Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category

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Keep Track of Food to Double Weight Loss Efforts

November 12, 2010
(Article first published as Food Diary Shown to Double Successful Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)

If you were to ask anyone who is trying to lose weight how many calories they eat each day or how long they spend exercising, chances are overwhelming that the answer would be grossly underestimated. People are very poor judges of calorie count or portion size when working toward a weight loss goal.

Most will indicate they eat very little when in reality they are taking in 20 to 40% more calories than anticipated, more than enough to sabotage their efforts. Another common mistake is the belief that since they are exercising regularly, they can consume more to compensate. The only way you can accurately gauge caloric intake and energy expenditure is to keep a daily log or journal to prevent excess calories and ensure successful weight loss.
Keeping a Food Journal Can Double Weight Loss

The results of a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine demonstrates that despite our best intentions, most people grossly underestimate portion sizes and calories eaten when they don’t measure their food. The researchers found that the more detailed food records that were kept by study participants, the more weight they lost. Those with the most meticulous recordkeeping lost twice as much as those who kept no track at all. And they were able to keep the weight off as long as they continued to record in their journal.

Keeping an Accurate Food Log: Be Honest With Yourself

It isn’t that people are trying to be dishonest with food tracking, as they are only hurting themselves. The problem is we like to snack between meals or grab a few jelly beans, a small piece of chocolate or a sugary power drink with the thought it won’t make a difference. Those calories add up and at the end of the day you could be adding several hundred calories to you total. Keeping a handy journal where you record every bite of food before it goes in your mouth can help you stay on track. Here’s why:

Provides a True Understanding of Portions and Calories: When you’re forced to account for every calorie you eat, you quickly gain an understanding of portion sizes and the type of foods that pack on the calories (processed snacks, baked treats and fried foods), compared to fresh vegetables that you can eat in almost unlimited quantities.
Record Your Food Before You Eat: The most important part of the program is to always record the food or drink and portion size before you consume it. This will give your mind the time to understand the caloric impact of your food choice and possibly you’ll decide that you don’t need to eat now and can wait until your next meal.
Remove the Emotional Element of Eating: We all eat for different reasons. Some people are emotional eaters, while others use food as a social event to entertain or maintain a family unit. These occasions are a guarantee that you’ll overeat if you don’t record your food ahead of time. Plan your meal before the event or meal begins and stick to your plan.
Failure to properly plan and record your menu can derail your best weight loss intentions. We frequently underestimate portion size and the total calorie count of a given food item or meal. Measuring or weighing all foods is critical to achieving your weight loss target. You can double the results of your efforts and keep the weight off permanently by keeping a daily food journal.
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Obesity Shown to Run in Groups

November 10, 2010

(Article first published as Shunning Obese Friends Could Help Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)

Obesity Runs in Family and Groups of Friends

Obesity Runs in Family and Groups of Friends

Can you catch a bad case of obesity the same way you can a cold or the flu? Naturally obesity isn’t an airborne disease, but there certainly seems to be a strong link between packing on excess pounds and hanging around with friends or family members that overeat and maintain a lifestyle that promotes overweight and obesity.

Obesity is largely a preventable lifestyle condition that threatens the health of millions of men, women and children and is projected to include nearly half of the US population over the next 40 years. The only way to lower your chance of becoming obese is to control the environment around you, and this may include your friend and family relationships.

Study Shows That Obesity Loves Company

Altering Behavior is the Key to Weight Loss in a Group

Altering Behavior is the Key to Weight Loss in a Group

The results of a study published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology indicate that having 4 obese friends was enough to double your chances of becoming obese. The more obese friends and acquaintances you have, the higher your odds of becoming obese yourself. The study authors concluded that “people have gotten better at gaining weight in recent years, but not at losing it”.

From the study, it’s clear that the factors that lead to obesity are learned and are also dependent in large part on peer pressure. Short of limiting contact with your overweight friends, there are important ways you can modify your behavior and have a positive influence on those around you.

Behavioral Patterns Lead to Obesity

Researchers from this study didn’t fully explain the reasons behind their findings, but surmised that if you have a lot of friends with unhealthy eating habits, you are likely to follow along. Clearly, the path to obesity is paved with a high calorie diet, excess stress and insufficient physical activity. Behavioral patterns also play a pivotal role, as one member of a group is unable to develop a healthy dietary pattern that will promote weight loss.

Working to Improve Diet and Lifestyle to Lose Weight

Select Healthy Options For All Group Members

Select Healthy Options For All Group Members

You need to take the leadership role for the group and slowly begin to introduce a new pattern that will lead to a reduced calorie, active lifestyle. The first step is to find new places to eat if you eat out frequently. Make sure there are reduced calorie options that are available and be the one to suggest that the group may want to try some healthier fare. When entertaining at home, replace the chips and dip with fresh vegetables. By making small changes you can initiate a weight loss strategy which will lead to lower weight and improved health for all of your friends.

People like to function in groups, and frequently there is a leader who emerges to control the behavior of all members. When that person is obese, there is a strong likelihood that you will adopt similar habits which may not be beneficial to your weight and health. Break the trend by introducing a healthy attitude and everybody will benefit from successful weight loss.

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Obesity Shown to Be Contagious

November 10, 2010
(Article first published as Shunning Obese Friends Could Help Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)

Can you catch a bad case of obesity the same way you can a cold or the flu? Naturally obesity isn’t an airborne disease, but there certainly seems to be a strong link between packing on excess pounds and hanging around with friends or family members that overeat and maintain a lifestyle that promotes overweight and obesity.

Obesity is largely a preventable lifestyle condition that threatens the health of millions of men, women and children and is projected to include nearly half of the US population over the next 40 years. The only way to lower your chance of becoming obese is to control the environment around you, and this may include your friend and family relationships.
Study Shows That Obesity Loves Company

The results of a study published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology indicate that having 4 obese friends was enough to double your chances of becoming obese. The more obese friends and acquaintances you have, the higher your odds of becoming obese yourself. The study authors concluded that “people have gotten better at gaining weight in recent years, but not at losing it”.

From the study, it’s clear that the factors that lead to obesity are learned and are also dependent in large part on peer pressure. Short of limiting contact with your overweight friends, there are important ways you can modify your behavior and have a positive influence on those around you.
Behavioral Patterns Lead to Obesity
Researchers from this study didn’t fully explain the reasons behind their findings, but surmised that if you have a lot of friends with unhealthy eating habits, you are likely to follow along. Clearly, the path to obesity is paved with a high calorie diet, excess stress and insufficient physical activity. Behavioral patterns also play a pivotal role, as one member of a group is unable to develop a healthy dietary pattern that will promote weight loss.
Working to Improve Diet and Lifestyle to Lose Weight

You need to take the leadership role for the group and slowly begin to introduce a new pattern that will lead to a reduced calorie, active lifestyle. The first step is to find new places to eat if you eat out frequently. Make sure there are reduced calorie options that are available and be the one to suggest that the group may want to try some healthier fare. 

When entertaining at home, replace the chips and dip with fresh vegetables. By making small changes you can initiate a weight loss strategy which will lead to lower weight and improved health for all of your friends.
People like to function in groups, and frequently there is a leader who emerges to control the behavior of all members. When that person is obese, there is a strong likelihood that you will adopt similar habits which may not be beneficial to your weight and health. Break the trend by introducing a healthy attitude and everybody will benefit from successful weight loss.
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Improving Mood to Assist Weight Loss Goals

October 1, 2010

(Article first published as Depression Linked to Obesity on Technorati.)

One of the many detrimental side effects of being overweight or obese is a dramatic rise in clinical depression. Researchers aren’t sure whether depression leads to obesity or if excess body weight results in the mood altering behavior diagnosed as depression, but the impact on the lives of those afflicted can be devastating. The reciprocal relationship between these two conditions can increase the risk of suicide and many potentially lethal diseases as well.

Nearly 25% of Obese People Diagnosed With Depression
There’s no mistaking the link between obesity and depression, as 23.2% of those individuals falling into the obese range indicate they have been diagnosed with clinical depression. This is according to a Gallup-Heathway’s Well-Being Index poll of more than 250,000 respondents. The rate of depression was 14.9% for those considered overweight and 14.3% for normal weight people. An analysis found that obesity creates negative feelings of stress, worry, anger and sadness.
Depression Increases with Weight

Information from the Gallup study revealed that the depth of depression increased in a linear fashion to the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the individual. Both overweight and obese people tend to have lower self esteem and body dissatisfaction because of the Western ideal that being thin is more beautiful and desirable. These feelings foster the internal conflict caused by excess weight in many people which is psychologically manifested as depression.

Taking Small Steps to Improve Body Image

It can be difficult to improve the perception of the person you see every day in the mirror but taking small steps toward this goals can have an immediate and lasting effect on your outlook. Begin by setting your sight on an immediate weight loss goal, such as 5 or 10 pounds. It’s much easier to feel better about yourself when you successfully complete small steps on your way to a final destination. As you pass each benchmark, be sure to reward yourself with something special to reinforce your progress.

Improving Diet to Affect Depression
Some people are particularly sensitive to the effects of a high sugar diet which help to promote mood instability and depression. Elimination of sugar and refined carbohydrates not only boosts mood, but is a powerful trigger to release body fat from storage. Slowly cut sugary foods from your diet and be sure to eliminate sweetened beverages and fruit juice which are a significant source of nutrition-less calories. Slowly back sugar out of your diet over the course a month to avoid sugar withdrawal which some people experience.
Natural Support for Depression
Targeted nutritional supplements have been shown to be effective in improving the symptoms associated with depression. As with any natural agent, supplements should be used in combination with diet, exercise and therapeutic support to improve self esteem. The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA, St. John’s Wart, Gingko Biloba and SAMe are all helpful in improving mood, a necessary step toward your successful weight loss goal.
It’s not surprising that obesity and depression are closely linked. People tend to pre-judge others based on body weight before intelligence and personality. Lowered self esteem and increased stress are cofactors which contribute to the relationship between obesity and clinical depression. You can begin to take small steps to improve mood which will ultimately lead to improved body image and healthy weight loss.
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Altering Behavior to Assist Weight Loss

September 26, 2010

(Article first published as Changing Diet and Behavior to Fuel Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Peer Pressure Can Have a Significant Effect on Weight Loss

Peer Pressure Can Have a Significant Effect on Weight Loss

The reasons we gain weight and the path to successful weight loss are extremely complicated, as factors beyond diet and exercise can exert a significant influence on our body composition, hormones and the environment which surrounds us. Some of these factors are within our control while others are not. The key to permanent weight loss is to understand those events and behaviors which we can modify and learning to live within the confines of our external environment. Fortunately there are important steps we can follow each day to tip the scales toward weight loss success.

Friends and Family Influence Our Weight

The Lifestyle of a Roomate Can Influence Weight

The Lifestyle of a Roommate Can Influence Weight

Sustainable weight loss is not possible until we’re able to successfully control our lifelong habits and behavior which are responsible for the excess pounds. In many ways, these factors can be much more difficult to identify and change as they become part of the fabric of our day to day life. Friends and family can also have a significant influence on when we eat as well as the type of foods eaten.

The results of a study released by the University of Michigan examined the effect of peer pressure and behavior modification on female college freshman roommates. They found that roommates with a partner who weighed more than average were much less likely to gain weight over the course of their first year. On average, dorm mates with a heavier counterpart gained only one-half pound during the year while the typical gain was two and a half pounds for those with slimmer roommates.

Understanding the Social Impact on Weight Loss

Researchers suggest that the heavier roommate was much more likely to be on a reduced calorie diet or exercise routine and these positive weight reduction behaviors were adopted by the slimmer partner. Each roommate became more aware of the importance of diet and nutrition to prevent the dreaded ‘freshman 15’ and altered their lifestyle habits toward weight maintenance and reduction. There are a number of important behaviors you can adopt to assist your weight loss goal.

Set a Goal You Can Live With

The top reason people fail to achieve their target weight goal is they set an unrealistic number to reach. It’s much more important to focus on the lifestyle changes you need to make to drop weight rather than reaching for a number which is out of reach. Set an intermediate weight goal which may be mid way between your current weight and ultimate target. Successful weight loss is accomplished in steps as you allow your body time to metabolically adjust to each new weight plateau.

Reward Your Success

Reward Yourself For Every Benchmark You Reach

Reward Yourself For Every Benchmark You Reach

Since our childhood, we’ve been rewarded when we perform well and marching toward our weight loss goal is no exception. Treat yourself to a movie, or put some money aside for a larger purchase each time you mark a milestone. Make sure your reward is not food based so you don’t halt your forward progress. Small rewards along the way provide positive reinforcement to keep you on track to your ultimate achievement.

Get Help From Your Peers

Behavior which encourages healthy weight loss is socially contagious. We are subconsciously aware of the beneficial and negative habits of our friends, family members and peers. When our immediate circle of friends engages in activities which promote weight gain, we’re much more likely to follow suit and the pounds suddenly appear. Become a team leader and modify your diet and lifestyle habits toward healthy weight loss and others around you will follow.

Our behavior is constantly changing based on the influence of people around us along with environmental factors. Find friends with a common weight loss goal to provide yourself the opportunity to develop a healthy weight loss lifestyle. Take the initiative to lead your friends, family and peers toward a life which promotes sustainable weight loss.

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Changing Diet and Behavior to Drive Weight Loss

September 26, 2010
(Article first published as Changing Diet and Behavior to Fuel Weight Loss on Technorati.)

The reasons we gain weight and the path to successful weight loss are extremely complicated, as factors beyond diet and exercise can exert a significant influence on our body composition, hormones and the environment which surrounds us. Some of these factors are within our control while others are not. The key to permanent weight loss is to understand those events and behaviors which we can modify and learning to live within the confines of our external environment. Fortunately there are important steps we can follow each day to tip the scales toward weight loss success.

Friends and Family Influence Our Weight

Sustainable weight loss is not possible until we’re able to successfully control our lifelong habits and behavior which are responsible for the excess pounds. In many ways, these factors can be much more difficult to identify and change as they become part of the fabric of our day to day life. Friends and family can also have a significant influence on when we eat as well as the type of foods eaten.

The results of a study released by the University of Michigan examined the effect of peer pressure and behavior modification on female college freshman roommates. They found that roommates with a partner who weighed more than average were much less likely to gain weight over the course of their first year. On average, dorm mates with a heavier counterpart gained only one-half pound during the year while the typical gain was two and a half pounds for those with slimmer roommates.
Understanding the Social Impact on Weight Loss
Researchers suggest that the heavier roommate was much more likely to be on a reduced calorie diet or exercise routine and these positive weight reduction behaviors were adopted by the slimmer partner. Each roommate became more aware of the importance of diet and nutrition to prevent the dreaded ‘freshman 15’ and altered their lifestyle habits toward weight maintenance and reduction. There are a number of important behaviors you can adopt to assist your weight loss goal.
Set a Goal You Can Live With
The top reason people fail to achieve their target weight goal is they set an unrealistic number to reach. It’s much more important to focus on the lifestyle changes you need to make to drop weight rather than reaching for a number which is out of reach. Set an intermediate weight goal which may be mid way between your current weight and ultimate target. Successful weight loss is accomplished in steps as you allow your body time to metabolically adjust to each new weight plateau.
Reward Your Success

Since our childhood, we’ve been rewarded when we perform well and marching toward our weight loss goal is no exception. Treat yourself to a movie, or put some money aside for a larger purchase each time you mark a milestone. Make sure your reward is not food based so you don’t halt your forward progress. Small rewards along the way provide positive reinforcement to keep you on track to your ultimate achievement.

Get Help From Your Peers
Behavior which encourages healthy weight loss is socially contagious. We are subconsciously aware of the beneficial and negative habits of our friends, family members and peers. When our immediate circle of friends engages in activities which promote weight gain, we’re much more likely to follow suit and the pounds suddenly appear. Become a team leader and modify your diet and lifestyle habits toward healthy weight loss and others around you will follow.
Our behavior is constantly changing based on the influence of people around us along with environmental factors. Find friends with a common weight loss goal to provide yourself the opportunity to develop a healthy weight loss lifestyle. Take the initiative to lead your friends, family and peers toward a life which promotes sustainable weight loss.