Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight and keep it off – especially through the holiday season or other ups and downs that life offers – knows that it can be quite a challenge. What can make this process even more difficult to manage, though, is when you don’t have enough (or the right types of) support for your efforts. Most people are lucky enough to have a few important people in their lives: perhaps a spouse or partner, family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. But even when you have people around you, there’s no guarantee that you can or will get the support you need.
Of the people in your life, give some thought to which ones know about your weight management goals? Who would you expect to support you through this process? And equally importantly, how could they support you? Have you ever expected someone’s unwavering support only to realize that they disappointingly came up short in this department?
December 31st marks that wonderful time of year when millions of people ring in the New Year with confetti and party hats. Whether you choose to spend the evening out dancing past midnight or you prefer to snuggle into bed by 9pm, the new year isn’t just about celebrating; it is also a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions and try to take advantage of the fresh start feeling that January 1st brings.
For many Americans who struggle with weight, losing some of that weight is perhaps the most common resolution set each year. But as you may have experienced in the past, the energy and focus you have to work on your resolution in January tends to fade. And for most people, by the time February rolls around, you may be feeling discouraged and either at the same weight as you started or even with a few additional holiday pounds. If this has happened to you, like it has for so many Americans who start out strong but lose steam a few weeks/months in, there are some simple steps you can take to try to make this year’s resolutions more sustainable.
If you haven’t seen the New York Times article describing a new NIH study on long term outcomes of former Biggest Loser contestants, I strongly recommend reading it here. It showed that most contestants gained back weight and their metabolic rates plummeted.
Those who have read it seem to be universally upset. Countless patients told me it made them feel hopeless – “what’s the point of all this if my body is just going to undermine my efforts?” One patient was convinced that the author wrote it “just to make fat people feel like failures.”
I’m somewhat fascinated by the overwhelmingly negative and emotional reactions. My own view is actually quite positive. Here’s why:
If you listen carefully, you will hear all sorts of thoughts running through your head at any given moment. There are the endless to-do lists for the future (pick up the dry cleaning, return that email, schedule eye exam, etc.) that take up space in our heads. There are the thoughts about past events and conversations (e.g., “I wish I had said no to that request,” or “I wonder if I made my point clearly enough in that meeting”). Then there are the most important thoughts—your own thoughts about you. These are the thoughts that are hardest to notice, and we call this “self-talk.”
Self-talk is the category of thoughts that most folks don’t tune into or even recognize they have, yet these are the thoughts that ultimately have the biggest impact on how we feel and what we actually do (or don’t do). I like to call self-talk the ‘stuff that lives in the gap between knowledge and action.’ Self-talk is what gets in the way when we say things like “I know I should go out for a walk” but then we don’t go. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr. Scott Kahan commented on a fascinating new study in the journal Cell, which focused on new research that may push the field forward to better, personalized nutrition recommendation. You can listen below:
Sleepless nights can affect every part of our lives. Beyond feeling fatigued, they can cause irritability, stress, increased appetite, and overeating. Fortunately, there are many treatments that can help. As a psychologist, I specialize in behavioral approaches to insomnia and other sleep difficulties.
The tricky part is that sometimes – like with Chinese handcuffs – the harder we work at sleep, the more elusive it may become. That is, imagine trying to force yourself to sleep by repeating: “I’m going to force myself to sleep now!” Rather, a gentler, strategic approach includes easing into sleep, starting with adjusting our environments, our bodies, and our minds to be as conducive to sleep as possible.
As a registered dietitian and diabetes educator for the past 16 years, I have worked with many people at different stages in their relationship with diabetes. No matter the length of time someone has been trying to manage their blood glucose, I hear two common myths over and over:
Myth 1: Carbohydrates are “bad” and should be avoided.