Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

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Men and Women Look Differently at Weight Loss Motivation

January 10, 2011

(Article first published as Men and Women Have Different Weight Loss Motivation and Strategy on Technorati.)

The Sexes View Weight Loss Motivation and Strategy Differently

The Sexes View Weight Loss Motivation and Strategy Differently

It may come as no surprise that men and women have different ideas when it comes to how they approach weight loss, and the trigger that prompts them to begin their journey to improved health and body image. Men and women appear to use a different rationalization for the need to begin a weight loss regimen.

Women are highly motivated to drop excess pounds based on their appearance, while men are more in tune with their health and the way they feel with extra body weight. Regardless of their underlying reasons, it’s important to make the decision to lose weight to dramatically lower the risk from chronic disease.

Survey Examines Weight Loss Strategies Between the Sexes

Women Choose Healthy Diet to Lose Weight

Women Choose Healthy Diet to Lose Weight

The result of a survey including 1,000 adults shows that men and women have very different reasons to consider a weight loss program. 40% of women indicated that their physical appearance was the most important determinant to lose weight. 27% of men cited ‘not feeling healthy’ as the primary motivation for weight loss, although looks were an important consideration.

While overweight and obesity prevalence is similar between men and women, women become dissatisfied with their weight much sooner than men. A gain of just 5 pounds was sufficient for most women to consider a dietary or lifestyle change to drop weight. Men typically required a gain of 20 pounds or more before they become motivated to lose weight. For both sexes, a gain of 10 pounds was considered a weight loss trigger.

Weight Loss Mechanism Differs for Men and Women

Exercise is the Method Men Use to Drop Unwanted Pounds

Exercise is the Method Men Use to Drop Unwanted Pounds

Both men and women were in agreement that food portion control was an important factor when beginning a weight loss program. Men were more likely to choose vigorous physical activity such as jogging or resistance training as their preferred weight loss method. Women tended to choose healthy diet as a means to lower calories, opting for leafy greens and vegetables as part of their weight loss plan.

Men May Learn From the Women
The survey authors noted that men may benefit by observing the weight loss motivation observed by many women respondents. Men would be much better served by altering diet and lifestyle when they notice a small 5 pound weight gain, rather than waiting until they tip the scales with 20 pounds or more. Also, making healthier, reduced calorie food choices is better for long term success than a plan based on increased activity levels.

Men and women have different strategies and motivation to determine the need to begin a weight loss program.  While the end result may be the same, women tend to focus on outward appearance as their motivation, while men are more concerned about how they feel when overweight or obese. Regardless of method or reason, starting a weight loss program that you can live with will result in improved health and quality of life.

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Harness the Mind to Assist Weight Loss

December 10, 2010

(Article first published as Mind Imagery May Lead to Weight Loss Success on Technorati.)

Harnessing the Power of the Mind to Control Weight

Harnessing the Power of the Mind to Control Weight

It’s important not to discount the power that our mind has over our conscious efforts to lose weight, as well as our subconscious desire to control the foods we eat. Our brain exerts a powerful influence over our actions and research indicates that thinking about eating a favorite food can actually help us to consume less of that food and save the calories as a bonus.

We are truly creatures of habit, and tend to eat the same foods in similar quantities on a regular basis. For most people this means we over consume calories without much conscious thought, and are unable to lose weight despite our short lived efforts at dieting. Sooner or later we slide back into the same dietary model and caloric consumption, slowly gaining extra pounds as our metabolism slows with age. It may be possible to harness the power of conscious thought toward a slimmer waistline.

Using Your Brain to Lose Weight

Visualize Eating Your Favorite Food to Eat Less

Visualize Eating Your Favorite Food and Eat Less

A common assumption is that thinking about our favorite food increases our craving for it and ultimately leads to consumption. The results of a study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and published in the journal Science shows that when we imagine eating a food, our appetite for that food actually decreases. This study demonstrated that mind imagery has a much greater influence over our desire to eat than our physiological cue to eat.

Study participants were asked to imagine eating a large handful of M&M candy entirely in their mind, while a control group was asked to think about a different task, such as inserting quarters into a laundry machine. Both groups were then allowed to eat freely from a large bowl of M&M’s. The group members that envisioned eating the candy ate significantly less than the control subjects who had been asked to think about a non-food task.

Study Demonstrates Importance Beyond Weight Loss

Mind Imagery Used to Lower Food Cravings

Mind Imagery Used to Lower Food Cravings

The results of this research indicate that we may be able to control our desire for our favorite unhealthy food choices by mind imaging. It may be possible to change our habitual nature and lower the desire to eat foods in excess that perpetuate our weight. The study authors believe that there may also be implications for other habitual acts and conclude “we think these findings will help develop future interventions to reduce cravings for things such as unhealthy food, drugs and cigarettes, and hope they will help us learn how to help people make healthier food choices.”

Using Mind Imaging to Avoid Unhealthy Food

You can use mind imaging to help avoid foods that you know will contribute to weight gain. Start by choosing one food item that you know you will be eating either at your next meal or commonly as a between meal snack. Create a vivid mental image of the food item. Next picture yourself consuming a large portion and imagine the taste sensation you normally experience as you enjoy every last morsel. Repeat this imagery in your mind several times. You should find a decreased desire to eat that food, or possibly you will be able to pass on the item entirely in the future.

Harnessing the power of the mind when trying to lose weight may be a great benefit to those who have tried other methods and failed. Mental imagery can be a powerful tool that can break the cycle of food habituation. Include food visualization as part of your total program to achieve successful weight loss.

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Food Diary Shown to Double Weight Loss Success

November 12, 2010

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

Most People Can't Accurately Gauge Calories and Portion Sizes

Most People Can't Accurately Gauge Calories and Portion Sizes

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

Record All Foods Eaten Before Consumption

Record All Foods Eaten Before Consumption

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

Snacking Quickly Adds on the Calories

Snacking Quickly Adds on the Calories

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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Depression Linked With Obesity, Hinders Weight Loss

October 1, 2010

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

Depression Diagnosed in 25% of Obese Individuals

Depression Diagnosed in 25% of Obese Individuals

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

Higher Body Weight Leads to Deeper Depression

Higher Body Weight Leads to Deeper Depression

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

Improving Body Image Assists Weight Loss

Improving Body Image Assists Weight Loss

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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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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Establishing Weight Loss Goals

September 28, 2010

(Article first published as Setting Goals for Weight Loss Success, Tracking Your Progress on Technorati.)

Many people embark on a weight loss program without a firm understanding of their realistic goal or the exact plan that will help them cross the finish line to weight loss success. Similar to any journey through uncharted territory you may make, the key to your weight loss success is to establish a realistic goal which you can maintain as part of your new healthy lifestyle. The power of positive thinking combined with the reinforcement you receive from tracking your progress each day provide the fuel you need to accomplish your goal.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Regardless of the task you wish to accomplish in life a positive attitude is critical to achieve the desired result. You must begin by believing that the weight loss task you are about the begin will have a significant impact on your health and longevity, as research has shown that losing just 5 – 10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of disease. You should only begin your journey when you feel fully committed to finish, regardless of the inevitable bumps you’ll encounter along the way.

Defining a Realistic Goal
Once your mind is set you’ll need to put together a realistic plan and goal that will successfully lead you to the finish line and monitor your progress for encouragement along the way. The most important part of goal setting is to make sure that your target weight is attainable. Don’t feel you need to weigh the same as when you were 18. Many things change in your body over the years, and often people find they feel great and experience optimal health at a weight which about 10% higher than the lowest weight from your college years.
Monitoring Your Progress
Of equal importance to setting a realistic goal and positive attitude is tracking your daily progress with nutritional software or a food journal. The positive reinforcement you receive from monitoring your weight, exercise and food will help you to get by an occasional rough day where you stray from your diet or when you hit a weight plateau.
The results of a study published in the eHealth Journal of Medical Internet Research found that participants who recorded and tracked their progress using an online software interface were significantly more likely to stay with a weight loss plan and maintain their weight loss compared to those who didn’t monitor their progress. By nature, we’re goal oriented and a journal helps keep us focused on reaching a pre-established goal.
Write Your Plan on Paper

Before you start on your weight loss journey, write down the steps you’ll need to follow to hit your goal and the benefits to your health from meeting your target weight. Include diet, menus, exercise and how you will fit work, family and friends into your program. Make a list of the numerous health benefits such as improving heart health, improving immunity, increasing brain power, feeling great and the knowledge that you are lowering your risk of an early death.

The only way to successfully lose weight is to properly plan the steps you’ll need to hit your target goal and track your progress. Without these commitments, you’ll quickly veer off course the first time you reach a weight plateau or succumb to a sugary treat. By having your whole plan detailed in writing ahead of time, you can easily continue to reinforce your new lifestyle which will lead to vibrant health and your ideal weight.
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Setting Weight Loss Goals, Tracking Progress

September 28, 2010

(Article first published as Setting Goals for Weight Loss Success, Tracking Your Progress on Technorati.)

Setting a Realistic Goal is Key to Weight Loss

Setting a Realistic Goal is Key to Weight Loss

Many people embark on a weight loss program without a firm understanding of their realistic goal or the exact plan that will help them cross the finish line to weight loss success. Similar to any journey through uncharted territory you may make, the key to your weight loss success is to establish a realistic goal which you can maintain as part of your new healthy lifestyle. The power of positive thinking combined with the reinforcement you receive from tracking your progress each day provide the fuel you need to accomplish your goal.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Maintain a Positive Attitude to Keep on Track

Maintain a Positive Attitude to Keep on Track

Regardless of the task you wish to accomplish in life a positive attitude is critical to achieve the desired result. You must begin by believing that the weight loss task you are about the begin will have a significant impact on your health and longevity, as research has shown that losing just 5 – 10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of disease. You should only begin your journey when you feel fully committed to finish, regardless of the inevitable bumps you’ll encounter along the way.

Defining a Realistic Goal

Once your mind is set you’ll need to put together a realistic plan and goal that will successfully lead you to the finish line and monitor your progress for encouragement along the way. The most important part of goal setting is to make sure that your target weight is attainable. Don’t feel you need to weigh the same as when you were 18. Many things change in your body over the years, and often people find they feel great and experience optimal health at a weight which about 10% higher than the lowest weight from your college years.

Monitoring Your Progress

Of equal importance to setting a realistic goal and positive attitude is tracking your daily progress with nutritional software or a food journal. The positive reinforcement you receive from monitoring your weight, exercise and food will help you to get by an occasional rough day where you stray from your diet or when you hit a weight plateau.

The results of a study published in the eHealth Journal of Medical Internet Research found that participants who recorded and tracked their progress using an online software interface were significantly more likely to stay with a weight loss plan and maintain their weight loss compared to those who didn’t monitor their progress. By nature, we’re goal oriented and a journal helps keep us focused on reaching a pre-established goal.

Write Your Plan on Paper

Track Your Progress and Plan in Writing

Track Your Progress and Plan in Writing

Before you start on your weight loss journey, write down the steps you’ll need to follow to hit your goal and the benefits to your health from meeting your target weight. Include diet, menus, exercise and how you will fit work, family and friends into your program. Make a list of the numerous health benefits such as improving heart health, improving immunity, increasing brain power, feeling great and the knowledge that you are lowering your risk of an early death.

The only way to successfully lose weight is to properly plan the steps you’ll need to hit your target goal and track your progress. Without these commitments, you’ll quickly veer off course the first time you reach a weight plateau or succumb to a sugary treat. By having your whole plan detailed in writing ahead of time, you can easily continue to reinforce your new lifestyle which will lead to vibrant health and your ideal weight.