Apparently, joining the corporate weight loss challenge, or announcing on your Facebook and Twitter feeds that you’re trying to drop a few pounds will sabotage your sexy. It’s an interesting revelation, as I myself tend to be a doer. Running a site like this, I probably should let folks in on the daily process, but I do think once you ink a thought, it holds you accountable in ways you may not be prepared for.
Take yesterday for instance. I had a great ride around Brooklyn–mostly for cost-effective commute purposes, admittedly, and also because I can get just about anywhere faster on my bike over the bus and sometimes the train. The health benefits are a plus, I enjoy it, and my legs are looking better than I expected.
But then I got hungry. Instead of eating a salad like one would expect, I headed to KFC and ordered a crispy strip combo with potato wedges (and a Diet Pepsi, of course). It’d been a while, and I just wanted to eat something that tasted good even if it’ll slowly kill me. I don’t really want to have to answer questions, or have a discussion as to why I’m eating fast food when I’m watching my weight. Sure we talk about it here, but in my daily life, folks aren’t really in on this conversation. Just do what you have to do, and STFU about it.
There are a number of ways to avoid this phenomenon.
“One is simple — you can keep your mouth shut,” Gollwitzer says. “Another one is to form different kinds of intentions, not only say what you want to do but also when, where and how you want to do it.”
Such planning helps create situational action control, he explains. When you find yourself at the gym before work, the situation you mentally mapped out controls your behavior instead of your intention to exercise more.
The third way, Gollwitzer says, is to tell only one or two people who hold power over you (metaphorically) so that they help you stick to your intentions. [SOURCE]
I’m about to head to Groupon to search for deals on fitness classes, but here are some articles to occupy you in the meantime:
How Exercise Can Strengthen the Brain [NYT]
How to Fend off Food Cravings [EH]
11 Foods for Healthy Bones [Health]
Train Better: 10 Exercise Machines to Avoid [WH]
Looking for a Fitness Buddy? Get a Dog [Reuters]
Diet and Depression: Can Food Help Fight the Blues? [ABC.au]
A new study shows that if you reach for snacks with your weaker, less dominant hand, you’ll snack up to 30% less. “But I’m ambidextrous!” you say. Then this study isn’t for you!
The researchers conducted the study using fresh and week-old (ew) popcorn. The purpose was to measure how automatic snacking is for some people. Unfortunately, they found that some people need to snack so badly, they’ll even eat something stale or nasty to satisfy their cravings for—anything??
Check the rest out:
People who snacked using their nondominant hands reduced about 30% of their total intake, compared with those using their dominant hands, according to the study, which was published online in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“If people disrupt the physical sequence of action that is in automatic eating, that’s one way to gain some control,” said David Neal, who had been an assistant professor in psychology at USC at the time of the study. Since then, he has left to start his own company, Empirica Research.
More on the popcorn…
For the study, Neal and his colleagues gave each participant a bag of popcorn – some were stale popcorn (popped a week ago), and others were fresh (popped less than an hour ago).
They sat in a dark movie theater and watched several trailers while they were within convenient reach of their popcorn bags. In questionnaires, they indicated whether they habitually ate popcorn in the movie theaters or not.
After the participants left, researchers weighed the popcorn bags. They found that the people who indicated that they regularly ate popcorn during a movie screening ate about 63% of the popcorn bag – regardless of whether it was stale or fresh.
“If you are the sort of person who bought and ate popcorn a lot in the past, as long as you’re in the environment, you continue to eat the food even when it’s stale and horrible,” Neil said.
Being in the dark movie theater environment with popcorn at easy access seemed to trigger an automatic eating habit, he said.
“People believe their eating is controlled by internal preferences,” he said. “We think how much we eat is guided by how hungry we are or taste of the food options. But in reality, that’s not the case. The environment plays a big role.”
So the researchers altered the environment. Instead of a movie theater, they set up a dark meeting room with music videos projected on a screen with popcorn at the ready. The participants didn’t eat as much popcorn when their environment changed.
For the final study, they asked participants to use their nondominant hand if they chose to eat the popcorn inside a movie theater.
The amount of stale popcorn eaten by habitual popcorn lovers dropped about 30%. The amount of fresh popcorn eaten also dropped, but the difference was slight.
“It’s inconvenient and disruptive to eat with the nondominant hand, but that effect is much stronger when the food is horrible,” Neil said. “It suggests it’s not just inconvenience. It makes you think, ‘Is there a value of what I’m doing? Does this taste good? Am I hungry?’ If the answer is no, you stop eating.”
The researchers borrowed this trick from neuroimaging studies that have shown that people’s habits are disrupted when they’re asked to perform tasks using their nondominant hand. [SOURCE]
Whenever I watch those episodes of Maury where these morbidly obese children are rolling around the stage chewing on Fruit Loops and furniture, I wonder where these parents lost their power. Since when can two and three-year-olds tell you what they are and aren’t going to eat? As a parent, it’s your responsibility to introduce the appropriate foods to your children.
Is having an obese kid child abuse though? Should these children be taken away from their parents? It’s a slippery slope. Removing them from their homes and forcing them to eat better foods could also lead them to associate healthy eating with separation from their families.
The only reasonable solution in my opinion would be to educate the parents of the obese about the benefits of a healthy diet, and how to prepare tasty, yet nutritious meals. Snatching those big ol’ kids out of their custody and stuffing carrots in their mouths, though? I don’t think so.
Should parents of extremely obese children lose custody for not controlling their kids’ weight? A provocative commentary in one of the nation’s most distinguished medical journals argues yes, and its authors are joining a quiet chorus of advocates who say the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.
It has happened a few times in the U.S., and the opinion piece in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association says putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.
Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, said the point isn’t to blame parents, but rather to act in children’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide.
State intervention “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting,” said Ludwig, who wrote the article with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
“Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,” Murtagh said.
But University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan said he worries that the debate risks putting too much blame on parents. Obese children are victims of advertising, marketing, peer pressure and bullying — things a parent can’t control, he said.
“If you’re going to change a child’s weight, you’re going to have to change all of them,” Caplan said.
Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese. Most are not in imminent danger, Ludwig said. But some have obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems that could kill them by age 30. It is these kids for whom state intervention, including education, parent training, and temporary protective custody in the most extreme cases, should be considered, Ludwig said.
While some doctors promote weight-loss surgery for severely obese teens, Ludwig said it hasn’t been used for very long in adolescents and can have serious, sometimes life-threatening complications.
“We don’t know the long-term safety and effectiveness of these procedures done at an early age,” he said.
Ludwig said he starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic several years ago. Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
“Out of medical concern, the state placed this girl in foster care, where she simply received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate physical activity,” he said. After a year, she lost 130 pounds. Though she is still obese, her diabetes and apnea disappeared; she remains in foster care, he said.
In a commentary in the medical journal BMJ last year, London pediatrician Dr. Russell Viner and colleagues said obesity was a factor in several child protection cases in Britain. They argued that child protection services should be considered if parents are neglectful or actively reject efforts to control an extremely obese child’s weight. [SOURCE]
So you’ve finally hit your goal weight, and you look amazing! What now?
While you’re well aware of what type of commitment it takes to reach your goal, it also takes a huge commitment to stay there.
A new study shows that using “rewards” and “reminders” can help you maintain your weight loss.
The researchers found two techniques that helped with weight maintenance (but not necessarily weight loss): reminding yourself why you need to control your weight, and rewarding yourself for sticking to a diet and exercise plan. [SOURCE]
Here are some excellent tips via FitSugar:
Reward yourself. Scheduling rewards when you are maintaining weight loss is different than when you are losing weight. Going shopping for a cute outfit once you’ve reached a weight-loss milestone, for example, is easy to justify, but how do you reward yourself for just following your normal lifestyle routine? Don’t forget that regularly rewarding yourself for maintaining your fitness regimen is important. Find a way to reward yourself if you hit your target number of workouts for the week or tie in something you love with your exercise plan. Try only allowing yourself to watch mindless TV during or after a workout, for example, or scheduling a fun weekend activity after a long week of gym sessions to help keep you motivated.
Remind yourself. Once you hit your goal weight, it can be easy to think that a splurge is in order. But the study found that those who reminded themselves about why they needed to control their weight were more successful in keeping it off. While you shouldn’t have to forgo all indulgences in order to stay at your goal weight, try reminding yourself of the consequences of straying off track before ordering the most unhealthy thing on the menu or skipping a run in favor of couch time.
Americans have gotten a lot of flack over the years for being supersized, but our high rates of obesity may not be for the reasons we thought after all.
Sure we eat too much, but it’s not how much we’re eating in one sitting, it’s what we’re eating throughout the day.
According to a new study published by Health.com, portion control isn’t the main reason Americans are overweight. Much of our weight gain can be blamed on snacking.
Within the timeframe the study was conducted, there was a 12% increase in portion size, versus a 29% increase in the number of snacks we consume.
In the mid-2000s, government surveys show, the average American adult ate about 2,375 calories per day, nearly one-third more than he (or she) did in the late 1970s. What accounts for all those added calories?
According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day. Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average — a 29% increase. [SOURCE]
Doctors interviewed blame advertisements and the increased availability of snack foods for the problem.
For clarity, the snacks the doctors are talking about aren’t fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s the potato chips, candy bars, cookies, etc. that are doing us in. I’ve never really been a fan of chocolate or potato chips, so this has never been my issue. But there’s a reason I don’t keep Golden Oreos and Spree candies in the house!
A big welcome to all of our new friends visiting us from HelloBeautiful.com!
Today’s article is about making the best decisions when drinking alcoholic beverages. Ideally, none of us should be drinking at all, but assuming you’re 21+ and enjoy having a drink or two, we all know that’s not always realistic!
For those of us who enjoy a good cocktail, it can be difficult to avoid alcohol in social situations. Many events are centered around drinking, so unless you have the willpower, it’s unrealistic to attend a party and expect to sip water and diet soda all night. Moderation is definitely the key, but below are a few smarter suggestions should you choose to imbibe:
Many of us have heard of the heart healthy benefits of red wine, but according to the National Cancer Institute the antioxidants in red wine may actually aid in cancer prevention! The NCI also notes that the over-consumption of alcohol can actually increase the risk of cancer, so this isn’t a license to guzzle a glass with every meal. The American Heart Association recommends no more than two glasses a day for men, and no more than one glass a day for women.
Hats off to natural foods chef Bethenny Frankel (Bethenny Ever After) for branding a practical 100 calorie margarita recipe. The Skinnygirl™ Margarita can be made at home, or purchased in stores.
If you can’t locate a bottle in your area, here is the recipe straight from her website:
2 oz of Clear Premium Tequila (count 1, 2 while you pour, no need for measuring)
Tiny splash of Orange Liquor
Juice of 4 Fresh Lime Wedges
The great thing about vodka is that it has no carbs. The bad thing about it, is it’s still alcohol, and there’s nothing beneficial about consuming the empty calories. But if you must have a drink or two while out, a classic martini is less than 200 calories. My personal favorite though is vodka with freshly squeezed limes, and for a mixer try the vodka with freshly squeezed limes and Sprite Zero or Diet 7Up.
To keep yourself from getting too inebriated, you should sip—not slam your drinks, and alternate each cocktail with a glass of water. Cheers!
I’m a strong proponent of not depriving yourself of the things that you enjoy. I’m not going to tell anyone to abstain from the mac n’ cheese & cornbread tonight. (Hell, I’m not.) But don’t show up to Christmas dinner behaving like you’re eating for an army!
Holiday dinners are generally pretty guiltless for me, b/c I always keep it at one plate. Yes, one plate! I don’t pile it a foot high, and I never take home leftovers. Of course this is almost always interpreted as an insult to the chef, but I’m not gonna pack on the extra pounds over your grandma’s secret recipe.
Don’t let these cooks sabotage your waistline!!
Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!