Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Power of Your Mind

Your mind has a whole lot of power when it comes to living your life. Take a second and think about the last time you talked yourself out of exercising, or talked yourself out of eating that 3rd slice of pizza. How did it happen? It was all in your head.

Your mind and your weight/health are very closely related.

For starters, we’re all subjected to plenty of food advertisements and most of those ads are not for healthy foods. The bulk of the advertising goes to sway our kids, and according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a typical day the average 8-12-year-old sees:

  • 5 ads for candy and snacks
  • 4 ads for fast food
  • 4 ads for sodas and other soft drinks
  • 3 ads for cereal
  • 2 ads for restaurants
  • 1 ad for prepared foods
  • 2 ads for the following categories combined: dairy, water, juice, meat, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables or grains

Do these ads encourage kids to want more junk foods? Certainly, and if you’re a parent that may mean you keep more unhealthy foods around your house -- this may tempt you to sabotage your own diet. Even without kids, food advertising can have subtle impacts on your desire to eat foods that aren’t good for your waistline.

When you get those cravings, a good idea is learning to replace them instead of just “forget” about them…since that usually doesn’t happen. So try using the one hour clue.

The one hour clue is one hour after eating do you feel better or worse? More energy or less? Any foods that don't make you feel good, energized one hour after eating should be replaced with health energizing foods

Another way our minds tend to get the best of us is when we see or hear those advertisements for fad diets claiming you “don’t have to make any changes, just take a pill” or if you eliminate a certain food group (carbs, anyone?) you will drop the pounds fast. That might be true, but it doesn’t last. And you will be back where you started…listening to those ads on the radio.


So the key here is to change the way you think. Easier said than done, right?

Losing weight is not about dieting or restrictions … it’s about changing the way you think about food, eating and a healthy lifestyle in general.

The first step to doing this is to become aware of your eating patterns and then make adjustments; for instance if you tend to overeat when you're stressed about work, then make adjustments based on them. If you know you tend to overeat when you're overwhelmed, make it a point to keep yourself busy with another activity (even something relaxing like reading or taking a bath) during this time.

Next, focus on making small changes in your lifestyle, not on losing weight. For instance, rather than thinking, "I have to lose 30 pounds," think, "Today I'm going to take a pass on the bread and butter and go for a walk after dinner."

By adding just one or two healthy behaviors to your routine each day, you’re subtly changing your old, weight-sabotaging habits into new healthier ones.


So today, choose to be aware of your thoughts. Then from there, decide to change them when necessary. It won’t be easy…but a lot of things in life that are worth it don’t come easily. So stay strong!

ps – the full article where I got some of this information is found here.

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