It’s a Mindset: In Order to Get Fit, You Must THINK of Yourself as Fit

If you know you’re not as physically active as you should be, stop thinking about it and start doing something about it. People who view themselves as lazy compared to others are more likely to die at a younger age, even if their actual activity levels were the same. [1]

That means people who thought they were less active than their peers likely weren’t reaping the full benefits of exercise, all because of their negative attitude.

Lead author Octavia Zahrt, a Stanford PhD student in organizational behavior, says she knows firsthand how negative self-talk and toxic comparisons can make a solid effort seem lazy.

She explained:

“I am from Germany, and back there I felt really good about my activity level. I biked to work, and went to the gym maybe once a week.”

Zahrt says that when she moved to California, she was suddenly “surrounded by people who exercise all the time. Compared to them I felt really inactive, and I developed what I know now was a really negative mindset about my physical activity.”

The ‘Side Effects’ of Negative Attitudes

That feeling of inadequacy led Zahrt and her faculty adviser, Alia Crum, PhD, to study the possible effects of such an attitude on long-term health. The duo analyzed data from more than 61,000 adults who were surveyed between 1990 and 2006 followed until 2011.

The participants were asked about their activity levels, and some were given accelerometers to wear so they could track their real-time activity for a week. All of the volunteers were also asked, “Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?”

The researchers found that those who believed they were less active than others were 71% more likely to die during the study’s follow-up period. That was the case even after the team adjusted for disability, general health status, and demographics, plus actual activity levels.

Pretty heavy stuff when you think about it – you could be bending and lifting a lot at work, or weeding the garden and mowing the lawn every weekend and still have a startling higher risk of death just because you don’t consider those activities “exercise” and you don’t consider yourself “fit.”

The researchers found that, most of the time, the participants underestimated their activity levels when comparing themselves to others.

Zahrt said:

“It can be easy to compare how much exercise we get with the people around us, as opposed to what’s recommended for everyone. Plus, a lot of people think that exercise has to mean running or going to the gym, and they don’t give themselves credit for all of the other activity they do – cleaning their house, walking to the store, carrying their kids, those sorts of things.”

I hate to credit a saying that’s become so cliché, but in this case, it’s gospel truth: Attitude is everything.

Crum first studied the “placebo effect” of exercise a decade ago. She explained:

“These women were getting lots of exercise, but when we asked them they didn’t have the mindset that their work was good exercise.” [2]

The participants – all hotel attendants – were given a presentation explaining that all the heavy lifting, walking, and physical labor they did at work was good exercise. Then, Crum and her teammates tracked the women for a month.

Crum said:

“The women who started to look at their work as good exercise had improvements in blood pressure and body fat.”

She added:

“What’s surprising to me is how robust the accumulated evidence is on the power of mindset in shaping our health, and yet people are still so shocked when they hear results like this.” [1]

Yes – How You Think Affects Your Health (and much More)

People shouldn’t be shocked because there is a ridiculous amount of scientific evidence that how you think affects your health, for better or for worse. Seriously, let’s look at just a few examples.

In the End…

You have to see yourself as an active person, but be careful; it would be so simple to actually backslide and become less active than you should be. It’s important to recognize the activeness revolving around certain activities, but be sure not to over-estimate the value of those activities and then avoid other exercises because of it.

One more thing – and I’ll be blunt… If your idea of “exercise” is walking to the fridge, or going to the mall once a month, telling yourself you’re plenty active won’t make it so. You deserve to be realistic with yourself.

Crum said:

“This is not an excuse to just stop doing anything but believe you’re doing everything. It’s a reminder that, yes, you should work to get active in your life – but you should also be mindful of those negative thoughts that can creep in and the effects they might have.

Just because you didn’t get to that Spin class or that fancy new fitness class, doesn’t mean you’re not as healthy as those who do.” [1]

Zahrt agreed, adding:

“If we can change our perceptions to view all activity as good activity, we think that could be a first and really important step to improving our health.”

Sources:

[1] Health

[2] NPR

It’s a Mindset: In Order to Get Fit, You Must THINK of Yourself as Fit

If you know you’re not as physically active as you should be, stop thinking about it and start doing something about it. People who view themselves as lazy compared to others are more likely to die at a younger age, even if their actual activity levels were the same. [1]

That means people who thought they were less active than their peers likely weren’t reaping the full benefits of exercise, all because of their negative attitude.

Lead author Octavia Zahrt, a Stanford PhD student in organizational behavior, says she knows firsthand how negative self-talk and toxic comparisons can make a solid effort seem lazy.

She explained:

“I am from Germany, and back there I felt really good about my activity level. I biked to work, and went to the gym maybe once a week.”

Zahrt says that when she moved to California, she was suddenly “surrounded by people who exercise all the time. Compared to them I felt really inactive, and I developed what I know now was a really negative mindset about my physical activity.”

The ‘Side Effects’ of Negative Attitudes

That feeling of inadequacy led Zahrt and her faculty adviser, Alia Crum, PhD, to study the possible effects of such an attitude on long-term health. The duo analyzed data from more than 61,000 adults who were surveyed between 1990 and 2006 followed until 2011.

The participants were asked about their activity levels, and some were given accelerometers to wear so they could track their real-time activity for a week. All of the volunteers were also asked, “Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?”

The researchers found that those who believed they were less active than others were 71% more likely to die during the study’s follow-up period. That was the case even after the team adjusted for disability, general health status, and demographics, plus actual activity levels.

Pretty heavy stuff when you think about it – you could be bending and lifting a lot at work, or weeding the garden and mowing the lawn every weekend and still have a startling higher risk of death just because you don’t consider those activities “exercise” and you don’t consider yourself “fit.”

The researchers found that, most of the time, the participants underestimated their activity levels when comparing themselves to others.

Zahrt said:

“It can be easy to compare how much exercise we get with the people around us, as opposed to what’s recommended for everyone. Plus, a lot of people think that exercise has to mean running or going to the gym, and they don’t give themselves credit for all of the other activity they do – cleaning their house, walking to the store, carrying their kids, those sorts of things.”

I hate to credit a saying that’s become so cliché, but in this case, it’s gospel truth: Attitude is everything.

Crum first studied the “placebo effect” of exercise a decade ago. She explained:

“These women were getting lots of exercise, but when we asked them they didn’t have the mindset that their work was good exercise.” [2]

The participants – all hotel attendants – were given a presentation explaining that all the heavy lifting, walking, and physical labor they did at work was good exercise. Then, Crum and her teammates tracked the women for a month.

Crum said:

“The women who started to look at their work as good exercise had improvements in blood pressure and body fat.”

She added:

“What’s surprising to me is how robust the accumulated evidence is on the power of mindset in shaping our health, and yet people are still so shocked when they hear results like this.” [1]

Yes – How You Think Affects Your Health (and much More)

People shouldn’t be shocked because there is a ridiculous amount of scientific evidence that how you think affects your health, for better or for worse. Seriously, let’s look at just a few examples.

In the End…

You have to see yourself as an active person, but be careful; it would be so simple to actually backslide and become less active than you should be. It’s important to recognize the activeness revolving around certain activities, but be sure not to over-estimate the value of those activities and then avoid other exercises because of it.

One more thing – and I’ll be blunt… If your idea of “exercise” is walking to the fridge, or going to the mall once a month, telling yourself you’re plenty active won’t make it so. You deserve to be realistic with yourself.

Crum said:

“This is not an excuse to just stop doing anything but believe you’re doing everything. It’s a reminder that, yes, you should work to get active in your life – but you should also be mindful of those negative thoughts that can creep in and the effects they might have.

Just because you didn’t get to that Spin class or that fancy new fitness class, doesn’t mean you’re not as healthy as those who do.” [1]

Zahrt agreed, adding:

“If we can change our perceptions to view all activity as good activity, we think that could be a first and really important step to improving our health.”

Sources:

[1] Health

[2] NPR

Giving Up on Losing Weight? Here’s How to Stick with It

If you’ve never tried to lose weight, let me fill you in on something: It can be hard if you don’t know what to do. What’s more, though it can be frustrating only losing a few pounds at a time, that’s the healthiest way to do it. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as it you think. I’m here to help you NOT give up on your weight loss goals.

In the United States, 1 in every 3 people are obese, compared to 1 in 5 just 2 decades ago. But unlike in years past, Americans are now less likely to try to lose the extra weight. People surveyed between 2009 and 2014 were 17% less likely overall to say they’d tried to lose weight in the previous year compared to those surveyed between 1988 and 1994. [1]

It’s a problem when the simply ‘overweight’ have given up on weight-loss the most, putting them at risk of becoming obese.

Senior researcher Dr. Jian Zhang, an associate professor of epidemiology at Georgia Southern University, says:

“This is not good. We are missing the opportunity to stop overweight from becoming obesity.” [1]

Mixed Messages

It’s hard to adhere to a healthy eating pattern when you’re not sure what that even means. Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says:

“First they were told don’t eat fat, and now we are telling patients to reduce simple carbohydrates. While I believe that reducing carbohydrates is key, what the public hears is, ‘I might as well eat what I like because all this advice has not worked.’” [1]

It wasn’t long ago that fat was considered a harbinger of stroke and heart disease, and weight gain. People turned to low-fat and fat-free food, believing them to be the healthy alternatives. In reality, these products are loaded with added sugar to improve flavor, which leads to an increase in those health conditions, as well as diabetes and obesity.

The other sad reality is that people are so used to hearing about the obesity epidemic in America, many have come to believe that obesity is the “new normal” and something they must simply accept.

Read: 4 Mantras for Lasting Weight Loss

Overweight is the New Norm

The researchers behind a study published last year point to a 2010 study in the journal Obesity which detailed “a generational shift in social norms related to body weight.” According to that body of research, between 1998 and 2004, both men and women became less likely to classify themselves as overweight, even when their body mass index (BMI) proved otherwise. [2]

Then there’s the very real frustration of having lost weight only to regain it. It’s easy to feel like a failure when you’ve watched the pounds you’ve shed start to creep back onto your frame. The authors of the new report wrote:

“The longer adults live with obesity, the less they may be willing to attempt weight loss, in particular if they had attempted weight loss multiple times without success.” [2]

According to a 2011 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, after dieting, the body undergoes a series of changes designed to make sure that all the lost weight is gained back.

Thanks for that slap in the face, nature.

6 Simple Tips to Just ‘Stick with It’

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need a plan. And no matter how often the food and ‘nutrition’ industry shifts, stick to that plan and see if it works. As many people can tell you, simply deciding to “diet” and getting rid of unhealthy food in your home may not be enough to sustain you for the duration of your weight-loss.

Here are a few tips to help you on your journey.

1. Set Reasonable Goals

If you want to lose, say, 100 pounds, then you need to start small. There’s no way you can really lose 100 pounds quickly, so you need to set smaller goals that help you get to your ultimate one.

June Kloubec, Ph.D., a professor in the department of nutrition and exercise science at Bastyr University, explains:

“Most experts agree that losing more than 2 pounds per week is difficult to sustain and an unhealthy way to manage weight loss.” [3]

Read: Eating These 3 ‘Fatty’ Foods Can Make You Thinner

Instead, try setting a goal of losing just 5 pounds. You could pick a date to achieve that goal by – but I would simply aim to lose 1-2 lbs per week. If you don’t lose that for 2 weeks straight, re-evaluate your lifestyle and think about cutting something else from your normal diet.

The absolutely best thing you can do for yourself, at least for a few weeks or months, is to vehemently track your calorie intake. No one wants to do it, but it may be the key to your weight loss goals.

2. Reward Yourself

When you reach a new goal, don’t just pat yourself on the back, celebrate! Try including a reward for each 5 pounds lost, for example, so that you have further motivation. I would recommend that you stay at that goal for at least 2 weeks, though, before rewarding yourself.

3. Make Yourself Accountable

There’s a reason people have weight loss blogs. It’s easier to stick to something when there are other people holding you accountable. If you mess up and “fall off the wagon,” confess it to someone. Consider some safe-but-annoying repercussions, too, like completing a household chore you’ve been avoiding. Maybe wash the dishes by hand, even if you have a dishwasher. [4]

4. Invest in Your Health

Got an extra $150 burning a hole in your wallet? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’d only spend that money on something you’re really serious about, because that kind of cold cash doesn’t come around often. If it does, consider joining a gym or athletic club. If you’re not wild about the idea of working out in front of other people, buy a piece of exercise equipment.

One important note here is that you don’t need cardio to lose weight – you simply need to burn more calories than your taking in. So, if you hate cardio, just focus on diet.

5. Make it Sustainable

Don’t make the mistake that I did. About a decade ago, in an attempt to lose weight, I ate mostly salad for lunch every day at work, with things like apples and bananas for snacks. There wasn’t any protein in those salads, either. I didn’t lose any weight, but I was starving and miserable.

The tricky thing about losing weight is that is usually means you need to eat less…but if adopt a diet that is simply unsustainable, you’ll binge and ultimately end up kicking yourself while your down.

Pick something that works for you. There are so many different diets, and 99% of them can work as long as your body is burning more calories than it is taking in. The Mediterranean diet, the Ketogenic diet, the Paleo diet, and many more are tried and true ways to lose weight – if the diet works for you.

Read: Eat More Protein to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes

6. When You Mess up, get up, Dust Yourself off, and Keep Going

Accidents happen. Office birthday cakes happen. You get the idea – temptation is everywhere so you might as well accept that you’re going to “mess up” sometimes. It’s OK. In fact, you shouldn’t really deny yourself your favorite foods. It’s more important that you eat them in moderation, and infrequently.

When you do mess up, though, remember that it doesn’t cancel out the great progress you’ve already made. Even if it’s Day 2 and the only victory you have under your belt so far is that you ate more green beans than meat at dinner last night.

Sources:

[1] HealthDay

[2] Los Angeles Times

[3] Self

[4] Everyday Health

Happy New Year! These are the “Best Diets for 2019”

The holidays are officially over, and although you may still be picking at leftovers and what’s left in the office cookie tin, it’s time to start thinking about how to make THIS year a healthy year… again!

U.S. News & World Report, which calls itself “the global authority in rankings and consumer advice,” has just published its annual assessment of the year’s Best Diets. The platform offers pretty much all the information you could possibly ask for on more than 40 diets.

For 2019, the Mediterranean Diet was ranked the best for the 2nd year in a row for the 45 million Americans who diet each year. The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) held the #1 spot for 2017, and tied with the Mediterranean Diet for 1st Place in 2018. For 2019, the DASH Diet ranks #2 on the extensive list.

The Mediterranean Diet, which has been shown to extend your life and prevent many chronic diseases, was also ranked 1st in other, specific categories:

  • Easiest Diets to Follow
  • Best Diets for Healthy Eating
  • Best Diets for Diabetes
  • Best Diets for Heart Health (tie)

This year, the Nordic Diet has been gaining more attention by nutritionists and health experts, earning itself the #3 spot for U.S. News & World Report’s Best Plant-Based Diet. The Keto Diet – a low-carb, high-fat eating pattern – rose from #13 in 2018 to #2 on the Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet list.

Click for larger version. Source: KetoKitchen

Angela Haupt, Assistant Managing Editor of Health at U.S. News, said:

“Whether you’re trying to lose weight or manage your cholesterol, the 2019 Best Diets rankings provide each person a chance to evaluate what eating plan will work best for them and their particular needs.

By profiling and providing in-depth data on more than 40 diets, as well as sample meals, consumers can rely on U.S. News for the tools they need to feel empowered to make well-informed lifestyle and wellness changes.”

Methods and Rankings

U.S. News convened an expert panel of the leading nutritionists, dietary consultants, and doctors specializing in diabetes, heart health, and weight-loss to calculate the rankings. Each specialist completed a survey in which they scored 41 diets in 7 areas. Among other things, the specialists took into consideration:

  • Ease of compliance
  • Likelihood of losing significant weight in the short-term/long-term
  • Effectiveness against diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Expert panelist Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, and author of The Truth about Food, said:

“While the fundamentals of healthy eating remain constant year to year, new research and insights help continuously evolve best practices over time.”

He added that the rankings:

“rely on diverse expertise to respond to what’s new and diverting in nutrition, while highlighting healthy eating principles that are time-honored, evidence-based, and reliable.”

You can find the full lists and descriptions of the various diets on U.S. News’ website, but here the top diets from a few of the more notable lists.

Best Diets Overall:

  • Mediterranean Diet – #1
  • DASH Diet – #2
  • The Flexitarian Diet – #3

Best Weight-Loss Diets:

  • Weight Watchers Diet – #1
  • Volumetrics Diet -#2
  • The Flexitarian Diet, Jenny Craig Diet, Vegan Diet – #3 (tie)

Best Diabetes Diets:

  • Mediterranean Diet – #1
  • DASH Diet, The Flexitarian Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, Volumetrics Diet – #2 (tie)

Best Heart-Healthy Diets:

  • Mediterranean Diet, Ornish Diet – #1 (tie)
  • DASH Diet – #3

Best Plant-Based Diets:

  • Mediterranean Diet – #1
  • The Flexitarian Diet – #2
  • Nordic Diet, Ornish Diet – #3

It’s important to realize that the diet that is “best” is what works best for you. It isn’t enough to merely pick up one of these diets until you are ready to delve deep into the lifestyle that comes with it so that life is enjoyable as possible.

Source:

U.S. News & World Report

MyKetoKitchen

MayoClinic

This Dietary Trick Could Help You Lose Weight AND Keep it Off

Low-carb diets are nothing new. If you haven’t tried the Keto diet or the Atkin’s diet, you’ve likely heard of them. Many people consider these “fad” diets, and they very well may be, but fad or not, research does suggest that cutting carbs could be an effective way for people who have lost weight to keep it off.

Click for larger version. Source: BMJ

One study, which looked at people who were trying to maintain weight loss, found that the participants burned more calories when they adhered to a low-carb diet, versus a high-carb diet. Among those with the same average body weight, those who ate a low-carb diet burned about 250 more calories a day than those who ate a diet high in carbohydrates, even though both groups engaged in similar levels of physical activity.

David Ludwig, co-principal investigator of the study and co-director of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center, said:

“The type of calories you consume affect the number of calories you burn. These novel effects of food, beyond calorie content, may help make long-term weight control easier and more effective.”

The study was designed to test what is known as the “carbohydrate-insulin model of obesity.” Here’s the gist of the model: processed carbs that have a high glycemic index cause fat cells to store excess calories instead of burning them. Foods that rank high on the glycemic index dump sugar into the bloodstream more quickly than foods that are low on the index.

Studies suggest that in the short-term (about 2 weeks or less), there is no difference between high-carb and low-carb diets in terms of daily calories burned. However, Ludwig and his colleagues spent 5 months investigating the potential differences for the latest study.

Low-Carb vs. High-Carb

Click for larger version. Source: BMJ

For the study, the researchers recruited 164 overweight adults aged 18 to 65 who had already lost 10% of their body weight. The participants were assigned to 1 of 3 diets, all varying in carbohydrate content, for 20 weeks. [2]

Researchers provided the volunteers’ meals, all of which contained the same daily calorie count and 20% protein.

  • One group’s diet contained 20% fat and 60% carbs.
  • Another group’s diet consisted of 40% fat and 40% carbs.
  • The 3rd group’s diet contained 60% fat and 20% carbs.

Those who consumed the lowest levels of carbs had burned the most calories at the end of the study period. These participants also had lower levels of hunger, and the hormones grehlin and leptin. Grehlin is a hormone that increases appetite, while leptin signals the brain and other organs to decrease appetite, among other things.

Participants in the low-carb group burned 209 to 278 calories a day more than those in the high-carb group, which meant they burned 50 to 70 calories more a day for every 10% decrease in carbs to their total energy intake.

Study: Mediterranean Diet and Low Carbs Reduce Diabetes Risk

Participants who secreted the most insulin at the start of the study saw an even more startling difference in energy expenditure: those on the low-carb diet burned up to 478 calories a day more than those in the high-carb group. Ludwig said this means that those in the low-carb group could expect to lose about 20 pounds more a year than those in the high-carb group.

Dr. Rekha Kumar, an endocrinologist and obesity medicine specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, who was not involved in the study, said:

“Most studies are looking at inducing weight loss. This one is about loss maintenance. And it’s asking, is there a particular macro nutrient composition that can result in a higher calorie burn?”

Click for larger version. Source: BMJ

He added that the fact that people with higher insulin levels “had the biggest impact allows you to say this is quite valid. That’s because these are the people – the ones who have issues with blood sugar and insulin – that you would expect to respond.”

Read: 5 Foods to Boost Metabolism and Accelerate Fat Loss

This is just more evidence that going low-carb or adopting a ketogenic diet can lead to weight loss.

Kumar said:

“I think there’s a tendency to go all or nothing, saying just eat a low-carb diet and it will keep the weight off. Maybe a low-carb diet can help, but so can increasing exercise.”

The study was published November 14 in the BMJ.

Sources:

[1] Live Science

[2] Reuters

Task Force: Obese People Should be Prescribed Major Lifestyle Changes

Obesity has become such a widespread issue in the United States that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended in a recent report that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher should be prescribed intensive behavioral interventions.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 35% of men and 40% of women in the United States are defined as obese. While an overweight population is quick to undergo weight loss surgery and shell out money on unproven weight loss products, deeper issues are often ignored that spark obesity in the first place.

The USPSTF updated its recommendations from 2012 on screening for obesity in adults, saying that behavior-based weight loss maintenance interventions, including diet changes and increased physical activity, are associated with less weight gain. That’s nothing new for most people, yet it’s a weight loss method that many people brush off and ignore.

This, despite the harsh reality that obesity can kill you or leave you disabled. It puts people at an increased risk for coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, a slew of cancers, and yes, death, particularly among adults younger than 65.

In developing the new recommendations, the task force reviewed the evidence from 83 studies published since 2012 on behavioral and pharmacological interventions for weight loss and weight loss maintenance based upon a primary care setting. The experts did not include surgical weight loss interventions and nonsurgical weight loss devices in the assessment because they are outside the scope of primary care. [1] [2]

Read: Why Less Than 1% of Obese Individuals Will Reach Normal Weight

The task force wrote:

“The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that offering or referring adults with obesity to intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions [ie, behavior-based weight loss and weight loss maintenance interventions] has a moderate net benefit.”

Weight loss can be an overwhelming, uphill battle, but shedding even a minimal number of pounds can be significant for health. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers a weight loss of 5% as clinically important. So, if a person weighs 200 pounds, a 5% weight loss equals 10 pounds.

The majority of behavioral weight loss interventions considered by the USPSTF lasted 1-2 years, and most of the patients had 12 or more sessions in the first year.

The task force also recommended:

  • Screening for abnormal glucose (blood sugar) levels and Type 2 diabetes
  • Statin use in those at increased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Counseling for quitting smoking
  • Aspirin use to prevent cardiovascular disease in certain people
  • Behavioral counseling interventions that promote healthy eating and physical activity to prevent cardiovascular disease in adults

The task force said that doctors should recommend these lifestyle changes for obese patients but in many cases, it doesn’t happen. [2]

Chyke Doubeni, a University of Pennsylvania primary care physician and professor of family medicine and community health who is on the task force, said that:

“…the evidence suggests that primary care doctors are not talking to their patients about obesity and not offering them the services that could be helpful in losing weight and maintaining physical fitness.”

Read: NYC Allows Doctors to Prescribe Fruits and Veggies Instead of Pills

The reason? Well, one possible explanation is a lack of time. Unfortunately, many doctors are quick to push patients out of the examining room after only a few minutes. It’s not that doctors don’t care (though some likely don’t), it’s that there are only so many hours in a day and a waiting room full of patients can put a lot of pressure on a doctor.

Ashley Mason, a behavioral psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco’s Biology and Experience of Eating Lab, remarked:

“Those 14-minute visits with your [primary care physician] aren’t enough time for everything.”

And when an obese patient walks out of their doctor’s office without a game plan for losing weight, they take with them the growing likelihood of developing conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

But there’s a way for primary care physicians to work around time limits, said Debra Haire-Joshu, who directs the Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research at Washington-University in St. Louis.

Instead of trying to take on the burden of obesity by themselves, primary care physicians should refer these patients to others in the health community, such as dieticians, lifestyle coaches, and psychologists.

“We know what works. Now we’ve got to find a way to deliver something better than what we’re doing right now.”

The task force’s report is published in JAMA.

Sources:

[1] UPI

[2] NPR

Mindful Eating Shown to Help People Lose Weight

If you mindlessly watch TV, you could easily wind up wasting the entire day. If you mindlessly drive, you could wind up getting lost, or worse. Likewise, mindlessly eating will cause you to gain weight, especially if the food is void of nutrition. The exact opposite is also true, a study foundgiving your full attention to the food in front of you can lead to weight loss[1]

Carolyn Dunn, a professor and nutrition specialist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and a team of colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of increasing mindful eating in an online weight loss program called Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less (ESMMWL).

The 15-week program, developed by NC State University and the NC Division of Public Health, uses the concept of “planned behavior” to help participants alter habits that are associated with weight management. Participants are invited to focus on their relationships and interactions with food, including paying attention to how it tastes, tuning into feelings of hunger and fullness, and planning mealtimes and snacks. [2]

Source: The Huffington Post

With mindful eating, participants don’t have to give up high-calorie foods. Instead, they are encouraged to take 2 or 3 bites, and “just savor the flavor.” You can eat whatever you want, but there’s one caveat: You must focus on nothing but enjoying your food. [1]

Read: Scientists Prove you can Think Your Way to Wellness

Dunn explained:

“For example, if one of us was going to eat a food that has very high calories, we would tell them to eat one or two bites, but to eat those one or two bites with awareness, so they are getting the most pleasure out of those one to two bites.” [2]

She went on:

“Mindfulness is paying attention to your surroundings, being in the present moment.

Mindful eating is eating with purpose, eating with awareness, eating without distraction, when eating only eating, not watching television or playing computer games or having any other distractions, not eating at our desks.”

Past research shows that the first 2 bites of food provide the most enjoyment, and eating more just leads to more calorie consumption, but not more enjoyment.

Really, mindful eating doesn’t begin at mealtime, it begins before you even start cooking. Mindfulness involves the way you shop for food, and the choices you make in restaurants.

Read: 5 Tips to “Trick Yourself” into Eating Less and Eating Healthier

Dunn said:

“Are you letting your emotions drive your eating? Are you eating out of fear or depression? Are you letting external cues drive your eating because you are in line in the grocery store and that food is being heavily marketed to us?”

To see what kind of impact mindful eating had on participants’ weight-loss efforts, researchers had them complete a questionnaire, called the Mindful Eating Questionnaire (MEQ), which assesses 5 different areas of mindful eating. [1]

Those who enrolled in the ESMMWL program were invited to participate in the randomized clinical trial portion of the study. Of the 80 people who agreed to participate, 42 were randomly assigned to the intervention group, and the remaining 38 people were assigned to the control group. [2]

The researchers found that participants who completed the program lost more weight than those in the control group. On average, the volunteers in the mindfulness group lost 4.2 lbs. compared to 0.7 lbs. in the control group – a result the team called “statistically significant.” [1]

After 6 months, about 75% of the participants had not regained the weight they lost in the program, and someone even lost additional weight. [2]

When the control group finally got the opportunity to participate in the program, they saw similar results.

The team concluded:

“Results suggest that there is a beneficial association between mindful eating and weight loss. The current study contributes to the mindfulness literature as there are very few studies that employed rigorous methodology to examine the effectiveness of an intervention on mindful eating.” [3]

Sources:

[1] Medical News Today

[2] Pulse Headlines

[3] The Guardian

The Huffington Post


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