June 11, 2012
This is addendum to the article posted on Ask the Cognitive Behavior Therapist.com/ on Automatic Thinking..Reactive Behavior.
Applying the principle points that automatic thoughts are the thoughts and images that involuntarily pop into our conscious or semi conscious mind to food situations, we can begin to see how emotional eating is related to automatic thinking.
Habitual Emotional Eating
So for example when we are emotional about something, our semi-conscious automatic thought might be “I need sugar. So eating a cupcake will make me feel better”. This is an example of a thought is likely linked to a habit. As a result the person automatically craves sweets when they become emotional.
Also since the thought of the cupcake making one feel better is tucked away from our consciousness, when we are eating the cupcake we most likely don’t recognize “the cupcake does not solve my problem nor does it make me really feel better”. Therefore its unlikely we will stop eating the cupcake because its ineffective.
So what to do:
–Create a food diary that includes what you ate, how much and a simple note about your mood while you are eating.
(This exercise itself will help you to create awareness between when your moods and eating patterns.)
-Then create a daily meal intention plan.
– As you approach each day, decide when, where and what you will eat. Consider what you will be doing and what will be available to you.
-Try to be as specific as possible including breaking down protein, carb and fat goals.
-If there is a particular food that you are avoiding like red meat or french fries mark them down as red light foods.
Red light foods are stay away foods because they are either really bad for you healthwise or triggers for bad eating.
-If you are having trouble coming up with a food agenda then think about what you imagine a healthy meal plan should consist of for that day.
-Consider portions in your goals.
– As you maintain both the food diary and continue setting daily meal plan intentional goals, make note of the times when there were discrepancies (times when you failed to maintain your dietary goals). Most likely there was some emotional component to your decision to change your behavior or habitual influence.
October 28, 2010
Holidays are a special time of year, where many of us travel home and gather with family members or old familiar friends. It’s also a time of year where bad habits surface and healthy habits tend to disappear especially when it comes to the consumption of food, alcohol, cigarettes as well as spending too much money on gifts.
There are many reasons why this may occur:
Regression- People have a strong tendency to revert back to former patterns of behavior when they return to places from their past. This is reinforced by the people around them who revert back to old expectations of behavior based on a former “identity”. For example, if you were a “drinker” in college you may find yourself drinking with old college friends just out of habit or failure to forge healthier common ground.
AsktheCBT Tip: Be mindful of yourself and how you want to behave before the holidays occur. Set a reminder for yourself to focus on it just before you get together with people.
AsktheCBT Tip: Make a specific commitment. Don’t just say I don’t want to get drunk. Set a limit to the number of cocktails or the amount you will spend.
AsktheCBT Tip: Practice ways to say “No thank you”. This way when your Uncle Al invites you to sneak out after dinner for your ritualistic post meal cigarette you can be prepared with “Thanks but I quit a week ago and I want to enter the New Year feeling good rather than making promises”
“Holiday Head”: The Cognitive Influence – Where you justify every indulgent behavior with some notion of “it’s a special occasion so its okay to over indulge.”
Here’s some news: Money is money and food is food whether you spend or eat it on a holiday or not, if you cannot afford it or your waist line is already being pushed to the limit then don’t justify it. Remember that the food and items will most likely be there tomorrow.
Stress- Not only does stress cause a physiological response in the body that shuts down our ability to digest food properly but it also shuts down our bodies’ ability to detect when it’s truly hungry.
On top of that, studies show that overweight or obese people have a tendency to be more sensitive to certain external cues (e.g. taste, smell, social situations) than to internal cues (stomach motility) so in stressful situations heavier people are likely to over eat.
AsktheCBT Tip: Breathe deeply. You can manage your hormone levels by engaging in properly paced diaphragmatic breathing (see my article on breathing your way to happiness for instruction). This will shut down your fight or flight response and work to restore your bodies’ equilibrium before you reach for another serving of potatoes.
Failure to exercise: Due to “holiday head” (rationalizing that the holidays are a
time to relax and kick back) or because of less free time around the holidays people tend to forgo their exercise routine.
This is actually the worse time of year to indulge in a sedentary lifestyle- As our body becomes sedentary our nervous systems begin to mellow out, becoming “Flat”- similar to the make up of a depressed person. Studies show that when people are depressed they seek ways to self medicate with alcohol, cigarettes, food and spending.
AsktheCBT Tip: Head it off at the pass! Don’t skimp on the exercise. If your gym is closed or operating on a limited schedule this is the time to take a walk outside or break out that DVD. The point is do something to get your body going for at least 20 minutes so you allow your body to secrete endorphins to liven your mood!
AsktheCBT Tip: If you exercise briefly before and after the meal you are more likely to maintain a healthy view through the dinner and will avoid desire to snack before dinner starts.
Zipping it up: Don’t fail to enlist the support of others when trying to change behaviors. People who fail to ask for help from friends and family members because they are embarrassed, think they should be able to manage this things on their own or don’t want to be held accountable by others reduce their chances of being successful. Why? Because as I already mentioned, people will expect you to behave the same unless you give them a reason to expect something different.
For more info visit http://www.AsktheCognitiveBehviorTherapist.com
Sculpt NYC’s next Cards, Connections & Cocktails
Come meeting and mingle with other like minded Health and Wellness Industry expert. Exchange business cards and ideas in a relaxed, fun environment.
Come connect with other like minded professionals at our Health and Wellness Industry Cards, Connections & Cocktails.
Sculpt NYC/LA Invited:
All other professionals directly related to the health and wellness industry.
RSVP Here at our Meetup.com Profile
*This event is STRICTLY LIMITED to established, employed professionals in the health / wellness industry.
Job Seekers and other solicitors and will be denied admission.
Date -Thursday, March 11, 2010
Time – 6 -9pm
Location: Pranna Restaurant
79 Madison Avenue
New York, New York —
RSVP Here at our Meetup.com Profile
Please feel free to share this invitation with other established NYC-based professionals in the health / wellness industry Thank you and looking forward to meeting those who will be in attendance personally
December 23, 2009
If you are having a hard time losing or maintaining weight loss, although you are “staying within your daily calorie intake allotment” perhaps you need to rethink eating commercially prepared food. Since while some retailers or manufacturers are working on solutions to develop lower calorie foods others are just under reporting.
A recent study released by the American Dietary Association (Volume 110, Issue 1, Pages 116-123, January 2010) which evaluated the stated energy contents of reduced-energy restaurant foods and frozen meals purchased from supermarkets revealed that differences substantially exceeded laboratory measurement error.
In fact measured energy values of 29 quick-serve and sit-down restaurant foods averaged 18% more than stated values, and measured energy values of 10 frozen meals purchased from supermarkets averaged 8% more than originally stated.
Further some individual restaurant items contained up to 200% of stated values while, free side dishes increased provided energy to an average of 245% of stated values for the entrees they accompanied.
As pointed out in this report, this phenomenon could not only hinder efforts to self-monitor calories intake to control weight, but could also impact the recent policy initiatives to disseminate information on food energy content at the point of purchase.
November 23, 2009
Halloween candy leads to Thanksgiving stuffing and mashed potatoes, followed shortly by holiday and New Year treats. As the cold weather pushes in and the season wears on, you CAN make a conscious effort to not pack on the pounds as you pile on the extra layers. Follow the advice below for a healthier Thanksgiving Day:
1. Offer and/or choose healthy hors d’ourves. Try vegetables (celery, tomato, peppers, carrots, broccoli) with low-fat dips (hummus, low-fat dressings) and whole wheat bread and crackers with low-fat, low-sodium cheeses. These high-fiber and high-protein items make you feel fuller longer, which will help prevent overeating during the main meal. If your host will not be offering this, bring a dish yourself, or snack before you leave your house.
2. Instead of dark turkey meat, choose the white meat. It is a lean protein that is lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories. Skip the skin, which is very high in cholesterol.
3. Try your turkey topped with cranberry sauce instead of gravy. It has a great, sweet flavor and is lower in sodium, fat, and cholesterol than gravy. A small amount goes a long way.
4. Instead of cream and butter, mash potatoes with skim milk and cholesterol-free margarine or spread. For a lower-carb alternative, try making cauliflower mash with similar ingredients.
5. Try baked or mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. They are richer in minerals and vitamins, especially beta carotene, and have a lower glycemic load.
6. Have proper portion control, especially if you are eating family or buffet style. Put everything on your plate first so you are aware of what you are eating. Do not pick up food piece by piece. You will never know how much you ate.
7. Taste what you like-it’s ok in moderation. Try using small plates and small utensils to slow down your eating pace. You will enjoy your food and eat less of it.
8. Balance your plate: Make sure 1/2 of your plate is filled with a vegetable, 1/4 with a lean protein, and 1/4 with a starch, preferably one that is high in fiber/whole grains; try whole wheat stuffing, or a brown rice pilaf.
9. Fruit for dessert–you will be surprised how popular this will be, especially a fresh fruit salad. Or offer baked apples instead of apple pie as a more health-conscious treat.
10. Exercise! Start the day off with a great workout. It will invigorate and motivate you for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Also, remember to hydrate well with at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day, and a likely turkey feast.
September 17, 2009
Low-Carbohydrate Diets versus Non-Carbohydrate Diets.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a “low-carbohydrate diet” is one which reduces carbohydrate intake to 20-60 grams of carbs per day, or about 20% of total daily caloric intake. Such diets are often higher in protein or fat to replace the calories/foods that would usually come from carbohydrate-rich foods.
Although the low-carb craze has quieted down lately, many still believe that cutting out carbs and increasing protein is the way to go to lose weight. In reality, this does usually lead to weight loss.
Here are the 3 main reasons why this occurs:
1. When you cut out one or more food groups (grains, fruit and/or dairy), you restrict the amount of food you can eat and will likely consume less calories. Reduced caloric intake, while maintaining or increasing energy expenditures will result in weight loss.
2. Decreased consumption of sweets, sugar, and junk food will decrease cravings for such foods, thus decreasing caloric intake.
3. Low-carb diets often result in lost water weight for 2 reasons:
1) Carbs hold 4 times their weight in water in the body, which is released as carbohydrate stores in the body are diminished. 2) Low carb-diets are usually high in protein which requires the use of more water to be excreted as they are metabolized by the body.
Despite the above, at SculptNYC we DO NOT advise following such a low-carb diet.
We believe in reducing or eliminating white flour and sugar, while maintaining a balanced diet including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. This also allows for a greater adaptation into a life-long health plan, rather than thinking about being on a restrictive plan that is not healthy for your body in the long run and near impossible to maintain.
Carbohydrates are particularly important in fueling workouts and in post-exercise muscle-recovery.
Low-carb diets can cause many negative side effects, including headache, constipation, dehydration, and ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic condition that occurs when fat is broken down to be used by the body as fuel since sufficient carbohydrates are not available for energy use. When this occurs, ketones build up and the body and can lead to feelings of lethargy, tiredness, and decreased energy. In fact, a recent study conducted at Tufts University (published in the February 2009 Journal Appetite) concluded that low-carb meals decrease cognitive skills and performance on memory-based tasks.
Each individual has different carbohydrate and nutrient needs, which is why we advise each client according to their particular situation.
If you would like to reduce and improve the carbohydrates in your diet, then try these tips:
1. Avoid Fruit Juice and be conservative about your whole fruits. Fruit contains natural sugar, but it’s still metabolized like sugar in the body. Fruit juices are empty calories, since they do not contain the fiber that whole fruits do. Remember that most fruits have about 15g carbs per half cup, so 2-3 servings per day is sufficient to meet
2. Skip the “sugar-free” products. They often contain hidden carbs that mysteriously add up and keep the cravings coming. Examples include sugar-free gum, diet soft drinks, or artificially-sweetened packaged foods, such as ice cream and cookies. The calories and carbs in such foods can add up and keep blood sugars elevated. Artificial ingredients, sweeteners, and carbs in these foods can leave you feeling bloated and reduce your motivation to stay on course.
3. Increase vegetable intake. Try adding vegetables to breakfast (think egg white omelets) or even non-traditional chicken and vegetables for breakfast. For snacks think snap peas or sliced cucumbers. Try a yogurt or hummus dip for a more tasty, filling, treat.
4. Try eating multiple-course meals. Start lunch and or dinner with a salad/vegetable before the main course. Then eat your protein. Pause for 5 minutes. Then, if you want healthy carbs, have a small portion LAST.
5. Work on your URGES! Try waiting 15 minutes before each decision to
eat, even if it’s healthy snack. Most people snack on carbs, which means that giving into the behavior is giving into the urge. If you want to reduce your urges, thus cravings, try fighting against those urges and double check that you are actually hungry.
6. Creative in the kitchen! Make your own version of your favorite dishes.
For example, try your own frozen yogurt:
Blend 2 cups of ice, with a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped fruit, 3/4 cup club soda, 1 tsp natural sweetener, with a 1/2 cup of low carb, low fat yogurt for 2 minutes on medium in a blender or food processor. This will provide you with a refreshing, healthy dessert that will help keep you satisfied without all the unnecessary fillers that come in packaged frozen yogurt or ice cream.
7. Make your own vegetable soups: Many store bought or restaurant served soups are filled with starch, salt, oil, and/or sugar. Use slow roasted vegetables and seeds to create texture without the corn starch. Roast vegetables in a seasoned stock and then blend in food processor. Add a tsp of parmesan cheese for a richer taste and a little more texture.
8. Prepare! Don’t get caught hungry especially if you are the person always on the go. Cut up small vegetables so you have them handy, carry them in small Ziploc bags. Cheese sticks or low fat cottage cheese are available in portable sizes as well. The same is true for hard boiled eggs. They are a great high-protein snack, especially if you limit the yolk. If you are really tight on time, and don’t have them available at home, many restaurants and delis have them prepared and waiting for you!
9. Handy snacks. A handful of nuts is a great way to get some mid-day protein. Don’t go for repeats because the calories can add up, but a small handful with half of an apple is a great way to get a boost without having to leave the office, or breaking your calorie or cash bank.
10. Quick fix: Try a high protein power bar. Make sure it’s not loaded with unnecessary carbohydrates, extra oils (often found in the candy coatings), and is high in fiber. Try bars that are made with all or mostly natural ingredients such as fruits and nuts. Its better than allowing your body to feel “Starved” which lowers your resistance to binges later on!