Tag Archives: weight loss

Rethinking How You Think About Eating


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How many times a day do you hear “I should…” statements run through your head? Everyone always wants to tell us what we “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing in literally every area of our life. 

Our moms, our relatives, our friends, our co-workers, complete strangers, our health-care providers, the media… 

What we should do with our life, what we should weigh, what we should eat, how we should raise our kids, how we should look, who we should be, what we should know, how we should take care of ourselves, what skills we should have, how we should age, how we should dress, how we should do our hair or our make-up, what things we should care about in life, how we should have sex or “please our men”, how we should decorate our house, what we should read, what we should think, how we should act… 

We get programmed by outside influences to believe all these things we “should” be doing and then we obsessively remunerate over them — usually while flogging ourselves because we haven’t or don’t.

There’s literally a “women should” piece of advice for EVERY single aspect of our lives, they usually differ depending on who you talk to and we often we tend to carry way too many of them with us every day, as though constantly reminding ourselves is going to make us do them. 

Then, we judge ourselves accordingly based on how we think we’re measuring up – or not. Usually not.

And we wonder why we walk around with guilt, shame, anxiety, depression & obsessed with food every day? 

Should statements” are all of those things you’re telling yourself you “should” be doing every day — but don’t. 

They’re one of many cognitive distortions (or negative thinking patterns) that contribute to stress, fear, worry, guilt and shame. 

“I should be eating better and losing weight and I can’t ever stop reminding myself of that every single day until I die — because then I’ll never do it.” “Ugh, the house is such a mess, I should be cleaning it. What’s wrong with me? Why I can’t I just make myself get up and clean the stupid bathroom?”

“I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t spent enough time with the kids. I should be doing more with them. I’m the worst mother.”

The next time you hear an “I should” thought run through your head or statement come out of your mouth, stop. 

Notice what happens next. How do you feel about yourself in those moments? Empowered, happy and good? Or hopeless, helpless and bad? 

And do you immediately follow that statement and those feelings by doing that thing you’re telling yourself you “should” be doing? Or not? See, the reason they’re problematic is they almost never result in more positive choices or the outcomes we want. 

Rather, they make us feel badly about ourselves and often more hopeless about actually being able to do that thing we’re telling ourselves we “should” be doing.

“I should be eating that…” usually results in NOT eating that thing because we start thinking, “why can’t I have more self-control with food? I know what I’m supposed to be eating, why can’t I have some willpower and do that?”which reinforces feelings of being helpless to our circumstances and our choices not being within our control.

“I should be exercising more…” usually results in NOT exercising more because we follow it with, “but I’m just so lazy. If only I had more motivation.” which again, reinforces feelings of the choice being out of our control and makes us feel hopeless about changing it. We “should” be… but we’re just too lazy, we believe. So we carry around this belief that we’re unworthy or that we’re destroying our health because we’re too lazy to do the exercise everyone tells we “should” be to be healthy, or hot or skinnier or stronger or whatever.

And should statements aren’t limited to just what we eat and our exercise habits. We use them for everything – our parenting: “I should have more patience with my kids”,our homes: “I should be a better housekeeper”, our relationships: “I should be a better wife, mother, daughter, sibling, friend”… etc. Should statements are just one of many cognitive distortions that contribute to depression, anxiety, panic and can even keep us stuck in the weight & food battle. 

And cognitive distortions often don’t act alone. Should statements, all or nothing thinking, and labeling/mislabeling can, and usually do pile on top of each other in one nasty thought bubble whenever we “fall off the wagon”. 

“I should be eating salad but I really want pizza. Screw it, I may as well just have the pizza. I always just end up screwing up eventually anyway.” which then leads to “I may as well have a beer with it, and some chips and ice cream for dessert since I already ruined today. I’ll just start over tomorrow.” which then leads to “God, I’m such a pathetic screw up. I always do this. What’s wrong with me?”

That’s a should statement, all or nothing thinking, and labeling/mislabeling – a common threesome of cognitive distortions that often results in overeating (or in some cases a full-on binge) in people who struggle with weight & food all because they just wanted a piece of pizza.

Cognitive restructuring is a helpful cognitive-behavioral technique that I’ve incorporated in The Cognitive Eating Academy. It’s designed to help you overcome should statements and other cognitive distortions that keep you stuck in these faulty and self-destructive ways of thinking – and as a result, behaving.

The day I gave up should’ing myself to death was one of the best days ever. Now, when I hear myself thinking or saying, “I should…” before something, I next ask myself, “says who? Who says I should be doing that? What do I WANT? What does MY body need? What’s best for me? What do I need most right now?”

Rather than making ourselves miserable by trying to live up to what everyone else determines we “should” be doing, this switch gives us our power back. It gives us the power to start learning what makes us happy, what’s best for our own mental, emotional and physical health – and how to follow our own hearts, minds, bodies and dreams. And if you need it, I created The Cognitive Eating to help.

Roni Davis

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Are Your Thoughts Creating Your Results?
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There are many reasons that people struggle with their weight and food for their entire lives – their thoughts are right up there among the biggest. 

I have seen this scenario play out a million times in people everywhere — hell, I lived it.

Our thoughts are creating our results. 

You look in the mirror in disgust. That prompts the thought, ‘I’m disgusting’. That thought creates a corresponding feeling of inadequacy (or even hatred) for not having “willpower” or for being so “lazy” or for not being able to “stay on track”.What kind of choices do we make for things we hate? NOT good ones. NOT choices that are in our best interest. So, those feelings create negative actions towards the objection (in this case the thing we see: our body). We slam it with insults, berate it, punish it with either more restriction or go in the other direction and binge on stuff that makes us feel like crap – and we give up on it (and ourselves) until the next time we get motivated to try again when the same old cycle just keeps repeating itself. 

Or we see the scale go up a pound and think, “I’m such a screw up, I’ll never lose this weight.” That thought makes us feel terrible and makes us either try to restrict further (which almost always ends in overeating) or giving up and eating everything the rest of the day.

The result we’re getting on the outside with our bodies is merely the result of the actions we’re taking because of the thoughts and feeling going on IN us. Our body didn’t decide to starve itself because the scale went up 2lbs and our body didn’t decide to punish itself by chasing a half gallon of ice cream with a bag of potato chips and two glasses of wine because we had a crappy day and are feeling bad about ourselves.

And our hearts are so tired from fighting the same war it’s just looking for ways to numb itself.

That’s why we keep getting the same result. There’s not a single diet on the entire planet that can fix any of that. They just make it worse.

Notice the contrast in this second graphic below…

If we work on switching the thoughts, we can switch how everything turns out.

Positive thoughts create positive feelings. And how do you treat something you have positive feelings about? You treat it with kindness, and care.

Actions based on kindness and care create, you guessed it… some pretty awesomely positive results. ?

Ending the war with food and our bodies, actually trusting ourselves, being mindful and present in our bodies, listening to them and honoring their needs changes literally everything.

And it starts with taming your inner critic, changing your brain and your thoughts—not another diet.

Your brain controls everything so change that and absolutely everything changes.

Can you relate to any of the thoughts I discussed and want help changing them? Check out the two new mindfulness based cognitive behavioral courses available and see which one fits you best. 

Roni Davis for Stone’s Pharmasave, Baddeck, NS

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Why do so many people struggle with weight loss or eating healthier? Guest Post by Roni Davis

What I used to think:There’s so much wrong information out there, most people just don’t know what they’re supposed to be eating and when. I have found the clean eating answer that everyone needs!

What I now know:Knowing what we’re “supposed to” be eating is soo NOT the problem. There are literally billions of pieces of nutrition and healthy eating content in the world and hundreds of thousands of people sharing their recipes and magic secrets about what they believe is the healthiest way to eat (and have you noticed, they all contradict each other?) – but most people still just aren’t doing it with much consistency.

Lack of information is not the problem. 

How many times have you “started over” vowing to “be good this time” only to end up “screwing up again” and keep saying to yourself, “Why am I so stupid? Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep screwing up?”

You have all the information you need. Even if someone has literally told you exactly what to eat, how much and when to eat it …but you’re not doing it. Why?

What is the problem? What’s driving the consistent self-sabotaging behaviors? 

Disconnection from the wisdom of our own bodies, habits that have been hard-wired into our brains and the relationship with have with ourselves and food.

Those are the reasons behind why we eat the things we eat, the way we eat. Those are the things driving our choices. You can start a new miracle diet with different food rules every single day from now until the end of time but if you just don’t care enough about yourself to change, or if you’re using food to punish yourself or to numb emotions or to try to control everything around you, nothing is ever going to change about the way you eat because you’re not changing the WHY, you’re not changing the subconscious driving forces behind your choices.

One more time to let that sink in: KNOWING what we’re “supposed to” be eating isn’t the problem – the subconscious driving forces behind our choices is the problem.

That’s the key we keep missing.

Changing hard-wired habits and the relationship we have with ourselves and food, is the key to changing the way we eat.

Dig into your own whys with Mindful Movement or Cognitive Eating, two new programs available through Stone’s.

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The Weight Loss Pendulum Swings Towards Carbs Bad, Fat Not So Bad : But before you go eating a stick of butter…
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In the last year we have seen a change in what we are eating that is making us unhealthy.  It turns out that after 40 years of being told that eating fat made us fat and we should avoid it as much as possible, there has been an awareness that we have been becoming more obese over that time even though there seems to be a reduction in the amount of fat we consume.  Studies began to come out that seemed to show that this fat in the diet had nothing to do with heart disease.  Although some of these studies appeared to be long-term in nature, the development of heart disease was argued to be longer in its development.  In fact it is now considered possible that a heart attack at 54 years of age can have its genesis when you are in your teens.

So this has led to a growing and popular change in recommendations that increasing fat over carbs in the diet may be the answer to preventing obesity.  Granted, we still realize that trans fat are a mistake in any amount, just now we are told that saturated fat is really not the culprit in making us fat we were led to believe.  Overnight we were switching out margarine for butter, meat, whole milk and eggs.  In my pharmacy this was taken as meaning the more butter the better by a fair number of patients.

But are we communicating the complete truth to everyone with this?  In truth there really is a difference between saturated and polyunsaturated fats.  It has been shown that these two fats result in a completely different response in the body.  Regardless of the size or type of scientific study, we always have two strong sciences to fall back on for our foundation: biochemistry and nutrition.  If we are unclear as to how one dietary study does not mesh with the last one we can at least take a step back and see how the results are caught by the net of these two fields to try and make sense of them.

The study I refer to is a February 18, 2014 double blind study in the Journal Diabetes entitled, Overfeeding Polyunsaturated and Saturated Fat Causes Distinct Effects on Liver and Visceral Fat Accumulation in Humans, showed us that feeding Polyunsaturated Fat does indeed lead to actual muscle growth, the opposite of what we would have thought in the last 40 years.  Feeding saturated fat has the effect of increased visceral fat and liver fat, the type of fat I call the grim reaper because it is so metabolically active in producing inflammatory mediators more than any other fat in the body not to mention elevating immune system response to that area. There is an interesting paper on this from ISRN Inflammation here .  The subjects were broken up into these two groups of saturated and polyunsaturated fat consumption and both groups did gain weight, it’s just that the weight gained by the saturated fat intake group was actual visceral and liver fat and the polyunsaturated fat intake group gained weight as muscle instead.  There is much more to this study including differing genetic responses between the two fats here .

It is interesting to note here that fat creates inflammatory mediators that create more fat and that these mediators created as a result of other types of inflammation also create more fat in the body.   In other words, inflammation causes fat, fat causes inflammation so fat really creates an environment that feeds itself .  This means that once fat takes hold in the visceral tissue in a seemingly healthy individual from inflammatory reasons (ie a person that appears to be of normal body weight on first glance but with a body composition analyzer is much more than 20-25% body fat) it makes it more difficult for that person to lose weight when they physically see they need to lose weight (and at that point they are at 35% or more body fat).  This person is definitely working uphill to lose weight, especially if the existing inflammation is still present.

The reasons for this initial inflammation are a source of great debate in the medical community.  It could be an inflamed Achilles tendon, arthritis, dietary intake, or whatever.  In fact the incidence of obesity in rheumatoid arthritis patients is positively correlated leading to a theory that this inflammation can lead to autoimmune.

But getting back to the main topic at hand, keep in mind that just because we now realize that increased carbs, particularly increased refined carbs in our diet can lead to obesity and that it isn’t necessarily ALL about the fat intake in our diet making us obese; this is not a free ticket to throwing ½ a stick of butter into your popcorn and getting healthy from it.  Whoa there big fella.  Can’t we just go back to our knowledge of biochemistry and nutrition and remind ourselves that when we deviate from the word “moderation” and “physically active” and we try to tie in long term health benefits with a huge change from what we know to work, no processed food, low sugar and refined carbs and moving (every day) it becomes less complicated.  Hopefully Canada’s Food Guide will improve its recommendations to give Canadians a better list of how we should eat (separating fruits and veggies, completely eliminating trans fat, not making milk mandatory).  Combining this with regular exercise to reduce inflammation seems to be the common denominator we keep trying to re-invent , and it seems to be over and over again .

Keep in mind that fat carries with it a large number of calories.  The danger is switching to a diet that is a higher percentage of fat and lower in carbs than it used to be without discriminating what type of fat you are eating.

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Physical weight loss without Psychology is a losing plan
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imageIf you are timid about wading into the weight loss realm, either as a practitioner or as a user, there may be many reasons for that.  One of the biggest may not be cost, confidence or will power, it may be the stigma of either paying someone for your weight loss or charging someone for your weight loss.  There is a permanent black eye we have permanently imposed on both.  Clearly it is a lose/lose situation.  Either you have gouged someone for something they could have clearly done on their own with simple diet and exercise, or you have been ripped off by a snake oil salesman looking for a quick buck by a vulnerable audience with low self esteem that have come to the conclusion that they are worthless and in need to be capitalized on.

Well first of all, to all of you lifelong healthy weights who have little idea of the psychological reasons for weight loss and weight gain, if the simple, “go away and eat right and exercise” bit worked we would all look the same with such a simple set of directions.  I have worked as a pharmacist in the same community for 22 years and have seen many people residing at the same BMI for the entire time and would still be there were it not for my intervention.  I would see a typical customer and fill the same oral type 2 diabetic medication along with their high blood pressure medication for the entire time.  Is this what we expect of our pharmacists.  Who commits the bigger crime here?  A pharmacist who quietly collects a dispensing fee forever without actively trying to reduce a patient’s weight or a pharmacist who takes the bull by the horns and aggressively works towards lowering a patient’s weight with careful body composition monitoring and nutrient intake for a fee for 6-12 months?  The former is often left alone when in fact they are enabling the patient.  The latter is left open to criticism even though they make the patient the hero in their weight loss and reduce overall healthcare costs.

Granted there are a lot of unhealthy weight loss programs out there.  Ask your health care professional which one is a fit for you.

Anyone who looks at an overweight person as someone who is too lazy to try the correct eating and exercise route is completely blind to psychology.  Have you been watching the Montreal/Tampa Bay series lately?  A sure finish in the series by Tampa Bay began to fall apart because of a too confident feeling for Tampa Bay combined with a desperation mentality by Montreal, which completely changed the series.  You could have said to Tampa Bay, just win one more and play like you did last game.  That didn’t happen though.

Mentality has a lot to do with results and weight is no exception.  There is no shame in asking for help, or offering it.  I have many people ask me for help with weight loss as long as we keep it just between us.  Imagine – someone wanting to get healthy but not wanting anyone to know it!  There is no shame in this, regardless of the experts and seemingly intelligent advisors that warn against any regimented weight loss program.  Is the weight loss program ensuring they keep the weight off?  Well only if it has and end date.  In that case, the weight loss program loses control.  Eating right and exercising has no end date.

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Why is Weight Loss/Weight Gain Such a Trigger for Putting People Down?
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IMG_6913There seems to be little tolerance among many otherwise good meaning people for those that have gained weight.  With social media I see multiple daily scathing rants on how anyone who tries to help someone lose weight is doing it wrong, raking in money, doing harm.  Just eat right and exercise and you’ll be fine they say.  Anything else is quackery it seems.  How did these people come to be overweight if it is that simple then?   Certainly picking up Canada’s food guide and putting on some walking shoes should make us all look the same, with the exact same effort.  Seeing an overweight person ignites an elementary school part of our brain that we compare ourselves to others, and when we see someone helping someone lose weight our opinionated know-it-all-about-everything side leaps out.   Obesity is a medical condition that deserves the same respect as any other.  Trained, well meaning individuals to help them also deserve that respect as well.

As a pharmacist, I see my personal recommendations changed by the patient all the time.  Either it tastes bad, the packaging says something strange, their friend said another thing worked for them, etc, etc, etc.  As a pharmacist it is my job to give them something that will not waste their money but it is just as important to give them something that will not harm them.  I may give them the most proven cough and cold medication but in the end I realize it may not really work for them.  I spend more time actually speaking to them about current medical conditions, current medications, allergies and past histories and experiences with other meds.  Why do I do this?  Because I don’t want the patient harmed with my recommendation.  It really only takes me a second to put that all together and make a recommendation and hand them a bottle and say keep in touch.  Will it work to their satisfaction?  Maybe.  Do I lose sleep over thinking if their cough stopped?  No.  Do I lose sleep wondering if they have a safe medication choice?  No, because I cover all that when I gave them the medication.

This is no different with weight loss.  I understand that overweight people do not want to be overweight.  I understand that they know what bad food and good food is and that they need to move to burn calories.  They are like the patient that changes my first recommendation.  I can tell them to eat right and exercise and then “take care”, but then I wouldn’t sleep right.  They need the motivation and tools to lose weight and obviously the current tools of how to do it aren’t being used.  Motivation gained by bringing them to a lower weight safely is the next logical step.

As always, I have said that science has no place for belittling, putting down, threatening, or blaming.  I love tracking down studies that show the most effective and safest way to treat people so that I have a second or third choice to give them.  Do I have a study for every Health Canada approved item in my pharmacy?  Well, no.  In fact I don’t pack any studies on dextromethorphan for cough, PEG for constipation, clotrimazole for yeast infection.  They probably exist out there.  I just don’t have them.  Funny how I am never challenged on this type of choice.

Although using terms like “melting fat”, “turning fat to muscle”, or “miracle cure” can take away credibility and I stay away from that, patient safety should be the most important factor.

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