Breaking Bad Habits…..Eating Junk Foods (additional information)

This is a supplement to the July 2, 2014 issue of Weights and Balances.

Some interesting quotes about fast/junk foods.

We think fast food is equivalent to pornography, nutritionally speaking. ~Steve Elbert

Neuroscientist Ann Kelly says, “we have to keep in mind is that food can affect the brain in a very similar way as addictive drugs.”

“The food channel is basically just porn for your stomach.” Unknown

Is eating a steady diet of junk foods linked to other issues?

A diet made up mostly of junk foods can lead to many health issues.  Researchers have found that diets which are high in sugary, high fat, and processed foods and cause us to feel tired, unmotivated and decreased physical performance.  It takes a pattern of eating bad foods to do damage to our waistlines and health, not just an occasional binge.  Diet sodas which contain artificial sweeteners can cause gas and bloat.  White (processed) grains/products can cause constipation. Couple these white (white grains) carbs with alcohol and you are looking at being very irregular.  Foods high in fats can induce acid indigestion. These foods take longer to digest and if you eat on top of them, acid can splash back into your esophagus and create heartburn.  Sugars and starches can spike your insulin and then cause it to drop which might increase mood swings. Combining sugar and caffeine are to be avoided when your hormones are raging.  Colorings, dyes and nitrates are known to induce headaches.  Try to not eat foods that contain large amounts of the chemicals such as some hotdogs and processed meats.  If something you are about to eat has a colorations not found in nature, it would probably be best to avoid it.  Eating a diet consistent in junk food can lead to depression was found in research studies.  Foods you choose can affect your face and general appearance by inducing the aging process and causes premature wrinkles.

What problems can be caused if I eat a steady diet of junk food?

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Poor digestion
  • Blood Sugar fluctuations
  • Poor Brain Function
  • Increases the risk of heart disease (high weight)
  • Can lead to kidney disease (high sodium)
  • Can damage your liver (trans fat levels)
  • Induce type 2 Diabetes
  • Increase your risk of cancer
  • Pre-mature aging (wrinkles)
  • Increase infertility in healthy men

What are considered Junk foods?

  • Bagels, white bread, regular pastas, breakfast cereals – white grains
  • Cupcake – carb, sugar and high fat laden foods
  • Hot dogs, Bologna – nitrates look for nitrate free versions
  • French Fries – take hours to digest, high in fat, sodium, refined carbs, bad fats.
  • Sugar-Free Drinks – including the little powders you add to water.

How do I avoid junk food?

  • If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it
  • Avoid processed and packaged foods at the grocery store (inner isles)
  • Shop the outer walls/isles of the grocery store (fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, etc.)
  • Five Ingredient Rule – it something has more than five ingredients, do not buy it.
  • Gross yourself out – find out what is really in that junk food.
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Learn better coping strategies to better deal with anger/stress/anxiety etc.
  • Get outside and move
  • Chew more, eat less.
  • Use Worry Beads
  • Smell Scented Oils
  • Sip Black Tea
  • Write in your journal
  • Self-Massage- tennis ball under your foot and roll it around; place a ball on a wall and press your back against it, rolling it back and forth in between your shoulder blades


Breaking Bad—Habits: Tips for Setting Goals

This is supplemental material  for the 03/26/14 Weights and Balances Newsletter article on Breaking Bad…Habits:  Winging it! (not having goals!):

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

What are smart goals?  S is for significant or specific to me.  M is for meaningful/ measurable.  A is for action/attainable.  R is for rewarding and relevant to me.  T is for time related/track-able.  The mnemonic SMART works is a great tool for setting goals.

Tips for setting goals:

  • Write them down.  This seems to be obvious, but many do not write down their goals.
  • Make a “to do” list to obtain your goals.  These are the steps you must do to obtain your goal.  Often people forget to do this! They would like to lose 25 lbs but do not write down things they have to do to achieve this goal!
  • Each goal should be stated in a positive manner.  For example; eat more fruits and vegetables instead of don’t eat chocolate for the rest of my life.
  • Be realistic.  Goals must be achievable and not unrealistic.
  • Set goals that motivate you.  (i.e., they are very important to you!) Think about why this is important to you, write it down!
  • Make small achievable goals.  For example, I want to eat at least one piece of fruit today.  I want to walk an extra five minutes today.  etc.
  • Commit to your goals.  Understand that accomplishing all goals are not done overnight.  It takes time!
  • Be precise.  Such as, I want to lose 5 pounds this month instead of I want to lose some weight.
  • Reward yourself when you accomplish a goal appropriately. For bigger and more significant goals the bigger the rewards!
  • Be flexible.  If you find something that changes how you view your goals and you need to change them a bit, do it!
  • Set a time frame to achieve.  This one can be your best friend if you are realistic or your worst nightmare if you are unrealistic.  For example, I want to get in better shape this year vs. I want to lose 50 lbs by April of this year (it is already March!).
  • Stick with it! Don’t give up! Give yourself reminders to stay on track!  Your community, co-workers, friends and family can be great supports when you need it.
  • Track your achievements. Check off your goals as you accomplish them.
  • Make your goal public.  This does not mean you have to post it on Facebook or have it printed in the evening paper.  It might mean finding a person who is interested in your efforts and can help cheer you on as you strive to reach your goals.

Setting goals and writing down steps to achieve those goals is one of the best ways to keep focused on your weight loss journey.

Goals 27

Weights & Balances (Issue #41) – March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014

Breaking Bad —–Habits: Eating When Bored

This is a continuation of the article from the March 19th Weights and Balances Newsletter. 

Scientifically speaking, eating when bored is believed to be associated with the brain needing more “dopamine” (neuro-transmitter) to feel excited and stimulated.  Scientist believes that eating releases this neurotransmitter.  This is the same stimulus/response that will enable some to easily become addicted to drugs and alcohol.  When we are eating when bored, it appears this is our “substance of choice” to try to wake up our dopamine transmitters in our brains.  How many of us associate good feelings/good times with eating?

Why do we eat when we are not hungry?

  • It’s a special occasion, find other ways to celebrate special occasions without focusing on food
  • Avoid buffets and eating just because “it is there” Do not purchase foods which you have a difficult time eating a reasonable portion
  • Don’t start eating just because everyone else is eating!
  • Being tired can often lead to overeating; don’t eat at midnight; just go to bed!
  • Eating because it is FREE or cheap
  • Because you can’t say no
  • Because you were raised to clean your plate

What can I do to instead of eating when I get bored?

  • Keeping a food journal – write down what you are feeling before you eat, are you really hungry or thirsty, keep dates and times when you feel “driven” to eat too, rate your feeling of hunger from one to ten!
  • Meditating/Prayer
  • Breathing exercises
  • Read a good book
  • Watching a favorite movie
  • Listening to a favorite band
  • Treating yourself to a new something
  • Refrain from seeking pleasure all the time
  • Become familiar with what triggers you to eat (patterns) and set up a plan ahead of time on how to deal with it in more productive way!
  • Take a walk!
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Call a friend
  • Solve a crossword puzzle
  • Play cards or a board game
  • Write a card to someone who is sick or shut in
  • Find something to do with your hands; needlework, manicure, typing, writing, playing an instrument
  • Clean your room!
  • Do the laundry
  • Plan your next vacation
  • Organize your closet/drawers/garage
  • Chew a piece of gum
  • Write a blog
  • Volunteer in your community/church
  • Learn relaxation exercises
  • Participate in individual and/or group counseling

I think the point is do ANYTHING productive but eat when you are bored!

I have begun to try ask myself the following when I find myself driven to eat when I am not really hungry.

  • I ask myself, why do I want to eat now?
    • Am I  really hungry?
    • Am I  really thirsty?
    • Am I felling bored?
    • Am I felling angry?
    • Am I feeling upset?
    • Am I feeling lonely?
    • Am I feeling tired?
  • What do I want to eat right now?
    • Do I want something specific?
    • Do I want something salty?
    • Do I want something Sweet
  • I have found myself also asking after starting to eat something I really wanted, how much am I enjoying this?
    • Slow down, take your time
    • Rate your enjoyment  from 1-10
  • How full am I?
    • Chew thoroughly
    • Eat slowly
    • Rate your fullness from 1-10
  • Why did I eat all that?
    • Make notes and notice patterns and triggers (work, arguments, etc.)
    • Get to the bottom of why you did it (anxiety, stress, boredom, etc.)
    • Be honest with yourself!
    • Don’t beat yourself up; move on!

It is hard to face that you have some bad habits; but eating out of boredom is that.  Time to overcome!  Time to make more positive changes!  This is the first in a series on  breaking bad habits when trying to lose weight.

Hunger 3

Boredom 1

Boredom 2