Five Things You Should Know About Happiness and Weight Loss

The Reality…

The truth is being dissatisfied with the way you look or feel can be a very unhappy-making experience.  But which comes first, the unhappiness or the extra weight?  I would argue that happier people make better choices for themselves, which may keep them from becoming overweight in the first place, and at the very least will make taking action to lose weight that much easier than it would be for a person plagued with unhappy thoughts.
The Challenge…

If you consider weight loss a prerequisite to your happiness, you may want to consider plan reorganization.  You may find it a challenge to love yourself as an overweight person (that’s right, and exactly as you are right this moment), but the fact is self-love, happiness, respect for, and commitment to, oneself will ideally proceed, or be undertaken in conjunction with, weight loss. 

Happiness is truly an inside job. It is never based upon what is going on “out there”, meaning what others think, say or do, or negative world events.  Happiness is a choice we make internally, for ourselves.  And so is unhappiness.  As human beings, we have the power to decide whether we will chose thoughts that lead us to positive or negative feelings.  It stands to reason that the decisions we make when we are experiencing negative feelings will lead us to very different results in life than the decisions we make when we are experiencing positive feelings and emotions.  Negative thoughts and feelings can cause us to seek solace in food, or not value, in the moment, the long term goals and values we have set for ourselves.  Conversely, positive thoughts and emotions can be very empowering, and lead us down a very different path.  The path we go down, meaning the actions we take as a result of our thoughts and feelings, will leads us to a particular result.  Not coincidentally, positive thoughts (routinely thought by happy people) will get you positive results (in weight loss, and everything else in life).  And negative thoughts (routinely thought by unhappy people) will get you negative results (in weight loss, and everything else in life).

So it comes in very handy that you literally get to choose whether to be happy or unhappy.  It seems like a no-brainer to me, but if you’re not quite sure yet which would be the better choice, review five things you need to know about happiness that will result in actions that will impact your weight loss.  If you never lost a pound, wouldn’t this be a better way to live anyhow!?

The Solution…

Below are five things you need to know about how happiness and weight loss go hand-in-hand:

  1. Happy People Make Healthier Choices
  2. Happy People Produce Lower Levels of the Stress Hormone Cortisol
  3. Happy People Enjoy Living in the Moment
  4. Happy People Have a Higher Level of Respect for Themselves
  5. Happy People Honor Commitments to Themselves
The Invitation….

Please leave me feedback on this blog or any questions as a comment below! 
   
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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How to Avoid Stress Eating in the Midst of Your Stressful Day


The Reality…
In a recent blog, I wrote about the prevalence of stress in today’s world, and offered 10 tips to manage stress.  (If you missed it, click here to read Ten Tips to Manage Stress.)  The reality is that if we do not learn to effectively manage our stress, we may instead find ourselves managing a whole host of other undesirables. To reiterate, the failure to manage stress can result in anxiety, depression, insomnia, premature aging, mood disorders, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.  On top of all those serious health concerns, failure to manage stress can also result in weight gain, and over time, obesity, stemming from poor food choices made while under stress.  I am referring to what is commonly called “stress eating” and nothing can take a woman off track with weight loss faster than a high stress day and the stress eating that somehow gets her through it.   
The Challenge…
The challenge, of course, is that those urges to stress eat strike when we are at a particularly vulnerable point emotionally.  Those of us who stress eat seek solace in “comfort foods”, which are typically packed full of sugar, flour and calories.  Those comfort foods provide an extra dose of dopamine to make us feel better, at least temporarily, which is one of the reasons we crave them.  Dopamine is known as the “feel-good hormone” because it provides feelings of euphoria and bliss.  No matter how much better your body may feel after eating “comfort food”, the body will still be at risk for the undesirables referenced above, and you certainly won’t be any closer to the your weight loss goals, especially if your stress eating occurs with any regularity.  In addition to the ten tips provided in the prior blog, which are more of a proactive and overall approach to stress management, below are some techniques you can use “in the moment” to avoid stress eating in the midst of your stressful day. 
The Solution…
If you are in the habit of experiencing stressful days because of your job or relationships, then it makes sense to plan in advance for a healthy interruption that you will implement when stress arises.  I encourage you to have at least five healthy interruption techniques at the ready.  Below I offer a few ideas to get you started, but ultimately you will want to develop techniques that are meaningful to your particular circumstances.  Tell yourself in advance that the stress may be coming, and if it does, you are prepared and will employ one of your techniques before you resort to stress eating.  Nine times out of ten your stress will dissipate without the need for food, and your body and brain will eventually become conditioned to the fact that food is no longer your answer to stress relief:
    1.  Have a safe space designated within your office or home (wherever you find yourself encountering stress, to the extent practical) where you can go light a candle or incense, close the blinds or drapes, and exercise some deep inhalations and exhalations.  Even five minutes of respite can bring about a shift in your stress level and allow you to push the reset button simply with space and breath, and not food.
     2.   Another option to deep inhalations and exhalations in your safe space would be to listen to a quick guided meditation. 

3   3.  Grab a bottle of water and go for a quick walk outside.  The water will help your body to feel as if it is being satiated, the walk will get your body moving and your blood flowing, and the fresh air will prompt you to breathe.  The whole experience will give you a fresh perspective.  

     4.  Have an understanding with a friend or family member that you will each provide each other with support in stressful times where either of you might otherwise feel tempted to stress eat.  Place a time limit on the phone call.  Even five minutes on the phone with a friend who understands what you are trying to accomplish with weight loss and the stressors of your life can quickly bring you back into perspective while allowing the food urge to pass unsatisfied.

The Invitation….

To get started on a deeper dive into stress management and permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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What You Need to Know About Five Hormones that Impact Weight Loss

The Reality… 
As women, we have probably all been accused at one point or another of being hormonal. Perhaps a little insulting, but actually true.  With that said, all humans are full of hormones, not just women!  If you’re overweight, those hormones are likely not as balanced as they should be.  The bottom line is all bodies have a unique hormonal response to food, drink and lifestyle, and you must have the utmost respect for your hormones and determine, through experimentation, what works best for your body to bring it into hormonal balance.  
How do you know when you’re in hormonal balance?  Your moods stabilize.  You naturally maintain a healthy weight.  Your body sends messages that it’s time to eat only when it is in true need for fuel.  And when you are satiated, your body sends the message that you are full and should stop eating.  While you are working to achieve your ideal body weight, you must appreciate and yield to the power that your hormones have to not only wreak havoc on your weight loss but also make you feel pretty darn uncomfortable in your skin when they aren’t balance.  Hormones also have the power to bring your body back in balance and allow you to achieve a healthy weight for life.  
Below are five hormones that can impact weight loss for women:

  1. Cortisol
  2. Ghrelin
  3. Leptin
  4. Insulin
  5. Estrogen 
The Challenge…
When the five hormones above are out of balance, they can prove a challenge to your weight loss plans.  Further, in some case, going on a diet will impact your hormones and impact your weight loss plans.  Below is a brief description of each hormone.
Cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. High cortisol concentrations increase abdominal fat, the type of fat more closely linked to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Ghrelin.  Ghrelin, made in the stomach, is the hormone that stimulates appetite.   Your body is designed for survival so when you begin a diet and reduce calorie intake, ghrelin levels increase and make you hungry to protect you from starvation.  
Leptin.  Leptin is a hormone that is secreted from your fat cells, and it signals your body when it’s full and should stop eating.  Overweight and obese people have high levels of leptin, but the leptin signal isn’t working due to a condition known as leptin resistance. Leptin resistance can cause hunger even though the body has more than sufficient fat stores, and can also negatively impact the number of calories that are burned.
Insulin.  Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use.  Like with leptin, if you regularly eat a lot of sugar, your body produces an elevated level of insulin and over time your cells are less responsive to the presence of insulin and become insulin resistant.  Intermittent fasting, the topic of two of my recent blogs, has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity. 
Estrogen.  Estrogen is made in the ovaries, and plays a role in body-fat distribution. Many women report that changing estrogen levels affect their weight, particularly around menopause. They may notice that they are gaining weight, or that it is more difficult to lose weight.
The Solution…
The brief descriptions above do not even scratch the surface of the intricacy and interplay between your hormones, and how they can potentially impact weight loss.  And as I mentioned above, each person has a unique hormonal response to a given set of circumstances.  However, the basics on these hormones is a starting point and you now have information about which hormones are relevant to weight loss.  I would highly recommend as you embark on a weight loss journey that you make it your business to know all about the hormones that will impact your weight loss success, and pay particular attention to your unique hormonal responses.  Knowledge is power when it comes to your hormones, and knowing what is going on inside as you attempt to lose weight can put any temporary failures you experience in perspective for you.  As you research, bear in mind there is conflicting data out there, especially on the internet.  The good news is that incorporating into your lifestyle the three components we target in my 6-week weight loss program “Weight Loss for Stressed Out Ladies” (healthy diet, exercise and stress management) will help bring your hormone levels into balance over time and help you achieve a healthy lifestyle. 
The Invitation….
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??