My hubby recently shared a New York Times article by Jane Brody, “Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated”.
It is interesting to read some of the data that has been pulled out of the three landmark studies (Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II and Health Professionals Follow-up Study).
Here are some things I agree & disagree w/the author about:
– “No one likes to feel deprived.” So true. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have. So if you deprive or restrict yourself from certain foods the more you want it. Have you ever been on the Atkins Diet and restricted yourself from carbs? What happened the minute you got off that diet? I ran to the nearest bakery and ate 3 pastries before I even got home! 🙂
Food restriction/deprivation backfires because there is a cycle of deprivation then overeating “forbidden” foods then guilt (which is an even worse feeling than deprivation) which leads to more overeating which leads to weight gain then probably finding the next diet (more restriction)! To finally stop this viscous cycle one needs to stop feeling deprived, stop feeling guilty, and stop dieting!
– “Looking for the magic bullet hasn’t solved the obesity problem.” No ONE solution will cure obesity. That is why people have to try several strategies to see what works for them. You don’t have to try them all at the same time. Implement what you can in small steps. Once you successfully ingrain a new healthier habit implement another one. A lot of times wanting to implement too much at once can lead to procrastination or giving up too soon. It takes approximately eight weeks…yes EIGHT to ingrain a new habit…so be patient & kind to yourself and start with baby steps!
– “Physical activity is important in weight management.”This is self explanatory! Yes, we all know fitness is an active ingredient to managing a healthy weight. The key is to find an activity you ENJOY or LOVE doing. Enjoy and Love more than watching TV, more than reading a book, more than going on Facebook. If you hate aerobics class every time you weigh the pros and cons of going to exercise class vs watching TV…TV is probably going to win 90% of the time! If you cannot find an ACTIVE activity (i.e. dancing, swimming, fast walking) that you love doing more than a PASSIVE activity (i.e. watching TV/surfing on web) then an option is to find an ACTIVE activity you CAN possibly like more and start rewiring your brain to liking it MORE than the Passive activity.
For example, I used to hate running! Seriously! I started up running about two years ago in order to lose the most weight in the fastest time possible and through some research found that running was one of those ways. But I disliked it and found every excuse in the book to NOT run. I have a competitive spirit so I signed up for a 10K race in Kora Kinabalu, Malaysia. This made me want to get prepared and fit for running for 1+ hrs. So even though I started training in the hot & humid summer of 2009 in Hong Kong this motivated me to run! Running on the treadmill was a bore too. So I found music that was uplifting to keep me motivated and distracted from constantly looking at the wall clock.
“Small changes in eating, exercise and other habits can result in large changes in weight (higher or lower) over the years.” It’s like that movie scene from “Shawshank Redemption” Tim Robbins’ character chipped away at his cell wall a little bit every day until he was able to free himself. Another example is golf. Hit the ball a few millimeters off center and the ball trajectory makes the ball go into the water or sand bunker instead of straight onto the fairway. All these little small manageable steps you make TODAY WILL make a difference in the future. Just start with one small step. Which way would you rather it go? 🙂
“Eat more veggies, nuts, yogurt, less refined carbs, less TV, less non-wine alcoholic drinks, and SLEEP 6-8 hrs a night.” Self-explanatory. Nuff said.
“Eat the ‘good’ foods more and ‘bad’ foods less. The notion that it’s O.K. to eat everything in moderation is just an excuse to eat whatever you want.” Yes, it is true that it can be an excuse for some. However, a lot of times when people label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ a lot of times they start assuming they themselves are also ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when that particular food is eaten. Food labeling in either direction isn’t helpful. When a person truly eats mindfully and “all kinds of food (yes! even refined carbs unless you’re gluten intolerant) fit” weight management can be accomplished.
Admittingly, when I first started practicing mindful eating I ate whatever I wanted. And ate and ate. So it wasn’t a surprise really when I gained weight initially. I wasn’t really knowledgeable as to know when to stop eating which took some practice. Once I got the hang of it and through some patient experimentation it was easier to figure out satiety levels. In addition, because I deprived myself of favorite foods for so long and was finally eating them without guilt it took some time for me to get what researchers call sensory specific satiety (when after 2 min of eating a specific flavor satisfaction with particular food declines).
I personally believe that eating foods with balance, variety and moderation does work from a mindful eating perspective because limiting and negative self thoughts are replaced with non-judgement and self-compassion.
Moral of the story…food labeling for some can be a way to make excuses; however, if you’re a mindful eater there is more responsibility to eating actions and food labeling stops. Eating any food mindfully with balance, variety and moderation does lead to a long term healthy lifestyle. When you eat mindfully, you’re not going to want french fries or chocolate every single day!
Julie Chiu, RN, MS, CHC, IC is a pioneer of mindfulness-based health coaching and weight management in the Asia-Pacific region. She is Hong Kong’s only Certified Health Coach (National Society of Health Coaches), Intrinsic Coach®, Certified Intuitive Eating Pro® Weight Management Counselor and Mindful Living Behavior Specialist. She also serves on the professional advisory board of the National Society of Health Coaches.
Julie is known as the “How To” Lady on breaking free from unhealthy lifestyle habits and helping clients achieve personal success and freedom through creating positive behavioral changes in their lives through individual coaching, corporate seminars, and group workshops. In addition to coaching clients, she writes for online and print media and conducts lectures and workshops on mindful eating, weight management, stress reduction, changing limiting thought patterns, and evidence-based health coaching.