Eating Disorders

How To Keep Comfort Eating Under Control

How To Keep Comfort Eating Under ControlHow To Keep Comfort Eating Under Control by by Sandra Prior

We've been fed a lot of research in recent years showing that we eat for all sorts of bad reasons - from boredom, depression and loneliness to anything we consider a celebration. The only good reason to eat, is feeling hungry. However, nutrition experts are acknowledging that emotional eating isn't all that bad. To crave comforting foods when we have negative feelings can help us cope.

It is the norm in our society to mark special occasions with food. Few of us have ever had a slice of cake at a colleague's birthday party because we needed the nourishment. You can give yourself permission to eat just because you're sad or happy, or because it feels good, but you need to do it with restraint.

You don't have to deny yourself comfort food, as long as you don't overindulge. It's easier to exercise this kind of moderation if you are aware of what you're doing and why.

Don't Crumble

If you use food to cheer yourself up, be aware that's what you're doing. Treating yourself to a few chocolate cookies with your coffee after a tough meeting is fine if you realize that it is in fact a treat - and so you can stop before you've eaten so many you feel utterly miserable again.

Unless it's controlled, eating as a way of rewarding yourself quickly becomes a way of punishment yourself - adding self disgust, weight issues and a bloated stomach to the worries you were trying to alleviate. Identifying the underlying emotion can also help by giving you ideas for alternative coping tactics. Do you reach for those chocolate biscuits when you're bored? Lonely? Anxious? Keep a record of the times you eat for comfort and your feelings at the time. Once you uncover your eating patterns, you can control them by finding constructive ways to deal with your problems, such as talking about them. Visit dietitians or psychologists if you need help with the process.

What's Really on your Plate?

Psychologists say emotional eaters often chide themselves for lacking willpower when what they really lack is self awareness. Getting to know what your emotional eating triggers are will help you see that it's more than the sight of a delicious cream cake that weakens your healthy eating resolve. Maybe it's really depression - and dealing with that will increase your chances of sticking to a good diet.

There's a physical reaction, too, that gives those cream cakes a hold over you. When someone is feeling bad for whatever reason, the body reacts by trying to produce more serotonin - the brain's natural feel good hormone. Because carbohydrates increase the level of serotonin, your body craves them as a short cut to restoring your emotional equilibrium.

Hidden Ingredients

Emotional eating habits can usually be traced back to childhood. Parents often use food or sweets as rewards, which conditions people into thinking of them as nurturing, comforting and pleasurable. Children are often given treats to help them get through something unpleasant. Knowing what you're really looking for may stop you expecting it from food.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/How-To-Keep-Comfort-Eating-Under-Control/154812


What's So Comforting About Comfort Food?

What's So Comforting About Comfort Food?

What's So Comforting About Comfort Food?
By Stephen G John

Whether you've just been dumped or had another tiff with your boss at work, nothing makes you feel better than comfort food (and maybe a little wine). For decades, scientists have bent over backwards trying to come up with distinct differences between foods that affect your brain chemistry and foods that make you feel better.

The foods that belong to the latter group are known as comfort foods. While there are foods that make us happy by affecting our physiology (for example, chocolate can produce phenylethylamine, otherwise known as the love drug that is very instrumental in helping you fall in love), comfort foods make us happy on a psychological level (and on a physical level too if that girth around our waist is any indication.)

It is easy to see why comfort foods are something we can't do without in our lives. For one, they are reminders of happier times, particularly our childhood. When we eat cupcakes for example, we are reminded of happy family occasions in the past or the food itself is a tangible reminder of our youth so we remember how it felt like to be carefree.

Comfort foods can also be associated with a specific loved one: For example, if you ate mac and cheese with your father when you were young and considered it the ultimate bonding moment with him, chances are you'll always crave a bowl of mac and cheese whenever you feel the need to be close to someone who is far away or long gone. This various triggers make comfort foods specific to individuals because we all have different memories.

Among other things, comfort foods also help us bond with friends and family because of the shared memories. You know what they say about how the food tastes better when you love the company you're sharing it with.

Studies done on how comfort foods as well, show that they affect both men and women differently. Females tended to reach for sweet and sugary foods like ice cream while males tended to go for savory foods like steak and potatoes. The study also showed that men tend to see comfort foods as a reward while women tend to feel guilty after indulging in their favorites.

If any of you watched Ratatouille, you'll remember that scene where the food critic took a bite out of the ratatouille that was served to him and it immediately triggered a long-forgotten memory of how his mother served him the same dish when he had a bad day at school and how he felt better after just one bite. As for women, this guilt they feel may actually be good because regular intake of comfort foods in response to stress, which women are prone to doing often can be unhealthy so the guilt basically prevents them from bingeing again.

Talking of comfort foods, what exactly are those that people love to imbibe when they're feeling down in the dumps or in despair because life can be too hard? Pizza for one, is on the top of almost everyone's list, especially one wherein the dough was left to rise for two days and rolled out with a wine bottle before being soaked in special, homemade sauce. Next on the list is macaroni and cheese which has become so versatile you can get them in all kinds and still feel like you've been wrapped in a warm blanket during the winter. In the sweets department, there's ice cream (particularly chocolate and vanilla sprinkled with mint chips) and chocolate cake.

And lastly, there's also your burritos and Southern fried chicken and mashed potatoes. But since most people can't get enough of pasta, you can also include in this list spaghetti with red sauce, chicken pot pie and puddings. Basically anything with carbs and fat are high on the list because carbs increase your serotonin levels and fat which is actually the reason why you feel "comforted."

It's always good to know that when you feel blue, you can always count on a cupcake or two. For great comfort food recipes, you can visit FoodPlus here and feel better fast.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Stephen_G_John/1361639
http://EzineArticles.com/?Whats-So-Comforting-About-Comfort-Food?&id=8390871


Early to Bed Adds Up to Good Health

by

Michelle Stewart

Now when I started this article the other day it was late---too late to chat about sleep deprivation. I just couldn't give advice when I was absolutely doing the opposite. I went to bed. In what seemed like a few minutes I was awakened. It was not the alarm but a phone call at 4 a.m. from a family member locked out of their house!! How ironic is that? I go to bed to get some sleep and end up awake and on the road to take a set of house keys to someone. It was probably sleep deprivation that caused her to forget the keys.

How much sleep do we need?

The amount of sleep varies, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours for most adults. Now zzzs like anything else can vary based on individuals; some people can manage on six hours while others may need ten hours. Sleep needs are also affected by basal sleep, the amount of sleep your body regularly needs for optimum performance and sleep debt which is the accumulated amount of sleep lost due to poor sleep habits, illness or other factors affecting the quality of sleep.

Now you know I'm all about living the well-being lifestyle and cutting back on sleep is not a good thing. Sleeping hours are needed for the body to rest and rejuvenate. Affects of sleep deprivation can include: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, headaches, lack of attention, delayed motor skills.

Obesity: Research indicates that people who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of becoming obese. The hormones that influence appetite are thrown out of balance; leptin controls hunger and it decreases, which makes you feel hungrier. Ghrelin the hormone produced by fat cells tells the body you need more fat calories, which creates cravings for foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates. This hormonal imbalance sets the stage for late-night binges on snacks that add up to a heavier weight.

People with poor sleep habits are tired and they often magnify the problem when they avoid or eliminate physical exercise. Regular exercise helps reduce stress, burns off calories and increases energy.

Heart Disease

Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones, which long-term are not good for the heart. Elevated stress hormones can damage blood vessels, leading to elevated or high blood pressure and heart disease.

Diabetes

This too can be a health challenge affected by lack of sleep. Diabetes has long been linked to obesity and being overweight. The fact that people may weigh more than recommended for their body type can be a predictor of the development of Type 2 Diabetes.

Headaches

This ailment falls into the discomfort that people identify as "feeling bad" when they are sleep deprived. There is also research indicating that lack of sleep can trigger headaches in predisposed individuals.

Cognition and Motor Skills

Less than the recommended amount of sleep affects cognitive processes--impaired attention, alertness, ability to concentrate, solve problems and use good judgment. Sleep deprivation can also impair motor skills and hand-eye coordination. In addition during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in "consolidating" memories in the mind. When you don't get enough sleep, it can affect your ability to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.

In our overscheduled days, we may consider a good night's sleep a luxury; that is a myth. Sleep is essential and in order to stay healthy we have to make it a priority.

Take Away: Sleep is essential for well-being. Turn off the television, mobile gadgets, personal computers and all those things that are too stimulating when it is time to turn out the lights.

Michelle J. Stewart is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator better known as the Nutrition Planner who has been leading the way to a healthier you for more than 25 years. Michelle is a Certified Wellness Coach whose motto is "EAT LESS MOVE MORE". She is a consultant for the food and beverage industry and offers expertise in corporate wellness, weight loss surgery, menu and product development. All opinions expressed are her own. Sign up for Michelle's Free Report 10 Weight Loss Tips for Life when you visit http://thenutritionplanner.com


Are You a Mindless Eater? Tips For Mindful Eating to Easily Eat Less

Are You a Mindless Eater? Tips For Mindful Eating to Easily Eat Less

Submitted by: Lynda Enright

Do you eat only when you are hungry, or do you find yourself mindlessly eating throughout your day? Do you struggle to lose weight and keep it off? Being mindful is not only good for your overall health, it is good for a healthy diet and for weight loss.

What is Mindless Eating?

The phrase "mindless eating" refers to the finding that people make on average 250 decisions each day about food. As you would expect that is remarkably more than we are aware of.

Why do we eat mindlessly?

Mindless eating will occur for many reasons. It is common today for individuals to eat at their desk, in their car or at a multitude of different events. When you eat when participating in another activity you aren't paying attention to the food, but more likely are paying attention to the activity. Simply having a conversation at the dinner table may be a distraction that creates overeating for you. That, of course, is a wonderful part of meal time - enjoying time with family and friends - but understanding the mindless eating that may be occurring will help you to increase your mindfulness for your good health and for your waistline.

Mindful Eating Strategies.

1. Listen to your hunger.

Before you begin eating rank your hunger on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being not hungry at all and 5 being so hungry you could eat the couch. Then decide if you still want to eat.

When you are eating put your fork down between bites to slow down the rate at which you eat. Stop every few minutes and think about how you are feeling. Do you still feel physical hunger? Are you starting to feel full? A good goal is to stop eating when you feel 80% full, not 120% full.

2. Identify triggers to overeating.

Who are the people and what are the places, situations, thoughts or emotions that tend to lead to overeating?

You are much more likely to overeat when the triggers are high. The first step is to identify what are your triggers. Then be prepared with a distraction or substitution when you expect to be faced with a trigger. For example, if you overeat when you get tired then after a poor night's sleep plan for an evening walk with a friend to prevent the eating in front of the TV that may occur otherwise. Or when going to an event that may be a trigger place or situation for you, make sure to eat a good meal before and bring with you a delicious and nutritious snack option. Being mindful by being prepared when a trigger occurs will help you to eat less and lose weight.

3. Choose foods that are satisfying.

Do you prepare food that is interesting and delicious? Or do you throw something from a box into the microwave to heat? If you enjoy your food you will be more likely to pay attention and be mindful of the meal. Plan meals so you look forward to food and can experience pleasure from the taste, smell and texture of each bite.

4. Eat foods that will nourish your body.

Food cravings will diminish and you will be less likely to overeat when your body is well nourished. If your diet is highly processed you may be lacking important nutrients for good health and weight loss. Create a plan filled with real foods and rich in nutrients that will help you to lose weight and have your best health.

About the Author: Lynda Enright, MS, RD, CLT is certified as a Wellness Coach and LEAP Therapist who partners with women who want to look and feel amazing by helping them lose weight and reduce inflammation which can cause fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, congestion, brain fog or achy joints. For FREE meal planning ideas to help you eat well, lose weight and reduce inflammation - click here http://www.bewellconsulting.com/10-meals-in-a-bag to get Ten Meals In A Bag

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A Helpful Tool For People Searching For Clinical Research Trials

by

Joseph

Sometimes the search for a good doctor can be quite nerve wracking even under the best of circumstances, but the emotional burden becomes even greater when searching for doctors who are participating in clinical trials.

Trial Reach and CureClick know this; so they developed a tool which makes the search for clinical research trials a bit easier.

Last July CureClick and Trial Reach asked if I would like to help out with this task; since I'm a CureClick Ambassador I was happy to help.

At this very moment you can use the Trial Reach Clinical Trials Search Tool that I embedded in the sidebar of Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM).

The clinical trials search tool is absolutely amazing! The tool is designed so that users can search for any clinical trial for any condition. Then the tool provides relevant results based on the user answering a few questions. Now you can search for clinical trials that best fit your needs.

Although I receive a small one time payment for installing the Trial Reach Clinical Trials Search Tool on Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM), the potential benefit to all of you is what inspired me to install it on this website. So, please take the time to use it. And tell all of your family and friends about it, too!

To learn more about my relationship with CureClick and why I'm talking about clinical trials, please click on this link.

curec.lk/1Gb4toG

 

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Food Addiction Can Lead to Death

Food Addiction Can Lead to Death

Food Addiction Can Lead to Death

By: Paul Wilson

Food has been described as ambrosia and the elixir if life. For some, eating is a biological necessity for others it is a passion that can turn into an obsession. Experts define food addiction to be a disorder where the addict is preoccupied with food, the availability of food, and the pleasure of eating. There are three recognized addictions:

  • Overeating, where the addict has no control over the amount or the number of times he eats. The person has no concept of being overweight or the servings a person must eat normally. Being an overeater, the addict will indulge in uncontrolled eating binges. Being obese, the addict will be prone to hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis, and cancer.

     

  • Bulimisa Nervosa, where the addict binges and then tries to maintain weight by vomiting, using laxatives, excessive exercise, or even fasting. Such addicts will develop dental problems like thinning of enamel, excessive number of cavities, swollen salivary glands, fluid and electrolyte disturbances, as well as calluses and scars.

     

  • Anorexia Nervosa, where the addict fears weight gain and so starves himself. Obsessed with weight gain and body shape anorexics will exhibit obsessive behaviors in maintaining themselves. In the process, they develop problems like disruption of menstrual cycle, emancipation, hair loss, unhealthy skin pallor, and a lack or fluids.

     

The most common health problems are obesity, alcoholism, diabetes, bulimia, food allergies, and food intolerance.

The signs that you are addicted to food are:

  • Uncontrolled cravings for particular foods. Some are addicted to sweets, others to soft drinks, yet others to coffee.
  • Continuous or frequent eating. No fixed meal times an addict will eat throughout the day.
  • Sharpened hunger on consumption of specific foods.
  • Anxiety attacks, feelings of nervousness, low sugar, a headache, stomach gripes and grumbles.
  • Withdrawal symptoms.
  • Fatigue.
  • Extreme irritations.
  • Intolerance to foods.
  • Feelings of guilt at having eaten.

The very cornerstones to curing the addiction are to:

  • Identify and avoid what are known to be trigger foods or drinks.
  • Put into practice a diet that is nutrient rich, healthy, and helps maintain or loose weight.
  • Make lifestyle changes. Adopt a healthier lifestyle and include plenty of fresh air as well as exercise.
  • Focus on personal and spiritual development. Seek inner peace, calm, and joy. Practice meditation and deep breathing.
  • Plan to have activity filled days to distract the mind from food.

Even if you have a niggling doubt that you may be a food addict you must seek help. Nip the problem in the bud before it grows into something unmanageable and serious. You must consult a nutritionist, doctor, psychologist, or an eating addiction center or specialist. There are programs run by groups like Overeaters Anonymous that run 12-step programs which are extremely beneficial.

 

Author Bio
Paul Wilson is a freelance writer for www.1888Discuss.com/food/, the premier REVENUE SHARING discussion forum for Food Forum, including topics on all about food, food network, food recipe, health food, food gift, different food and more. His article profile can be found at the premier Food Article Submission Directory www.1888Articles.com/food-and-drink-articles-13.html

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com - Free Website Content


How to Keep Comfort Eating Under Control

How to Keep Comfort Eating Under Control

Submitted by: Sandra Prior

We’ve been fed a lot of research in recent years showing that we eat for all sorts of bad reasons – from boredom, depression and loneliness to anything we consider a celebration. The only good reason to eat, is feeling hungry. However, nutrition experts are acknowledging that emotional eating isn’t all that bad. To crave comforting foods when we have negative feelings can help us cope.

It is the norm in our society to mark special occasions with food. Few of us have ever had a slice of cake at a colleague’s birthday party because we needed the nourishment. You can give yourself permission to eat just because you’re sad or happy, or because it feels good, but you need to do it with restraint.

You don’t have to deny yourself comfort food, as long as you don’t overindulge. It’s easier to exercise this kind of moderation if you are aware of what you’re doing and why.

Don’t Crumble

If you use food to cheer yourself up, be aware that’s what you’re doing. Treating yourself to a few chocolate cookies with your coffee after a tough meeting is fine if you realize that it is in fact a treat – and so you can stop before you’ve eaten so many you feel utterly miserable again.

Unless it’s controlled, eating as a way of rewarding yourself quickly becomes a way of punishment yourself – adding self disgust, weight issues and a bloated stomach to the worries you were trying to alleviate. Identifying the underlying emotion can also help by giving you ideas for alternative coping tactics. Do you reach for those chocolate biscuits when you’re bored? Lonely? Anxious? Keep a record of the times you eat for comfort and your feelings at the time. Once you uncover your eating patterns, you can control them by finding constructive ways to deal with your problems, such as talking about them. Visit dietitians or psychologists if you need help with the process.

What’s Really on your Plate?

Psychologists say emotional eaters often chide themselves for lacking willpower when what they really lack is self awareness. Getting to know what your emotional eating triggers are will help you see that it’s more than the sight of a delicious cream cake that weakens your healthy eating resolve. Maybe it’s really depression – and dealing with that will increase your chances of sticking to a good diet.

There’s a physical reaction, too, that gives those cream cakes a hold over you. When someone is feeling bad for whatever reason, the body reacts by trying to produce more serotonin – the brain’s natural feel good hormone. Because carbohydrates increase the level of serotonin, your body craves them as a short cut to restoring your emotional equilibrium.

Hidden Ingredients

Emotional eating habits can usually be traced back to childhood. Parents often use food or sweets as rewards, which conditions people into thinking of them as nurturing, comforting and pleasurable. Children are often given treats to help them get through something unpleasant. Knowing what you’re really looking for may stop you expecting it from food.

About the Author: Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu

Source: www.isnare.com
Permanent Link: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=275784&ca=Wellness%2C+Fitness+and+Diet


4 Survival Strategies To Handle Your Worst Food Cravings

4 Survival Strategies To Handle Your Worst Food Cravings

Submitted by: Tera Warner

We’ve all been through the tortures of cravings. Just thinking about that “forbidden” food can send a wave of urgency pulsing through us that can seem stronger than ourselves. If you’ve ever heard the expression:

“What you resist persists”

…then you know that resistance is futile, and the more you try to avoid what you’re craving, the more it impinges itself upon you.

For anyone trying to implement new lifestyle choices, handling cravings can feel like it requires either superhero strength or some kind of magic. Here are a few solutions that just might do the trick when cravings strike.

Before we even begin to address solutions for stubborn cravings, let’s start by addressing the fact that some foods are ADDICTIVE -- just flat out physiologically addictive. When you’re trying to remove these foods from your diet, it may require a bit more gusto to get through the process.

The most common addictive foods are:

Coffee
Cheese
Chocolate
Bread and Grain products (especially wheat)
Meat

If these are the foods you’re craving, understand that half the battle is going to be physiological. Take heart! The following suggestions and tips will help you to kick these habit forming foods, but it can be helpful to be aware of the extra challenge that may be involved in breaking free.

Let’s look at the most common cravings and some possible solutions for them!

1- “I’m craving SALT!”

There is nothing quite as irresistible as salt. Who came up with the idea? I’d like to know. It is beyond me that even though every sailor knows that if you drink sea water you’re as good as dead, we’ve decided somewhere along the way, that it would be a great idea to dehydrate sea water and sprinkle the end product all over our food.

I don’t believe salt has any place in a healthy diet, and for some of us, it’s down right addictive.

If you struggle with salt cravings, here are some recommendations:

Snack on celery sticks or succulent tomatoes, both of which are naturally very high in sodium. Try making yourself a satisfying delicious raw soup of blended tomatoes and celery.

Also, be sure that you’re getting enough minerals in your diet. Minerals are best provided in greens. Simply increasing the volume of greens in your diet may be enough to get rid of salty cravings. You can also easily and enjoyably increase your mineral intake by choosing to eat a broad selection of crunchy vegetables.

2 –“I’m craving SWEETS!”

If you’ve got a regular hankering for sugar, then chances are that you’re not getting enough calories in your daily diet. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough calories is to eat fruit. If you’re getting enough fresh fruit, there’s no reason you should be suffering from sugar cravings. Fresh fruits are the best way to meet your caloric needs.

Everyone is responsible for observing the reactions in their body, but as long as you’re getting sufficient greens, and avoiding an excess of fat in your diet, there is no reason to have any fear of fruit or fruit sugars. Nature wouldn’t have made them so gorgeous and tasty if they weren’t meant to be enjoyed.

3 - “I’m craving PROTEIN!”

If it’s protein you’re looking for then your best bet is definitely going to be found in crispy, fresh greens and sprouts. Since sprouts are up to 35% protein and greens like spinach are between 40 and 50% protein, increasing the quantity and quality of greens in your diet will more than adequately meet your ongoing protein needs.

Green smoothies are a recommended way of consuming sufficient greens. Just take your favorite fruit smoothie and add any of the following: kale, chard (take out the stalk part), spinach, lettuce, parsley, mint or celery.

Contrary to popular belief there is absolutely no problem mixing these leafy greens (or celery) with fruit.

4 - “I’m craving FAT!”

If you’re craving fat in the form of nuts, avocado, etc., then chances are that you’ve simply been eating too much of them.

One of the first things that happens to people who overeat fat is more cravings for fat. This can be true for anything to a certain degree, but holds especially true in the case of fats.
To help you kick the fat habit, be sure that you’re getting enough calories, and include more green smoothies in your diet.

Here are a few other reasons that you may be struggling with cravings and what to do about them:

Insufficient Calories and Under-eating

If you’ve been transitioning yourself to eat a more raw food diet, and find yourself running into regular cravings (every few days) then the culprit may simply be that you are not getting enough calories from your raw food diet.

If you have a tendency to under-eat on calories, then you do risk running into cravings for cooked foods simply because your body is looking to refuel from the most efficient source it can get. (Efficient in the sense of high concentration of calories per bite.)

To be sure you’re getting enough calories, try using a free online service such as www.fitday.com.

Are you thirsty?

While it’s true the raw food diet has a much higher quotient of water naturally occurring in its foods, when the cravings strike, grab a glass of water and you may be surprised to see you were actually just thirsty. This can be especially true in the early days of a new raw food regimen when the body is hard at work clearing out the remains of your previous eating habits.

Boredom Breeds Fridge Invasions

If you find yourself spending too much time staring into the fridge between meals, try getting more active and involved in something you love. Get out, get fit, and get productive. When you are actively engaged in life you will feel better and be less attracted to the foods that drain your energy or cause you to feel unwell!

Above all, remember that the spirit with which you enjoy your food affects EVERYTHING. If you do give in to cravings, well, do it with extreme gratitude and appreciation for every bite. Make it a celebration and leave guilt at the door. Making anything a “forbidden” food only increases our attraction to it. Continue to choose the foods that nourish you the most and you’ll be well on your way to greater health and energy.

About the Author: Want to use this article in your e-zine or website? You can, as long as you include the following juicy bits: Writer and online entrepreneur Tera Warner, is co-creator of “The Raw Divas.” She and her co-diva, Amy De Wolfe, have created the sassiest (and the ONLY) online raw food resource for WOMEN! Register today for their FREE 7 Day Diva Detox www.TheRawDivas.com and watch the pounds and toxins melt away. Sign up for their free newsletter: Health In High Heels loaded with inspiration, recipes and support for women passionate about health and LIFE!

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Are You Afraid to Eat That?

Are You Afraid to Eat That?

Are You Afraid to Eat That?
By Monika Klein

You may have gotten to the point where you just don't know what the best thing for you to eat really is. There are so many food philosophies; yes I call them philosophies, out there that you're just not sure where to turn for the best advice.

Well, if you aren't working with a professional right at the moment, figuring it out on your own could be a challenge. You wonder "how much protein is actually healthy for me?" You ask: "Doesn't high protein and especially saturated fat cause heart disease?" "Wouldn't a vegetarian or even a vegan diet a la "Forks over Knives" method work the best for me?" you inquire. "How about all the genetically modified stuff out there - how do I know if my family's safe?" you ask. And if you're gluten free you want to know "What can I have instead of gluten?" So many questions and paths to entertain.

Everyone is unique. My husband has Kidney Disease and can't eat greens, nuts, cheese, most fruits, potatoes and several other seemingly healthy foods but for him those foods aren't healthy ones. They elevate his potassium and phosphorous which can have extreme consequences for him. But if you're relatively healthy, these kinds of foods are excellent to help maintain good health.

But let's face it - it's all very confusing. Being too rigid is not a solution. There is a condition called Orthorexia like anorexia it is a serious eating disorder. Orthorexics are so rigid with their healthy eating regimen that they become overly obsessed to an extreme. Unlike anorexia, those with orthorexia do eat, but are so fanatically focused on only eating healthy that no food considered unhealthy passes their lips. Even though this is a serious illness, recovery is possible.

So how can you be OK with what's available and what you put on your plate?

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Be Unafraid of Your Food Choices:

Tip #1 Relax: No need to get upset if you happen to eat something that is less than healthy every once in awhile. Everyone faces this dilemma and we're often tempted more that we'd like to admit. If you can make healthy food choices 70-80% of the time, you'll be in good shape. Remember this is never about being perfect, but about being healthy.

Tip #2 There is no BAD Food: Labeling food good or bad can pose a problem. As I mentioned, my husband can't have greens, yet greens are something I recommend all the time to my clients and readers. It's not good for him, but for nearly everyone else greens are good. Using the word BAD to describe a food can make it emotionally charged and a huge negative punch to your psyche. This association leaves you feeling guilty, miserable and more susceptible to reaching for those types of commonly considered "bad" foods over and over again, especially when things go wrong in your life. A better categorization for food might be: those that nourish and give energy and those that make you not feel good, create symptoms and deplete you of vitality.

Tip #3 Check the Labels: Even though I encourage you to primarily choose real, whole, fresh foods without labels sometimes you can't avoid it. Make sure the packaged foods you are choosing are GMO free and don't contain highly modified corn or soy ingredients. Stay away from unhealthy syrups and sweeteners as well, they are first off artificial or secondly toxic and you wouldn't want either in your tummy.

Tip #4 Ask your waiter/waitress or grocer: If you have any doubt about what's in the dish you're ordering tonight for dinner - ask. No need to feel embarrassed or feel like you're causing a scene. You don't need to have a food allergy in order to gain permission for a query. Most restaurants nowadays have become quite used to the more educated consumer wanting to know more about what they are putting into their mouths.

Restaurants have become quite adept at answering most questions the diner has. Even your grocer is there to help. If you're uncertain about something do ask. Also, if your local grocery store doesn't carry some of your favorite healthy foods ask them to either stock it or special order it for you. They'll be happy to do so and keep you as their loyal customer.

Tip #5 Drop the Jitters: No need to go overboard about the food you eat. Every food you consume does not have to be gluten, dairy or whatever "free". Remain calm and do your best to enjoy your meals, savor every morsel and if you don't like it don't eat it. Unless you, of course, are more accustomed to eating only junk food, greasy burgers and fries - your palate then needs to be trained for healthier fare. Food should taste good all on its own without the need for sauces, dressings or extra salt. Whole, fresh food has so much inherent flavor and goodness in it. Give yourself time to experience the true JOY OF EATING!

(c) Monika Klein

Monika Klein, BS, CN. is an award winning clinical nutritionist and weight loss expert. Monika is the "Compassionate and Practical Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach." Her company, Coaching For Health, offers life transforming weight loss and wellness programs, classes and products throughout the world. To learn more about Monika's services and programs, visit http://www.coachingforhealth.com.

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Losing Weight - The Addiction of Comfort Food

Losing Weight - The Addiction of Comfort Food

Submitted by: Larry Tobin

Its very name is appealing — comfort food. What could be more wonderful than a food that helps us feel better? Almost everyone can name something that they eat when they're just feeling sour or sad. Chinese take-out, chocolate cake, raspberry ice cream, banana pancakes and many others make the list.

Of course, we know that food can't be the solution to our problems, especially the problem of trying to lose weight and keep it off. So why do we find ourselves trapped in the eat/feel better/feel worse/eat some more cycle?

The Basics

The fact of the matter is that all food makes us feel good. Our bodies are still stuck in the prehistoric period where food was scarce, so we naturally desire to binge until we feel full. Our bodies encourage this by making feeling full a pleasant feeling, and being hungry as unpleasant as possible.

Human psychology takes this a bit further, because we've added our emotions into the mix. In addition to our bodies' natural tendencies to want to eat and feel satisfied, we have mental needs as well. Notice that our workday is very closely married to our eating schedule: We have all the stresses of work lasting all day long, and what do we do when we get breaks? We have lunch, or when we go home we have dinner. Thus the two main periods of the day when we feel relaxed, we eat. This creates a mental association in our head that eating feels good when we feel bad.

The Cycle

It's easy to see how this can lead to cyclic behavior. We get into a habit, day in and day out, of eating when we're just getting ready to relax. Once we've associated the two for more than thirty days or so, we do it automatically.

Then, something particularly bad happens, and we just feel awful, so we reach for a food that we know makes us feel particularly fine. This is why so many comfort foods are decadent treats; we want to make ourselves happier than usual and we want to feel like we're “treating” ourselves because we've earned it after a hard day.

Then, a few hours later, we feel guilty about the cake we binged on, and this makes us nervous and upset, and since we're programming ourselves to feel hungry when we're upset... well, we all know what comes next.

The Interrupt

The first part of breaking a bad habit is to stop the repetition of it as a reflex. Remember to use the STOP method as a verbal way of getting control of yourself. Say “stop” aloud. Take a break from the thing stressing you out. Own your outcome: Remind yourself what you're trying to achieve. Praise yourself for what you've accomplished so far.

Using index cards, write down suggestions for your break that have nothing to do with food. Perhaps a quick round of solitaire on the computer, or a brief read of a favorite chapter of a book will help. Alternatively you could put on some quiet music if it's convenient to do so.

The Substitution

Part two of healthy habit building is the substitution of good habits for bad ones. We've already interrupted the reflexive snacking that we reach for, now it's time to put something definitively in its place.

Write down some of your favorite substitutions on the same index cards that you used for break ideas. Remember how we discussed water as part of a way of controlling appetite? It can have the same benefit here. If you feel reflexively hungry for comfort food, have a nice tall glass of water in slow, steady sips over five minutes. This will give you the feeling of being full without the calories.

Consider tying each substitution you make to a certain emotion. We feel upset in specific ways, so we should have specific solutions rather than general ones. If getting shouted at unexpectedly makes you antsy, consider taking a quick walk to burn some of the energy. If something comes up that makes you feel sad, pick an activity you know makes you cheerful.

If we simply rely on general solutions, they won't feel as meaningful or helpful. Specific ones that we use in exact circumstances have the power to create more of a connection, and thus become more of a habit.

This is a necessary step because it's hard to use the method of “same time every day” to build this habit, as we don't always know when we're going to want comfort food. But the fact that familiarity builds repetition can be used to our advantage with a little creative thinking.

Get Support

Remember that we haven't gone into this effort alone. We have support groups we can talk to. If comfort eating is becoming a challenge to your efforts to lose weight, tell your support buddy about it. Ask them for help in coming up with the creative substitutions that will keep you from overeating. Ask them if they mind being a comfort-friend in addition to a support partner, and if they can come with you on impromptu excursions to relax instead of comfort eating.

About the Author: Larry Tobin is a co-creator of HabitChanger.com, offering effective and empowering solutions for losing weight. Try our 42-day weight loss program today and change your life.

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