Why are you needing to diet?

DIETING

Why are you needing 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. For example; does your diet contain all food groups? Or, what do you prefer to include in your daily food intake?

Not, however, as a restrictive practice.

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 all suffering practices? Maybe you recall a chalky shake or plate of Brussel sprouts. These may not make your mouth water and have you thinking YUM.

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 the positive results in both of those practices. In turn, these 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 word “restrict” pops up, I want it more. It’s like being told as a kid you can’t touch something, and as a result 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.

TRIGGERS

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.

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?

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 or call a friend…

Until we know what the trigger was, we can’t change it. As such, it is harder to make a new habit and alter our established response. However, just recognizing the trigger is already a step forward in growth and making headway towards change.

The next thing I want you to think about is; why 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 is, that feeling unhappy with how we appear can lead to hoping a diet will fix it, we are again putting restrictions in.

Fallacy: “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?

BRAIN POWER

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 of the: I feel fat (not a great feeling)

If we suggest that one needs to cut out chocolate, chips or cheese. The brain will hear, chocolate, chips and cheese, and generally then we begin to think of them. We may imagine tasting them. Our mouths water and 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 minds 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 and some rationales about them, in this case, these are going to want to challenge you.

But if you keep thinking along the lines of “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.

Perhaps 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 and repeatable we can create new happier cravings that not only make us feel good. But 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 heathier 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?

PAUSE

Understand the why, and chose a different behaviour. This if far healthier than a negative thought and subsequent reaction. Initially it 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 I feel right now, how do I want to feel. This is responding and not reacting.

It is giving our mind a little more space, our emotions time to re-calibrate and then we can choose what different thing we will put in.

I will discuss this more at a later date. But for today if you take away the ability to pause and follow the other tips you will be well on the way to feeling healthier and more in control of how you want to be.

INSTANT GRATIFICATION, SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR WEIGHT LOSS

INSTANT GRATIFICATION, SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR WEIGHT LOSS

 

As I was planning, and scanning the social media content this morning, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad for all the people trying to get ahead by promoting their body and creating an image. Don’t get me wrong, for those that are successful, authentic and feel fulfilled; power to you. But for those that are presenting a false image, feel less than authentic and are trying to feel appreciated and validated through their media; friends, my heart goes out to you.

For years we have known that social media influences our self-perception of how we should look, appear and act. It’s not knew news that those size ‘zero’ girls or super buff blokes can become role models for our youth.

Many watching these pictures and images think that it is the ultimate goal to strive for, something idolise and epitomise. But what if you are just not built that way? Thankfully, we see more healthy versions in the media now, but do we note the people that are still on their weight loss journey? Is it only after a drop in size that they can receive the like, share and heart emoji’s?

BODY IMAGE

Who says size 2, or a ‘cut’ 6 pack is the way to go. Wouldn’t it be better to think of health instead of image?

Just a couple of weeks ago I had a friend with daughters that had had serious body image issues to the extent that they received a diagnosis of bulimia and anorexia respectively. These are not the first clients to have come to me with issues in their perception of how they look. Parents have expressed genuine stress about how they get their teen to eat and stop tormenting themselves mentally and physically.

Now striving to be healthier, fitter and more vital is something I am always plugging on about. I think a healthy body with muscle tone is a great epitome of health, but not everyone achieves it the same way. For some, it is a slow journey, for some changing food habits is easier, others find it really difficult to break habits formed from years of strengthening their negative neural pathways.

BREAK THE CYCLE

What can we do to break this cycle? Not everyone understands what they are doing to themselves. Sure they know that they may not be eating the best, but they honestly don’t know how to fix it.

Kids go on social media and think they need to look like this celeb or that. We know how much it influences people just look at the constants on ‘Married at First Sight’ most of these appear to have enhanced various body parts, seem quite buff and certainly aren’t sporting a mummy tum, or dad bod.

These images are not realistic to the population. Power to them for the hard work or cash they have contributed to looking their best. All I’m pondering is; if we see more size 10 models, healthy energetic ones’ would that help? Well done ‘Dove’ and other company’s promoting this, but statistically it is still on the low side.

HEALTH MINDSET

I am in no way blaming social media, but how do we get the message across that healthy is more important than body image, that vitality is attractive and having energy is generally way more productive?

So many times I have had people leaving a training session feeling positive, confident and ready to take charge. If I could bottle this feeling, and I do try to get them to focus on this after they leave, we would really have a positive society.

The healthy mindset, where it’s not just weight loss being pummelled at us, is far more motivating than how many kg’s can we lose.

Let’s see more movement in the media, both literally and figuratively. I think seeing all shapes and sizes moving, and making healthier choices, is more conducive to long term results.

Sometimes we need to tweak our mindset to get back on track. Focus on how you want to feel tomorrow. What do you want to achieve tomorrow? What did you accomplish today? And how did you get back on track again? If you have done it once, you know you can do it again.

WAIT OR WEIGHT

The question then comes down to, do you wait to start your weight loss to health journey? Do you keep scanning social media for the right affirmation before you start? Do you become overwhelmed with the gorgeous youth of today or do you simply begin?

I put it to you that few worthwhile things in life provide instant gratification or, that if they do, you ask yourself if they have long term benefits. Yep that doughnut might be delicious or shopping till you drop may feel good in the moment, or that beer or wine, but instant gratification, be it social media or giving into an impulse, creates a release of dopamine.

This ‘feel good’ hormone has been linked with developing really negative neural pathways as we want more and more of this pleasure. It’s one of the reasons why mental disease is increasing and overall satisfaction with life is decreasing.

DELAYED GRATIFIATION

Wouldn’t it be better to train our neural pathways to become stronger? Delaying gratification helps us have time to make other choices. Less time on social media to be influenced negatively by false images. There is less loss of time to be productive, less frustration because we don’t look like a model, and more time to actually get moving and pause before making a bad food choice.

Most things in moderation are fine, but if we could just delay our first impulse, and use that as a praise worthy moment to ourselves we could develop new healthier habits that don’t see us comparing ourselves and feeling depleted but rather energised, proud and motivated to take another step tomorrow…

So instead of spending time on social media, wishing, or daydreaming. Why not delay that for even half an hour and move instead, or plan a healthy meal? Once you begin, it will seem easier as you become used to doing these small things and soon you will see bigger energy changes and as a result feel proud of who you are.

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?

Binge eating and 3 ways to interrupt this unhealthy habit

Binge eating and 3 ways to interrupt this unhealthy habit.

Is your weight creeping up with Bingeing?

Who of us doesn’t know someone that has, at some stage, partaken in Binge eating? Maybe you have tried it yourself. There are times when we want to reward ourselves, so something we have been denied may be used as a ‘comfort’ food, others may use it as some sort of self-flagellation.

Whatever the cause, eating disorders are on the rise. 4.0% of Australians have an eating disorder according to the Butterfly foundation in a 2012 study. Of this number, 47% have a Binge eating disorder, with both males and females equally having this problem.

The beauty of what I do is that, quite often, we don’t need to know how this all started, or what the precipitating cause was. Often however, such causes are realized as we go through some of the more advanced techniques. But for those of us who have experienced binge eating at odd moments or who have sugar cravings and a tendency to overindulge, this article is for you.

I am going to outline 3 very simple ways to interrupt the urge to binge eat so that you will have other options and choices. By doing these really easy things, you can prevent weight changes, mitigate the negative impacts upon your health and prevent food from taking over your life.

Why is it important to interrupt your binge eating?

There are, of course, the obvious suggestions; that binge eating causes weight fluctuations, it can affect your metabolism and lead to other unhealthy practices like throwing up after an episode or feelings of self-loathing.

However there are far more dire side effects for having an eating disorder and these can lead to people experiencing higher rates of mental disorders. It has been reported that up to 97% of these emotional problem can lead to co-morbid disorders. The most common of which are anxiety, depression, substance abuse and personality disorders (NEDC 2010, 2012).

Alongside these problems we can see cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, neurological symptoms and suicide attempts.

So it makes sense that if we interrupt the episode of bingeng before it even begins we stand to be both mentally and physically in better shape.

1. Pattern interrupt

If we can interrupt the process before a fully fledged ‘pig out’ has begun, then the chance of it continuing later is reduced. This, I know, is easier said than done. There is that little voice inside of us that is justifying; I will only have one, I will work it off later, I will have less dinner. Or maybe it’s saying, I deserve this, I work hard and need a treat, and there won’t be the chance to have this particular food/circumstance again.

This voice can be really strong and persuasive. So we need to be able to interrupt it early on. One way to do this is with a different positive internal conversation/or focus. I don’t mean doing an affirmation, but rather finding a more compelling reason to delay the binge.

For example thoughts like; I want to eat a lovely meal out later in the week, I really enjoy feeling energised. Yay I can buy that item of clothing even sooner, or won’t my friends be impressed when they notice the new me. Some sort of focus that has a goal, a measurable outcome that you can imagine instantly, and use it to interrupt the voice that wants to binge.

Positive dialogue is compelling to motivate us and if we can interrupt that ‘tempting’ conversation as soon as possible then the likelihood of eating excessively will be reduced in that moment.

 2. Use negativity to your advantage.

Occasionally we need to use a bit of negative internal dialogue to back up the positive if said desire is really strong. I try to encourage people to emote this. By that I mean to create as much emotion as possible around the negative. The stronger the feelings we can create the more intense the belief in the experience.

If you can really focus on how bad the inflammation will be if you eat a lot of sugar, or how sick you may feel and lethargic then the likely hood of wanting the food is reduced. By really investing and remembering the bloated, cramping feelings or maybe just the self-loathing experienced after your last episode of binge eating your desire to repeat this can be dramatically altered.

Have you ever burnt yourself on the stove or an iron? I bet that the next time you are handling similar equipment you are extremely careful not to repeat the experience and pain. You can probably remember the hurt and how exactly you did it. You may use a different burner, turn the hot item away from you, or make sure the surface is even more stable. This is how we learn, from experience and we have the ability to use similar strategy’s with our eating.

What did you eat, how much did you eat, why did you eat it and then how crappy did you feel after it? Were you annoyed you broke your flow of healthy eating? Did you feel the heaviness of overindulging?

If you have put these feelings and emotions with the positive interrupt above then you have really ramped up the capacity of avoid over indulging.

3.  Make it Unappealing

 The final quick interrupt is to imagine the food is really gross and disgusting. Perhaps you imagine it has been covered in flies. Yes I know this is the least appealing interrupt technique. But if your goals are to feel healthy, energetic, be in your desired weight range and the positive and negative conversations are not quite enough to stop the cravings, then this little action will amp it up even more.

As you think about putting whatever the fancy of the moment is in your mouth, I want you to imagine that it was left out in the heat and several big blowflies were sitting on it. Really invest in picturing that and how germ filled the food will be. Remind yourself how you could get really sick and what that feels like. Now notice how appealing the food is. Hopefully really UNappealing!.

Do you really want to put something so foul in your mouth?

To summarise

These 3 little hacks or pattern interruptions can be enough to stop you bingeing and make you feel more in control. By doing them regularly you get better at interrupting the urge to “pig-out”. You get better at making healthier choices and develop a healthier neural pathway or habit.

The food will not dominate your life. These hacks will give you a quick fix allowing more time and opportunity to explore any other issues that may lead you to self-sabotage your health, your weight and your wellbeing.

 

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?