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.”

This goes with food as well as spending.

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.

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Low Carb Lifestyle Made Simple

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:

Summer Fruit

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
dietary needs.

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!

If you are having a hard time losing weight, maybe it’s because you have not really committed to the process.


Take this quiz to help determine how committed to the process you are?

(Give yourself a 0 for each No and 1 for each yes)

1. Have you selected a health diet or nutrition plan to follow for at least the 1st 2 weeks to help you

get started and to break bad habits?

2. Have you scheduled an appointment with your doctor or any necessary medical professional to help you with the process?

3. Have you met with a nutritionist, a trainer, or a health therapist?

(For each 1 give yourself a point)

4. Do you have an exercise plan and SCHEDULE in place?

5. Have you cleaned out your cupboards of all junk and trigger foods?

6. Have you told a friend or family member of your intentions?

7. Have you bought new gym clothing or downloaded some tunes from Itune for those morning runs?

8. Have you given up habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption?

9. Have you started drinking 8 glasses of water daily?

10. Have you set a weight loss goal?

If you scored between a 10 and 13 I’d say you are pretty committed. You know that action will result in benefits

If you scored between 7 and 10 I’d say you are committed. You may not believe you need as much structure and support as you think. Think about enlisting the help of others in the beginning or selecting a program that is right for you.

If you scored between a 0 and 6, I’d and you have been a yo-yo dieter or a person who has simply said many times before, “This is the week I am going to start to lose those 10lbs” then I think you need to review this list and make some changes in your approach to dieting.

Each time you back and forth with your diet and weight, its not only harder on your body to adjust it’s also more difficult to get on track. Break the cycle by approaching your weight loss in an entirely different manner-use structure and the resources available to you as tools!

To healthy living

Dr Jayme

Please address all comments to the blog

When it comes to weight loss, motivation is what matters most. “Notably, the dieters who attended more counseling sessions lost a little bit more, which may support the notion that behavior is more important than diet alone.” Read more….

Read more


However, if you are having a hard time getting motivated here are some quick tips to get you started:

1. Enlist the help of a partner-ask a friend to work out with you. It may be challenging to arrange your schedules to together but in the beginning it may be just want you need to get started.

2. Spend a little bit of money. Sign up for a personal training make over to help get a plan. Then follow that plan on your own. If you invest a little and are confident about the plan, then you are more likely to follow it. We are running a SculptNYC introduction package, where you meet with a Behavior Expert, Nutritionist and Fitness Trainer for a combined wellness plan. Take advantage of that to you get you going!!

3. Go for tune up sessions.
You don’t always need a personal trainer, coach or nutritionist to keep you on track but a tune up session to keep your confidence and motivation going during times you feel sluggish or bored be just the prescription to keep you from falling off your health and wellness plan completely.

4. Join a boot camp or gym class that last for 1 to 2 weeks.
This will not only shock your system, but your routine!

5. Dress for the part. If you look like someone who exercises then you are more likely to lie on the floor or jump up and down than when you are wearing jeans, a suit or a gown.

6. Go to the gym. If you go for just a half hour then its a start. A half hr is better than nothing and eventually might turn into an hour. Don’t avoid the gym or work out areas because they are foreign, make them familiar and friendly places.

7. Commit to a schedule. Don’t set a goal of going to the gym 3 times a week. MAP OUT when you will go. If you need to reschedule it, treat it like any other important appointment

8. Ask yourself : ” Why do I want to lose weight”, ” Why do I want to be strong?”, ” Why do I want to be healthier?”. If you restate your goals for yourself and not others then your commitment will be stronger. Avoid statements like : “I should be healthier” or “because my doctor said so”.

9. Use positive self talk– remind yourself daily of the person you want to be, who are you and where you are going. If you don’t like one of these components then try statements like ” I am improving my health by xyz..”.

10. See yourself as successful by accepting compliments graciously. Don’t deprive yourself of positive feedback from other and yourself. Even if you don’t see the changes, accept that is the way others see you for now. In time your vision may change too.

Email me for more info on getting motivated and about our special introduction packages to help you get started.


Sleeping is an involuntary, biologically based necessity, which responds to many things including the outside world. Our bodies’ get tired naturally at night and become more alert in daylight, but other environmental factors can influence your cycle. If your lifestyle has taken this cycle off course then the best approach is to reset your cycle with structure.

Here are some quick tips to help you sleep more soundly:

1. Don’t do anything else in bed, but sleep. Use reading or T.V. watching as a way to help you fall asleep, but if you find yourself making your way through chapters or the late night movie then do those activities out of bed.

2. Don’t hang out in bed in the mornings. Jump out of bed in the morning. Even on the weekends – This way your body will get used to waking up right away and associate the bed with only sleepy moments. Again avoid reading the Times on Sunday mornings in bed, since your body will come to associate the bed with feeling relaxed but not necessarily sleeping.

3. Count Sheep! Or invest in the modern day version. Get a white noise machine and FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION SOLELY on that sound. If you find yourself getting distracted, then challenge your attention. This activity alone will tire out your brain and help you to fall asleep.

4. Slow down your breathing and allow your stomach to expand when you inhale and relax when you exhale. (See my post in breathing on specific instruction). Diaphragmatic breathing done in this manner and at the rate of approximately 5-6 breaths a minute is not only associated with positive health benefits also induces sleep.

5. Invest a little time and money. If you have trouble falling asleep, due to anxiety then think about taking your breathing training a bit further. Invest in a biofeedback device or see a behavior specialist.

Commit to 15 minutes of proper breathing training daily during the day. This will calm your nervous system and teach your body a new way to respond to stress and help you to fall asleep faster in addition to releasing you from anxiety.

6. Change your priorities! Make sleep a priority. Schedule your bedtime and commit to it. If you don’t fall asleep on time, DON’T allow yourself extra time in the morning to make up for it. The idea is to create a consistent bedtime so that your body learns to respond to your new cycle and not let the cycle lead your body.

7. Experiment to see where you benefit. If you sleep 6 hours now, try 7 and see how you feel. If you sleep 7, try 8 hours a night for 2 weeks and see what happens. There are plenty of reasons to honor your sleep, see where you feel you benefit most.
Track your mood, energy level, weight, skin appearance, etc for 2 week to assess the immediate benefits.

8. Create a sleep zone with lavender oils. The tone of the room should emulate a place of rest and rejuvenation. Use lavender oils or scented pillows to elicit other pathways to the sleep response. Smell is a very primitive response, thus we respond to it without much thought. Take advantage of that!

9. Workout the 1st thing in the am. I know most people hate this idea or think it’s impossible, but it will change your energy level throughout the day and help you fall asleep faster at night. Plus if you workout in the am you can be sure that your lifestyle won’t get in the way of your daily routine.

10. Challenge your self to stay awake. –if you really cannot fall asleep go with the paradoxical approach-try to stay awake and active. Challenge yourself to read a full chapter in a novel. Don’t take naps the next day if you are tired. Eventually your body will give in to the rhythm!

Summertime Start

May 18, 2009

Ok, so it is only 58 degrees and cloudy right now in New York City, and I may be wearing a cotton turtleneck sweater; BUT the forecast does call for the weather to be 80 degrees and sunny by Friday, AND it’s Memorial Day weekend!  This may be the first time you have put on a swimsuit in a year, or at least a long time.   The good news is you have five days left until Saturday when you may hit the pool or beach.  Although I would never suggest crash dieting, I do have a few slightly drastic recommendations that you can follow this week to prep your bikini body to look its best:

1.  Skip the white flour and sugar.  You may even want to stop the sugar substitutes as they may continue to intensify your sweet cravings.

2.  Include whole grains (such as oatmeal and brown rice) in appropriate portions.  Yes, carbs are ok and necessary to fuel your muscles through long workouts.  Whole grains also increase satiety and will help give you the willpower to pass the candy bowl on your co-worker’s desk.

3.  Avoid alcohol this week.  Especially if you know you will be celebrating this weekend, remind yourself that each glass of wine, beer, or 1.5 oz of alcohol in your drink has at least 100-150 calories. 

4.  Get your 8 (or more) glasses of water each day.  This will ensure you are not feeling hungry and eating when you are actually thirsty!

5.  Limit your fruit intake to 2 servings per day.  Yes, fruit is good for you but anything in excess can add up in calories and pack on the pounds.  One serving is 1/2 cup or 1 small-medium piece of fruit. 

6.  Load up on (the right) vegetables.  Salads take a long time to eat and they are high in fiber so they will fill you up.  (Remember it takes at least 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate to your brain that you are actually full.)  Peas, carrots, and corn are digested like starches in your body.  You may want to avoid them this week, count them as the carb at your meal, and/or just make sure you are having a small potion.  Celery and cucumbers are high in water-content and low-calories.  They are great snacks to chomp on when you get the munchies.

7.  Sacrifice the salt.  Sodium holds onto water in your body and may make you retain fluid, feel bloated, and even weigh more on the scale (even if it is just “water weight”).  Salty foods can also be more “addicting”, which is why it is so hard to eat just one chip or just one French fry.  So, select foods sans salt.

8.  Keep the good fat.  Get rid of the cholesterol by avoiding butter, cream, egg yolks, chicken skin, fried foods and the like.  But a bit of olive oil, avocado, nuts, and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, skin, and hair.  In moderate amounts they also help you feel fuller longer.

9.  If you want to cut back on your carbohydrates, do so at dinnertime.  Carbs do hold 4 times their weight in water.  Studies have actually shown that those who have low-carb dinners are less likely to wake up feeling bloated in the morning.  Those who have high-carb dinners are more likely to wake up with pillow and sheet creases on their face and body.  So NOT cute in a swimsuit!

10.  Choose only no-calorie drinks.  In addition to drinking your water, exchange your lattes and chai teas for plain coffee and tea.  Yes, skim and low-fat milk are healthy, but the 175 calories in grande skim latte are still extra fluid calories. 

If you want us to help customize your last-minute swimsuit slim-down diet, email us at or view our contact information on our website!

Sculpt NYC

Welcome to Sculpt NYC

Welcome to Sculpt NYC’s daily essential blog.

Check in with us daily to get the essentials tips and tools necessary to keep you motivated and committed to living the healthiest, happiest life possible.

Learn how to eat and exercise to meet your personal fitness goals. Challenge self-defeating habits and negative or distorted attitudes about your body, diet, and exercise, while successfully replacing them with positive, healthy behaviors. Effectively manage stress and emotions so they no longer interfere with your well being.

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