The Thanks-Giving Diet

The Thanks-Giving Diet

As we enter the autumn season and the holidays approach, those of us who are conscious of our waist lines realize the delicious dangers that await, and may even start to plan our New Year’s resolution to shed the holiday pounds.  However, for many people, the weight we gain on our minds rather than our mid-sections is of much greater concern.  Family stress, financial difficulty, and seasonal depression can make this time of the year especially difficult.

One possible way to combat this “emotional obesity” is to go on a mental diet and feed yourself with positive thoughts and emotions.  A very powerful emotion is that of gratitude.  While it may sound naive or idealistic to be “thankful for what you have,” being thankful and appreciative of the good, satisfying things in your life can improve your overall health.  Your focus shifts from problems and shortcomings, thereby relieving stress.  It is a well established medical fact that increased negative stress can lead to mental, emotional, and physical difficulties or illness, so any reduction in such stress can be beneficial.

Here are a few tips to cultivate that “attitude of gratitude” in your daily life:

Adjust unreasonable expectations.  A good deal of stress comes from people and circumstances not fulfilling our expectations.  While it is good to have standards, having unreasonable or impossible standards only will set you up for disappointment.  By setting reasonable goals, you will have plenty of opportunities to be thankful.

Choose to be thankful.  Whether we like it or not, gratitude is a choice.  There is an old axiom which states that while we cannot control our circumstances, we can control our response to circumstances.  When faced with a difficulty, we can choose to sink ourselves into bitterness and frustration, our we can choose to shift our focus to the positive aspects of the situation or other areas of our lives.  Decide today to no longer let circumstances dictate how you react.

Appreciate the little things.  Too often we take for granted those daily blessings.  Whether it is a nice home, delicious meal, steady employment, or loving family, it is easy to forget to appreciate such things.  We encounter these things every day, and so every day we have one or more chances to be thankful.  Try to build up a habit of showing gratitude for ALL that you have, not just the big stuff.

Slay the green-eyed monster.  It is tough to be thankful for what we have when all we can think about is what others have.  Envy and jealousy for the personal or material success of others impairs our vision to the point where we cannot see all the good around us.  Too much time is spent worrying about what we think we should have or what we believe we deserve, when we can instead be grateful for what we actually do have.

The power of gratitude lies in its ability to free you from oppressive thoughts and actions.  When you are grateful for what you have or receive, your focus shifts and you are immediately free of disappointment, envy, and frustration.  You will obtain a sense of fulfillment because you have something that gives your life value and meaning.  Such positive feelings not only generate a wonderful outlook, they also cause a reduction in stress that can lead to better overall health and well-being.  By loading up on a daily thanks-giving meal, you can be healthier in body and mind!

Challenge Step

Start a gratitude journal!  Every day for the next 30 days, write down three things that you are thankful or grateful for.  Try to write three different ones every day.  Then, at the end of the 30 days, review your journal so you can fully appreciate all that you have in life!

Trapped by Food Cravings?

Trapped by Food Cravings?

Feeling Trapped by Food Cravings? Get the Facts and Break Free

You’re stuck with no escape. You feel powerless to fight back and can’t imagine a way out. Sound like a bad dream? It might be if you feel trapped by food cravings every day. But you don’t have to be a prisoner in your own body. Get the facts and learn more about managing your food cravings.

Carbs Are Often Misused as Coping Methods

Carbohydrate consumption increases the release of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is involved with body regulation activities like falling asleep, pain management, and controlling moods according to this article from Medical News Today. Imagine the last time you felt really frightened or stressed out. Did you feel some pain, have trouble sleeping, and have a lot of emotions to deal with? Most likely you did. It’s easy to see how a person can get caught up in a cycle of eating to feel better. That’s literally the chemical process that’s taking place in your brain.

A little emotional eating once in a great while is a fairly common human experience. But if eating is your main method of dealing with emotional upset, then food cravings can trap you in a destructive pattern. Get familiar with a few healthy methods of handling stress, pain, and sleep problems. Try taking a quick walk, doing a little deep breathing, or listening to a little bit of your favorite music. Once you separate those activities from food, you’ll find that your cravings aren’t overpowering anymore.

Food Cravings Don’t Happen in a Vacuum

Do you know what makes you crave certain foods more often? Do you crave the same kinds of food at the same time every day? If you use a food diary, you’ll know the answers to these questions. Food diaries can help you understand what’s happen when you eat and all the times you’re thinking about eating.

You may or may not be surprised to learn the most common circumstances around your strongest cravings. Awareness gives you power to decide how to handle a craving before it happens. When you can see the triggers setting up, you can be proactive about managing them instead of always trying to fight them off.

Forbidden Foods Are the Most Irresistible

What happens when you try your hardest NOT to think about a piece of chocolate? It’s the first thing to pop into your mind. And if you’ve been told you can’t have it at all? Even worse. If you have a food intolerance or great difficulty controlling your eating behaviors, you have no choice but to stay away from certain foods. But if you can manage a small indulgence now and then, it’s less of a struggle to answer some cravings now and then.

If you love chocolate and always seem to have a craving at the same time of da, try chocolate covered soy nuts. The chocolate layer is fairly thin and soy nuts are great for you. Want something salty? Try about 6-7 reduced-sodium whole grain crackers. Salt is an acquired taste, and after a while the reduced level of sodium will seem normal to your taste buds. For even better management, use a small cup with proportions clearly measured. Or make sure you have to ask your coworker for your one Hershey’s kiss instead of having them at your desk at work.

Learn More, Manage Food Cravings Better

When you understand your food cravings, it’s easier to live with them. You can respond in creative ways that balance enjoyment and good health. While it may seem like an uphill battle at first, you can make realistic changes over time. In the end, you can break free from the power of food cravings.



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