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Retrain Your Brain
When I chose the title for my first blog, “Getting the Best of Food”, I envisioned a mental warfare. In a struggle, the person who overcomes their enemy is said to have “gotten the best of them.” Of course the double meaning is also to get the best qualities food has to offer.
Back to warfare. I work five days a week from morning until 5:00 pm. My breakfast, lunch and daytime snacks are perfectly healthy and I stick to the plan but dinner and post-dinner decisions often take a turn for the worse and I think I know why.
At the end of the workday, we’re run down, worn out and hungry. One of my strategies is always to have healthy food on hand and to eat something before you are famished. But there is also a little bit of brainwashing necessary to keep yourself from caving into cravings for junk food and comfort classics.
Here’s a normal weeknight example (after I’ve eaten fruits and veggies all day): 5:05 pm driving home, thinking about dinner options and my brain starts to recite all of the foods that make me joyful – chicken wings, pizza, potato skins, tacos… As I continue to drive home, the list is on a mental merry-go-round and it just keeps repeating incessantly in my head.
So what happens when you tell your brain “I can’t have that brownie, I can’t have that brownie, I can’t have that brownie?” There is only one thing on your mind for food and guess what it is – the brownie!
In the same way that you set up a plan to have easily accessible healthy food around, we all need to also retrain our brains to consider better choices before the disaster hits. Before the drive home and before hunger pains set in, start to recall how amazing fresh strawberries taste, or how flavorful grilled asparagus is with a touch of Parmesan cheese. Whenever possible, have your dinner prepared or at least planned the night before. One trick I have learned is start dinner for the next night as I’m clearing the table and washing dishes. This way I come home and finish cooking dinner that was started the previous night, eat and then start the first half of tomorrow’s dinner. It works really well.
To keep things simple, you can also come up with a short list of standard dinners that you know how to make simply, that fit your daily caloric goals. For me, this is usually fish every other night, alternated with chicken. One night is vegetarian and one night is lean beef or pork. Skip the starches unless it’s whole grain and double up on the vegetables. Salads compliment dinner very well too. Save calories with homemade dressing from blended berries, pears or apples, vinegar, mustard and a small bit of olive oil. Shake it with your lettuce so that a little goes a long way.
Don’t forget that this is a battle, truly. And that you can and will win it, and you’ll feel amazing for overcoming the challenge.
Which of the following will cause you to get sick first?
1. Eating Sugar
3. Lack of Exercise
4. Toxic Emotions
Yep –you got it—-Hatred, Guilt, Negativity, and Lack of Self Love—All of the above will cause you harm way before anything else.
I watched this Mindset Monday video by Drew Canole from FitLife.tv and it really hit home. I love his positive energy and honesty. Check out his site and the iPhone App called fit life tv which is free and has tons of great juicing recipes!
Here is a little background on Drew—
“Drew was born and raised in the small, rural community of Lake City in northern Michigan. After attending Central Michigan University, he launched a successful career in finance before recognizing that his greatest talent lied in motivating others. He currently resides in San Diego, where his work as author, fitness specialist and has made him one of the most reputable Personal Coaches in southern California.
Drew is committed to the conviction that people are at their best when challenged. He pushes others to bust through personal barriers and reach new heights in physical, mental and spiritual well-being.”
And with a quote from Drew—We’re in this together
The Five to One Rule–A Love/Hate Relationship
Psychologists can read verbal and physical clues between a couple in the first few minutes of interacting with them. I recently learned of a theory that could predict whether a couple will stay together that is incredibly accurate and relatively simple. It’s called the 5:1 rule. For every one negative comment or physical gesture, the couples that had five positive ones to every one negative were most likely to make it in their relationships. For example, a positive touch, glance or affirmation for the other person strongly outweighs a negative/judgemental comment. I have looked around at my relationships with all the people in my life–the most positive relationships are reassuring and create positive energy. I am challenging myself this week to try to outweigh any negative thought even toward myself with 5 positives. I challenge you to look at the most positive relationships in your life that you have and see if this concept applies?
When my daughter was little, she was terrified of going to the doctor for shots. After the Kindergarten series, she started asking me all throughout the year when she had to go back for more. She would always cry at my answer, even if the next round of shots was years away. She agonized over them, cried and begged me to get her out of it. One doctor appointment stands out very clearly in my mind. As we waited in the outer lobby, she started to get tense. Then, inside the exam room, her temperature rose, body shook and her sobs turned from a whimper to hysteria. The nurse came in to wipe her arm with alcohol and my daughter, sitting in my lap sobbed “tell me when they are going to do it.” She was so worked up and delirious she didn’t realize the shot had already happened. When I told her it was done, she opened one eye in disbelief. Sure enough, the agony and torment she created for herself was more excruciating than the pain of the shot.How many times do we, as adults, create the same experience for ourselves. I know that in the past I have worried myself sick over something that might happen, and many of those fears never came to pass.
Research has shown that stress and worry can be major contributing factors to heart disease, fatigue and depression.
Lighten up? It’s easier said than done. But there are practices that you can implement into your weekly schedule that will help alleviate worry and stress.
1) Start a prayer or gratitude journal. If you begin writing down the people and things you pray for and then go back periodically and re-read them, you’ll see that you’ve made it through to the other side of the trouble and it’s now behind you. By keeping a gratitude journal nightly, you will keep your mind focused on the small things for which you are thankful every day.
2) Exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise pumps your endorphins. It also improves your mood, provides mental clarity and lowers symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.
3) Volunteer or Pay it Forward. Volunteering is an amazing way to take your focus off yourself and to give to another person or group of people who appreciate your time and talents. Speak to someone who has gone on a mission trip to “serve” and you’ll find that they always feel like they are on the receiving end of the gift. Even something as simple as a Random Act of Kindness can give you such a great feeling of warmth and compassion.
So today I had the task of repainting our children’s bathroom. Gone are the days of cute little ducks and frogs that evolved to hot pink stripes and unfortunate remnants of blue hair dying slumber parties gone bad. Today I was forced to paint a mature face on this memory filled bathroom in anticipation of selling our home this Spring. It is a mundane chore in which I find less than zero excitement. First, because I am a horrid painter. And second, because I have no patience. I am sure that a completely bored five-year old spilling cans of paint, talking incessantly, and trying to paint the dog-played no role in the matter. Emma was kidnapped by my wonderful cousin for a few hours of kid play and I had some time alone in my own head. This monotonous task devoid interruption left me with some uncluttered mindfulness. I came to this conclusion. We can control our diet and what we put in our bodies–the bigger issue is controlling what thoughts we allow into our heads. Mindset is key–and the moments we have to really clear our minds and set our motivation are way to far and few. Today is Groundhog’s day–the end of January, a time for the excitement of upcoming springtime, and the unfortunate memory of Bill Murray’s exhausting movie (Groundhog Day) reminding us that it only takes tiny choices to make changes in outcome.
Posted on February 2, 2013 by in Call to action, Nutrition, Weight Loss 2 Comments