Tag: Weight loss

Psychology of a Perfect Diet

Many of us with an interest in nutrition and health make the assumption that there must be a perfect diet: a perfect way to eat, a perfect nutritional system, the one way of consuming food that trumps all other approaches.

I know I used to. If you follow this thinking, all you need do is discover this one perfect diet and you’ll hit the jackpot. By finding the perfect diet, you can have perfect health, perfect weight, perfect energy, perfect looks, and live forever… you may ask yourself if the weight loss supplements with the roids logo is part of that perfect diet?

So, who wouldn’t want to find this perfect diet?

Now this may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, and I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek here – but the reality is, I see far too many people, including experts, who take this dogmatic stance — there has to be one perfect diet.

Now the problem with believing there is a one-size-fits-all perfect diet has some important consequences that we should take a look at:

  • It often has us on an endless search
  • We’re constantly on edge trying to find the perfect foods
  • We can become confused and frustrated because so many ‘experts’ claim that they have the perfect way to eat and they all have scientific proof — and many of them say something quite contradictory.
  • We might believe we found the perfect diet, and stick to it for a while only to watch ourselves falling off the wagon, eating foods outside of the diet, craving ‘forbidden’ foods, which then leads to a lot of self rejection and personal turmoil.

This last point is a particularly important one. That’s because there’s so much nutritional confusion and personal frustration that happens when we’re trying to follow our perfect diet perfectly — and the reality is — perfection doesn’t exist.

Show me one place in life where we can all be in agreement about what’s perfect.

  • Is there a perfect way to earn money?
  • Is there a perfect way to do relationships?
  • Is there a perfect way to raise children?
  • Is there a perfect way to have fun?
  • Is there a perfect way to move and exercise?
  • Is there a perfect way to have sex?
  • Is there a perfect house?
  • Or a perfect place to live?

Hopefully you get the point.

There is absolutely no such thing as the perfect diet.

There are likely as many excellent ways to eat as there are people on planet Earth. The right diet for any one of us is linked to so many different factors: your age, genetics, preferences, your sex, the environment you live in, this season, your lifestyle, the amount of exercise you do, any health challenges you might be dealing with, your personal goals, your personal beliefs, and all kinds of yet-to-be-discovered factors, and you can even get shredded with these body building essentials if getting fit is part of your goals. Famciclovir is an antiviral drug. However, it is not a cure for these infections. The viruses that cause these infections continue to live in the body even between outbreaks. Famciclovir decreases the severity and length of these outbreaks. It helps the sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming, and decreases pain/itching. This medication may also help reduce how long pain remains after the sores heal. In addition, in people with a weakened immune system, famciclovir can decrease the risk of the virus spreading to other parts of the body and causing serious infections. Visit https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/treatments/sexual-health/famvir/ to learn more about sexual infections and how to cure them with prescription medicines.

But don’t let this frustrate you.

Nutrition is an ongoing journey. It’s an exploration. It’s a fascinating experiment. We live in a time where our bodies are changing, our nutritional needs are very different than they were 1000 years ago, the world is a different place, we’re under a lot of environmental pressure from new toxins in a poor food chain — so our nutritional needs are ever-changing and ever-evolving. That’s the good news.

When you really let go of trying to find the perfect diet, you can relax.

You can be an explorer

You can have a smile on your face and test out new approaches, new foods, new supplements, or the latest diet if you really want to – and see how it works for you.

Now you can view this journey in two ways: problematic and disappointing, or fascinating and exciting. Your choice.

The desire for perfection in any area of life is a form of simplistic wishful thinking. Perfectionism is a dream that we need to wake up from. The alternative is to continue sleepwalking and not understand why we’re constantly feeling out-of-balance, disempowered, uncertain, and always looking for answers about why our health or our eating habits aren’t perfect.

The field of nutrition is a bit messy. It’s a bit unstable…
Our lives are a bit unstable…
These are the times we live in…

So, let’s embrace that and do our best to celebrate it.

Are you willing to let go of being perfect? Are you willing to admit that your quest for perfectionism often leads to confusion and self-abuse? Are you ready to embrace uncertainty and be a nutritional explorer in your own life?

Just say yes, and your relationship with food will blossom like never before…

Mindful Eating and the Positive Effects of CBT

mindful-eating-and-the-positive-effects-of-cbt

Just like all skills, health and well-being can be cultivated through training and practice by using mindful eating and the positive effects of CBT

Whether you’re learning to play the piano, moving from a sedentary life to an active one, or developing more effective ways to handle emotional triggers, the same type of neural circuitry is at play. One of the most inspiring advancements in recent neuroscience is that the neural pathways in our brains are ‘plastic.’ What this means is they change in response to training and experience.

Now, this is wonderful news! What it means is we’re not stuck with any set of thoughts, feelings, or behaviors if we don’t want to be. If we’re willing to commit to learning, training, and practice, we can change anything that’s not working for us.

One of the reasons I love CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is because it’s basically all about changing neural circuity. Instead of focusing on rules about when, what, and how much you ‘should’ be eating, CBT guides you through a process of rewiring yourself from the inside out. By using this rewiring process, you can begin to think differently, address emotions and other triggers more effectively, and make choices that support greater well-being.

Positive Effects of CBT

Because this change in neural pathways is based on awareness and intentional decision making, it has far reaching consequences in other areas of your life, not just eating and activity. For example, CBT guides you to identify thoughts and feelings that might be driving your desire to eat when you’re not hungry. You can then pause to intentionally decide if you’ll eat anyway, redirect your attention, or meet your real needs.

If you choose to eat anyway, instead of doing so automatically and out of habit, you’ll be fully aware of the likely outcome and can then enjoy eating mindfully and without guilt. If you choose to redirect your attention until you are hungry or meet your underlying needs, you’ll have a different experience that will propel you one step closer to your desired future habits. Whichever choice you make, you’re re-training your brain to pause in the face of an impulse or urge, weigh your options, and then consciously decide what to do next.

Pause, Think… Act

You can probably see how applicable this process can be to virtually everything else in your life – and most of my clients quickly see that connection too. For example, let’s say you notice that you feel irritated because your child’s room is a disaster… again. Instead of automatically reacting with a disciplinary yell — which doesn’t feel great and doesn’t seem to help in the long term anyway — you pause, weigh your options, and decide whether and how to respond.

Or perhaps you receive yet another email from your boss with a tight deadline with more work than you can reasonably do. Before complaining to your co-worker or sending off a return email you’ll later regret, you pause, weigh your options, and decide whether and how to respond. It’s hard to think of a situation where this process of identifying, pausing, and intentionally choosing wouldn’t be valuable for you.

However, as with most things in life, there is a catch… This type of rewiring takes training and practice. Caring for ourselves and making decisions that support our greatest interests are skills — skills that can undoubtedly be developed if we’re committed to doing the work. And, like most worthwhile life changes, the outcome is well worth the effort!

As you work on sharpening your mindful eating skills, think about what other areas of your life have you started to shift too?

Self Compassion and Emotional Eating

self-compassion-and-emotional-eating

Many of us eat for emotional reasons — when we’re sad, angry, happy, stressed, or lonely — we find ourselves eating so that we feel better. And eating works!

Temporarily.

Unfortunately, we usually feel worse afterwards — both emotionally and physically. More often than not this triggers a cycle of  beating yourself up — quite literally adding insult to injury — as the guilt and shame become yet another trigger for emotional eating, feeding the eat-repent-repeat cycle.

Now, what would happen it we agreed the first step to breaking this cycle is self-compassion instead of self-criticism? How might that help? And more importantly, where would we start?

How does self-compassion help with emotional eating?

As difficult as it may seem to get our heads around, being understanding and forgiving of yourself for overeating will help you take the next step to finding other ways to meet your emotional needs.

After all, we don’t eat for emotional reasons because we’re ‘weak-willed’… ‘stupid’… or ‘out of control’… We do it because it works!

Blaming, shaming, criticizing, and finding fault for attempting to care for yourself only backfires. Imagine you were teaching a young child something new… would blaming, shaming, criticizing, and finding fault help or hurt? The way you speak to yourself has just as much power! You may be feeling afraid that if you are ‘nice’ to yourself, you won’t change. However, the exact opposite is true! You care for yourself because you accept yourself, not so you’ll accept yourself.

So, how can you begin to respond with self-compassion when you overeat?

Three Ways to Nurture Self-Compassion

Gently acknowledge that you were doing the best you could in that moment.

Validate your thoughts, feelings, and actions as being normal and understandable given the circumstances. “Of course!” It’s like saying, “I totally get why you thought, felt, or did that!”

Of course you ate! Who wouldn’t want to feel better when they’re sad, angry, stressed, or lonely — or magnify the pleasure when they’re glad? This validation and unconditional acceptance creates a safe environment for experimenting with new thoughts, feelings, and actions.

When you overeat, validate the choice as being rational at the time: “Of course you __________________!” This gentle, understanding self-talk will open the door to exploring how you might do it differently next time if you don’t like how it turned out.

Bring Non-judgmental Awareness to the Situation.

Mindful eating is all about bringing nonjudgmental awareness to your choices and experiences with eating. Non-judgment is essential because it provides a more objective understanding of what happened and why.

One tactic you can try is writing about an overeating or binge eating episode and identifying the ‘voices’ that show up. Non-judgmentally recognising how your Restrictive Eating, Overeating, and Binge Eating voices drive the cycle will give you a great opportunity to cultivate your own Self-Care Voice.

Cultivate Your Self-Care Voice

Your Self-Care Voice wants the best for you. It is unconditionally compassionate, affirming and accepting. Your Self-Care voice is the voice of kindness and wisdom. It is like a loving parent who guides you to learn from your mistakes, face your challenges, and loves you unconditionally, faults and all.

Fiona Wilkinson

The Psychological Key to Weight Loss

behavioural therapy

No, it’s not exercise! Ninety percent of people ignore psychological well-being as a factor in weight loss

Most of us think diet and exercise — especially exercise — is actually the key to weight loss.

In fact lack of exercise is not the cause of obesity, it is too many calories,  refined carbs and too much sugar. This may explain why most people who manage to lose weight, soon put it straight back on.

Dr Diane Robinson, a neuropsychologist at Orlando Health, said:

“Most people focus almost entirely on the physical aspects of weight loss, like diet and exercise.

But there is an emotional component to food that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage their efforts.”

The survey of over a thousand Americans found that:

  • 31% thought lack of exercise was the biggest barrier to weight loss.
  • 26% said it was what you eat.
  • 17% thought it was down to the high costs of being healthy.
  • 12% guessed that lack of time stopped people losing weight.

Only 10%, though, supported the idea that psychological well-being was important in weight loss.

The Psychological Key to Weight Loss

Dr Robinson said:

“That may explain why so many of us struggle.

In order to lose weight and keep it off long term, we need to do more than just think about what we eat, we also need to understand why we’re eating.”

The emotional connection most people have built up with food is surprisingly powerful.

Learning to understand this connection can be more useful even than learning about the nutritional value of food.

Dr Robinson explained:

“If we’re aware of it or not, we are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but for comfort.

That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, as long as we acknowledge it and deal with it appropriately.”

Perhaps worst of all, comfort food doesn’t even actually improve our mood, research has found.

Dr Robinson provides three tips for those looking to understand their emotional connection with food:

  1. Keep a daily diary of food and mood. Look it over for any patterns which emerge. For example, are there particular foods attached to particular moods?
  2. Spot the foods that make you feel good. Is it about evoking a memory or are you eating from stress?
  3. Before eating, think: do I need this because I’m hungry or is it something else (like stress). If it’s stress, food isn’t the way to deal with it.

Fiona Wilkinson

The Benefits of Monotasking

Multitasking verses Monotasking

Multitasking verses Monotasking

It’s official! Multitasking is out and Monotasking is in! And it’s about time too…

Personally, multitasking has never been my thing. I’ve simply never been able to do more than one thing at time and I’ve never particularly wanted to. But, I know many of you out there will gleefully claim to be able to juggle the washing, watch the kids, answer your emails and walk, talk and eat all at the same… but why, oh why would you want to? I blame the 90s. I really do. But times change, and us monotaskers may have had it right all along…

It turns out that what our brains are actually best at is concentrating on one job at a time. What they’re in fact doing when we ask them to double or triple task is jumping at super high speed and inefficiently from one thing to another. Literally scatter brained.

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO of thinking research and learning organization Herrmann International, said: “The brain is not a parallel processor. There’s at least a 50 percent increase in error rate and it takes you 50 percent longer to do something while multitasking.” A simple examination of how many car accidents happen because of people eating, texting, talking or otherwise not devoting all their attention to the road proves this theory. “We feel like we can do many things at the same time, but really we’re just switching between the different parts of the brain handling each task.”

What happens to your brain when you Multitask

Multitasking brain

Multitasking brain

Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, explains. “Our brains are not wired to multitask. Though we think they’re handling multiple activities at the same time, what they’re really doing is constantly switching between them. “The problem is, there’s a cognitive price to pay each time we put them through that process.”

By which he means we become less productive and more anxious, because multitasking pushes up our levels of the stress hormone cortisol. We even become measurably less ‘intelligent’, because the noise in our head from all those activities clouds our concentration, resulting in a drop in IQ scores.

Dr Daniel Levitin, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Montreal’s McGill University and author of The Organized Mind, Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, says brain scans prove this.

“The message is very clear: we don’t multitask. We think we’re juggling a lot of different things but really we’re like amateur plate spinners. We get one thing going, move on to something new and then have to run back to the first thing to check on how it’s going.”

And each time we go through that process, we waste energy and time. And besides, think how much nicer it would be to have your partner all to yourself, instead of having a ménage-a-trois — you, your partner and a mobile phone…