Author Archives: Christy

About Christy

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach specializing in lifestyle transformation

Understanding Food Labels and Ingredients

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:


“Understanding Food Labels and Ingredients”
We had a pretty lively discussion on foods, food politics and food-like substances. Here’s a recap:

A calorie is not a calorie in the way you think. Food interacts with your unique biology and affects hormones, hunger and satiety in different ways for different people (Think Insulin, Ghrelin, leptin and thermic effect of foods). Protein foods tend to suppress appetite more than, say, a bag of chips. Instead of thinking in terms of a “good” food or “bad” food–and we used the example of a krispy kreme donut vs grilled salmon and steamed broccoli–think instead of foods in terms of a nutrition scale. In case you were wondering, Krispy Kreme would be very low on that scale but that doesn’t mean it’s “bad.” Much depends on the person and behavior.

The Nutrition Facts Label is intended to guide consumers by providing very basic information. You cannot make sense of the label without reading and understanding the ingredients label. Calories, macronutrients and nutrients all must be understood within the context of the food as a whole. Pay attention to calories, serving size, added sugars, artificial ingredients and high sodium in particular. There are approximately 60 different names for added sugar and if you see these high in the ingredient list, then that means that a large amount of that food is added sugars. If, for example, you’re choosing bread and you see the word “enriched flour” just know that it means it’s refined and not a whole grain. Look for “whole” wheat or 100% whole grain. That means the fiber and nutrients are intact.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend Americans to pay close attention to added sugar, ACTUAL serving size, calories and type of fat (heart-healthy vs heart-unhealthy fats). More on the DGA here:http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/

Understanding nutrition facts labels and ingredients CAN be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Make it a point to attend one of our grocery shopping tours so you can get more practice. Food companies package their products in a way to sell. Look past the shiny design, the special font and green packaging to see what’s really in the food. If you’re going to eat processed foods, then you HAVE to read and understand the back of the package. The nutrition facts and ingredients is the place to go.

Mindfulness in Eating

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Mindfulness in Eating”
Are you a mindful eater? Probably not. Would you lose weight, have more energy and feel more empowered if you practiced mindful eating? Would you have a more peaceful relationship with food? Definitely, yes.

Mindfulness is not a new concept, but it’s certainly not well practiced by most Americans. Being mindful simply means to be consciously aware or curious about your experiences. The principles are profoundly simple, and yet very hard to instill in our daily lives. Never is the lack more apparent than with our eating habits, but if you can develop (practice) eating in a more mindful way, the benefits are completely worth it.

How do you know if you’re a mindful eater (vs mindless eater)? Do you:
– consciously take the time to take a breath or two between bites when eating?
– take time to check in during mealtimes to assess fullness level?
– check awareness of feelings and emotions before you order, prepare or eat food?
– Eat 90% of food/meals/snacks while sitting down with no distractions?

I’m guessing that most of you are mindless eaters (I am too ???? ). If so, you may suffer from digestive upset such as reflux, bloating, IBS, weight gain, low energy, and feelings of guilt. You may find yourself constantly on a diet, but never achieving long-term success. There is no guilt in mindful eating. In fact, mindful eating is all about suspending judgments. Food is neither good, nor bad, but the eating experience provides you with the opportunity to increase awareness of HOW and WHY you eat the way you do. MINDFUL EATING IS NON-JUDGMENTAL AND IS ABOUT RELYING ON INTERNAL CUES FOR HUNGER, APPETITE AND SATIETY TO GUIDE YOUR EATING. MINDFUL EATING IS EATING CONSCIOUSLY IN A WAY TO MAKE YOUR BODY FEEL WELL. Most of us have to get reacquainted with our internal monitors for hunger and satiety.

The benefits of mindful eating are numerous:
– helps to reduce overeating/binge episodes
– helps with weight loss
– helps remove unwanted, automatic food habits (emotional eating)
– promotes a peaceful relationship with food
– helps with satisfaction of meals and enjoyment of nourishing foods

Practical ways to get started with Mindful Eating
– Practice being more mindful in all aspects of your life
– Practice understanding the difference between hunger and craving
– Notice your emotions when you eat–How you feel, thoughts, feelings?
– Begin to eat using all of your senses
– Start small—try one mindful meal this week
– Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes and take that time to eat a meal
– Try eating with non-dominant hand
– Use chopsticks
– Eat silently for 5 minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook
– Take small bites and chew well
Ask yourself “Am I Hungry?” If not physiologically hungry, take a walk
– Eat Until 80% full

For more on Mindful Eating, visit Dr. Michelle May’s website:

What is Mindful Eating?

It’s Not About The Diet. 

When it comes down to it, there’s not one special diet that will produce lasting weight loss for every person.  Many different nutritional approaches can work, assuming the person can stick with it.  A person should consider things like stress, cooking abilities, reasons for changing, and methods of sustaining the changes. Why have you been unsuccessful at changing in the past? Ultimately, your success will come from changing habits and that happens when you have a clear understanding of the problems, and you strive for creative solutions to those problems. Creativity is a highly under-appreciated skill when it comes to weight loss. Challenges will always be there and simple cookie-cutter approaches won’t work. You can “glean” strategies from popular diets, but you have to make it your own. Take what works and leave the rest.

Be a good scientist 
When it comes to weight loss, what no one will tell you is that there’s a lot of experimentation with finding the right formula for success. We all would like to believe that A + B = C.  Eat less, exercise more and you will lose weight. Well, yes.  But no. Yes, you must maintain an energy deficit to lose weight, but HOW exactly you accomplish this is where the experimentation comes into play.  Experiment with calories, macros, meal timing and exercise.  Don’t leave out strategies for sleep and stress reduction which play a major role in weight management.

Is it worth it?
Ultimately, the effort you put into changing existing habits must be worth it, which is to say, it must be rewarding. Make sure you carefully and continuously evaluate the pros and cons of adopting the desired change.  If you commit to daily exercise, for example, you must connect with the rewards in order for you to stick with it. Does this new behavior produce more energy? Better sleep? Improved mood? You may say you want to eat “right” and exercise, but the brain sees through your vain attempts. In order for the new behavior to stick, your brain must be rewarded for it.  If there is a powerful reward to your new behavior, your brain will commit that to memory so you can quickly remember it for next time. The caveat: your brain loves instant gratification. Make sure your rewards are thought out.

The next time you’re tempted to try the next popular diet, ask yourself if a new diet is really what you need.  More likely, you need to go deeper and recall what strategies did or did not work in the past.  You don’t need another diet to follow. You need to find your own diet to follow.

Support yourself with the best!  We would love the opportunity to partner with you on your journey.  Schedule a time to speak with one of our coaches today!

Nutrition Solutions

864 676-1248

 

Stress Management for Weight Loss

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Stress & Weight loss”

Stress. No one can escape it, BUT you can change how you respond to it (notice I said respond and not REACT). If CHRONIC stress becomes a way of life, it can wreak havoc on your health. In terms of weight loss, stress makes it very difficult to lose weight for several reasons:

  1. Stress causes a cascading release of hormones that ultimately results in increased hunger and cravings (Increased ghrelin signaling and decreased leptin signaling)
  2. Stress increases cortisol which may lead to central fat deposition (Extra fat around the abdominal cavity)
  3. Stress makes it difficult to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercise and planning nutritious meals. If you’re stressed out, you’ll find you have very little energy to make thoughtful decisions about food and exercise
  4. Stress often leads to overeating because overeating food causes a release of serotonin in the brain. Over time, this creates a habit that is hard to break.

Chronic stress affects digestion (IBS and reflux), can lead to hypertension, increased risk for diabetes, depression, anxiety, weight gain, pain and can weaken your immune system.

The solution:
AVOID, ALTER OR ADAPT. There are some stressful situations that you can avoid all together (discussions on controversial issues, watching the news, etc). Others you may have to alter or adapt. If you simply cannot avoid rush hour traffic, find a book to listen to or some nice music. Keep a list of your favorite podcasts or TED talks and listen to them in the car. Change your outlook on challenges.

Some helpful strategies to relieve stress: prayer/meditation, yoga, exercise, dancing, breathing exercises, balanced diet, mindful eating, sleep (7-9 hours), massage, laugh often.

If chronic stress is a way of life for you, here are my top recommendations:

  • Set boundaries with people and situations. Time and energy is a valuable
  • Just say no.
  • Be assertive with friends/family about what you need/want. Time management
  • Keep a social support network and call them often
  • Exercise–it’s the best way to burn off that excess cortisol and adrenaline

Stress happens to all of us, but it should not become a way of life. If you live under chronic stress, maintaining your healthy weight will be very challenging. Take an inventory of stressful events in your life and start to make changes today. It will be worth it!

Have you tried the You diet?

No doubt, you’ve tried countless diets over the years in an effort to shed a few pounds or to improve your health.  Fad diets are easy to spot once you know what to look for.  They speak to our need for control when everything is out of control.  Fad diets are an attractive option because they seem to make logical sense, that is, until you do some actual research from an unbiased source.  Here’s what you need to know:  THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR HEALTH.  There’s no magical formula that will get you the results you want.  You can’t follow your trainer’s diet and expect to get the same results.   The magic happens when YOU figure out what YOU need to be successful, but don’t think it all has to be done on your own.  It can be highly worth your time and money to seek the support of a registered dietitian as you work through the stages of change.

A sound nutritional plan will always include lots of vegetables, lean proteins and whole foods, while being low in sugar, refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods.  If you seek better health through better nutrition, you should know that the answer isn’t “out there.”  Instead, the answers you need lie within you—specifically, in the mass between your two ears.  The question often is not what should I eat, but rather how can I make it happen.  Diets fail for lack of proper planning and execution.

If that overly simplistic explanation doesn’t quite motivate you, there is another tool that can help.  Nutritional genetic testing looks at your individual genetic makeup which determines how you may respond to specific nutrients, diets and exercise strategies.  It’s called Nutrigenomix and it reinforces the idea that no one person responds equally to the same diet.  Instead of bouncing from one fad diet to the next, you can be tested and the results will be reviewed with you by a trained professional.  Likely this person will be a dietitian and they will counsel you on the appropriate nutrition and exercise strategies for you.  If you are interested in learning more about this testing, schedule and appointment by clicking here

Nutrition Solutions prides itself on providing personalized nutrition and health recommendations.  Call us to schedule a free assessment today (864) 676-1248

 

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off: Recipe For Success

Losing weight is hard; Keeping it off may even be harder.  For years, the mantra has been, “Eat less and exercise more,” but that has done little in the way of helping people to overcome the challenges to weight maintenance.  A famous talk show host used to say, “when you know better, you do better” and she’s got a point.  I don’t think people engage in risky health behaviors because they don’t know what to do, but rather they don’t know how to do it differently.  Obesity is not a disease of willpower and so the treatment can’t simply be, “try harder.”  I have had the honor and privilege of working with so many men and women who have fought hard to get healthy and I can tell you that their willpower isn’t lacking.  It’s not willpower, but as Dr. Pamela Peek says, it’s “wellpower” strategy.  Instead of relying on willpower, which is limited, use that willpower to develop strategies that provide lasting results. So what’s the secret to losing weight and keeping it off? It’s actually more straightforward than people might realize, but it’s not easy. Let’s look at the formula for success.

The 4 tenets of weight loss success are nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management.  

Nutrition

If you want to lose weight, you must cut calories.  This is paramount.  In terms of weight loss, calorie reduction is more important than exercise. Surprised? It’s a shocker for most people because we’ve all been told we’re sitting too much (which is true), but to lose body fat a person has to burn more calories (energy) than they are consuming.  I won’t go so far as to say it’s simply a matter of calories in and calories out, but creating an energy deficit must happen for weight loss to occur and the best way to do that is through energy restriction. Eat more nutrient-dense foods; Eat less high-calorie foods.  There’s a famous saying that holds true for most and it’s worth repeating: you can’t out exercise a bad diet.

Exercise

Exercise is EXTREMELY important for health, but in terms of weight management, it’s role is most important in the weight maintenance phase.  Exercise is wonderful medicine and it’s totally free for anyone to use.  To prevent weight regain, the ACSM recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week, but stresses that some individuals may benefit from > 250 minutes a week to prevent weight regain. Exercise helps to prevent muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, which is important since a decrease in muscle tissue would mean a decrease is resting metabolic rate (slowed metabolism).  This is why we do body composition testing for all of our clients.

One overlooked side effect of exercise can be an increase in appetite.  Pay attention to how exercise affects your appetite and your thinking.  Does exercise lead to increased hunger and eating?  Do you find that hard workouts leads to rewarding yourself with food?  Pay close attention to how exercise affects your eating. It’s not uncommon for people to overestimate their calorie burn with exercise.

Sleep

The role of sleep in weight loss is getting more and more attention, and for very good reason.  If a person is not getting enough sleep, they likely won’t have the energy to spare towards meal planning and exercise.  Under stress, they are more likely to succumb to food cues in their environment and also tend to crave sugar and high-calorie snacks.  Chronic sleep deprivation impairs your decision-making ability and affects your appetite regulating hormones, ghrelin and leptin.  This means you tend to feel hungrier and remain less satisfied when you do eat.

Stress Management

Chronic stress affects weight both directly and indirectly.  A person under stress rarely has time or energy to think about planning nourishing meals and they certainly don’t have time for exercise. The biological effects of stress creates a strong drive to eat highly processed food-like substances (aka, junk food).  Junk food is cheap, legal and a socially accepted way of soothing emotions.  If you want to get a handle on your food choices, you’ll first have to identify and eliminate sources of chronic stress in your life.

Losing weight for life requires a complete transformation in all areas of mind, body and soul.  Long-standing habits and behaviors must be challenged and replaced with life-giving behaviors.  People who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off are determined to get at the root behaviors.  They are persistent and tend to surround themselves with people who are also committed to improving their health.  There’s a special quote from author Steve Maraboli and he says, “if you hang around chickens, you are going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles you’re going to fly.”

Are you a successful loser?  Join the national study at the National Weight Control Registry:  http://nwcr.ws/

weight-loss-recipe-for-success-graphic

Eat More Plants!

It seems we love our dietary extremes.

Contrary to what you may have heard, plant-based eating is not radical. In fact, eating plant-based doesn’t even necessarily mean you give up eating meat or animal products. My definition of plant-based eating is a diet that is centered around plant foods that may or may not be seasoned with meat or animal products.

A plant-based diet is one that focuses on plants–one that is plant-centric.  It’s exciting, colorful, tasty and with lots of texture.  It does not necessarily mean that someone adopting a more plant-based diet abstains from meat all together.  There are different types of plant-based diets ranging from Vegan (no animal products), to a more flexible approach such as the Flexitarian diet.  Often times I promote a Flexitarian pattern which seeks to incorporate more plant-based foods into your existing diet.  So instead of subtracting or cutting out, we focused on foods to add—a concept known as crowding out.

Benefits associated with plant-based diets are too many to mention, but here are the most notable:

  • Lower body weight, weight loss
  • Eat more, weigh less (plant-based diets are typically lower in calories)
  • Decrease risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases
  • Reversal of atherosclerosis
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Healthy gut microbiome
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of cancer
  • Better brain health
  • Increased intake of important nutrients and fiber
  • Cost-saving

If you would like to learn more about the benefits associated with plant-based eating, visit http://www.nutritionfacts.org which is a website dedicated to providing evidence-based nutrition advice. Adopting a more plant-based diet is exciting and fun, but can undoubtedly be intimidating to some. Below are some practical and simple suggestions.  I’d encourage you to start gradually and build your culinary skills as you go.

 

 

 

Too busy to prepare your own plant-based meals?  Have our chef and culinary team do it for you! 

Click for our chef-prepared meals

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise Is Medicine

What if there were one pill you could take daily that protected against disease, cancer, aging and a host of other maladies?  In addition, it might cure depression and counter the harmful effects of stress and anxiety.  And then, what if I added that this pill was super low cost, and without any unwanted side effects?  As it turns out, exercise is that magic pill.

Exercise:

  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Improves mood, induces happiness and sense of well-being
  • Reduces risk of colon, breast, lung and endometrial cancer (and likely many others)
  • Improves cognitive function by enhancing neurogenesis and neuroplastisty (new brain cells and synaptic connections)
  • Improves function of endocrine system (naturally balances hormones)
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Reduces risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Reduces pain
  • Reduces blood pressure naturally
  • Promotes blood sugar control/increases insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces inflammation in the body
  • Improves immune function (get sick less frequently)
  • Increases muscular strength and flexibility
  • Prevents weight gain

Most people understand that exercise is good for them on a surface level, but they’ve heard the same recycled message over and over.  Simply knowing that exercise is good for health doesn’t automatically translate into someone adopting it as a health behavior.  So the question we all need to ask is, how specifically is exercise good for MY body?  The challenge here is that oftentimes we won’t know the answer to this question until we have been practicing the behavior for some time.  For example, you wouldn’t appreciate the mood-boosting effects of running until you were 20 minutes into the run, and you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the full health benefits until running became routine, instead of something you did just once or twice.

It’s worth pointing out that exercise should ultimately be something you enjoy, and it certainly doesn’t need to be complicated.  If you have been inactive for some time, there will be discomfort as your body adapts to the new physical demands.  But once you build an aerobic and fitness base, you will come to need physical challenge much the same way you need to eat and sleep.  Movement and physical activity is natural.  Being sedentary is not.  Bodies are designed to move and not sit for 8 hours at a time.  At its core, exercise should work the cardiovascular system and the musculoskeletal system.  This means cardio + building or maintaining muscle and bone tissue.  Bone, by the way, is living tissue.  Incorporating resistance training into your exercise routine helps protect against sarcopenia and osteopenia.  Translated, this means strong muscles and strong bones—a sturdy frame that you have the privilege of using while on this earth.  This body is the only one you have, so take good care of it.

Finally, keep in mind that it’s not all or nothing and any exercise is better than no exercise.  Find some movements and activities that you can do and just start doing them.  Get creative with your exercise and try new things.  One of the most important things you can do in the beginning stages is to surround yourself with others who are committed to an active lifestyle.  Try some group fitness classes or hiking groups.  Spend money by hiring a personal trainer who can encourage, inspire and push you to do more than you thought you could.  Whatever you do, just get moving and stay moving.  Practice.

“The most effective way to do it, is it to do it.”–Amelia Earhart

Weight Loss: Recipe For Success

This time of the year, I’m acutely aware of the challenges that we all face when it comes to this health-giving lifestyle we’re all striving for.  Striving is a strong word, but it’s an accurate way to describe how hard we all must fight to maintain our health habits during the holidays.  To say it’s a struggle would be an understatement.

Not just about willpower
Too often with weight loss, it’s implied that willpower is the deciding factor between who can successfully manage their weight, and who cannot.  But willpower is limited and actually plays a minor role in health behaviors.  Instead, the keys to success have more to do with arranging your environment and social situations (cues) then it does with willpower.  Instead of relying on willpower, which is limited, try arranging your world so that the health habits flow naturally.  If you want to eat less calories, serve yourself on a smaller plate and bulk it up with vegetables.  If you are trying to make a habit of walking every day, set your shoes and socks by the door the night before.

  In order to adopt health habits that work, you need to set yourself up to succeed.  Spend time with people who are active and have a diverse range of active hobbies, for example,  and you’ll likely find yourself being more active.  Peer pressure is a highly under-rated tool.  Unfortunately, peer-pressure usually works to reinforce negative health habits.  Once you understand the power of social and environmental cues, you will develop strategies that work for you instead of against you.

If you are tired of the yo-yo diet cycle, you’ll have to get off the hamster wheel.  Don’t wait until January to start making some changes, but instead, start making tiny changes now and you’ll be way ahead of the game.  When everyone else is starting their annual purge-diet, you’ll be in a much better position to establish habits that you can actually stick with.

     Diets can produce short-term results, but a lifestyle change requires planning, commitment and a change to existing habits.  A lifestyle change requires an honest assessment of current health habits.  Scratch below the surface of bad eating habits and likely you will find an emotional attachment to foods.  So in essence, it’s not about the right diet or perfect foods, but rather it’s about dealing with the emotional and psychological factors—dealing with the “why” behind the eating behavior and unfortunately, there’s not one magical fix for that.  The journey requires deep introspection and honesty.  It requires a commitment to work hard, despite some setbacks along the way.  If you want “it” bad enough, you’ll fight hard for it.  The question you have to ask yourself:  is it worth it?  I hope you find the answer is an emphatic YES!

We love what we do.  We love partnering with individuals like you with a passion for lifestyle change.

Call us at 864 676-1248

Nutrition Solutions

Weight Loss: Recipe For Long-term Success

Losing weight is hard; Keeping it off may even be harder.  For years, the mantra has been, “Eat less and exercise more,” but that has done little in the way of helping people to KEEP the weight off once they’ve lost it.  Two important points I would like to make before we go any further:

1) A healthy weight is not a number on a scale.  When we speak of weight loss, each person will have unique challenges and goals that they set for themselves.  I don’t set weight goals for clients, they do.  And if they set weight goal numbers, we have an understanding that the body composition matters more than the number on the scale.  Health comes in many shapes and sizes.

2) Whenever we speak of weight loss or weight gain, it’s important to understand that obesity is not a disease of willpower, and therefore it’s imperative that people who are affected by obesity are not subjected to stigma and bias. We need to embrace these facts.  We should also move away from talking only about the diet and expand the discussion to include specific strategies for keeping the weight off.  It’s not so much about which diet will work (many diets will work for weight loss in the short term), but instead it’s about which nutrition and exercise habits are sustainable for that individual over time.  There’s too much emphasis placed on diets, and not enough emphasis placed on the person’s lifestyle.  At Nutrition Solutions, we emphasize a personalized approach to weight loss and provide long-term support and education.  Some of the greatest, and yet modifiable factors preventing optimal health are poor nutrition, overeating, inactivity, chronic stress and sleep deprivation and we spend a lot of time working with our clients on these issues.  To sum it up, losing weight requires the right nutrition and exercise plan, along with stress and sleep management techniques and this demands an individualized approach.  There are some universal strategies that work (see NWCR ), but a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.

The 4 tenets of weight loss success are Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Stress Management.  

Nutrition

If you want to lose weight, you must cut calories. This is paramount. To lose body fat a person has to burn more calories (energy) than they are consuming.  I won’t go so far as to say it’s simply a matter of calories in and calories out, but you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Eat more nutrient-dense foods; Eat less high-calorie foods.  Here’s the thing: Eating low calorie does not necessarily mean eating less.  When you adopt a diet that includes plenty of nutrient-dense foods, the volume of food you eat actually increases.  For example, let’s say you want to make a hearty beef chili.  Great.  Just make sure to use lean, and preferably local beef and bulk it up with beans or lentils, tomatoes, onions and whatever other vegetables you can cram in.  Essentially what you have done is create a lower-calorie, and yet completely satisfying meal.  Eat more nutrient-dense, low-energy dense foods.

Exercise

Exercise is EXTREMELY important for health, but in terms of weight management, its role is most important in the weight maintenance phase.  Exercise is wonderful medicine and it’s totally free for anyone to use.  To prevent weight regain, the ACSM recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week, but stresses that some individuals may benefit from > 250 minutes a week to prevent weight regain. Exercise helps to prevent muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, which is important since a decrease in muscle tissue would mean a decrease is resting metabolic rate (slowed metabolism).  This is why we do body composition testing for all of our clients.

One overlooked side effect of exercise can be an increase in appetite.  Pay attention to how exercise affects your appetite and your thinking.  Does exercise lead to increased hunger and eating?  Do you find that hard workouts lead to rewarding yourself with food?  Pay close attention to how exercise affects your eating. It’s not uncommon for people to overestimate their calorie burn with exercise.

Sleep

The role of sleep in weight loss is getting more and more attention, and for very good reason.  If a person is not getting enough sleep, they likely won’t have the energy to spare towards meal planning and exercise.  Under stress, they are more likely to succumb to food cues in their environment and tend to crave sugar and high-calorie snacks.  Chronic sleep deprivation impairs your decision-making ability and affects your appetite regulating hormones, (the most famous being ghrelin and leptin).  This means you tend to feel hungrier and remain less satisfied when you do eat.

Stress Management

Chronic stress affects weight both directly and indirectly.  A person under stress rarely has time or energy to think about planning nourishing meals and they certainly don’t have time for exercise. The biological effects of stress creates a strong drive to eat highly processed food-like substances (aka, junk food).  Junk food is cheap, legal and socially accepted as a way to medicate emotions.  If you want to get a handle on your food choices, you’ll first have to identify and eliminate sources of chronic stress in your life.

Losing weight for life requires a complete transformation in all areas of mind, body and soul.  Long-standing habits and behaviors must be challenged and replaced with life-giving behaviors.  People who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off are determined to get at the root of their negative behaviors.  They are persistent and tend to surround themselves with people who are also committed to improving their health.  There’s a special quote from author Steve Maraboli and he says, “if you hang around chickens, you are going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles you’re going to fly.”

Are you a successful loser?  Join the national study at the National Weight Control Registry:  http://nwcr.ws/