New Year New Healthy Lifestyle

New Year New Healthy Lifestyle

We all know how important it is to eat healthy and exercise.  This is not a diet, so I’ll spare you.  I will say this, we would feel a lot better in all realms if we ate cleaner, less processed foods and got enough exercise.  People have gotten so overweight in America that they supersize portions, make plates bigger and even changed the size of clothing. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I know they made size small and extra small.   Dieting is a multi- billion dollar industry.  It’s insane.  We don’t walk to school and live on farms. We drive cars and stare at computers all day.  Or hard laborers get physical exercise but are so stressed and tired that they drink too much alcohol and eat fast food.  Again there’s that balance thing.  So right now, ask yourself what your fitness goals are?  Are you eating as clean as you can, exercising enough, sleeping enough?  My bet is there is always room for improvement, but not perfection. Forget about that word, it doesn’t exist for humans.

Health:  Diet and exercise:  Eat clean or earthy, and follow these two rules: it if comes from the earth or had a mother, go for it.  If not read the label, are you ok putting those ingredients in your body?  The FDA says artificial sweeteners are safe as well as MSG. Yet there are many researchers saying it’s not good for us.  It doesn’t take a researcher or scientist to know that chemicals are probably not good for the body. Did you know there are over 35 different names for MSG. It is unclear often if that name is MSG or not, making it more confusing.  If you can’t read and understand each ingredient, then it probably doesn’t fall under my two rules. If you decide to eat something you know is bad for you, then make it up to yourself later.  Don’t punish yourself; just do something more that’s good for yourself.  Basically overcompensate.  The reality is that unless you’re growing your own food, you’ll never know for sure what you’re consuming. So don’t get obsessed about this, just make more educated decisions.  Not only is knowledge power, it is also healing. .  Look at all the fad diets out there and some of the better ones, one thing they all have in common is low caloric intake.  So you can cut out an essential food group like carbohydrates to rapidly lose weight you’ll just regain, or eat more healthy foods within a certain calorie range to either lose or maintain your current weight.  People also regain it, forgetting that one’s calories requirements are lower when weight is lost.  Keep counting your calories knowing after you stop dieting that you will only be adding 300-500 calories, if you are dieting in a healthy manner.

Exercise:  Get off your ass and do something. Take a 10 minute walk, do qigong or tai chi for 15 minutes during a lunch break.  Change your schedule to make time for fitness. If you hate what you’re doing you won’t do it.  It doesn’t have to be painful.  The idea is calories in calories out.  That’s it. Simple concept, hell to accomplish due to the expectations we place on ourselves and the way we torture ourselves.  They say you should take 10,000 steps per day.  That’s hard to do if you have a desk job or aren’t walking on a treadmill.  You can get equivalent steps per activity from different websites.  For instance, an hour of pilates equals 6,000 steps.  Pretty cool huh? An hour of P90X is probably double that, haven’t looked those up.  It helps to wear a pedometer to see what you are already doing.  It will also motivate you to take more steps.  Don’t forget about the tried and true methods that do work, such as parking your car further from the store, taking the stairs etc.  I’m a psychologist; I have to make an effort to move around more. I work out every day for an hour or more, but I still need to move more. So I intentionally walk patients out to the door, go back to my office, write my note, then bring the chart back to be filed when I’m finished.  I have seen all of my colleagues keep their charts until the end of the day.  So the point is to get creative in ways to add in more movement.  Don’t try the “I don’t have time” crap. You have to make time.  Cut into your lunch break.  If you’re not taking a lunch break then start with taking one and sticking to it, then add in some exercise. Remember baby steps, one change at a time.  We’re creatures of habit and resist change despite how strongly we desire it.

About emotional eating:  Many people eat when lonely, bored, depressed, anxious or angry.  They have problems recognizing when they feel this way making it impossible to express it in a healthy manner.  So until you better identify your thoughts and feelings about food and the issues you are avoiding by over or under eating, there are some things to focus on.  One is count your calories.  You have to learn when you are really full and society oversizing plates and portions of food have confused you and your body has a hard time letting you know when you are full.  So measure your food so you learn what healthy portions look like and count your calories.  Many phones have applications that make it easy.  The internet has sites as well that are free. You can also write it down. Doing this empowers you to have more control over your food and increase awareness of your eating habits.  The next step is to begin journaling.  Remember, these are things you can do now, but if your issues with food are so severe that you have an eating disorder, you will need professional help. So be easy on yourself here.  Also a word of caution about processed foods.  There is some controversy about whether or not many binge eaters are food addicts.  Maybe they are, maybe not.  What I do think is that it is an addictive process.  You see the chemicals in food change out neurotransmitters in a similar way that illicit drugs do, leaving us feeling temporarily euphoric after eating certain things.  This is why we can’t eat just one chip or that other triangle product with five types of MSG in it. These foods also aren’t filling, so in order to feel satisfied we have to eat more of them.  So when thinking about what you are going to buy at the grocery store ( if it’s not in the house you can’t eat it) ask yourself would this be filling and does it have nutritional value.  If there is no protein, carbohydrates, fiber etc. then it is empty calories, and useless calories can cause you guilt, self loathing and weight gain.  Sounds like an addictive process to me.

If you reside in the Tampa FL area and want to be liberated from your weight issues, please contact me.


Dr. Umfer is a licensed clinical psychologist and forensic psychologist in Tampa Florida. She specializes in weight loss and forensic evaluations, such as sex offender risk assessments, psychological evaluations for substance abuse, competency, fitness for duty, immigration etc. She has certifications in fitness and nutrition, clinical hypnotherapy and as a meditation instructor. She identifies herself as a Forensic Evaluator and Weight Liberator and strives to help clients become "Umferized" aka empowered and fulfilled.

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