at a restaurant that you would at home: Choose whole grains when possible, fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, and opt for lean cuts of meat and low-calorie preparations.

Baked potatoes, side salads, fruit cups and milk are ubiquitous at fast food restaurants these days. See this as an opportunity to stare French fries in the face–and win!

Temptation No. 3: Grazing on junk food all night long.

Inspiration: Getting to the root of a problem.

Before you start chastising yourself for blowing your calorie budget after a good day of healthy, mindful eating, think about why you are snacking. Mindless munching is usually anything but.

Are you thirsty? Many hunger pangs are actually just thirst in disguise. Drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If your hunger subsides, you weren’t really hungry after all.

What did you eat for dinner? If you tried to save calories or reduce your carb intake by having a green salad or just a plate of veggies, it’s no wonder you’re hungry. Your body needs a bit of variety to stay happy. Protein takes longer to digest and helps keep you fuller longer. Toss some grilled chicken chunks, a small can of tuna or a half-cup of beans on your salad tomorrow night to give it some staying power. In the meantime, reach for a small servings of whole-grain crackers with a tablespoon of nut butter. The combo of fat, protein and carbs will tide you over until morning.

Are you stressed or upset about something? Instead of reaching for the chocolate bar or the chips, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Eating your feelings leaves you feeling worse than when you started. Go for a walk, get out of the kitchen, remove trigger foods from the house–whatever it takes.

To get a handle on emotional eating, you first need to understand it. Learn more about this common food problem, which is the cause of 75% of overeating, according to experts. Once you know your food weaknesses, you’ll be prepared to confront those evening cravings instead of surrendering to them.

Temptation No. 4: Vegging out on the couch.

Inspiration: Taking time for you.

You get home from work and gaze longingly at the sofa. You had a long day, and a bit of rest sounds much better than socializing or spending time with others. You just want to be alone with your feet up, mind empty and the TV on.

Devote a chunk of time each week or each day to yourself. Maybe it’s 15 minutes, or maybe it’s two hours. Put yourself first as often as you need to.

Instead of punishing yourself for being lazy, use this “me” time in a productive way. Do a crossword puzzle, read a book, watch a movie, call a friend, pick up knitting, or cuddle with your child or partner.

Anticipate this respite from the hustle and bustle of your life and plan for it. Watch your favorite TV show, paint your nails, ask your partner to give you a foot rub. Reward yourself for being motivated, sticking with your healthy lifestyle plan and working out regularly. A bit of time spent doing nothing can help carry you through the rest of your hectic and action-packed life. (Read our Rest & Relaxation articles for more tips.)

Temptation No. 5: Skipping your workout.

Inspiration: Changing up your workout.

You know how great you feel when you finish a workout: refreshed, revived and rejuvenated. You feel strong, confident and happy. So why would you want to skip exercise? Quite often, the reason is boredom.

Does your workout schedule run on repeat? Do you do the same thing at the same time and in the same place every day?

Now that you’ve made fitness a part of your life, try shaking up your routine from time to time. Instead of walking laps around the park in your neighborhood, try taking a new route. If you belong to a gym, trade the Stairmaster for the elliptical or the treadmill for the stationary bike.

Tired of your DVDs? Trade with a friend or head to the library. Take a new class: Zumba, cardio dance, Pilates, yoga or Spinning are fun ones to try. Ask a trainer at your gym or a fit friend for suggestions. Speaking of which, one of the best ways to shake up your workout is to enlist a friend to blast calories with you. You can catch up on each other’s lives while you firm up.

When temptations step in your path, don’t cower. Confront them and enlist them as your allies. Soon you’ll be stronger and more determined and will have traveled a little farther in your healthy living journey.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1356&page=6

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Stop and Chew your Food!

  |  in General, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

In this era of fast-paced everything, even the act of eating a meal has become something we can do on the run. Breakfast comes in bars, lunch can be eaten while speeding down the highway, and dinner is merely an accompaniment to the evening news, squeezed in between other pressing activities. Invariably, when eating plays second string to everything else, every meal becomes “fast food,” as in eaten-very-fast food. If you find yourself wolfing down your meals in a hurry, you’re actually shortchanging yourself in more ways than you might think.

It turns out there’s a reason food tastes so good. You’re supposed to enjoy it—slow down and savor it, not just get it to your stomach as quickly as possible. Chewing your food thoroughly is actually the first step in the complex process of digestion, and if you glaze over it, just chewing the minimum amount of times necessary to get the food down your esophagus, you’re actually compromising this process. And it’s a mistake many people make.

If you try to imagine swallowing a whole piece of pizza, it’s easy to see why chewing is necessary. But besides breaking up your food into manageable chunks, there’s another good reason to put in the effort and chew. The saliva that coats your food as you chew actually contains digestive enzymes that begin to digest your food before you even swallow it. The enzymes alpha-amylase and lingual lipase begin digesting carbohydrates and fats, reducing the amount of work for which the stomach will be responsible. And it isn’t just a nice gesture. If food fragments are swallowed un-chewed, not only do nutrients remain locked in the fragments, but these fragments create an environment in the colon that is conducive to digestive distress—bacterial overgrowth, gas, and bloating.

For food particles to even leave your stomach though, the “gates” of the stomach, the pyloric sphincter, must open. Conveniently, chewing also aids in this process, signaling this event. And speaking of signals, just seeing your food causes your brain to send signals to the pancreas and stomach to secrete digestive acids and enzymes that are essential to digestion. And the longer your food has contact with your taste and smell receptors—the longer you chew each bite—the stronger these signals become. Strong signals mean more digestive molecules, less indigestion, less acid reflux, and superior nutrient absorption.

Chewing your food thoroughly and eating your meals more slowly has another benefit. It might shrink your waistline—and not just because you’ll have less bloating and indigestion. Eating more slowly gives your body a chance to tell your mind that it’s full, so that you stop eating before you go overboard. In a preliminary study presented at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity’s Annual Scientific Meeting in 2004, study subjects ate less when they were instructed to eat more slowly.

Here are some practical tips for chewing more thoroughly and eating more slowly:

  • Give yourself enough time to eat—at least 20-30 minutes just to eat the meal, plus additional time to prepare it.
  • Don’t eat amidst distractions, like the TV, computer, or while driving.
  • Be fully present while you eat. Notice the smell, temperature, texture, color, and subtle flavor differences of each food you consume.
  • Take smaller portions, taking a break before refilling.
  • Put your fork down after each bite.
  • Eat mindfully, chewing each bite as many times as necessary to pulverize any texture.
  • If you’re eating in a group, be aware of the speed at which others are eating. Challenge yourself to be the last to finish.

Besides all of the physical benefits, perhaps the most pleasant benefit of all is that, if you allow yourself to slow down and chew, you’ll enjoy your food much more.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=963&page

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How To Decrease Body Fat

  |  in General, Motivational Tips, News, Nutrition Tips, ServicesNo Comments

How to Reduce Body Fat Percentage in 12 Steps

1.  Build more muscle. One of the best ways to reduce body fat is weight training. As you increase lean muscle mass you burn more calories.

2.  Eat for great health. When you eat for great health you’re making sure to have the necessary energy to exercise and enjoy your life.

3.  Avoid refined carbs. Sugar and other refined carbohydrates, zap your energy, ruin your health and contribute to excess body fat. Stick with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and other high fiber food.

4.  Enjoy your protein. To make sure you reduce fat and not muscle when losing weight, it’s essential to get enough protein. Use low calorie high protein shakes for mini meals. And have fun adding fruit or flavorings.

5.  Drink more water. As you up your water intake to at least 8 glasses a day, the less hungry and more refreshed you’ll feel.
 
6.  Increase activity. If you’re eating less calories, low impact physical activity, like walking, swimming and yoga for at least 30 minutes a day, burns fat, builds a strong lean body and helps boost metabolism activity.
 
7.  Know your calories. When we eat unconsciously, calories start adding up. Make sure you’re not storing up more than you burn for energy.

8.  Have 4-6 mini meals. Instead of 3 big meals a day, go for 4 to 6 small meals. It helps increase metabolism and burn extra calories.

9.   Eat more veggies. Most plain vegetables are so low in calories and so high in fiber content that it’s almost like you’ve eaten no calories at all.

10.  Eliminate sodas. Sodas are bad for your health and add unnecessary calories. Learn to love drinking pure, clean, calorie-free water.
 
11.  Enjoy other pleasures. Whenever possible, indulge in simple healthy activities that you enjoy (besides eating). Make a list and have fun.

12.  Get much stronger. Strength training improves flexibility, increases fitness, strengthens joints and bones, builds muscle and helps reduce fat.

Now that you know how to reduce body fat percentage, the rest is up to you. Just add one step at a time and increase your pace slow and easy.

Come in and talk to Alisha or Amy at InCharge to discuss how YOU can decrease your percentage of body fat.

http://commonsensehealth.com/Healthy-Living/How_to_Reduce_Body_Fat_Percentage.shtml

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EXERCISE! It’s for your health!

  |  in General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

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Perseverance

  |  in Exercises, Motivational TipsNo Comments

There is a quote on a poster that hangs at InCharge Fitness that states “Perseverance…what lies behind us and what lies before us is small compared to what lies within us (Ralph Waldo Emerson).”  As I was running on the treadmill I thought about how exercise helps us realize what we have inside of us.  When we do that extra repetition of a bicep curl or do cardio for that extra five minutes we push past a mental threshold that reminds us of the “stuff” we are made of.  This is easy to forget when we are bombarded by everyday life stress.  Exercise is one area of your life that you can control.  It is up to you to decide to put your health and personal fitness above all else.  If you put wellness first, everything you do will feel easier.   I know that often, the last thing you feel you have time for is exercise.  Make time for yourself, even if you only have 15 minutes, do something that gets your heart pumping.  As always, HAPPY EXERCISING AND STAY CONSISTENT!   

To Happy, Healthy Living,
Amy Dubray, CPT, CWC

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It takes 3 weeks to make or break a habit!

  |  in Exercises, General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

It takes 3 weeks to make a break a habit. After you start an exercise program, consistency is key to making it a part of your daily habitual routine! Don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity. Make it part of your daily schedule and you will be amazed how quickly it’s no longer a barrier and it becomes part of your daily routine.

To Happy, Healthy Living!
Amy Dubray

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