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5 Ways to Lower Anxiety and Stress

5 Ways to Lower Anxiety and Stress for Weight Loss

We all know that sometimes we have no control over carrying excess anxiety and/or stress. Sometimes though we forget the damage that to much stress and anxiety can cause our bodies. Especially when it comes to weight loss, or more like the dreaded weight gain it causes. Here dare 5 ways to lower Anxiety and Stress for weight loss success.

1. Take regular breaks from the firing line. Working hard without regular breaks is a great way to build upwelling stress and tension. Make sure you have at least one 15-minute break in the morning and one in the afternoon as well as at least 20 minutes for lunch. If possible, eat lunch away from your workstation. Equally, if you have a lot to deal with in your life right now, taking a day, or a weekend elsewhere ñ longer if you can – to get some breathing space will really help. Even just a day away from the firing line will enable you to get some distance from the problems and help you to gather your thoughts.

2. Regular exercise can help relieve stress, depression and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins into your system and will give you a natural boost. It will also provide you with a break from brooding and dwelling upon problems and troubles ñ but only if you perform the right kind of exercises. Avoid: Exercises that allow you to brood (weight lifting, jogging, treadmills) and perform exercises that require your full concentration. Competitive sports such as squash, tennis, badminton and circuit training are all excellent examples. It is important that you do not brood when you exercise because although you will be benefiting physically, you are still stressing yourself mentally and the stress, depression and anxiety will worsen.

3. Stop beating yourself up. Self-deprecation is a huge part of stress, depression and anxiety. Each time you beat up on yourself, you will erode confidence and self-esteem. Never tell yourself youíre useless, worthless, stupid, hopeless, boring, ugly, and a loser. Never convince yourself that other people hate you, that others find you difficult to be around and that youíre better off being alone. You would never deem it acceptable to say such things to other people and you must deem it equally unacceptable to say them to yourself. These words and phrases are powerful and they will hurt you. Accept youíre not perfect and that you make mistakes ñ just like everybody else does ñ and cut yourself some slack. From this day, make a pact with me to never indulge self-deprecation ever again. IT IS UNACCEPTABLE.

4. Isolation is another problem experienced by stress, depression and anxiety sufferers. OK, there will be times when you just want your own company. During such times, you can brood over and over again on problems and events and beat yourself up for hours on end. Not good. Instead, use isolation more positively. Occupy your mind by tackling a jigsaw puzzle, a logic problem, a crossword, read a book or perform a hobby such as painting, playing a musical instrument or whatever it is you have an interest in. In this way, isolation will help you to grow instead of causing you further pain.

5. Television, radio and newspapers can all supply you with a daily hit of negativity and help lower your mood. In the main, they concentrate on the negative side of life: crime, corruption, war, scandal and natural disasters and can give you a distorted view of reality. Not to mention the amount of image manipulation they subject you to. Give yourself a break from this negative drip feed and avoid them completely for one week. You may find, like I have, that they have no place in your life after that. Trust me, you won’t miss them.

That’s five, quick tips for you to help fight anxiety and stress for a better weight loss. Please give them a try, they’ll all help to boost your mood levels very quickly indeed.

Stress and Weight Gain

Stress and Weight Gain

Pizza and Pop Tarts never solved anyone’s problems, but that doesn’t keep us from seeking comfort inner favorite food. When life gets hectic, when plans fall through, when relationships blunder, we often try to calm our minds by seeking comfort in foods.

“Everybody has their own comfort food,” says Marci Gluck, PhD, a research clinical psychologist with the National Institutes of Health. A bag of chips, a big plate of macaroni and cheese, or a carton of mocha fudge ripple ice cream can all make a person feel better, at least temporarily.

The disadvantage of comfort foods

Food we choose for therapy has an obvious downside: While it may be temporarily comforting, it’s also long term fattening. Everybody knows that obesity rates have been climbing steadily over the decades and that we live in stressful times. Is it possible that we’re simply trying to eat our way out of misery and into happiness? Is stress making us fat?

Stress, appetite and weight gain connections

Recently, scientists have discovered surprising connections between stress, appetite and weight gain. Simply stated, the chemicals that we produce during stressful times can help determine what we eat and how we store fat in our bodies.

Despite what some late-night commercials claim, this new understanding has not led to any magic-bullet treatments for weight loss; you can’t slim down simply by taking a pill that supposedly blocks stress hormones.

But recent research does help drive home a point that many psychologists and weight-loss specialists have been making for years: Managing stress can be a crucial first step toward successfully losing weight.

The cortisol connection

When we feel stressed out, our bodies resort to chemical hormonal warfare. Unsettling deadlines, major traffic jams, or arguments turn on an alarm in the brain that triggers the release of stress hormones. As a key part of our defense, the adrenal gland starts releasing large amounts of the hormone cortisol, which is a chemical that helps prime the body’s “fight or flight” response.

Cortisol gets a lot of attention in both medical journals and the press, and for good reason. For one thing, it seems to play a major role in all sorts of stress-related health problems, including heart disease and weakened immune systems.

It also helps control the buildup of fat, a process of deep interest to just about everyone. In times of stress, cortisol can collect fat from the blood and other storage places in the body and move it to the belly. Cortisol can also increase the size of individual fat cells. For some people, waist size may be an outward sign of stress. A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that women with mostly abdominal obesity tended to produce especially large amounts of cortisol when faced with a difficult task.

Control Cortisol Hormones

Cortisol isn’t the only hormone released during stress, and it’s certainly far from the only hormone that controls appetite. For these reasons, Gluck says, it’s overly simplistic to say that cortisol alone causes weight gain. Likewise, she says, it’s unrealistic to think that so-called cortisol-blocking supplements could aid in weight loss — and that’s assuming such products can even reduce cortisol levels in the first place. “I’m sure they don’t work,” she says.

Still, there’s little doubt that cortisol affects food choices. Studies in both animals and humans suggest that the hormone may help stoke an appetite for high-energy foods loaded with fat, sugar, or both. As reported in a 2003 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, rats that have their adrenal glands removed suddenly lose all interest in sugary drinks, but will still happily eat their rat chow. (Interestingly, they no longer want to run in their wheels, either.) When injected with the rat equivalent of cortisol, they suddenly develop a taste for things like sugar and lard — at the expense of their regular food.

Manage Stress for better Weight Loss

The same study found that sweets and fats can quiet the stress alarm in a rat’s brain. The flood of stress hormones slows down, and the rat suddenly acts less annoyed. If it could talk, the rat would probably say it feels calm — the same feeling that humans often find at the bottom of an ice cream carton.

Gluck points out that it’s often hard to translate findings from animals to humans. “There’s just so much more going on in people,” she says. Still, a few studies suggest that cortisol can encourage people to overeat, too. For example, a study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology found that women who produced large amounts of cortisol during stressful situations also consumed more calories afterward.

Stressful binges

Gluck and colleagues published another intriguing study that suggested a link between cortisol and eating habits in humans. As reported in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, subjects who were prone to eating binges tended to have higher levels of cortisol both when they woke up in the morning and after they completed a physically stressful task.

Gluck believes that stress may be especially dangerous — and especially fattening — for anyone with binge-eating disorder, a condition that causes people to periodically go on eating sprees that are beyond their control. As Gluck and colleagues noted in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, roughly 30 percent of people who seek medical treatment for weight loss have the disorder. The researchers point to stress as a key trigger of the disorder’s onset. However, binge eaters aren’t the only ones who overindulge when times get tough. “There are definitely people who are not binge eaters who overeat during stress and gain weight,” Gluck says. While binge eaters feel like they lose control over food, other people may make a conscious decision to go for that extra brownie or slice of pizza, perhaps with the idea that a stuffed stomach will take their minds off their troubles.

Managing stress, slimming down

Whatever a person’s basic approach to eating, lingering stress can scuttle any efforts to lose weight. In the words of a report from the American Psychological Association, “Weight loss is never successful if you remain burdened by stress and other negative feelings.”

If you’re facing twin battles against stress and weight, calming your mind should be your first priority, Gluck says. “Addressing stress would be more effective than going on a diet,” she says.

Laurel Mellin, a clinical psychologist  has designed a weight-loss program that addresses this issue. To drive down the urge to overeat, people must first find the tools to nurture themselves and to set limits. Among other things, she recommends simply asking yourself two basic questions. These questions are “How do I feel? What do I need?” Besides learning how to detect and deal with buried feelings and needs, exercise will help relieve stress and find balance.

Activity to reduce Cortisol Hormones

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy for stress. Some people find relief through physical activity, relaxation exercises, yoga, or meditation. Others need to see a psychologist who can help them adjust their outlook on life and their approach to food. Still others may need to make lifestyle changes, perhaps including more long walks and fewer late nights at the office.

The American Psychological Association does offer a few other tips for people trying to lose weight:

  • Think about what you eat and why you’re eating it. Do you tend to overeat when you feel upset or sad? If so, remember that there are healthier, more effective ways to cope with stress.
  • Avoid radical changes in your diet or activity level. Trying to reinvent yourself overnight will only add stress to your life. Instead, make changes slowly. For example, you can cut down the portion sizes of foods. Try switching to entirely new foods.
  • Get support from family and friends. Encourage your entire household to make healthier food choices and find an exercise buddy. As a bonus, you’ll find that social support is an excellent buffer against stress.

Ice cream and chips can make a person feel better, but the feeling won’t last. In the end, staying healthy is the ultimate victory over stress.

Learn more about the connection of Stress and weight gain and how to control your Cortisol Hormones. MedShape Weight Loss Clinic offers and exclusive program which can combat Cortisol levels that allows you to start a successful weight loss journey. Our MELT Diet is designed for Stress management and Cortisol break down.

 

10-Diet Tips

10 Real Life Diet Tips

Are you tired of diet tips handed out by someone with apparently unlimited income and time? For some of us, it may just not be practical to spend half of our Sunday preparing carefully portioned meals for the rest of the week, or financially feasible to buy all our meals prepackaged in just the right portions. And there are those of us who cringe at the thought of weighing food to achieve ‘optimal portion sizes’. Here are ten real life diet tips for the rest of us.

10 Diet Tips that Work

10 diet tips

1. Eat… Are you tired of diet tips handed out by someone with apparently unlimited income and time? For some of us, it may just not be practical to spend half of our Sunday preparing carefully portioned meals for the rest of the week, or financially feasible to buy all our meals prepackaged in just the right portions. And there are those of us who cringe at the thought of weighing food to achieve ‘optimal portion sizes’. Here are ten real life diet tips for the rest of us.

1. Eating out? Restaurant portions tend to be enormous, and if it’s on the plate, we tend to eat it. If it’s possible, order from the kidís menu, where portions are more reasonably sized. Also ask for a to go box right away. Package up half of the food on your plate before you start eating. Save it for tomorrow’s lunch.

2. Keep healthy snacks around and easily accessible. A bowl of fruit on the kitchen table, a container of celery or radishes in the refrigerator, or a couple of pop-open cans of tuna salad in your desk at work will help you grab for something healthy when those first hunger pains begin. In other words, you’ll be more likely to grab something low-calorie and good for you if it’s easy to eat.

3. Substitute frozen vegetables and drop the canned ones. Canned veggies tend to be high in sodium, which you don’t need, and low in real nutrition, which you do. Buy economy size bags with zip closures to make it easy to pour out a single serving for a meal.

4. Buy a vegetable steamer. Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables. The food retains nearly all of its natural nutrients instead of leaching it out into the cooking water. Even better, it makes your veggies taste great – which means you’ll be more likely to eat them instead of filling up on fatty foods that pack on weight.

5. Never eat standing up. One of the easiest ways to sabotage your diet is to ‘eat without thinking’. Treat eating with the respect that it deserves. Fix yourself a plate. Sit down and eat properly. You’ll be less likely to just pop food into your mouth without paying attention.

6. Spread your meals out. When you eat three meals a day, your body tends to store whatever it doesn’t need right that moment. By adopting a ‘grazing’ habit, you’ll keep your metabolism working throughout the day. Have a small breakfast, a piece of fruit with crackers or toast at mid-morning, a light lunch and an ‘after school snack’ mid-afternoon. Just remember that you’re breaking up the same amount of food into smaller meals, not ADDING more food into your daily diet.

7. Grab a low carb drink or flavored water instead of soda. Soda is nothing but empty calories. No nutrients, lots of sugar. Instead, grab a bottle of 100% fruit juice, or water flavored with a spritz of fruit.

8. Drink water. Even the FDA recommends at least 8 full 8 ounce glasses of water a day to keep your body working right. When you’re dieting, you should drink even more. It’s not just that full feeling – water helps your body digest foods properly and cleans out your system.

9. Can’t afford a gym membership? Make a pact with friends to exercise together. Make a date at least three times a week to play volleyball, take a walk or spend half an hour doing something active.

10. Skip the potato chips. Fatty snacks fried in hydrogenated oil like potato chips contribute fat and calories and not much else. Instead, grab a handful of dried fruit or a cup of yogurt for the same amount of calories and a lot more nutritional benefit.

We all know there are so many more tips that we can go on, but these 10 Diet Tips are a great way to start a week out rig

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5 Ways to Boost your Metabolism

5 ways boost metabolism5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Boost Metabolism naturally and safe. Do you ever wonder if there are quick and effective ways to boost your metabolism? Or do you ever feel like you are missing something when you try yo boost your metabolism? Sometimes we can definitely feel as if we get information on dieting that is contradicting.  Here are some great quick tips that everyone can out into their lives starting today. Exercise is essential, but you can also burn more calories at rest by watching what and when you eat.

#1 Donít Skip Breakfast

The morning meal jump starts your metabolism and helps to prevent bingeing later in the day. A cup of coffee does not count ñ the caffeine and added sugar may give you a bit of energy and suppress your appetite for a little while it is sure to back fire into severe hunger and you will be more likely to overeat later. Breakfast should include complex carbohydrates like whole grain (granola or oatmeal), along with some protein and fat (low-fat yogurt or milk), will keep your energy levels even and hunger in check.

#2 Eat more often

Get into the habit of eating every three to four hours or at least four times a day. Eating frequently stabilizes blood sugar, when blood sugar drops too low you want to eatÖa lot. By keeping your blood sugar stable you can control your appetite and keep you metabolic rate high. When you go many hours without eating your body will compensate by slowing down to conserve energyÖthis effect hurts your weight loss efforts.

#3 Eat protein at every meal

Protein will help to reduce your appetite, it takes more energy and time to digest, in effect you feel full longer than eating carbohydrates alone. Research shows that eating more protein can help you lose weight without cutting calories. Try these protein possibilities: turkey a lettuce wrap, hummus and pita; vegetarian chili; fruit and nuts; or protein snack bars that contain 12 or more grams of protein.

#4 Hold off on snacking

Many of us grab a snack for quick energy when we are feeling tired. But do not confuse true hunger with fatigue. If you are feeling tired go for a 15-20 minute brisk walk. This will raise your heart rate and give you a boost of energy. Follow it up with a large glass of cool water. If you are truly hungry have a protein and complex carbohydrate rich snack like; celery and peanut butter or cheese.Remember, to boost metabolism, we have to feed it properly.

#5 Consume enough food for your body’s needs

Eating too little slows your body’s metabolism the same way eating to infrequently does. If you want to lose weight, do not slash your calories too drastically. Instead, cut out some of the extras in your diet. Cut out  things like soda, juice, packaged goods or candy. Processed foods tend to be high in fat and calories and low in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Also remember, vegetables that grow in the ground are very high in carbohydrates and should be avoided.

Fresh or Frozen: Its Long-Term Good Health Impacts

Winter can be a tougher time to be a healthy eater. With the onset of global farming, we’re no longer “seasonal eaters,” eating what’s naturally available at different times of the year. Fresh foods are now shipped worldwide all year round.

But what about taste, nutrient content and cost? Is fresh always best? Let’s take a closer look at some go-to food favorites to see if it’s better to go fresh or frozen.

Fish fillets: FROZEN

You might be surprised to know most fish sold in supermarkets — even when presented on ice in a case — is previously frozen. It’s “fresh frozen” when caught so taste and nutrients are maintained. You’ll be paying a lot more for the perception of fresh-caught fish. Some restaurants and specialty fish stores DO have fresh fish for sale, but the price is eye-popping and the nutrients are the same.

  • Look for ready to eat, unseasoned, uncooked fillets — available singly packaged or in multiples.
  • Read the labels before choosing prepared and processed fish sticks and fillets; while some are nutrient rich, others are loaded with extra salt, fat and calories.
  • Seafood, especially shrimp, is a great nutrient-rich, economical option.
  • For “specialty fish” like wild salmon that have a limited growing season, frozen fillets are the perfect choice.

Pizza: FRESH

Frozen pizzas, like most processed and prepared foods, have loads of hidden added salt and fat. Adding toppings boosts the cost, without extra food or nutrients.

  • Personalize and boost the nutrients of your favorite pizza with your choice of thick or thin crusts available everywhere. From a ready-to-use crust, to English muffins or pita rounds, you can go plain, whole wheat or gluten free.
  • Top your pizza with a healthier jarred sauce — it’s lower in salt and fat than pizzeria versions.
  • Add your favorite toppings so you control the amounts — even the more indulgent ones. Try swapping turkey pepperoni for regular, or add just a few pieces of the regular version. Try reduced-fat cheese to lower saturated fat without compromising flavor. Load up on veggie toppings for pennies.

fresh or frozen foods

Fruit: FROZEN

While this might sound like a shocker, nutrient-rich fruits like berries, cherries and peaches are traveling thousands of miles to get to your local market. Usually the taste, texture and color are less than expected, and the price is astronomical.

Meanwhile, frozen fruits — conventional or organic — are “flash frozen” upon harvesting, keeping them nutrient rich and fresh. Most waste is eliminated, as you use what you need at the time.

  • I call fruit “nature’s candy”, so try cherries or your favorite straight from the freezer for a treat.
  • Skip the frozen fruits with added sauces or toppings that contain a lot of added sugars. Stick with plain frozen fruit.
  • Upon thawing, the texture does change, so mix with seasonal fresh fruits like apples or oranges if using in a fruit salad. Frozen fruits are best when cooked or blended in smoothies or yogurt, but can be eaten “as is” when still slightly frozen.

Mac and cheese: FRESH

Most frozen versions are loaded with sodium and hidden saturated fats. There’s about 710 mg — about one-third to one-half of your daily recommended sodium — in just one cup of frozen mac and cheese.

  • You can boost the nutrient content and save money by preparing your own, which takes just a few minutes longer than microwaving a box (and less time than preparing in the oven). Try whole wheat elbows to boost fiber or a 100 percent chick pea pasta like Banza to add both protein and fiber.
  • Adapt your favorite recipe by trying reduced-fat cheese to cut the saturated fat.
  • If you need a bit of added salt, a couple of shakes from the salt shaker add far less sodium than frozen versions.

Vegetables: FROZEN

There’s no food waste, just use what you need! You’re not stuck with a whole head of cauliflower that sounded like a good idea to use five ways, but winds up in the back of the fridge, untouched.

  • Frozen vegetables are ready to use, already cut and washed to save prep time.
  • Prices skyrocket in the wintertime, and you can use frozen veggies for mostly all uses (except raw, with dips). Add to stews, soups and side-dishes. While the texture is slightly different, frozen veggies are “flash frozen” for optimal nutrient content and taste.

Credits: Madelyn Fernstrom via Today.com

Get Those Pounds Off After The Holidays

Post Holiday Diet

Did you overeat these holidays? Holiday weight gain is real. In fact, study showed that the extra pounds you put on between Halloween and Christmas can take more than five months to lose. You will need a lot of will power to get back to eating right after spending the past few weeks filling up on holiday treats.

Take these tips if you’re looking to undo the damage of your holiday splurging and lose the holiday weight gain:

✓ Heap on the Healthy Meal
First, come to terms with the fact that the holiday is actually over and get back into the habit of regular grocery shopping for healthy ingredients to make nutritious, calorie-restricted meals. Try to focus on motivators for wanting to lose weight so you can be more mindful.

✓ Sweat It Out
You can’t expect to lose weight immediately through exercise. However, doing it will help give you cardiovascular strength, healthy bones, better sleep and stress levels which are the perfect antidote to holiday madness. Do something you enjoy and exercise to an extent that won’t make you stressed out. Your body, mind, and waistline will thank you.

Hydrate
If you want to release and flush out the toxins in your body, you need to make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount of water each day. The recommended amount is your weight divided in half and converted to ounces. For example, a 140 pound woman would want to drink 70 ounces of water a day, which amounts to just over 2 liters.

Get a Clean Start
You can get some help starting the year off right by joining weight loss programs. Medshape Weight Loss Clinic can make sure you have the support you need to make your weight loss a priority.

Two little words that can make the difference: START NOW!


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