Need help with Emotional Eating?

Many people who turn to Weight Loss Surgery, have at some point, encountered emotional eating.  This is where times of stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety and other factors that we’ll go in to cause the sufferer to over eat.

We can divide the Situations and emotions that trigger us to eat into five main categories.

Social. Eating when around other people. For example, excessive eating can result from being encouraged by others to eat; eating to fit in; arguing; or feelings of inadequacy around other people.

Emotional. Eating in response to boredom, stress, fatigue, tension, depression, anger, anxiety, or loneliness as a way to “fill the void.”

Situational. Eating because the opportunity is there. For example, at a restaurant, seeing an advertisement for a particular food, passing by a bakery.

Eating may also be associated with certain activities such as watching TV, going to the movies or a sporting event, etc.

Thoughts. Eating as a result of negative self-worth or making excuses for eating. For example, scolding oneself for looks or a lack of will power.

Physiological. Eating in response to physical cues. For example, increased hunger due to skipping meals or eating to cure headaches or other pain.

To identify what triggers excessive eating in you, keep a food diary that records what and when you eat as well as what stressors, thoughts, or emotions you identify as you eat. You should begin to identify patterns to your excessive eating fairly quickly.

Now, here is a thing.  Overeating, and indeed emotional eating may not be your fault! Why?  Here’s why…

When you are stressed, your body secretes a hormone called cortisol.  As well as encouraging weight gain around the mid section.  It causes imbalances the makes the sufferer crave sugary, salty foods and usually carbohydrates

Also, if you are overly fatigued, becasue sugar gives you that instant fix, its easy to get dependent, however, sugar causes the insulin spike that causes fat to be stored and on an energy level, once the sugar hit wears off, you’ll crash, feeling worse than ever.

Finally whats happening with your leptin gauge?  Leptin is the Fat burning hormone that tells your brain when you are full.  If you are over eating the wrong things, eventually, you could get leptin resistant.  This hormonal imbalance can mean that your brain, never really knows when you are full, so you keep eating…see, told you it wasn’t your fault!

How to Stop Emotional Eating

Identifying when you overeat is half the battle, next you can do alternative activities to distract yourself, things like:

– Writing down how your feeling when you eat
– Exercising
– Taking a Walk
– Drink a Pint of Water
– Sleep
– Relax
– But nothing changes until you rebalance those hormones.  Doing things like
– Stopping sugar
– Spreading your meals out through the day
– Not Snacking
– Not Eating Before bed
– Getting some good physical activity in
– Balancing your Macronutrients (Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats)

Get this done and you’ll never need to diet again.

Remember your dedicated Patient Care Manager is also there to support you throughout your journey.  

Contact me directly at Sara@SecretSurgery.co.uk

For more information on our weight loss surgery options please visit Secret Surgery Ltd

Building an achievable fitness plan

The most important first step to becoming fit is making a workable fitness plan, otherwise it’s too easy to lose focus. Try asking yourself these five questions below and make sure you answer them completely honestly:

Building an achievable fitness plan

1. What are my bad health habits?

Your answers might be poor eating, having too many snacks or sitting down for too many hours…

2. Where do you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10?

One being completely out of shape – breathing heavily while doing daily tasks – and 10 being perfect fitness.

3. How much time do you currently dedicate to exercise or activity each week?

And is it enough?  Would you like to be more fit and do you want to have more energy?

4. What three fitness activities do you most enjoy? 

Be honest – do you like walking, exercise classes or simply playing outdoors with your kids?  Don’t hold back from putting something more adventurous down as a bonus answer  – you can work up to high-powered activities as you build your fitness.

5.  What roadblocks have caused you to lose focus in the past?

Maybe you’ve stopped exercising because you’ve become busy at work, or your routine was interrupted and you didn’t get back into fitness.  Put down anything that derailed your plans.

Now let’s use your answers to make a fitness plan

You can decide to fix just one thing at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.  Let’s go through your answers and build a fitness plan you can stick to all year.  You don’t need to aim too high – right now, we just want to improve on where you are now.

Overcoming bad habits

If you eat unhealthily then you should focus on making your next meal more healthy because you can’t change what you’ve eaten in the past but you can make sure your next meal meets all your nutritional needs.  Approach fitness in the same way: focus on your current or next workout and do the best you can. Decide right now when you are going to do an activity… or even go and grab your running shoes and prepare for an activity session as soon as you finish reading this!

Your fitness rating

It’s good to know where you are – but you also need to think about where you want to be.  I’d like you to aim for two points higher than your current number.  So,  if you rate a five then your fitness plan should slowly take you up to a seven. And, if you’re already at level 10 then I know you’re ready for any challenge but maybe you could diversify?  Think about whether there are any areas you could further develop or learn to love more?

Your exercise routine

If you want to give more time in your life to exercise then try to increase your exercise habits by 10 minutes per week until you reach at least 30 minutes of activity a day.  Exercise doesn’t have to be daunting: if you currently sit down in an office for long periods then promise yourself that you’ll go and visit a colleague instead of emailing at least twice each day.  Or, plan a walk straight after work – even if you only go around the block then at least you’re out and about.  As you build your fitness plan, you’ll soon see that adding 10 minutes of activity here and there can make your day more fun and that has to be better than thinking of exercise as a chore.

Choosing an activity

You can start out by only doing the activities on your list – the ones you listed in answer to question four. The start of your fitness plan is not a good time to try new types of exercise, so focus on your favorites – they’ll help you feel confident and comfortable for the first few weeks.  Activities like walking, jogging and body-weight exercises are a great way to start out. I love the phrase: “don’t run before you can walk” because a slow and steady approach builds results that will last.

Avoiding roadblocks

If you find yourself always stumbling because of one particular obstacle then avoid it!  It sounds simple I know, but if you always plan early morning workouts but you can’t get out of bed then consider lunchtime or evening sessions.  You know yourself and your fitness plan needs to be tailored to who you are so, don’t pledge to do something that you won’t enjoy because then you’re less likely to succeed.

Finalizing your fitness plan

Now you should have everything you need to create a fitness plan that meets your needs.  You know what you want to achieve, how you what to achieve it and why.  You even know what might knock you off course.  With your fitness plan, be kind to yourself and choose an easier route that you know you will be happy navigating over the long term.

Once you have gathered all your thoughts, why not write them out clearly? For me, transferring my thoughts to paper helps to make them concrete – and if I have my goals written down, I know I can’t ignore them. Place your fitness plan somewhere prominent to remind you of your starting point and your aims.  I recommend sticking it on the fridge because keeping it visible will help to keep you motivated.  I also always keep an exercise journal because it’s a great way to track my progress and, when it works, you want to be able to remember how you did it.

Are You Facing A Weight loss plateau?

Have you hit a weight loss plateau? Has your fitness plan stalled and you don’t feel you’ll reach your goals?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I can help you power back up and start seeing results again.

Weight loss plateau

 

If you ever feel that you are doing everything just right with your fitness and nutrition plan but your results don’t seem to represent all of your hard work then I have a simple but effective piece of advice. Hitting a fitness or weight loss plateau is a very common problem in the world of sports performance and general weight loss. There are many theories on why our bodies sometimes hit a temporary yet frustrating roadblock but, by thinking outside the box, you can power through the frustration and start seeing results again. Keep on reading and you may be surprised at just how easy it can be to jump-start your flat-lined results.

All you need to do is take a few days rest in order to kick start your results.  Honestly – I’m not crazy or cracking one of my usual jokes – you need to do something really different to put body back on track and move past your fitness or weight loss plateau. I believe that if you’re ready to break free from a weight loss plateau or prevent yourself from hitting a future roadblock then a good rest may just be the magic ingredient you need.

Being consistent with your activity level and nutrition plan is an important strategy when it comes to sports performance, weight loss and fitness but have you ever heard the old saying that “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”?  In my opinion this saying is especially true when it comes to overexerting your body. Pushing your body to the point of exhaustion can spell disaster for your fitness level and weight loss goals. A plateau can happen at any point if you don’t schedule some quality down time into your program.

Three great reasons to rest your body

Here are my good reasons why a rest is sometimes more beneficial than a training session.

  • Avoid fatigue

Your body needs to re-generate, restore and repair itself often. The most effective way for your body to naturally heal itself is for you to rest. Overworked muscles and over-stressed joints just don’t perform as well and luckily our body lets us know when our muscles are overworked.  Your pain receptors will make movements uncomfortable and your joints can become tender when you push your body too hard. The nervous system also needs time to rest in order to adapt and improve from training.

Always listen to your body and rest if you are sore.

  • Natural Cycle

Athletes train in cycles for a reason, the timing of training may vary from athlete to athlete but one common factor in every athlete’s training program are pre-planned rest days. One of the main reasons athletes rest is to avoid fatigue, but resting the body also helps athletes avoid common overuse or stress injuries. Many athletes notice an improved general performance after taking time off from training.

A well-rested body will get better results than a tired one.

  • Spark Excitement

If you are putting your body through the motions day after day, you can become complacent and your exercise intensity is likely to drop without you even realizing.

Have you ever seen a dog that hasn’t been walked for a few days? As soon as the dog goes out, it’s like a whole new world and they are just so excited. Well, it can be the same for humans when we’re working out.Taking a day or two off from your current workout routine can make you come back to the gym with a renewed commitment and excited approach.

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There could be many factors that impact your results but if over-training is one of them it is easy to fix with a simple day or two of rest. My goal is to help you discover ways to improve your current fitness level and emphasize that you should to listen to your body. We are all individuals and our bodies adapt at our own personal rate: giving your body adequate rest so it can be strong for your next workout is a smart approach to achieving sustainable results.

You only have one body so use it wisely.

Although I am encouraging you to add a few rest days into your intense training weeks, this is not an excuse for you to sit on the couch and do nothing all the time! A simple change of routine or incorporating activities that are at a lower intensity such as a gentle walk or swim are acceptable rest day activities.  Occasionally my family enjoys a ‘duvet day’ where we sit back, relax and read or watch movies.  We’re usually active and we like getting out and about but now and then it’s good for everyone to recharge.

I know that taking a rest definitely improves my performance and helps me reach the next fitness level.  So, aim for one or two rest days a week but keep your completely inactive couch days to a few times a year!

Getting Active …

So often when people hear the term ‘active’ it brings on a feeling of dread!

People imagine having to dedicate hours to insane workouts or worse, they might think of extreme sports that they’d hate like, perhaps, skateboarding and skydiving. I think this is because the term ‘active’ can have so many meanings.  We hear the word being used in commercials with a visual of a man diving off a building and the tag line “Active men use this deodorant” and it sets an expectation about what ‘active’ really means.

Some people think you have to be skinny to be active. Again this is because the media often uses the term ‘active’ while showing incredibly toned bodies with 6 pack abs. Subconsciously, this can make us associate an active lifestyle with too much hard work and danger. So if you, like so many others, find yourself saying “I’m not cut out for this active lifestyle thing” let me try and change your mind.

The perils of our modern lifestyle

The modern world of technology and advanced transport has changed the way we live. We often spend far too much time sitting at a desk staring at a screen. And, it’s a sign of the times that many people go straight from front door, to car, to parking lot.  Then they ride the elevator up to their offices, often with no fresh air in between leaving the house and arriving in the office.

Being active doesn’t take much; adding a walk around the block or even to a colleague’s desk can at least get you up and out of your chair.  I always like see how people mix up their commutes by adding a walk, climbing the stairs or even cycling if they’re feeling courageous.

Talking of bikes, have you seen the ’push bikes’ that now have engines on the back?  Or the little motorized scooters?  I bet that no one dreamed how popular these would become back in the 1990s…

Technology is wonderful but it has made us a little lazy. Just because you can sit on a bike and let it propel you to your destination, it may not be the best choice for your body especially if you want to stay healthy.

Find your own ‘active’

Find your own ‘active’, Samantha Clayton, Discover Good Fitness

The truth is that if you are not sleeping or sitting still, then you are being active.  Even fidgeting counts as activity and helps you burn calories!

Finding the level of activity that is right for your body is the best piece of advice I can give you.  Increasing your activity level can be as simple as taking a midday stroll or as dramatic as training for a marathon. Once you make a commitment to increasing your activity level, guess what? Every few weeks your body will adapt and you may be inspired to take it to the next level.

In my world the meaning of ‘active’ changes every day.  Some days it’s riding real bikes around the yard with my kids and other days it’s an extreme mountain trail adventure… Both are active, both are enjoyable and both are fun!

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Getting on the activity ladder is often the biggest step of all, but now that you know that being active does not have to mean skydiving and high intensity workouts, you may be ready to start climbing up your ladder to a more active life.

Good Nutrition & Convenience Can Go Hand-In-Hand

Focus on good nutrition while making use of pre-prepared foods and you’ll find that healthy eating is easy.

Good nutrition & convenience can go hand-in-hand

One of the biggest complaints people have about eating healthily is the perception that it requires more hours in the kitchen to prepare nutritious meals.  But there are so many convenience items available now that preparing healthy meals is a snap.

For protein, you can buy fish or poultry that’s already seasoned and ready for quick grilling or frozen pre-cooked prawns that can be tossed with some pasta and veggies for a quick dish.  And don’t overlook canned tuna, salmon or chicken breast that can be added to salad greens, rice dishes or soups.

You can also boost the nutritional value of condensed soups by mixing them with non-fat milk or soy milk instead of water.  As the soup is heating, toss in some frozen mixed vegetables, or some loose pack spinach to add nutrition, flavor and bulk.  Frozen-loose pack vegetables allow you to use only what you need and are ready to eat in minutes.

Salad preparation can also be quick thanks to pre-washed salad greens, all sorts of pre-sliced and chopped veggies and baby carrots.  Add a splash of low-fat bottled dressing and some pre-cooked chicken or shrimp and you’ve got a quick and healthy meal.

Fresh, pre-washed and cut veggies are available in the produce section, and if your market has a salad bar you can often find them there, too.  Pop them in the steamer, toss with some pre-chopped garlic or onions when they’re crisp/tender, and you’ve got a gourmet dish in minutes.

Master Your Diet Demons With A Food Journal

Think keeping a food journal is a waste of time?  You might want to think again.  Study after study consistently tells us that self-monitoring – that is, keeping track of what you eat, how much exercise you get, and how much you weigh – is one of the key components to successful weight loss. 

food journal

In a recent reviews on the subject, the conclusion across the board was there was “a significant association between self-monitoring and weight loss.”

What the studies tell us is that when you’re accountable to someone – not just to yourself, but also to a healthcare provider, a life partner or a friend – you greatly improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off.  And, the more often you keep track, the more successful you’re likely to be. In one study involving nearly 1700 people, those who kept food journals six days a week lost double the weight of those who kept food diaries only once a week or less.

Why does this work?  Because a food journal’s one of the best tools around for helping you to monitor – and change – your behavior.  You can’t change your behavior until you analyze – and acknowledge – what you’re currently doing.  Once you’ve got a clear picture of how much you’re eating and  how much (or how little) you’re exercising, you’re in a much better position to figure out what you need to work on.

And there’s more to it than simply writing it down in your food journal.  What’s even better is to record not only what and how much you’re eating – it’s also good to note why.  Were you hungry?  Or was your eating was triggered by fatigue, boredom, anger or stress?  This honest self-appraisal will help you see where you’re eating appropriately – and where a little behavior modification is called for.

There are all sorts of ways to keep track – anything from low tech paper diaries to high tech apps for your phone – but no matter how you keep tabs on yourself, there are a few things that will help ensure your success:

·     Be honest

Just keeping track of your ‘good’ days isn’t going to help you.  You need to come face-to-face with your behavior – the good, the bad and the ugly – before you can make positive changes.  Write it all down, and give yourself a pat on the back when you’re good.  But don’t beat yourself up when you’re not.  Tomorrow is another day.

·     Log your eating as you go, or even beforehand

Some people like to write down what they plan to eat and how much exercise they plan to do each day, and use their food journal like a checklist.  If you can’t do that, at least keep track as you go.  For one thing, if you pull out your journal each time you eat – or get the urge to eat – that little delay might make you think twice before you indulge.  And, if you wait until the end of the day,you’re unlikely to remember everything you ate – and by then it’s too late to change it.

·     Hone your skills when it comes to calorie counting and estimating portion size

  Your food journal is a great tool, as long as the information you’re logging is accurate.  So practice, practice, practice!  Weighing and measuring your foods at home will help you better estimate what you’re eating in restaurants, too.

·     Don’t forget the details

The cream in your coffee, the butter on your toast, the dressing on your salad and the mayo on your sandwich – all those calories add up.  Analyze your food carefully, to make sure you don’t forget any of those ‘extras’.

·     Where do I start?

If you need any help setting up your food journal ask your Patient Care Manager or contact me directly Sara@SecretSurgery.co.uk

 

Are You Being Trueful With Your Calorie Intake?

One key to maintaining a healthy weight is to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn.  But that’s sometimes easier said than done.

 

Image

Balancing your calories sounds deceptively simple.  Eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight. Take in fewer calories than you burn and you’ll shed some pounds. Keep your “calories in” and “calories out” about the same, and your weight should stay pretty stable.  So why is it that hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t complain to me that they’re “exercising like a madman, but not losing any weight” or, “eating like a bird but the scale won’t budge”?  It simply boils down to this: when it comes to counting calories accurately – the ones you eat and the one you spend – there are so many ways it can go wrong.

Let’s say you’re a pretty big guy, and you’re fairly active.  And let’s say that in order to maintain your weight, you need to eat about 2700 calories a day.  That adds up to a million calories in a year.   If you’re calorie counting is off by a measly 10%, you’d eat 100,000 calories more than you thought in the course of a year – and you’d gain 28 pounds in the process.  And that’s just an error on the ‘calories in’ side of the equation.  A lot of people have trouble estimating the calorie cost of their exercise – the ‘calories out’, too.  So if you’re having some trouble with your ‘balancing act’, here are some of the reasons you might be struggling.

You don’t have a clue how many calories you should be eating every day

The logical place to start is by estimating how many calories your body burns in a day.  The problem is, there are a lot of variables – including your age, your gender, how much body fat or muscle you have, and how intensely you exercise.  The bulk of the calories you spend every day (about 70%) are used just to keep all your systems running – circulatory, nervous, digestive, and so on – and this ‘resting metabolic rate’ is determined by how much muscle you have.  The remaining calories you burn are used to fuel your daily activity.  You can find tools to help you estimate your calorie needs – and that’s a good place to start – but keep in mind that they’re only estimates, since they can’t take into account your unique body composition.  One good way to estimate your calorie needs is to keep a very accurate food diary for a week or so, and look at your average daily calorie intake.  If your weight is stable, then you’re eating about the right number of calories.  If you’re gaining, then you’re eating more than you need.

You underestimate how many calories you eat

Unfortunately, the information you get from your food diary depends on how accurately you record everything.  And most people underestimate how many calories they eat – by as much as 40%.  If you don’t weigh and measure everything – and rely instead on ‘eyeballing’ your portions – you could be wayoff.  Also, keep in mind that the calories listed on food packages can be off by up to 10%, and the calories in restaurant dishes can be as much as 25% higher than what’s listed on the menu.  And as you’re writing everything down, don’t forget the extras – the condiments, the gravies and salad dressings, the sugar and cream in your coffee, the handful of crumbs you found at the bottom of the cookie jar, the few bites of pizza you ate while standing at the kitchen sink.  It all counts.  Every single bite.

You overestimate how many calories you burn when you exercise

Most people estimate that they burn 2-3 times more calories through exercise than they actually do. Your calorie burn when you exercise depends on lots of things – your body size, how long you are actually exercising, and how intensely you work out.  Many times, people aren’t working out as hard as they think they are (…or for as long.  One of my clients wasn’t exactly lying when she swore to me that she was ‘in the pool for an hour every day’ – it’s just that she spent most of the time sitting on the steps chatting with her girlfriends).  And your body size matters, too – the more you weigh, the more calories you burn doing a particular exercise. Someone who weighs 120 pounds burns 250 calories walking for an hour at a speed of 3 miles an hour,  but a 200 pound person walking at the same speed burns over 400 calories.  If you’re relying on the exercise machine at your gym to tell you how many calories you’re burning, it may not be accurate.  Just keep in mind that an hour of swimming means 60 minutes of actual movement – which isn’t the same thing as, ‘an hour in the pool’.

You reward yourself for working out… by taking it easy the rest of the day

Maybe after exercising, you’re convinced that you’ve burned up a lot more calories than you actually have, so you figure you’ve earned a treat (see below). But adjusting our “calories in” as a result of exercise isn’t the only way we compensate.  Sometimes we adjust our “calories out” – and after a spell of activity, we overcompensate by simply becoming a lot less active for the rest of the day.  So when all is said and done, we’ve burned about as many calories as if we hadn’t exercised at all.  You need to keep up with your usual exercise and your usual daily activities, too.

You reward yourself for working out… with food

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard, “I worked out really hard, so I deserved that (…pizza, ice cream, beer…)” I’d be a wealthy woman.  Once you’ve convinced yourself that you burned off a lot more calories than you actually did (see above), it’s equally easy to convince yourself that you’ve got calories to spare –  and that you couldn’t possibly overeat.

So here’s another way to look at it. How much exercise would you actually need to do to burn off that pizza, ice cream or beer?  The chart below shows how much exercise a 150 pound person would have to do in order to burn off the calories in a variety of foods – and it takes a lot more than you think.  Imagine what you could accomplish if your exercise actually burned up as many calories as you thought it did – and you didn’t refuel afterward with a double cheeseburger and fries.

Food…

  Amount…

  Calories…

  Exercise required…

Microwave popcorn   –  4 cups   –  140   –  20 minutes of biking
Average candy bar   –  1 bar   –  280   –  30 minutes of singles tennis
Chocolate fudge brownie ice cream   –  1½ cups   –  780   –  90 minutes of racquetball
Potato chips   –  15 chips   –  160   –  90 minutes of Frisbee
Meat and cheese pizza   –  2 slices   –  1000   –  2 ½ hours of ice skating
Beer   –  16 ounces   –  250   –  1 hour of water aerobics
Chocolate chip cookies   –  4 small   –  400   –  120 minutes of bowling
Mixed nuts   –  ½ cup   –  435   –  165 minutes of dusting
Macaroni and cheese   –  1 cup   –  430   –  45 minutes of stair-climbing
Double burger with fries   –  1 burger + large fries   –  1100   –  2 hours of jogging
Ranch dressing   –  2 TBSP   –  150   –  30 minutes of aerobics
Mayonnaise   –  1 TBSP   –  100   –  22 minutes of brisk walking