Too much of a good thing – How your Health is Being Affected

Too much of a good thingHow your Health is Being Affected

You may be wondering how that can be. How can there be too much of a good thing?

Obviously you don’t mean junk food as we know that isn’t a good thing, I hear you say, and you would be correct. I am not referring to too much sugar or too much fat in the diet per say. What I am really implying is too much love. Now before you get up in arms with me and start messaging. Let me explain.

Love in and of itself is amazing. It shows care, compassion, empathy understanding and communication.

However if we show love through unhealthy means it has serious long term consequences.

Let me elaborate.

First, an adult perspective.

If your beloved shows you love with food, that in and of itself is wonderful. Having someone prepare a meal can be pure bliss, especially if to you it is a chore. However, if it comes in the form of feeling obligated to eat extra big portions, or to have more meals than you may like out that may or may not be healthy in nature. Then you are simply eating to keep the peace or to not upset someone. That isn’t healthy. You may see subsequent weight gain, skin breakouts and inflammation.

Culturally, many families show love with food. Meals being a wonderful social time, food prep a shared experience and gatherings a fabulous way to catch up. However I have had clients come to me and feel so overwhelmed by what was put in front of them. They ate more of and certain foods that they would have preferred not to.

This isn’t a healthy version of love for that person. The intent of the family or loved one may well be pure, but it is simply TOO much of a good thing.

Let’s relate this now to our offspring, the future adults of tomorrow. It is no secret that childhood obesity is growing. An article from the CDC centre for disease control and prevention. Cites childhood obesity at 18.5%. That is almost one 5th of all children and this is not addressing those that are still above a healthy weight range. As parents we are showing again too much love.

I too have done this, wanting to buy some nice treat for the kids as a sign of love. And done once in a while this is OK. The problems come when:

  • We do this too frequently. After all we only need so many calories a day, even if we are young and have a higher metabolism.
  • And how healthy is it to show rewards through food? By consistently doing this we are reinforcing food as a go-to when the child soon to be adult feels bad. Or they eat when they have done something good, when they feel sad. Surely a healthier reinforcement would be a better way to associate with.

For both adults and children once we anchor or associate food with comfort, or reward it is so much more difficult to change this habit and thought process.

So what are the Healthier Options?

This is not to say that we can’t have big family meals or a dinner out, or that we can’t buy our kids that ice-cream. But we need to show a differentiation between this being our sole way to show love.

Our partner wanting to show love through food, could maybe cook a healthier option or simply not be offended with their partner wants a smaller portion or prefers to avoid takeaway.

The family doing a big event could realise that we still love their food, and them, even if we choose to eat less, or stick to the vegetables. Now we too need to understand that we can’t change the thinking of those around us. But we may need to be stronger in saying NO THANKS, or simply not giving into the temptation to over indulge. If we practice, soon we become better at knowing how eating less will feel and that focus will drive us forward to make healthier choices.

Finally for our kids whom we adore, attention, activities, cuddles, conversation with active listening may be far better ways to reinforce how much we love them. This keeps the kids more active at school, able to relate better with their peers and most importantly reduced their incidence of getting adult type diseases related to obesity prematurely. Isn’t that a better way to show love, educate those too young to know better that there are other ways to show love?

So the next time you are thinking of showing love, accepting love, or are afraid to speak out; know that we can do this in other forms besides food.

You may need educate family members healthy appears for you. With mutual respect, knowing that they care about this can hopefully take the pressure of those family gatherings.

You may need to teach your family about how you want them to show love to your children.  How to reinforce discipline with eating for the child. Imagine then in the long run you will have a healthier child that enjoys a wide range of activities, movement, friendships. A child that enjoys aspects of life that are not just related to food. A child in a healthy weight range with reduced incidence of adult type diseases.

Too much of a good thing can take many forms but the beauty of it is that we have a choice how we accept this love and how we give it.

The Best of YOU!

The Best of YOU!

Best Health, Best Weight, Best Person with 4 Easy Techniques.

A few weeks back I had a post on my Facebook sight about giving the world what is the best of you and not the rest of you. I guess this appealed to me as quite often I am running on the mere scent of fuel rather than feeling fuelled. Trying to be all things to many and feeling like I am falling down on many fronts. Or to give a different picture, feel like I am about to ‘face plant’ while rushing between tasks and people.

You know those times when you have your job goal, your family needs that are functional and then those emotional requirements that get put upon you. “Mum my brother won’t get out of the bathroom. Dad you said you would fix the bike, mum you will now have to drive me…I can’t let Lucy down I promised her I would help her….” And so it goes on.

You want to be supportive to friends, show love to family, hit those KPI’s at work but you feel your energy lag. By the end of the day you collapse and just crave a solid nap.

Put Your Mask ON!

This is when I realized how important that aeroplane analogy can be in everyday life (and not just when getting our boarding instructions to a long awaited or dreamed of holiday). If you don’t have oxygen you won’t be able to help anyone else.

If we mere mortals don’t look after ourselves first, we have less and less to give those we care about.

As our weight increases, or our health declines our energy depletes and pretty soon we are giving our best but it is pretty much just whatever is left in the ‘tank’ to those we care about.

So we need to really look after our body and mind first. Take time to put on our ‘mask’ so that we can be present and available to those that need us.

Below I have listed 4 important techniques to prevent us from giving less because we gave up our ‘oxygen’.

Technique 1 – Emotional Care

Are you paying attention to your self-talk? Quite often the overwhelm we feel sees us doubt and criticise ourselves. This is usually done with a positive intent but rarely has a desirable outcome.

Just last week I was working with a gentleman that was extremely hard on himself. He was trying to be all things to everyone. Main breadwinner, be available to his kids, a loving husband. Yet his feeling of overwhelm was so much he turned to the biscuit tin as a distraction.

How much healthier would it have been to have a better conversation in his head. Some self-praise for what he had achieved instead. Note the wins, if you are constantly criticising yourself you’re going to feel pretty bad as there will always be something. Instead focus on what can you do next time to improve. This changes the frame, takes out the negative emotion and increases the likelihood that next time you will do something different.

Our emotions can affect all our daily life. Ever seen an upbeat person and think wow, they are so energetic!

Technique 2 – How are you Fuelling Your Body?

What are you actually putting into your body? Are you full of carbs for a quick burst of energy and then feel deflated when you have ‘burned’ through it? Those insulin peak and troughs can affect not just your physical energy but you emotional energy as well.

We need to put in those micronutrients as well. You wouldn’t put water in the petrol tank and hope for a good performance.

Downing a donut is not going to keep you boosted for long. More than likely you are going to feel the energy drop, not really feel satiated and probably be frustrated and looking for something else to give you a jump start.

Try eating more green and coloured fruit and veges, find them bland? Add some spices. Remember we need protein too to help us feel full, so low fat meat, chicken and fish are alternatives. Want to stick with your vegan option, nuts and legumes or just google yummy vegan dishes to make it simple. Make that internet a healthy help not a distraction to your health.

Technique 3 – Move it!

Yes I know I have written about this before but just move more and more each day – like the movie said “I have to move it, move it”. Pick a fun activity and just do it. You don’t need to be an Olympic champion, you don’t even need to be good at it.

If you enjoy dance why not try a Zumba class, I guarantee that there will be others with 2 left feet and poor hip action. If you like walking, pop on some headphones and walk with purpose. This doesn’t have to be for a long time but a slow meander waiting for your dog to sniff at every tuft of grass isn’t going to do a lot for either of your health or weight.

A little movement gets those hormones pumping, help body functions to become regular and burn a few calories, so you can enjoy more of that sometime food.

Technique 4 – You Time

This may well be the most difficult thing to do. I have spoken about limiting beliefs so many times and worked with people that have had many of them to the extent that the 3 techniques above just don’t seem possible.

So you need to get creative here. You time may be a 20 min mediation, it maybe when you walk the dog you make it more fun; one of my clients listens to a good book. Hello multi-tasking.

You time is not doing your emails, while having a coffee, or calling a friend while folding washing or driving home.

You time needs to take you out of your work zone, pressure areas, or activities causing overwhelm. The best race horses get rest time. I bet you even tell friends they need to slow down.

These times are not self-indulgent. They are replenishing  like the start of the blog states – so you are able to give the best of you! To be available for those important conversations with your kids or partner.

Maybe some standards have to slip for a while, the meals are healthy but less fancy, the washing gets done later or far be it you ask for help. But I put it to you that a healthier, more energetic less stressed you will be more available. You will be more creative, and influential than the frenetic, overweight, fatigued option

Why not give the best of YOU. After all how do you want to be remembered?

2019, what are your Health Goals?

2019, what are your Health Goals?

5 Ways to succeed in your weight loss journey this year.

Every year we make a new resolution or re-ignite an old one that kind of fell by the way the previous year, with some justification, excuse, or rationale. According to U.S News 2017, 80% of New Year’s resolutions will fail.

How about this year we keep it simple with just 5 easy steps to keep that weight loss on target, our health improving and our energy increasing?

I have broken it down to 5 easy steps to help keep you on track and if some of you take that literally so much the better!

  1. What is your Weight Loss Goal?

Now I don’t mean exactly how much weight do you want to lose as that is a goal, but 95% of the clients I have seen that have had success found that the use of a figure alone was not enough.

No, what I really mean is, why do you want to lose that 5, 10 or 20 kg?

Discerning the real reason will give you a far more exciting goal. Perhaps it is to have a baby, run an event, or reduce the amount of medication you are on. These goals are far more compelling for our future well being and therefore more likely to be a trigger to re-motivate us when we fall of the ‘health wagon’.

Let’s face it there are times when watching what you eat can become tedious, or doing that extra day of exercise could be justified in being put off. For these reasons we need something more exciting to focus on than just a figure on the scales. If this goal is emotive; that is when we think of it we get a tingle of emotion, preferably a positive one. It will motivate us far better than just a few 100 grams off on the scales which can feel somewhat disheartening.

Hence we need to choose a goal that provides some excitement. Be it for a better life or more exhilarating outcome and see how much easier it is to stick to.

2.  What 2 things each day will lead you closer to that goal?

So now you have a goal. I know people say ‘do one thing each day to get closer’ but it seems common sense to me that if we simply double that, the probability of success will be higher.

The other aspect of doing 2 things a day to help you lose weight, is that you have a back up. If you are tired, and you may not feel like a high intensity day, but you do a longer walk, you still have the good food practices to support you. The more we do these 2 things the quicker the habit to healthier living is re-enforced. Maybe your 2 things are to cook a healthy meal ahead of time for each day of the week, and do 10,000 steps. Perhaps it is to increase your coloured vegies at each meal and do 10 push-ups a day. Perhaps you could even increase by 2 each day, then by the end of the week you could be doing 20-24!

Once we reinforce a habit it establishes a neural pathway that will help make the new habits more sustainable. Just like we may have followed a particular route to visit a friend and then they put in new freeway and it’s all a bit awkward to navigate. You may get off at the wrong exit a few times, but after a while it becomes easier and you don’t even have to think about it, you can probably turn off google maps and enjoy not having to focus on not getting lost.

By making a new habit quicker we get to enjoy the results quicker and this will become a positive feedback loop! Out health will improve faster, we will feel fitter sooner and just want more and more of those good sensations.

3.  What gets measured gets monitored.

If you can measure your 2 things the probability of achieving your goal is higher. The more likely you are to lose the weight, drop the blood pressure, have more energy and better moods.

If we take an example from above; it is not hard to measure cooking 7 meals for a week, and walking 10K steps.  Or counting how many vegetables you ate in a day and increasing your squats by 10 per day so that by the weeks end you can do 70 and maybe the next week start off on a push up increment.  Maybe you note your moods each day. Whatever 2 things you choose if you can measure them you know you have succeeded and this serves as our own positive reinforcement, reward and brings us closer to our initial goal.

I remember when I had to shift an unwanted 14 kg. My 2 things were to just walk a bit further or do pilates every second day (even at home in front of the TV) and I gave up sugar. The second was quite hard at times, as our whole family come from a sugar craving race. But I would focus on how I wanted to feel, and how being heavy was just making everything more difficult.

4.  Plan, Plan, Plan

This is part of the above, it’s no use saying I am going to food prep for a week or eat 9 vegies a day and a protein at each meal if all that is in the cupboard is white bread and cereal, or crackers and cheese.  You are not going to go to the gym, or walk if your runners have holes and you’re your feet hurt. So to achieve our goals it is ideal to sit down at the end of the week and plan your next week. This way you can review what you enjoyed, and what was successful the previous week, and more importantly associate the emotions with each as these ultimately provide the most motivation.

If you discovered that you really still hate brussel sprouts (I could be projecting my tastes here) then putting them back on the menu is not going to be enticing, but if you substitute if for a seasonal vegetable, it will be tasty and probably cheaper; win: win.

Maybe 10K steps is not achievable b/c you have to be in an office this week. Perhaps then it’s time to ramp up the push-ups/squats/lunges or invest in a trainer to help build muscle and cardio fitness.

The better you’re planning the easier the week flows. Most of my clients have their own training times so that it just becomes part of their week and their new norm. A few minutes each week of planning ahead can make your changes seem more natural and therefore workable.

5.  Accountable:

For those of you with really big goals. How are you going to make yourself accountable? It is too easy to make an excuse even to a training buddy. What is your deal breaker?

If you are the sort of person that needs others to keep you on target then a trainer may be needed. Some of my clients join the FitBit challenges, have a group competition and this drives them a bit harder. We can all see who met their goals. Even though our goals for exercise or weightloss may vary, we are able to cheer each other on with every win.

Each of us is different, some people find being accountable for specific things  make showing up easier. One lady I know always has a training team  at 6am. She won’t let them down no-matter what the weather because they have planned an event to compete in. Others don’t want to miss their training session knowing the trainer is waiting just for them, and they will be charged for last minute cancellations.

What is your accountability deal breaker: For me it’s knowing how I will feel at the end of the day and how tolerant or intolerant I will be with my family. If I plan my day and do the exercise I know I will cope better with moody kids and be less stressed and able to deal with their issues or moods as they arise. I also find I have more energy to do all the tasks that come with running a business and four kids, as neither of these fall happily between 9-5.

You can be accountable to yourself or others it doesn’t matter as long as it is something that you can’t talk yourself out of easily. So short of having gastro, what would prevent you from carrying out your health goals daily for 2019?