Eating Disorders

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

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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

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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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Are You a Binge Eater?

Are You a Binge Eater?

By Carol Solomon

Ever wonder if you have a serious problem with binge eating?

Sometimes it is hard to assess how serious a problem actually is. Of course, there are different definitions of what binge eating is, and what constitutes a binge.

No matter how you define it, most people want to STOP.

In the Harvard Mental Health Letter, I read a feature article about the treatment of bulimia and binge eating.

Bulimia is defined as 2 or more episodes of binge eating (consuming a large amount of food in 2 hours or less) at least twice a week for 3 months. These episodes may be followed by vomiting or purging (with laxatives or diuretics) and may alternate with fasting and compulsive exercising.

People who suffer from bulimia often view this behavior as a shameful secret. Binging and purging are almost always done in private.

Binge Eating Disorder (binging that is not followed by vomiting, fasting or exercise) has gotten more attention recently since it is being considered for inclusion as a psychiatric diagnosis.

The criteria are tentatively listed as “a condition that causes serious distress with at least 3 of the following symptoms occurring at least 2 days a week for 6 months”:

• eating very fast
• eating until uncomfortably full
• eating when not hungry
• eating alone
• feeling disgusted or guilty afterward

Since most of the population engages in these eating behaviors at one time or another, I guess it comes down to the frequency and severity of the problem.

You can be a binge eater, but you would have to be binging quite regularly to be considered to have Binge Eating Disorder.

Many people engage in some of these behaviors all the time. For instance, people who live alone often eat alone.

And while eating when you aren’t hungry is not the most satisfying experience, or the best choice for health, sometimes it is just an ingrained habit.

You do NOT have to be overweight to be a binge eater.

Many people with binge eating problems think they are overweight or are worried that they will become seriously overweight. They often do not realize that thin people can have very serious problems with binge eating. In fact, many people who are overweight think that thin people “have it all together.”

Dieting does not necessarily stop the binging and is often viewed as being part of the problem rather than the solution.

The body resists dieting by slowing metabolism and increasing appetite, commonly accompanied by an intense preoccupation with food, more binging, anxiety and depression. Some experts feel that dieting causes binging. If there were no diets, then binge eating would be eliminated.

One strategy to stop binge eating is to stop dieting. If you stop dieting, then you don’t feel deprived. Binge eating can be triggered by feelings of deprivation.

If you are struggling with bulimia or severe binge eating problems, seek help and get the support you deserve.

Don’t keep it a secret. You do not need to be heroic and suffer alone.

If you engage in some of the binge eating behaviors, join the club and keep learning .. .

You can learn to change ALL of these behaviors, even mild to moderate binge eating by listening to your body, eating mindfully and being kind to yourself.

About the Author: Get 4 "Sneaky Little Tricks" proven to instantly increase your weight loss. Effective techniques. Go to Lose Weight Now Stay Slim Forever. Stop Food Cravings, Stop Overeating, Stop Binge Eating, and Lose Weight. Get Started With Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), go to: EFT TIPS. Learn more about EFT Weight Loss

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Social Pressures Push American Teens Toward Obesity

by

Joseph

Government experts, health professionals, educators and concerned citizens have been warning Americans about the danger epidemic obesity poses to our nation's long term health and economic prosperity. The issue is often discussed in terms of its impact on the adult population, but unless something is done to curtail the problem, obesity will become a societal norm within a few decades. 

In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we're going to look at obesity's effects on children and adolescent Americans, putting special emphasis on the lasting effects socio-economic pressure on American youth will have on future weight management problems.

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Surveys show that adolescent obesity is on the decline, but there's a noticeably sharp contrast between children in lower income families compared to their affluent counterparts.

The results of an analysis of 36,827 children by Xiaozhong Wen of Harvard University's School of Public Health and colleagues shows that Medicaid insured children are not losing weight as successfully as children insured by other programs. Wen's team points to research which shows higher income children have greater access to healthier foods, lifestyles, home environments, as well as dietary and exercise counseling than children raised in lower income families.

This theory is supported by Cornell University researcher Gary W. Evans who analyzed 244 children (age 9 years) to establish a link between exposure to stressors in early childhood and adolescent weight gain found that children exposed to stressors e.g. poverty, family turmoil, substandard housing suffered decreased self-regulatory behavior in their teen years.

The result was that four years later (age 13) these adolescents experienced higher adiposity which put them at risk for obesity in later life.

In the early developmental years, these young people did not learn how to delay gratification, and this impairment of self-regulatory behavior - which was linked to emotional stress - led the children to overeat. It is likely to have a lasting effect, with the impulse to overindulge significantly hampered, they'll have greater difficulty refraining from overeating when exposed to stressful situations throughout life.

 

A Different Way of Looking at the Obesity Epidemic

The obesity epidemic may have a socioeconomic component in that people residing in high income environments may experience a turn around in obesity whereas lower income Americans will continue to gain weight placing their own lives in jeopardy while also putting strain on the nation's healthcare resources.

 

Puder and Munsch's assessment of psychological factors' effect on childhood obesity can be looked at in terms of familial conflict, impulsivity, deficit of emotional regulation and uncontrolled eating behavior. Two of the most striking take aways from their study was learning unhealthy eating habits early in life and that children who have difficulty keeping their emotions in check e.g. depression, anxiety, social isolation are likely to experience weight gain.

 

First off, children may pick up bad eating habits from their parents. When children watch their parents eating high volumes of empty calories, they are much more inclined to perceive this as approval to consume fattening foods which then makes the children susceptible to unhealthy weight gain.

  

An even more important, albeit often overlooked, factor is stressful home environments. For example, stress brought about by poverty can have  tremendous impact on a person's psychological health and well being.

 

Stress is the catalyst for production of norepinephrine, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine, and neuropeptide Y - all of which contribute to adiposity. They also point to the fact that in addition to their role in body fat regulation, these very same neurotransmitters are associated with depression.

 

Then, when obese children attempt to interact with other children their age, they may experience social stigma i.e. ridicule and isolation which again increases the release of stress hormones which affect the obese child's metabolism (not to mention the tendency to eat food as a coping mechanism) thereby continuing the vicious cycle of stress, overeating and obesity.

 

Results of a study by Columbia University researchers establish that depression in already obese children may lead to weight gain in adulthood. When you consider these facts, it becomes apparent that children maybe in for a lifetime of weight problems if depression comes to influence their eating behavior.

 

Stress plays a very significant role in food consumption.

 

When Born, Lemmons, Rutters et al studied the effect of acute stress on food choice in adult women they found that stress causes increased consumption of carbohydrates. Stress caused the release of cortisol which influenced female volunteers to eat even when they were NOT hungry.

 

Basically Born's investigation of normal weight adult women shows that stress alters the way the brain perceives food. 

 

Imagine, then, what can happen when young people whom are constantly exposed to extreme psychological stress, coupled with limited access to healthy food options, eat large amounts of fattening foods as a coping mechanism?


The Task that Lies Ahead

A ready interpretation of the facts surrounding childhood obesity in low income environments would be that the task of health care professionals, educators and caregivers is to provide young people with the tools necessary to participate in healthy lifestyles i.e. better nutrition, regular exercise, improved living arrangements, greater socioeconomic opportunities.

This becomes the responsibility of federal, state and local agencies, school districts, health care professionals, community organizations, parents and children.

Considering that obese and overweight children are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and that children and adults in the lower income bracket are often under insured or lack any form of health insurance, it becomes imperative that we as a nation tackle these underlying issues and thereby reverse the obesity trend for all Americans.

 

God is the embodiment of compassion. As He bestows compassion upon you, show compassion to others.

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Article Sources

Evans GW, Fuller-Rowell TE, & Doan SN (2012). Childhood cumulative risk and obesity: the mediating role of self-regulatory ability. Pediatrics, 129 (1) PMID: 22144695 

Wen X, Gillman MW, Rifas-Shiman SL, Sherry B, Kleinman K, & Taveras EM (2012). Decreasing prevalence of obesity among young children in Massachusetts from 2004 to 2008. Pediatrics, 129 (5), 823-31 PMID: 22529276 

Puder JJ, & Munsch S (2010). Psychological correlates of childhood obesity. International journal of obesity (2005), 34 Suppl 2 PMID: 21151145 

Born JM, Lemmens SG, Rutters F, Nieuwenhuizen AG, Formisano E, Goebel R, & Westerterp-Plantenga MS (2010). Acute stress and food-related reward activation in the brain during food choice during eating in the absence of hunger. International journal of obesity (2005), 34 (1), 172-81 PMID: 19844211 

Pine DS, Goldstein RB, Wolk S, & Weissman MM (2001). The association between childhood depression and adulthood body mass index. Pediatrics, 107 (5), 1049-56 PMID: 11331685

American Teens Are At Risk For Cardiovascular Disease

 

"Social Pressures Push American Teens Toward Obesity" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.

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