Hi! Welcome to Fit, Food, and Fun Fridays! Today we’ll talk about getting rid of environmental triggers that make you gain weight.
Environmental Triggers: A common reason why people gain weight is the unconscious habits they have developed throughout their lives. Our brains are hardwired to associate certain foods with certain emotions, even if we don’t consciously realize it. Some foods, such as sugar and coffee, make us feel happy, while others, like bread and salt, make us feel unhappy. These emotions trigger our appetite and the desire to eat.
Do you sometimes feel like external events are interfering with your diet? Maybe you automatically buy a soda and popcorn at the movie theater even though you just ate dinner an hour ago.
There are many triggers that can cause us to overeat. It is essential to identify the triggers that make you want to eat, because you cannot change those that you cannot see.
Discover the environmental triggers that make you want to eat, and learn to overcome them.
Managing Social Triggers
1. Prepare for the holidays. The winter holidays are challenging for many people. Endless parties and extra cookies can pack on pounds between November and January. The holidays can be a stressful time, particularly for those who are trying to maintain their healthy eating habits. Create a plan of action before temptations arise. To help you out, it’s a good idea to choose healthy foods that will leave you feeling satisfied. Limit yourself to one dessert on Thanksgiving. Workout each day to burn off those chocolate truffles. The holidays are a perfect time to start making healthy changes. If we make good choices now, we’ll be able to enjoy the holidays more and see the weight we’ve gained melt away.
2. Refocus celebrations. Of course, there are festivities year round like birthday parties and networking events. Pay more attention to conversation so you’ll make fewer trips to the buffet. Tale your time and try to enjoy the conversations, enjoy the people, and savor the time that you spend with those that you don’t see often.
3. Pass on seconds. You probably eat more when you are around certain family and friends who encourage overeating. When we eat with others who have similar food preferences, we can very easily “eat as much as we want” without feeling guilty. This is because we are influenced by our friends’ food choices and how they eat. This is why we need to be mindful of the foods we eat. Enjoy their company while you stick to your steamed vegetables.
4. Welcome support. On the other hand, think about the neighbor you see jogging each morning or the coworker who brings in a salad for lunch. Spend more time with healthy role models so their habits will rub off on you.
Managing Food-Related Triggers
1. Engage your senses. Food is about more than flavor. Notice how sight, sound, smell, and touch also cause cravings. Decide if you really want a strawberry shortcake bar or you’re just reacting to the music playing on the ice cream truck.
2. Adjust your vocabulary. Similarly, some words can make your mouth water. If you love cinnamon, skip the buns and satisfy your taste buds by sprinkling it on plain yogurt.
3. Clear out the pantry. Junk food is easier to resist when it is out of your kitchen or at least beyond easy reach. Fill your refrigerator with fruits and vegetables instead of donuts. If you want to keep some treats around, put them out of sight on a top shelf.
4. Eat in more. Restaurants have made a science out of luring you into eating more with tantalizing menus and hearty portions. Prepare more meals at home. When you eat out, set aside half your plate to take home for another meal. Order grilled fish or whole wheat pasta in tomato sauce with fresh vegetables.
Managing Other Triggers
1. Change the channel. Break the habit of snacking in front of the TV. Aim to go for an hour without eating anything. Work your way up to watching a whole movie without food or drink. Do floor exercises during the commercials instead of heading to the refrigerator.
2. Check the weather. A piping hot cup of cocoa with sugar cookies may sound very good when it’s snowing outside. A sunny beach may make you long for a margarita and corn chips. Use healthy substitutes year round like herbal tea or popsicles made from fresh fruit.
3. Release stress. Do you drive to the nearest fast food place after a tense meeting with your boss? Next time, try relaxing with a warm bath and a novel.
4. Slow down. It’s easier to make sound decisions when you stop rushing around. Pause for a few seconds before visiting the vending machines at work. You may realize that a handful of nuts are all you need to tide you over until lunch.
5. Create new bedtime rituals. The hours before bed can be hazardous to your diet. Listening to an audio book will lull you to sleep faster than wolfing down leftover Chinese food.
Learn to eat when you’re hungry instead of mindlessly grabbing a bowl of chips because a TV commercial shows a famous athlete munching on them. Tune out environmental triggers and listen to your body. You’ll eat less and enjoy your food more.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because the overweight and obesity epidemic is at an all-time high! We are a fat society and it’s killing us prematurely. Not only do I truly believe that you have the power to lose weight to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of obesity so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use functional medicine and lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some of your chronic diseases. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?
If you’re like most people, you might think that dietary supplements are a quick and easy way to lose weight. But the truth is, there’s no magic pill when it comes to weight loss. Supplements can help you lose weight by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly, but they won’t work unless you make lifestyle changes as well.
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.
If you suspect that you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, consider shifting your focus from supplements to eating better.
But it is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.
Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.
Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.
So… if you are unable to eat better, the supplements in my Body Composition/Weight Loss Protocol may provide the extra boost you need.
These are my favorite Weight Loss Supplements to use! This Body Composition/Weight Management Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency while you lose weight, naturally.
For best results make sure you use my weight loss supplements with dietary changes including a whole food plant-based diet, regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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