Posted tagged ‘Weight loss’

Discover the secret to a happier 2014

January 8, 2014

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It’s the eighth day of January. How are your New Year’s resolutions going so far?

Quit smoking, lose weight, perhaps you’re aspiring to achieve better health and financial security this 2014, maybe you also want to aim for a happier and more fulfilling life. There’s no exact formula for happiness. It is a product of positive habits and traits that you should incorporate in your daily life.

So, to start your year right – with lots of positivity and cheer – here are some essential tips for you:

Replace negativity and complaints with gratitude.  Our brain has the natural tendency to favour bad thoughts than the positive ones. Experts call it the “negativity bias”. But if we are going to intentionally pay more attention to positive thoughts, we can be happier.

Research by Shelley Gable of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia suggests that we actually have three times more positive experiences than negative. Try replacing negativity and complaints with gratefulness. This is a good way to train your mind to become more optimistic.

Live in the present.

Avoid hyper-focusing on the future or the past. A large body of research suggests that mindfulness or awareness of the present moment, is one key to happiness.

Laugh more.

A lot of times, we take life too seriously. Try to inject silliness in your day to day experience. Whether it’s watching a funny movie or video clip or playing charades with your friends or kids, do something that makes you laugh.

Seek your passion.

No matter how busy you are with your work or personal obligations, make it a goal to purse things or hobbies that you are passionate about. Don’t frown if you still don’t know what it is, just give yourself more time to discover and explore.

Surround yourself with cheery individuals.

Happiness is contagious. This year, try to spend more time with positive people – those who can influence to change your thoughts positively. A 2013 study by Harvard University and University of California found that a friend who lives close to the happy person has a 25 per cent higher likelihood of becoming happy too.

Get inspired.

When you are inspired, you are able to do things with enthusiasm and zeal. Find inspiration and motivation from everything, from a quote you see on the internet to a lovely song or an advice from a friend.

Recognise and accept your emotions.

It’s normal to feel sad and down at times. You don’t have to deny or ignore these unwanted feelings. You actually have to recognise them to understand their causes. This way, you can focus on the situation with mental clarity and give yourself a chance to resolve your problems in a more effective way.

Replace self-criticism with self-compassion.

Self-criticism weakens you while self-compassion strengthens your resilience, happiness and productivity. Love yourself a little more. If there’s anyone who should love you first, it should be no other but you.

Invest in healthy relationships.

Relationships are at the heart of happiness. You can find happiness in the relationships you make with other people. This year, plan to spend more time cultivating friendships. Think about how you can be a true friend to your partner, to your kids and parents, to your colleagues and all others around you.

Hope these tips can contribute to a happier and more fulfilling year in your life.
Once again, happy New Year!

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist

www.greymatterz.co.uk

Part of the Core Health Centre

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Why Stress = Weight gain.

September 6, 2013

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Every day, stress is there to make things complicated and difficult and embarrassing and exasperating. It makes us incapable of being productive.

Worse, it makes us engage in unhealthy lifestyle that could lead to weight gain. For instance, some people find comfort from calorie-dense, nutritionally empty foods when they are stressed.

Stress and Weight Gain

Stress signals your body to consume and store fats.

When we are under stress, our body’s ‘flight or fight’ system is activated. During this period, your body releases a cascade of chemicals, including adrenaline, CHR and cortisol.

These are hormones that make you feel alert, ready for action, and able to withstand injury.  In a short term, adrenaline would make you feel less hungry because your blood flows away from your organs to your muscles and make them ready to face the ‘threat’.

But as your adrenaline levels wane, your cortisol levels remain high, signalling your body to replenish your food supply. So your tendency is to eat, eat and eat, with more preference on sugary foods.

Stress gives you ‘belly fat’.

In this modern world – where most people spend hours sitting and working on the computer, it has become a challenge to stay lean and fit. If you are chronically stressed with the demands of work and life, you become more likely to develop ‘visceral fat’ deep in your belly.

Unfortunately, your belly has plenty of supply of blood vessels and cortisol receptors, making the production of visceral fats so easy and quick. What’s more, belly fat is unhealthy and is linked to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

It is also difficult to eliminate. Unless you exercise more often and eat low-calorie foods, the fats accumulated in your belly are likely to grow and ‘bulge’ even more.

Stress fuels emotional eating.

Eating to feed your emotions, not your stomach, can jumpstart obesity. Anxiety and stress are so energy-draining that too often; we end up looking for something to eat. Unfortunately, stress makes us choose cookies and cakes over fruits, crisps and pizza over vegetables, and fizzy drinks and beer over water.

Another thing, when we are stressed, we tend to eat ‘mindlessly’, resulting to overeating. No need to further explain why this in turn causes weight gain.

Stress affects your sleep.

So what does sleep have to do with weight gain? For years, scientists have suspected that sleep and obesity are linked. Research has found that stressed people who stay up late at night are more likely to reach for plain carbohydrates like cookies, doughnuts and pastries.

“It’s not like they’re going for whole-wheat pasta,” according to Taub-Dix, the spokesperson of the American Diabetic Association.  Also, when you lack sleep, your willpower to resist food cravings also decreases, so you tend to eat more.

Quick and East Anti-Stress Strategies

Whether you’re undergoing a weight loss programme or considering one, here are some stress-busting techniques that you may find useful.

Eat or Drink more Vitamin C

A study by the University of Alabama found that vitamin C stopped the secretion of stress hormones. So have a look into food and drinks that are rich in vitamin C.

‘Pet’ your pet.

Give yourself time to take a break from your stressful work and pamper your pets. Researchers at State University of New York found that pets give more stress relief than our two-legged companions.

Shake it out.

When you’re highly stressed, pause for a moment and shake your arms, hands and the rest of your body. It relieves tension, boosts blood flow and clams your mind.

Bring your music player to work.

Research by Pennsylvania’s Wilkes University suggests that listening to music lowers your stress levels at work and at the same time, reduces your risk of common cold.

Smile.

Even if you don’t feel like doing it, just smile. Just the act makes you relaxed and in control.  

Exercise.

This doesn’t just help you lose weight but also boosts the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain that relieves stress and boosts your mood.

A study by the University of Missouri at Columbia found that 33 minutes of high-intensity exercise helps lower stress levels more than working out at a moderate pace.

Can you suggest more ways to fight stress?

Feel free to post your comment below.

Wishing you a stress-free weekend.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist
greymatterz.co.uk

Part of the Core Health Centre

10 Habits that Might Be Keeping You from Losing Weight

July 23, 2013

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Have you ever tried losing weight only to find yourself frustrated because your efforts were not getting you anywhere? There’s no miracle solution to getting fit. It’s all about eating right, exercising, and getting quality rest and sleep. Nonetheless, we often engage in some habits that keep on sabotaging all our hard work. If you find yourself going backwards in your weight loss attempt, maybe it’s because you exhibit some of the following habits.

You work out only when you want.

It’s Monday and you’ve done so much at work. You feel tired, hungry and sleepy. When you reach home, all you want to do is rest, sit in the couch, turn on the TV and eat a large packet of crisp. Exercising would be the last thing on your mind.

If you think exercising when you are tired will only make you more tired, think again. According to a study published in the Psychology Bulletin, 90 per cent of people who exercise suffered less fatigue and developed more energy and focus. In fact, the effect of exercising on your sense of focus is comparable with that of a drug used for ADHD patients. It’s all about managing your time and picking the best schedule for your workout. If you’re already dead tired for an afternoon workout, schedule it first hour in the morning.

You’re skipping breakfast.

If you think skipping breakfast will save you some calories, think again. In most cases, not eating a regular meal in the morning will make you crave for high-calorie foods and snacks later in the day. Another thing, having a solid breakfast meal promotes metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. With the right mix of foods (ask advice from a nutritionist or personal trainer), you will have enough energy and less food craving.

You’re not drinking enough water.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, dieters who drank a glass of water before a meal whilst keeping their calorie intake healthy lost 44 per cent more fats than those who consumed the same number of calories but had reduced water consumption.

Did you know that dehydration is among the most common causes of weight gain? Often, your body mistakes thirst with hunger. So here’s a tip. Whenever you crave for food, drink a glass of cold water first. If the hunger goes away, it only means you aren’t hungry, only thirsty.

You’re not getting enough sleep.

Many dieters pay so much attention to exercise and calorie count but often overlook the value of sleep in their weight loss endeavour. Our body has its own clock which regulates hormones that control sleep, wakefulness, hunger and metabolism.

When our bio clock is interrupted, our craving for high calorie foods increases and our metabolism goes out of whack. In one study conducted by the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Centre, it was found that people who lack sleep tend to consume 300 calories more than those who had enough sleep.

Whilst they burn the same amount of calories, excess calorie intake leads to progressive and steady weight gain. Remember, you only need to consume 3,500 calories to gain one pound. Sleep deprived individuals are also at risk of developing belly fats.

You spend a lot of time with inactive people.

Are you fond of going out with friends for some “food trip”? Do you love partying all night during weekends, drinking beer and snacking on fatty treats? If yes, you are not far from weight gain.A long-term study which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a person is more likely to become obese when a friend becomes one.

Well, this does not mean you should stop seeing your friends and find new ones. You can be their health saviour! Instead of another “unli-beer” session this weekend, encourage them to go to the gym, take a walk or even get outdoors and backpack.

Engaging in healthy and physically challenging activities is a fun way to bond with friends and at the same time, burn fats.

You’re underestimating your total calorie intake.

Often, food portions we’ve become accustomed to are far greater than the actual serving. Just because you are eating a few of something doesn’t mean you are also consuming fewer calories. If you choose the wrong food, even just a cup serving could supply your body tons of calories!

One way to keep your calorie intake on track is to measure your food for one month – weigh it if possible. This gives you an idea of how much you are actually eating. Knowing proper portions and monitoring your calorie intake are important for weight loss success.

You seek emotional comfort from food.

Do you often resort to food whenever you feel down? If yes, this habit of yours is actually sabotaging your efforts to lose weight. Sweet, salty and high-calorie foods can really provide you comfort but their “feel-good” effect is only momentary whilst their health consequences are lasting. Emotional eating could also lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety and worse, depression.

Finding a healthy outlet for your emotions is one way to avoid emotional eating. Instead of emotional eating, engage in activities that alleviate your stress levels and make you feel good without causing harm to your health and well-being.

These include exercising, engaging in creative activities, taking a vacation, and interacting with nature. Another successful way to let go of negative emotion is to try hypnotherapy. The relaxing nature of the therapy helps to lower overall stress levels, while at the same time teaching your mind to release negative emotions in some quite enjoyable and creative ways.

You don’t count weekends.

You’ve been religiously following your weight loss programme all through weekdays, is it bad to have a “cheat day”? Having a cheat day is not bad as long as you still keep an eye on your food and activity levels.

If you restrict yourself from eating ice creams for the entire week, treat yourself with a scoop on a Sunday. But don’t let your body become physically inactive. Instead of chilling in front of the TV for hours, find more fun activities that keep you moving, like strolling in the park, cycling, swimming, etc.

You’re constantly comparing yourself with others.

Looking at the stick figures in the magazines and on the internet won’t help you lose weight. Sometimes they may inspire you, but often, they will make you feel worse. Competitiveness is a trait hardwired to our brains, we all have the tendency to compare ourselves with others – sizing each other up.

But sticking to this habit could do more harm than good. Many people shift from one weight loss programme to another once they’ve heard or seen something. There’s nothing wrong with trying out what worked for other people. But you’ve got to give yourself a chance and enough time to know what works and what doesn’t, for you.

You’re stuck on what doesn’t work.

This is different with the previous habit. Here, you carry on with a weight loss solution that is not working for you. Losing weight is easier than maintaining weight. Maybe you managed to lose a stone in a relatively short period of time using a diet fad you’ve read about, but that doesn’t guarantee that it will keep you from losing weight forever.

To be successful in maintaining fitness, you need to assess your lifestyle most especially your activity level and calorie intake.

Don’t let these habits prevent you from achieving a fitter, leaner figure and bringing back the confidence you once had. Losing weight is possible and it starts with building healthy habits.

What other habits can you think of that prevent many people from losing weight? Feel free to share your comment with us.

 

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist
greymatterz.co.uk

Part of the Core Health Centre

Natural Weight Loss Tips

March 21, 2013

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Staying lean doesn’t just boost your self-confidence. It also keeps you healthy. But losing weight using unsafe methods can do you more harm than good. On this article, let’s talk about some of the best ways to burn stubborn fats without putting your health at risk!

 

Engage in Weight Training

There’s no doubt that exercising is the best strategy to lose excess fats. But many people think that regular exercising is a big pain in the bottom especially if you are not really into it. But it really is essential in order to lose weight faster. Weight training may be a better choice than aerobics if you’re looking to burn fat, but do speak to our experts here at Core Health to find out more.

 

Be a Slow Eater

Science was able to prove that by eating slower than usual, you can significantly reduce your weight. If you devour your food quickly, your brain may find it hard to measure your food consumption and recognise that your stomach is already full. Hence, you tend to eat more.

 

Dine Out Less Often

Fast food is not a good option if you are trying to lose weight. Remember, they are high in calories, sodium, and sugar which all promote fat production and storage. If you’re dining out, look for healthier menus such as green salad and leaner meat rather than the greasy burger, fatty fries and sugary pastries.

 

Don’t Be Fooled by the Word ‘Diet’

Many food products and fizzy drinks are so labelled to be a good choice for dieters. Some boast of having no sugar (although they taste too sweet!). Well, these foods usually contain artificial sweeteners that have been shown to cause brain cancer and promote obesity. So watch out for these diet sodas and similar stuff, they won’t really help you lose weight at all.

Also psychologically, the word DIET suggests starvation to your subconscious mind. So that part of your mind triggers a self preservation mechanism which can actually cause the body to start storing fats… without you even knowing what it’s doing.

 

Sip Green Tea

Green tea is highly regarded for its amazing health benefits. And you probably heard about its weight loss effects, especially now that many celebrities are on green tea, claiming it helps them stay lean. Well, that’s no hype! Green tea is scientifically proven to promote fat loss in several ways. First, it improves metabolism. Second, it suppresses appetite. Third, green tea aids in the burning of fats!

 

Low-Fat Diet May Not Be the Thing

Most products that are said to be ‘low in fat’ contain artificial sweeteners that promote obesity. A diet rich in ‘healthy’ fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats is more likely to help you burn those stubborn fats than simply focusing on the ‘low fat’ diet. Good sources of healthy fats are fish, olive oil, canola oil, and flaxseeds.

 

Get Your Regular Dose of Niacin

Vitamin B3, or niacin, plays a critical role in fat loss. Niacin can be found in plenty of foods, such as yeast extract spread (marmite), fish, liver, peanuts, veal, chicken, and sundried tomatoes.

 

Cut Back on Sugar

High consumption of sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Sugary foods are also high in calories. Just a piece of glazed donut for instance, already contains whopping 255 calories! Yes, that’s basically enough to ruin your diet.

 

Consume More Fibre

Your gut needs fibre to properly digest food and promote metabolism. Also, getting enough fibre makes you feel full a lot longer and keeps your energy levels high. To boost your fibre intake, eat more of whole grain pastries than white breads, brown rice, beans, fruits and vegetables.

 

Fill Your Diet with Herbs

Cayenne, turmeric, bitter orange, flaxseed, and ginger are just few of the many herbs that have fat-burning effects. Adding them on your daily diet can certainly cut your risk of obesity.

 

Have a Good Night Sleep

Quality sleep is essential in maintaining a lean body. Getting enough sleep is necessary to maintain your hormonal levels – a critical factor for fat loss. Studies reveal that people who lack sleep are more likely to become overweight than those who enjoy quality sleep.

We at Core Health are here to help you shed that excess weight. Both mentally through hypnosis and physically through personal training.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist
Core Health Centre

The Power of Hypnotherapy

February 1, 2013

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Despite the relatively limited size of our brains, their complex structures do have seemingly unlimited capabilities. However, structural damage, such as the death of cells and neurons, and inflammation in certain parts in the brain may affect our ability to remember some information we’ve entered to our mind. It’s not that they have totally disappeared. We just forget where we’ve hidden them. If you are having problems recalling things, names and places, you might want to consider hypnosis as part of your treatment plan.

Hypnosis and Memory

One of the most favoured tools by practitioners when it comes to helping patients deal with memory problems is hypnosis. But how does this therapy help you recall or strengthen memories?

First off, we want to understand how our memory works. Memory formation, recall and retrieval are major cognitive processes that are highly complex in nature – complex in a sense that many areas of the brain are involved. While many studies have been conducted on memory, it is still not fully understood until today.

Most of us know that memories are generally categorised into two – short-term and long-term memories. Short-term memories include names of people we are not closely affiliated with, phone numbers and other ‘not so significant’ details in our everyday life. Long-term memories on the other hand, are usually the product of different experiences, especially those that have significantly impacted our life. According to studies, long-term memories work in a two-way process. First, you store the information somewhere in your mind, and second, you recall it. In some instances however, problems occur in either the storage or the retrieval. Sometimes, the problem takes place in both.

This is where hypnotherapy comes in. The process involves increasing concentration and focusing on a limited area in the brain, to effectively trace back the path towards the ‘lost’ memory or memories. When administered by a professional practitioner, hypnosis can slow down your thinking, heighten your imagination and eliminate distractions that preventing you from retrieving such information.

If you have experienced hypnosis before, you will probably agree that this therapy is a powerful mind tool. Through hypnosis, you allow your mind to focus on the experience or memory and recall the details involved until in most cases you finally retrieve the information. Because of this, hypnotic techniques are often used in helping witnesses of crimes recall memories, especially when they are under trauma. But because of the possibility that the therapist may insert false information, the use of hypnosis in legal matters was banned. This, nevertheless, does not alter the fact that hypnosis can help retrieve memories that were trapped somewhere in our minds.

What else can hypnosis achieve?

Decades of research suggest that hypnosis is a safe and effective treatment. Other than helping us recall memories, hypnosis was also found to help manage pain during childbirth, headache, and other forms of physical pain. Clinical studies suggest that hypnosis doesn’t just reduce anxiety before an operation or pain throughout and after a surgical operation, but also cuts the time involved and lowers the risk of complications. At present, hypnosis is gaining popularity for its role in weight management, treating phobias and in helping smokers stop.

Based on these facts, we can say that hypnosis is indeed a powerful therapy that gives us a range of health benefits. Nevertheless, it is important that you seek treatment only from a qualified therapist. Seek out a licensed, certified hypnotherapist to ensure the success and safety of the treatment.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist at Grey Matterz

Part of the Core Health Centre

Lose weight without dieting.

October 26, 2012

If you’re having trouble fitting into that little black dress or zipping up those trousers in preparation for the festive season, here are a few tips to help those clothes fit better.

 

EAT BREAKFAST

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They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they weren’t wrong! Skipping breakfast can have a bad effect on your waistline as you’ll feel more hungry throughout the day and probably end up eating more than you normally would. Try having a bowl of wholegrain cereal topped with natural yogurt and fruit first thing to keep you going through the morning.

 

HIDDEN CALORIES

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Alcohol, fruit juice and even smoothies can all be drinks with hidden calories, so be careful when choosing your beverages. Try drinking flavoured water and small amounts of 100% fruit juice instead.

 

AVOID MIDNIGHT SNACKS

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Apart from potentially disturbing your sleep, midnight snacking won’t do your weight any favours either! Try to establish a time when you’ll stop eating each evening, that way you won’t be as tempted to raid the fridge after hours.

 

STEP UP YOUR GAME

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If you don’t fancy sweating it out at the gym then you could try taking more steps throughout the day. Get a pedometer and set yourself a target – say 10,000 steps per day – and increase your daily movements. Try walking up escalators instead of standing on them, taking the stairs instead of the lift or going for a walk at lunchtimes to meet your aim.

 

EAT MORE PROTEIN

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Protein gives you energy, so by adding a bit of extra protein to each of your meals you’re less likely to overeat. Try adding eggs, beans or lean meats to your main meals and eat a small portion of nuts in between to keep you going.

 

CONTROL YOUR CUPBOARDS

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Ultimately, you are the one in control of what goes in your cupboards, so a great way to cut down on overeating or chocolate binges is to simply not have it in the house in the first place. Next time you’re at the supermarket try to resist temptation when it comes to the chocolate aisle – if it’s not in your cupboards you can’t eat it!

 

SMALLER PLATES

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Portion size can be a problem when it comes to weight loss. Even if you’re eating a healthy meal you can still overdo it if your plate is piled too high. Consider buying smaller plates, that way you can only serve up what you can fit on them. Reducing your portions by 10-20% alone can result in weight loss.

 

DRINK MORE WATER

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Although water is no substitute for food, drinking it can help you to feel fuller for longer. The same goes for liquid foods such as soup – so try getting a few more of these into your daily diet.

 

LEARN TO COOK

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Many ready-made meals and sauces can contain high levels of sugar and salt, all of which can hinder your weight loss attempts. By learning to cook healthy meals you can be in control of what goes in your food and keep on top of those calories.

 

CREATE NEW HABITS

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Sometimes we can find ourselves eating because we’re bored, for example. A good way to beat this is to create new habits – so as soon as you start to feel bored find a distraction – go for a walk or switch on the radio – you’ll soon forget about snacking.

 

I hope you find these simple steps useful, if you’d like more help losing that weight, have a look at my weight management webpage here or give me a call.

 

Happy weight loss,

Richard Scott

Clinical Hypnotherapist
GREY MATTERZ

www.greymatterz.co.uk

Why diets sometimes don’t work…

December 7, 2010

An recent article I found shines light on why some diets don’t work.

I’ve mentioned this several times already to my clients, but it’s so important that it’s worth re-emphasizing several times over  to everyone out there – the very best way to lose weight is to eat regular healthy meals and to not starve yourself.

Article begins…

When you restrict your food intake, or effectively start to starve your body, your metabolism slows right down and your body will soon go in to “starvation mode”. Once your metabolism slows down, your body is unable to burn calories as effectively as it should be able to, which ultimately means your weight loss slows right down or may even grind to a halt.

What happens then is that your body begins to feed off itself for the nutrition it needs, which means it starts digesting your muscles more than your fat reserves (muscles hold more nutrients than fat, which is why these get “eaten” as well as your stored fat).

Any weight that you do lose while you’re starving your body will sure enough come right back once you start eating properly again. The main reason for this is that your body will still be in starvation mode, so will just store everything that you eat as fat simply because it thinks this may be the last nutrition it gets for a while.

If you continue to eat a normal diet with regular meals only then will your body come out of starvation mode and start to properly digest the food you eat.

So the best way to lose weight is not to starve yourself, but to eat regular meals – the best option is to eat 4 or 5 smaller meals throughout the day so that you keep your metabolism high. Your body gets used to regular and frequent meals so actually switches into overdrive, burning off more calories because it knows it doesn’t need to store any.

Using hypnotherapy to help with this will give your emotions more stability, you’ll have much more motivation to stick to a healthy eating regime, you will focus on goals and results,  you’ll believe in yourself and have the confidence to achieve those weight loss goals.

Happy hypno dieting…

Richard Scott
http://www.greymatterz.co.uk