Wondering Where your Willpower is?

Wondering Where your Willpower is?

Do you ever wonder why you can’t just walk by the candy dish at work without helping yourself to a handful or why you can’t stop thinking about the ice cream in your freezer until you break it out and eat half of if right out of the carton? Where is your willpower?


Wondering Where your Willpower is?

For successful weight loss, don’t forget to include sleep and stress relief into your plan

The LIFE study, a large 2-phase weight loss study, has found some interesting connections from the completed phase one. In phase one, study participants take part in counseling, 500 calorie reduction diet based on the DASH diet and 180 min of exercise a week.

60% of the participants were successful in phase one; meaning they lost at least 10 pounds and met the 180 min of weekly exercise requirement. They also attended 73% of their counseling sessions on average. When researchers looked at the differences between the successful group of participants and the unsuccessful group, they came up with 2 areas that differentiated them – stress and sleep.


Wondering Where your Willpower is?

Is your High Blood Pressure Medication Making you Fat?

It is well-known that overweight and obese individuals have higher blood pressure than those who are normal weight. There are many reasons why obesity causes an increase in blood pressure, but now it looks as if some of the drugs designed to combat high blood pressure may actually be contributing to problems with weight. Recent studies have led professionals to believe that blood pressure drugs, specifically older versions of beta-blockers, decrease the body’s ability to burn calories and fat.


Wondering Where your Willpower is?

Is Your Diet Stressing You Out?

Crash dieting does not work! In fact, crash dieting creates changes in your body that make long-term weight management nearly impossible! We LOVE crash dieting and fad diets in this country because for many people they give fast measurable results. But the reality is that although the number on the scale may give the impression that the diet is working, the changes going on inside your body are very unhealthy and will make is extremely hard for you to maintain the weight loss you achieved with the diet once you stop.

When we talk about crash dieting, we’re talking about a diet that restricts calorie intake significantly for a short period of time. A study recently conducted at the University of Pennsylvania tested this kind of diet on mice. The mice were on a three week diet during which they lost an average of 10-15% of their weight. While the mice were on the diet, researchers found that they had higher levels of stress hormones and showed symptoms of depression when they were in stressful situations. Even more interesting (or scary) is that the mice had altered DNA once they finished the diet! The genes that regulate appetite and stress were changed as a result of the calorie-restricted diet. Researchers also found that once the mice were off the calorie-restricted diet and given a high-fat diet, their appetite hormones went crazy and caused binge eating.

This study seems to be telling us that STRESS may be one of the biggest reasons why crash diets are not successful in achieving long term weight loss. In the Optimal Body Balance program we talk about stress a lot and recognize it as one of the 8 areas of weight loss resistance.

Stress can make you fat!

  • Stress raises the hormone cortisol — cortisol causes you to break down muscle (not fat!) for energy — sugar from the broken down muscle tissue is continuously dumped into the blood stream — resulting in insulin resistance
  • Chronic stress lowers the hormone serotonin and makes you hypoglycemic — resulting in sugar cravings
  • Chronic stress lowers the hormone DHEA; DHEA helps your body burn fat (it also has anti-aging and libido stimulating properties)

Stress also causes behavioral problems such as depression (as mentioned before), anger, mood swings, indecisiveness, panic attacks and excessive use of stimulants, intellectual problems such as forgetfullness and lack of concentration, and physical problems such as chronic fatigue, constipation/diarrhea, headaches, heart palpitations, high cholesterol, hypertension, indigestion, immune dysfunction, insomnia, skin rash, sweaty palms and tight muscles.

Next time you consider a crash diet, really think about the long term complications you may be causing your body. Not only will stress induced by crash dieting make it harder to keep off weight in the long run, you’re also creating hormone imbalances, changing your body composition in a negative way by burning up your muscle (not the fat you actually want to get rid of!!!) and maybe even altering your DNA, yikes!

Working Out the Stress During the Workday – Part 2

Working Out the Stress During the Workday – Part 2

Steve Correll and the cast of The Office makes millions of people laugh.

But real world workplaces tend to have the opposite effect.  They can be the source of stress, which is one of the eight areas of weight loss resistance.

In Part 1 of Working Out the Stress During the Workday, I talked about some ways to reduce stress during the workday.  Here are a couple extra tips to help you relax from 9 to 5 (and beyond).

Be mindful of your body.  Hey, remember that hunk of cells, skin, nerves and muscles that transports you around all day?  You know, your body?  Pay attention to it.  Give it a break.

For example, do you feel tension in your neck, back and shoulders?  Is your jaw clenched and your face tight?  If so, take a minute and stretch.  Walk around the office – move.  Drink some water, keeps those muscles loosened up.

Your body needs breaks too.

Lights out for your eyes.  If you’re sitting and staring at a computer screen for hours, your eyes are going to need a time-out.  Or two.  Or ten.

Here’s a simple exercise:  With your palms facing your eyes, gently place them over your eyes and block out all the light.  Keep the light out for two or thee minutes.

This momentary respite will do them well.

Keep it light.  You don’t need to tell The Weight Loss Comedian the importance of keeping things light.  Humor can be an ideal tool for diffusing stress in the workplace.

Naturally, you’ll want to use discretion and be humorous when appropriate.  But try and send out an informal, humorous message to a coworker.  Or share a cartoon or two.  Find the funny side of life, and you can lighten the mood throughout the workplace.

Give yourself a pat on the back.  Hey, you do good work.  Give yourself a hand now and then.  Take a step back and recognize yourself for a job well done.

Make the workspace a pleasant place to be.  It’s amazing what a few nice photos, pictures and a splash of color can do to a workplace.

If you think you’re stuck in a dreary situation, try and liven it up with some plants or art.

And don’t hesitate to put up some photos of your loved ones.  Photos of my little guy and my big guy are all around my office, and whenever I need a smile, I just look their way.

Positively avoid the “negaholics”.  You know these people – nothing is ever right, nothing is ever good enough.  They are toxic waste dumps of negativity, and they spew forth day and night.

While it may be hard to avoid these people entirely, you don’t have to encourage them.  If they start with their belly-aching, tune them out or change the subject.  Don’t play that game.

Those are just a few tips to get you started.  On a future post, I’ll talk about some exercises you can do to further relieve stress in the workplace.