Health and the Mind-Body Connection

mind-body-dieting“Your body, which is bonding millions of molecules every second, depends on transformation. Breathing and digestion harness transformation. Food and air aren’t just shuffled about but, rather, undergo the exact chemical bonding needed to keep you alive. The sugar extracted from an orange travels to the brain and fuels a thought. The emergent property in this case is the newness of the thought; no molecules in the history of the universe ever combined to produce that exact thought.”

Deepak Chopra, The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life

Do you, like many others, believe the biggest roadblock to being fit directly correlates to calorie intake? Not true! A healthy, successful weight loss plan includes getting the right information AND knowing how to incorporate it into a plan that works for YOU!

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It can be downright discouraging when those last few pounds won’t budge despite your best efforts — monitoring caloric intake and carbohydrates (“good” versus “bad” carbs) as well as diligently combining high intensity interval cardio with strength training. You’re working hard, embracing and integrating small (yet significant) changes in order to attain and maintain a healthy lifestyle…so WHY do those pounds desperately cling to you for dear life?

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In working with clients over the past several years, I identified the following 6 faulty mindsets that foil weight loss success:

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apple11. Diets don’t work! Accept it!


Every year, you try to eat less but, ultimately, gain more weight. You are irritable, tired and hungry all the time. Yes, some of this can be attributed to the biology of aging, but much is directly associated to damage done to your metabolism (and hormones) after years of yo-yo/fad dieting. Unfortunately, there’s no miracle pill or plan for effortless weight loss. Even bariatric surgery is not the panacea is portends to be. Billions of dollars are spent on fad diets, weight loss “cures” and exercise equipment every year. People diligently diet/exercise for a few weeks and do lose weight. But, all too soon, the dieting and exercise regimen falls by the wayside because it is not sustainable. The dietary changes are too radical and the “exercise activity of choice” is not something they truly enjoy, thus it becomes another chore instead of a pleasurable activity. The pounds lost quickly return, plus a few more for good measure, and they are at negative square one.

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Eric Braverman, MD, author of Younger (Thinner) You Diet states, “It’s really important to know why women eat like birds and look like elephants as they get older. They develop this horrific situation in which they eat 1,000 calories and gain weight…the metabolic starvation that these girls are doing [leads to] the destruction of their health.”

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Instead of approaching food with a deprivation mindset, consider feasible, small changes you can make and maintain throughout your life. Up-level your food choices a little at a time. Eat an apple instead of drinking apple juice. Increase your intake of filling foods such as protein (meat/poultry/fish/pork/beans/tofu/nuts), good fats and lots of fresh or frozen vegetables.

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2. Focus on fitness — NOT thinness! sit up2

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Let’s face it. Our culture is OBSESSED with body image and ultra-thin celebrities are considered trendsetters. It’s hard to remember that our health and well-being are not connected to our pant size. Fitness ≠ clothing size (click to tweet).

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I get very concerned when I hear someone declare, “I hate my body!” The first step in achieving overall wellness is to love and appreciate our body, as it is, before nurturing and caring for oneself can begin. We must see our body as a wonderful, miraculous thing that has carried us this far, has birthed babies and kept going, despite the crazy things we may have done to it. Once we begin to care for, nurture and heal the relationship with our bodies, they will begin to care for and nurture us. A shift in thought process from losing weight to developing strength (body/mind/spirit) can make a huge difference (click to tweet)! Aspire to be the ideal YOU, as you are right now! Leave behind toxic thoughts, longings for what you were, wishing for a return of that “high school figure” and focus on the uniquely beautiful you of the present!

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mushrooms33. Let food be your friend!

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Losing weight does not mean eating bland, flavorless food. It definitely should not entail feeling hungry all the time. Food is nourishment and is a vital part of loving and nurturing your body. Consider incorporating whole food into your meals. Whole food is food that comes from a farm, not a factory. Use your favorite recipes, but begin to craft them in a new way by adding more vegetables. If you like mashed potatoes (and, really, who doesn’t), go ahead…make mashed potatoes! Instead of using only potatoes, add steamed cauliflower and mash together with the potatoes. Puree zucchini squash and add it to spaghetti sauce. You can also add sliced mushrooms to spaghetti sauce and use less ground meat. In essence, easy tips like these make food denser (more filling & healthy) and keep calories low. Our stomachs respond to food volume and our brain responds to both volume and fats in food, so adding more vegetables and eating meals on smaller plates satisfies our stomachs and brains (smaller plates visually “trick” the mind). It really does work! Don’t forget to eat slowly, savor each bite and chew thoroughly. Finally, give thanks to the food…after all, it ended its life cycle to nourish our bodies!

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shoes44. Start small and build slowly!

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When tackling weight loss, one of the biggest mistakes made is taking the process to extremes. Be mindful of where you are. Acknowledge and respect your limits. With this in mind, start small and build slowly. The most difficult obstacle is simply starting the process of change. I’ve actually been forced to psychologically “wrestle” with clients just to get them to communicate to me and adhere to a regular exercise routine. Schedule time to exercise in the same way you schedule meetings/appointments. When it’s time, put on those sneakers and GO! To get started, walk, jump, stretch or do yoga for five minutes and then stop. The next day, try extending the time a few minutes and continue to do so each day thereafter.  Before long, thoughts of “if” we will exercise are replaced with “how long and with how much intensity” will we exercise.  In other words, exercising each day becomes a habit. Once the habit is established, it is easier to build on it.

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stretch55. Concentrate on commitment rather than intensity!

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Habit becomes commitment. I can’t remember where I heard the following quote, but it is a bit of wisdom I believe to be absolutely true: “People who don’t make time for exercise now will make time for illness later.” (click to tweet)

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Logging endless hours at the gym isn’t essential in the journey to wellness, but committing to an exercise regimen IS essential. Time scheduled, daily, to exercise is an important meeting for ourselves and is every bit as important as meeting with valued clients or employers. I work with clients to find an anchor that holds a profound personal meaning and supports their commitment to exercise. I’ve lost many loved ones to preventable illnesses. These tragedies could have been averted had my loved ones valued their health and wellness as much as other aspects of their lives. I made a “spiritual deal” with those I lost. I committed to exercise for them to honor their memories. In turn, they must be present, in spirit, for me each morning and push me through the intense exercise regimen. How can I not show up and honor my grandmother, mother, father, nephew, older brother and younger brother? I feel them with me, each day, cheering me on! When I am unable to exercise, due to travel or some unavoidable obstacle, there is a palpable void in my day. I urge you to find a personal anchor that will guide and accompany you along the journey to a thriving, healthy life. Please feel free to learn more about this particular topic during one of my full day retreats or as part of my HEALTHY Virtual Training Program in the “Mindset” section.

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scale66. Stop obsessing about your weight!

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The fastest road to misery is paved with obsessing about dieting and weight loss. This type of obsession is not only toxic to self-esteem but will sabotage weight-loss efforts. Fluctuations of several pounds from day to day are normal. You can weigh, but don’t live and die by the scale! When exercising correctly and regularly, fat is burned. Don’t forget, exercise builds muscle mass which weighs more than fat. A better tracking strategy is to take a picture, every week, wearing a swimsuit or take weekly body measurements. Quite quickly, the formation of muscles will be noticeable and you can begin cherishing those fabulous muscles instead of hating the fat. Actually, appreciate the fat too because it is the fuel burned to produce energy rather than the body relying on a constant supply of glucose.

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Don’t allow these 6 faulty mindsets to create potholes in the road to a healthy, thriving and uniquely wonderful YOU!

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Thanks for taking time to read and consider this information. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts, reflections and experiences. And, please, feel free to share this with friends and family! With much gratitude…
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Christine Alejandro

 

 

About Christine

Christine works with people who are tired of not feeling their best, who are ready for a change and want to achieve optimal health. Christine uses the unique combination of being a psychotherapist and a nutritionist to bring health and wellness into her clients' lives holistically. She utilizes the principles of The Vital Health Formula™, modern assessment techniques, and the latest research from science, spirituality and psychology to create breakthrough systems that result in her clients' success.

9 thoughts on “Health and the Mind-Body Connection

  1. I was so excited when I FINALLY developed hips (in my late 20’s) and I was even more excited when I got just a bit curvy.

    I LOVE backpacking. LOVE it. And I’m working on an exercise plan not to lose weight (again, loving my hips and butt and softness) but I want to make sure I’m strong and flexible to feed my desire to go trekking up a mountain with a 35 pound pack.

    Excellent advice!
    Kimberly Eldredge recently posted…5 Writing Goals for 2014My Profile

    • Kimberly: It is so refreshing to hear women speaking proudly of their bodies, embracing their uniqueness & thoroughly enjoying activities that not only provide health benefits but also support mindfulness! Backpacking is a wonderful way to get moving and celebrate nature. Any plans to scale Mt. Everest???!! 😉 If anyone can do it, you can! Thanks for stopping by & sharing your positive words with us!

  2. Yes! My favorite quote from your post is “The first step in achieving overall wellness is to love and appreciate our body, as it is, before nurturing and caring for oneself can begin.”

    A number of years ago I was facing a pretty extreme health crisis. My weight had skyrocketed to 230 and I covered the mirrors in the house. The #1 thing I had to do before I could get well was love me — all of me — no matter what.

    I have a practice now that I do every morning. As I get up and go to our bathroom (I used to avoid the mirror) I look directly at my reflection and say “Good morning. I love you. May your day be blessed and full of joy.” I can’t help but smile when I do that.

    The way I live now is very different from back then. I enjoy reading your posts because it reinforces what I’m doing now.
    Stephanie LH Calahan (@StephCalahan) recently posted…Get Your Message Out Farther by Getting Rid of Your Visibility BlocksMy Profile

    • Oh Stephanie, what a wonderful way to begin the day! Thank you for sharing such a lovely practice with us! I’m so very glad you enjoy my posts, but I’m even more excited about your transformation. Keep doing what you’re doing & keep loving yourself! Blessings to you!

  3. Christine, I’ve been putting a couple of these ideas into effect. I use a small plate and also a smaller fork (like a dessert fork). It’s much harder to take a big bite of brown rice with that fork, so you slow down when you eat, whether you like it or not. And it’s true; that small plate creates the feeling that you’re done when it’s empty.

    I also started using exercise videos that have 10 minute workouts. Once I start, I usually end up doing more than 10 minutes (I also go to the gym 2-3 times a week). But anyway, the 10 minute workout routine convinces me that I can stand anything for 10 minutes, so I get started. Getting started is the big hump.

    Thank you for putting all of these tips together into a meaningful package!
    Gina Hiatt recently posted…Ready to Run Online Get-it-Done Coaching Groups? Take this Self AssessmentMy Profile

    • Way to go, Gina! I like the dessert fork tip…works perfectly in conjunction with the smaller plate. Thanks for sharing that great tip! It sounds like your exercise regime is working perfectly for you. 10 minute workouts are a wonderful way to easily integrate exercise into your day & videos allow you to workout no matter the weather! I truly appreciate you stopping by & sharing your experiences with us. Keep going!

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