Positive Weight Control for 2010Posted: Dec 31 in Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
Happy Holidays from CNC and best wishes for a great 2010! As the New Year is getting started, what better time is there to put our health and well-being at the top of our priority list? We get so busy here every January with people coming in with renewed New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. While this is a fantastic resolution and many people will go on to lose weight and successfully maintain weight loss, all too often, a month or two goes by and other priorities jump to the top of the list. Before we know it, weight management is a forgotten memory, only to be re-addressed at the next New Year’s resolution.
When weight loss is the goal, once weight loss is achieved, we tend to move on to the next project. Often we revert to old habits that have served us well for our entire lives. Instead, this year, let’s change this up. Losing weight by going on a “diet” has such negative connotations. Just say the word “diet” and I hear groans of agony – the word “diet” has become synonymous with the short-term restriction of foods we like.
If we really want to achieve long-term health and not just try and see how long we can stick with a restrictive, short-term diet, we need to understand where our eating behavior comes from. Our eating habits have been formed over the course of our lives. From our earliest days we are rewarded with M&M’s for using the potty, cookies for cleaning our room, birthday cake, pumpkin pie, and on and on. It’s no wonder that we learn to associate less-than-healthy foods with good emotions. In fact, we will eat these same foods for the emotional value even when we’re not hungry! Now, when we go on a diet and try to restrict these foods, it’s no wonder that we struggle to stick with it – not just will-power, but we feel emotionally deprived.
Negative vs. Positive Thinking
This is why we need to really look at where this eating behavior comes from. Instead of focusing on negatives – avoiding foods we like, eating less, not eating out, etc, this year let’s focus on positives. Instead of thinking “I can’t have this and I can’t have that,” think of all the wonderful healthy foods you can have. When you go to the grocery store, focus on putting healthy options in your cart and enjoy them! When you go out to eat, try to find the healthiest option on the menu, not the one that “sounds” the best.
A patient today told me the most valuable thing she has learned at CNC is to eat more, not less. She has found that by eating regular breakfast, lunch, and snacks, she doesn’t go overboard at dinner and in the evening hours. In fact, if you visit our web site and click on the HealthStyles tab, you’ll see a very interesting statistic in our September 2009 e-Newsletter. Research has shown that women with a high intent to control food intake (i.e. – trying not to eat) weigh 10-13 pounds more than their counterparts who do not try to control their intake. In men, this number is 12-15 pounds!
Don’t dwell on not eating – this negative train of thought will eventually result in overeating, often in the same day! This same patient shared with me that instead of having self-pity for all the things she lacks or can’t have, she regularly goes on a “Rampage of Appreciation” and reminds herself of all the wonderful things she does have. Treat yourself to a rampage of appreciation today!
This same strategy works for activity. Many people start a workout routine that they can’t stand. They feel this routine is necessary to be healthy and lose weight, but don’t actually enjoy it. It’s no wonder that it is a short-lived endeavor. Instead, we need to focus on activities that we do enjoy. Do you really enjoy sitting at a desk all day? Or, do you really enjoy watching Television all night? When I pass away (hopefully a long time away!) I certainly don’t want my epitaph to read, “Here lies Ethan Lazarus. Ethan spent 73% of his life at his desk and the remainder watching Television.” No, I want to get out and see the Colorado outdoors. I want to take Ballroom dancing classes. I want to walk with our new baby around the neighborhood. And, if I ever can find the time, I’d really like to give Yoga a try.
What would be fun for you?
What do you want to do? Take an art class? Learn to knit? Try Swing dancing? Take up swimming? A Pilates class? Walk around the neighborhood or even try hiking? Or, if you really like a particular Television show, how about working out while you watch it? Take the treadmill out of the closet, put it in front of the TV, and walk for an hour while you watch. If you can take a positive approach towards activity rather than a negative one, it can quickly become the best part of your day.
By focusing on positive actions rather than negative ones, you’ll begin to develop a positive attitude towards eating healthy. You won’t feel deprived – you’ll feel satisfied, because so many of these positive changes will help you feel better. The weight will come off and stay off, not because you went on a short-term restrictive “diet,” but because you changed your relationship with food and chose to enjoy eating healthier.
If you are having trouble finding ways to have a positive relationship with healthy eating and activity, our staff here at CNC is very skilled at helping you brainstorm. Call us any time at 303-750-9454 and let’s get back on track!