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.

HIT THAT PAUSE BUTTON.

HIT THAT PAUSE BUTTON.

Why are you needing to diet?

Today I want to discuss why you may have dieted, may be trying to diet and why you feel the need to diet.

I for one really dislike the word diet except in the general sense of all food being discussed as an overall eating practice. That is: your diet should contain all food groups, or, what do you prefer to include in your daily food intake?

Not as a restrictive practice.

Not a Sacrifice for Health

When we think of diets we tend to generally think – restrictive, painful, deleting food. Maybe you associate it with adding in foods that you really dislike; and overall equate it to pretty ‘painful’ practices?

The dictionary describes Diet as the kinds of foods that a person, animal or community habitually eats. This seems fairly good to me.  We can look at what the Japanese eat, what the Mediterranean’s eat and there are positive results in both of those practices that could act as good models.

But then when we get further along in the dictionary and it reads- a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

I don’t know about you but as soon as the work restrict pops up, I want it more. It’s like being told as a kid you can’t touch that, and you automatically want to try it and see what would happen. Or maybe as soon as you think about restricting that one thing you suddenly crave it.

Therefore, today I don’t want you to think about diet in any other sense than as a practice. But I do want you to think about why you feel the need to change your eating practices.

What is your Trigger?

Did something trigger you to suddenly increase your intake? Did you become upset and then try and self sooth with food? If so what exactly set you off?  It seems to me that these would be better questions.

Once we find that trigger we can then address how to change it. Do we need to be away from certain people, circumstances? Maybe if you can’t do that you can change how you react to the trigger. Perhaps instead of turning to food, you go for a walk, read a book, call a friend……

We have talked about how to change triggers before and please feel free to check out my other vlog, or blogs.

Until we know what the trigger was though, we can’t change it, and it is then harder to make a new habit and alter our established response. However just recognizing the trigger is already growth and leading to change.

What is your Why?

The next thing I want you to think about is; why do you want to diet. Is there something internal you are doing to yourself? This is quite a common thing.

For example we look in the mirror and critique some part of ourselves. We feel imperfect and therefore the only way in our mind is to fix it with a diet. The unfortunate bit about this as feeling unhappy with how we appear and hoping a diet will fix it, we are again putting restrictions in.

If I take this out, I will feel better.

Now overall, I am doubtful if this is a successful strategy as it doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. Why do you feel less than?

When we give ourselves a negative to focus on instead of a positive, our brain only hears the negative. Let’s try it, for example:

I feel fat and I need to diet – the brain hears more I feel fat (not a great feeling)

I need to cut out chocolate, chips or cheese. The brain hears; chocolate, chips and cheese and generally we then begin to think of them. Possibly we can imagine tasting them, our mouth waters and we keep focusing on those and then we try to come up with reasons why we should eat them one more time. Maybe we will start dieting tomorrow, or Monday or New Year’s Day…… and so on.

Today’s strategy is a bit more about self-love and not self-loathing.

Let’s change the FRAME.

By this I mean instead of the criticism I want you to think about feeling more energetic, alive, vital and content. This will change your emotions. Now what makes you feel this way? Give it a moment as our conscious mind may try and interrupt here. Remember you have created some pretty unhealthy habits and practices.

You have probably developed a lot of negative self-talk about those habits, some rationales about them. And these are going to want to challenge you.

But if you keep thinking what will make you feel better, you may realise that you can still have that chocolate but not every day. Maybe it’s more fun to make it a treat once a week or once a month. After all it’s not a treat or special if we have it all the time.

Maybe you now realize that those portions are a bit big, and that equal enjoyment can be had by a smaller serving. We rarely get extra enjoyment from just increasing the quantity.

Maybe you can find a different way to reward yourself a massage, new book, a new hobby…. Whatever the reward if it can be distracting, fun, repeatable we can create new happier cravings that not only make us feel good. We can create new associations, and new habits.

We can take out the need to feel like we are denying ourselves. It will give you a different mental focus on the one hand, something to look forward to and on the other. It will help you feel healthier without all the negative flagellation. Seems like this is a better way to get healthy.

Self-love instead of restrict, deny and criticise. After all isn’t this what we try and teach our young children? Boundaries with love?

Understand the why, and chose a different behaviour. This if far healthier than a negative though and a poorly thought out reaction. This may not come automatically so the final suggestion I have is before you react in any way just pause.

Yep take a moment. This is for you and literally takes a moment. PAUSE.  How do you feel right now, how do you want to feel?

This is responding and not reacting.

So for now practice hitting that PAUSE button, and notice the power it gives you. Notice how much easier it is to self-love when we aren’t reacting to the moment, responding to an external catalyst or countering a trigger.

Focus on how much healthier you feel, and what different choices you make around your weight loss, fitness or wellbeing decisions. After all we are one of the few species that have this capability, why not use it more regularly. Imagine the outcome.

2 MIND TWEAKS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER

 

2 MIND TWEAKS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER

Our emotions are part of our makeup, they are there all the time. Whether we notice them or not, they play a big part in how we conduct ourselves every day.

If we emotionally feel low, confused, or negative, this can have an effect on how we react to everything around us.

 

  1. EMOTION, EMOTION

The thing about the human mind, is that it always answers our innermost dialogues.

So if you are telling yourself that you feel tired today, you will totally feel lethargic. When we feel lethargic we become de-motivated, low on energy. We become low on enthusiasm for our previously planned goals.

If that isn’t bad enough we then go in search of our limiting beliefs to help support our lack of motivation.

Maybe you then say to yourself, I don’t have time to exercise today. Meal prep today is impossible I don’t have all the ingredients that I need. And sure enough, we put off moving and eating well, yet again.

The more we do this the easier it becomes, soon we don’t even pay attention to our inner dialogue. We may notice a sensation and just respond.

If a niggle in our mind pops up about “I should do some exercise” we can quickly conjure up that feeling of lethargy. If that isn’t enough we have our belief system to become our “fall backs” and not let any other intent through. Our intent becomes blocked and our goals for that time obliterated.

This happens in many aspects of our lives. Maybe we want to go out and meet someone, or try something new. We have our inner dialogue take off, like the runner out the gate. Like the runner it gains momentum. E.g “today isn’t a good day, as my hair isn’t done, I don’t have anything to wear, I have visitors coming later so had better clean. My work load is too heavy to fit in anything at all. It will be too expensive, waste of time, boring…..” and so on. Soon we have created a pretty demotivated feeling. And if that isn’t enough we will go in search of a limited belief.

“I’m not ready yet, there will be time next week (quick check of diary). This person or that task needs me more right now.” Sometime before we know it years have passed and we haven’t done that trip, tended to that task, worked on our relationships or lost that weight.

We, as humans, are extraordinarily creative. It is why when I coach people I make sure they are ready to actually change.

Creating new behaviours needs some practice, it can be quick but it still needs an element of repetition to become more automatic. New habits will reduce the ‘volume’ of your inner dialogue so that we cut off those feelings at the pass. We prevent the search for beliefs to back up our should nots, and can nots.

So how are you going to get me some good habits? You may ask. Well, what I want you to do, as I don’t know what specifically works for you, but you do, is imagine what wonderful outcomes you are going to have with your new habits.

The first step is to grab those thoughts by the reins, and steer them where you want. As soon as you feel like you don’t want to move, exercise, etc. I want you to change that thought really fast to anything exciting to you. It doesn’t have to be relevant to exercising just exciting.

This way you are not allowing your negative thoughts to develop into a feeling. You may need to do this a few times. But bear with it. Soon you will be so good at diverting your thoughts so you don’t feel lethargic. You may have gone for a walk and done some easy meal prep without thinking.

  1. BREAK IT DOWN

The next thing to do after you have changed your thought is the “make a small move”. One meal prep. One 20 minute workout….. Whatever it takes but back up that interrupted pattern with a small activity. Quite quickly you won’t even feel lethargic or maybe even find that apathy delayed.

However- and this is the big thing- the trick is you have to want to change. These are really short easy tweaks, but if you if you are kidding yourself about change then, sorry but here is some tough love. Nothing is going to happen.

But if you really want to feel better, then practice these 2 little tweaks, they take no time, you can really get better and better at them and have the life you want. What have you got to lose? The worst that can happen is that you feel better.

If you need more help, or if it is something more underlying your weight gain feel free to send me a message and we can work it out together.

THIS IS WHAT NOT TO DO

THIS IS WHAT NOT TO DO

If you are like me, you have probably always tried to do the right thing, only to find that you often fall short. I then go in search of what I should do instead. The conundrum is that, when it relates to our health and wellbeing, there are so many articles telling us what to do.

Do this to lose weight, do that to shape up.

This is a no fail diet.

This exercise will give you dream abs.

Today I want to help you decide what NOT to do. Here are 5 easy Please Don’t Do’s.

 

  1. DIET CREAMS

So let’s start with a quick self-proclaimed trimming tip. A Cream. Yep some think that a specially designed weight loss cream will do the trick and tip the scales.

Surely logic must kick in here and suggest that if exercise is being done, than it is the latter of those two that has worked, and the nice soft skin is a benefit of the cream.

Where with creams is the attention to health and nutrition? No amount of cream is going to wear off that choc chip muffin.

 

  1. THE SHORT WORK OUT

Many apps are making great headway with the 7 minute workout, or the 4 minute tabata. Now I do use tabata with my workouts. But not on its own, same as the 7 minute sesh it is not enough to really make weight changes.

If, however, it begins to get you moving because 30 minutes seems overwhelming. And you use it to help develop exercise habits, then terrific. However, if you are using this on its own for weight loss, sorry folks but you are unlikely to see your desired results.

 

  1. THE PILL

Wouldn’t it be fun if like the matrix we could choose a pill and change our reality? Thanks I’ll take the red one and deal with the real world. A pill can indeed cause weight loss, and people may feel good about these results. But besides the potential side effects of irregular heartbeats, upset stomach and insomnia, even if those pills have been approved by the FDA, how on earth are they developing good habits?

 

How is taking a pill modelling good nutrition to our obese youngsters? And more importantly how is it then possible to keep that weight off long term. There really has not been an adequate shift in lifestyle.

Statistically it’s been shown that it is already a challenge to keep the weight off. So if we don’t change our habits then we become just one of those 95% that slap it straight back on.

 

  1. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

There are diets that seem oh so wonderful. The grapefruit diet (not a yummy one to me) but the cookie diet is a whole other taste experience: imagine 6 cookies a day. Surely that’s has malnutrition written all over it. How could it be sustainable, and how does it affect our lifestyle. Imagine going to dinner with your one cookie. OK I am being a bit satirical here but the reality of it is; that if it looks too good to be true, then like most things it probably isn’t true.

 

  1. 5. DIURETICs

The last gimmick I’d like to touch on are diuretics.
Really this is just simply loss of fluid. In a healthy person, this can mess with our electrolytes and body chemistry, therefore becoming quite dangerous. Ironically they can also work against the body and cause swelling. It is not fluid the healthy person wants to loose but actual fatty tissue.

 

So we really need to re-wire our thinking? It is up to us and only us to create new practices and habits.

Unfortunately, quick fixes are seldom long lasting, healthy or even enjoyable. Therefore wouldn’t it be better to play the long game?

Gradually change your practices from today, bit by bit. Remember the saying: how do you eat an elephant – one bite at a time. Or how do you train for a marathon, one kilometre at a time. I would never recommend anyone just blurting out to run 42 km. But if you can run a block, and soon a km and gradually you are running more and more and maybe even do an event.

If your weight is getting you down but the task is becoming overwhelming break it right down to what you can do today. Eat clean today, move more today. This is far more manageable and it will create new neural pathways, better health and long term weight loss success.

TIME TO FLEX AND STRETCH

TIME TO FLEX AND STRETCH

4 techniques to re-program your health

This week’s practice blog is quite different and we are going to tackle it from a couple of angles.

Just like the app I designed a few years ago, we are going to stretch and flex. You have heard of the term “use it or lose it”, well today I want to explore that a bit more with you. And I have given you really easy instructions right here.

FLEX

It is time now to FLEX our mental muscle. It won’t feel painful like a full body workout but it may present as a challenge for some of you.

I want you to pick one new thing you have done in this last month that you feel good about. Ideally this could be a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone, or a new goal that you are excited about.

I want you to now visualise it, make the picture bigger, bring it closer to you, add in some colour and make sounds are evident more exciting. Notice how it feels when you do these things. Now I want you to take a moment and really enjoy those good feelings.

Well done you have just flexed your mental muscle!

If you can’t do this quickly and easily already, don’t worry, you will become better and better at it. Now clear your mind think of something totally unrelated.

Good, now bring that good feeling back, and think about how you are following these strategies how they are become easier. Are you feeling better?

Remember you are still focusing on those good feelings. How you can be excited and now how you can be excited and successful.

What are you noticing? Do you feel more energetic?

Can you take that excitement and think about healthy meals? Do you feel more excited about eating better?

STRETCH

We are now taking it into the physical realm and I want you to Stretch your physical muscle.

According to Pro Health, there are several benefit to simply stretching. It doesn’t need to be as a prelude to exercise to attain these benefits.

  1. First of all if you stretch it has been shown to increase optimism (well doesn’t that work well with our flex exercise?)
  2. Stretching is a great afternoon pick me up. Many people feel a bit groggy in the afternoon, our muscles become stiffer from sitting. We become tenser as a result. A few simple stretches can infuse you with more energy.
  3. It helps improve your posture. Poor posture results in back, neck and shoulder pain. Clients come to me complaining of all these from sitting too long, add in work stress and you have increasing pain that can sometimes require medication.
  4. Better stability. By feeling more stable and developing your core strength, you reduce the risk of a fall. Becoming really immobile which comes with depression, frustration and many other health problems.

So now it’s time to move a bit. I want you to do 4 stretches right now. Yes right now and it can be easy.

Maybe you get off your chair and squat.

Maybe to stretch up your arms and elongate your back.

Or stretch your arms and shoulders, or do a calf raise.

Whatever those 4 are, they don’t need to be really difficult, but they do need to stretch some muscles.

Now let’s combine our stretch and flex exercise.

Think of your healthy goal, notice how you can make it feel exciting. Hear yourself, telling someone about how you are progressing and now stretch – 1, 2, 3, and 4

There you are done!

Let’s do this now 5 more times.

Feel excited about how you want to be improving, notice how you move differently, how this feels so good and stretch 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Terrific, you are stretching and flexing in a totally different way your mental and physical muscle. You are creating new neural pathways and wasn’t that easy?

The more you do this practice, the more you will notice how easy it is to feel good, to feel like moving, to make healthier food choices.

At this stage of our health journey we need to be moving more and paying even more attention to our eating. This is easier if you are feeling more optimistic, less lethargic and frustrated.

http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-ways-avoid-high-cholesterol/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21489011/ns/health-fitness/t/stretching-may-offer-extended-benefits/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/358507-what-are-the-benefits-of-stretching-yoga/