Losing Weight and Keeping It Off – Page Four

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off - Additional Reading

Setting Goals
It has been said that nothing in the world arouses more false hope than the first hours of a diet. Most people don’t consciously give up on their good intentions, they just slip up. Consequently, they are sometimes left with a sense of helplessness. Reminding yourself time and again of your goals is necessary to get you out of the slump.
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Embracing Your Body Image
Body image can be a big deal in our culture. The standards for what counts as beautiful and attractive are often set for us by the media and the fashion industry. And they can be impossibly high and unforgiving. This leaves many of us with a terrible sense of being somehow deficient, of not measuring up to expectations. But being comfortable in our own skin and feeling accepted for who we are is of great importance for our well-being, both physically and emotionally. It is an essential element of self-confidence and self-care.
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Handling Stress
People don’t develop disorders for no reason. Compulsive eating, excessive drinking, chain-smoking and lack of physical activity are all bad habits acquired over a period of time and in response to certain experiences and situations. Usually, the roots of self-destructive behavior are hidden. Unhealthy lifestyle habits are typically symptoms of stress at work, in relationships, over personal loss or financial problems. Expecting people to pull themselves together and learn to cope is not enough. In any case, willpower can only achieve so much. No matter how well our survival strategies may serve us for the time being, in the long run they will have to be replaced with real stress management.
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Coaching Yourself
At the outset, everyone who goes on a diet- or fitness program is a sure winner. But no matter how dedicated you are, sticking to the game plan for the long haul is the real challenge. Prepare yourself for failure. There will be times when you simply slip up. If that feels too discouraging for you to keep trying, you need to call on your “inner coach.” Encouraging you to coach yourself is not a polite way of saying “get your act together.” I call it “self-coaching,” because that is what you should do when you are struggling. Like a good coach, you want to focus on your strengths in order to diminish your weaknesses.
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About Thinking Styles
I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking. As a clinical healthcare professional, I have seen it working its magic again and again. “Positive thinkers” know how to motivate and inspire themselves and others, even in the face of overwhelming adversity.
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Getting Support
When I counsel people who are about to enter into a weight loss program, I usually invite other family members, especially spouses, to come along for an initial visit to my practice. They share the same environment with my clients. They are the ones who will also be affected by the lifestyle changes that will be implemented in their households. They are supposed to function as support system when things get tough. Most families show plenty of good will and everyone involved seems to have a supportive attitude. But that does not always last long.
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Everything in Moderation
“Everything in moderation – including moderation,” a patient of mine once pointed out to me, explaining his reasons for taking a break from the diet regimen I had prescribed for him. I like it when such nuggets of wisdom are thrown my way. It brings things back in perspective. In my experience, drastic measures result more often than not in drastic failures. I have long been a believer in small steps rather than grand resolutions, especially when significant and lasting lifestyle changes are required.
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Achieving Our Best
One of my favorite movies of all times is “Babette’s Feast.” Essentially, it’s a film about cooking, but that’s not the whole story. Babette is a former celebrity chef from Paris who has fallen on hard times. In her struggles to survive, however, she is still able to keep her dignity and self-esteem as an artist. In the end, her fate becomes a teachable moment.
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Your Health – A Larger Picture
People have great expectations when they visit a dietitian for the first time. They are motivated and ready to make real changes in their lives. I have seen many clients with serious health problems – often caused by reckless, addictive or otherwise dysfunctional lifestyles. Naturally, I talk about the importance of sound nutrition, the need to exercise and the dangers of alcohol and nicotine abuse. That is what gets discussed on the surface. But in most cases, none of this addresses the real issues. It’s only the tip of the iceberg.
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The Meaning of Good Health
Never before in our history have we had we so much knowledge available to us in an instant. Search the word “health” on Google and you find no less than one and a quarter billion hits. Narrow that down to “good health” and you still have more than 200 million hits to sift through. A search for “fitness” gets you to nearly half a billion. Search results for “weight loss” number well over 100 million. Considering these resources, how is it possible that we find ourselves so confused about seemingly simple matters, such as eating right, staying fit, managing weight, dealing with stress, etc?
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Expect Miracles
The New Year is here and there is always time for another round of resolutions. Every year, it seems, it’s the same ritual: First the joyous holidays, then the great reckoning. For us health counselors business is good right now, but it’s nothing to be giddy about. Especially for those who are dealing with weight problems, this can be a hard time. People seek help and guidance like remorseful sinners willing to confess their misdeeds and receive their penance. You can detect a real sense of personal guilt. They blame themselves for being too weak and unable to muster the necessary will power and stamina – as if it were so simple.
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