Is Diet Deprivation All In Our Heads?

Deprivation is a key factor why diets don’t work. Abruptly taking away foods that you love, can lead to obsessive thoughts about the food and eventually those thoughts lead to action  and madly devouring the beloved food in a frenzied attack. In my history of dieting, I have started many diets that left me so hungry and absolutely craving something I loved to eat  because I told myself it was banned for good. It was on the ‘do not have’ list of food items or was one of those foods that you must ‘eliminate’ or ‘avoid’, if you were to succeed. Being  somewhat a perfectionist, I took that to literally mean forever and if I strayed I would of course, blame myself for failing to have the willpower to manage the diet and generally felt  very frustrated and demotivated. Thus, one diet ended and after a period of time this would eventually be followed by another diet with the misguided hope that this time I would  finally succeed in my weight loss endeavours. Continue reading Is Diet Deprivation All In Our Heads?

Mindlessly Eating My Stress Away

I sat down for dinner a couple of nights ago and half way through dinner I realized that I was shoveling food down as if there was no tomorrow. That’s just my way of saying I was eating mindlessly and oblivious to the taste, sight, smell and texture of the food. After a couple of deep breaths I started to eat more slowly so I could enjoy the experience of eating. That also gave me thinking space to reflect on what was happening and I realized that I was eating mindlessly as I was feeling frazzled after a stressful week! Furthermore, although mindful comfort eating can be a way of coping with stress, I noticed that mindless comfort eating was not very self soothing and seemed to heighten the experience of stress.

Continue reading Mindlessly Eating My Stress Away

Are You Delaying Your Dreams Because You’re Dieting To Lose Weight?

When the diet industry markets a weight loss program, they usually focus on the end result or comparisons between what the person was like before and after they went on the program. For example, they will show a ‘before’ picture of a person looking miserable, with no makeup and wearing daggy clothes with an ‘after’ picture of someone looking happy, dressed well and all made up, who has lost weight. This often comes with a testimonial from the dieter who may typically say something like “I’m feeling more energized, I can finally go to the beach and I’ve met a new man and we’re about to be married”. Continue reading Are You Delaying Your Dreams Because You’re Dieting To Lose Weight?

The Agony of Diet Deprivation

The following video is highly amusing but it does highlight what happens when you restrict your favourite foods……you spend the rest of your day in mental torture trying to convince yourself to either have your favourite food or not to have it. It’s no wonder diets rarely work! If you tell yourself you can’t have your favourite food, it automatically becomes more appealing. That’s why I ate more chocolate when on a diet than off a diet!

How to Maintain Your Health and Eating Habits In Times Of Major Life Stress

Trying to maintain your health and weight when life is throwing some major life stresses at you (such as the death of a loved one, work redundancy, relationship breakdown etc) is challenging to say the least! While some people lose weight in times of major life stress, many others tend to put on weight as comfort eating increases and physical activity decreases. Adding to this, the hormone cortisol is released in higher amounts at times of stress and this tends to slow down metabolism leading to weight gain.

2009-2010 was a period in my life where I seem to experience many major life stresses that really took a toll on my health. It would be nice to think that no further major stresses will occur in my life and I’ll go on to live happily ever after,  free from stress; however, reality seeps in and tells me that major life stresses are inevitable and will occur at some point in the future – here’s hoping it’s just not all at once!

So how do you maintain your sanity and health and when going through major life stress?

Self Care, Self Care, Self Care! A common theme I have noticed in many people when they are going through major life stress, is they tend to reduce or completely stop engaging in activities they need to do to allow themselves to sooth their distress. For example, many people stop going out with friends, or they stop eating well, or they stop exercising or stop doing things that they normally give them pleasure. Looking after yourself is important at any time and in times of major life stress it is even more essential to engage in self care. Continue reading How to Maintain Your Health and Eating Habits In Times Of Major Life Stress

Quick Tips To Manage Post-Holiday Sugar Cravings

Holiday periods are a fantastic time to relax, socialize with friends and family and indulge in your favourite pleasures. One of those pleasure, of course, being food. While many people throw caution to the wind and overindulge in their favourite foods on holiday, the post holiday period is characterized by feeling blue (as the holidays have come to an end!!!) and a struggle to get on top of sugar cravings that inevitably occur as a result of days of decadence.

So how do you get on top of sugar cravings? The following tips are just some ideas on how to get back in track.

Tip 1: Don’t beat yourself up over your indulgence!

It’s normal to overindulge while on holiday, particularly as you are not in your normal daily routine and there are generally more social events occurring at that time.   Beating yourself up generally leads to feelings of frustration, disappointment and guilt and if you tend to be an emotional eater, this will make it even harder to get on top of cravings. As the saying goes, ‘there’s no point crying over spilt milk’. Focusing on getting back on track will be a more useful exercise than focusing on what you’ve eaten while on holiday.

Continue reading Quick Tips To Manage Post-Holiday Sugar Cravings

Stirring Up Trouble

Did you know that the ‘proper’ way to stir your cup of tea is in a north-east to south-westerly direction, without touching the sides of the cup? According to today’s newspaper, this information is being provided to guests going to the upcoming royal nuptials. As the Royal Wedding nears, much focus is being placed on having appropriate social mannerisms and etiquette classes have gained in popularity. Continue reading Stirring Up Trouble

How To Stop Unhelpful Thoughts About Health

I love using motivational or pertinent quotes to inspire me to continue to improve my health. One of my favourites is the Nike slogan “Just do it”. It’s a handy one to tell myself when I start having unhelpful thoughts such as “I’m too tired to exercise”, “I don’t have time to look after my health”, or “It won’t make a difference to my health.”

These unhelpful thoughts are very powerful in creating inertia and keeping me stuck in unhealthy eating and exercise (or lack of exercise) habits. That’s where changing mindset or attitude is of fundamental significance in achieving health goals. It amazes me that the role psychology plays in assisting people to change their eating and exercise habits is minimally incorporated into the majority of health and weight management programs. Continue reading How To Stop Unhelpful Thoughts About Health

Do I seriously have to eat six small meals per day?

One of the many reasons why diets may fail people is due to the number of ‘rules’ one must follow for the diet to work. Some of these rules come with high expectations for the ‘dieter’ to change habits of a life time. While understandably if you want to reach a healthy weight, some habits require changing, if those new habits are not consistent with your belief system, personal preferences or require a dramatic change in lifestyle it can be very hard to successfully follow these dietary rules through.

An example of this is that some diets and weight loss advisors focus on the dieter having six small meals per day. Personally, one of my health obstacles has been in making sure I am sufficiently organized and get the time to make three nutritious meals per day. Having always eaten three meals per day I have absolutely no desire in changing this dietary regime. Where would I get the time to make six nutritious meals per day, when three is hard enough???? Furthermore, finding the time and opportunity to eat six times a day would not really be that easy. I have other commitments in my life, such as work, that requires me to focus my concentration on other activities besides consuming food. Continue reading Do I seriously have to eat six small meals per day?