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No Diet Diet Do Something Differentby Linda Gabriel

Do something different!

That’s right. Do something – anything – different and you’re likely to lose weight in the process. That’s what doctors Ben Fletcher, Karen Pine and Danny Penman discovered in their research. They are specialists in something called “behavioral flexibility” and co-authors of the book The No Diet Diet.

While researching the effects of making small changes in daily behavior, they noticed their test subjects not only became more productive and happier, they also lost weight – without even trying to. This led Fletcher, Pine and Penman to the the theory of something they call the habitweb.

You Live in a Habitweb

Humans have evolved by creating habits. This helps us avoid having to learn the same things over and over.  While repeating good habits is good for us, repeating bad habits means repeating mistakes. Your bad habits are stuck inside a web of supportive good habits. The bad news: your habitweb is very strong and is held in place by the forces of inertia.

The good news?

Breaking unconnected habits can help unravel the habitweb. When you try to make too many big changes, the habitweb goes into resistance. However small changes in the habitweb can become global. This is why Fletcher, Pine and Penman’s research subjects lost weight without trying. When they started doing a few things differently each day, those changes automatically led to changes in how they ate and moved, without them noticing or feeling deprived.

When you try to lose weight by going on an extreme diet your habitweb will eventually win. Yes, you may lose weight through willpower but the habitweb will eventually draw you back into its comfort zone.

The No Diet Diet tackles the entire habitweb by using the leverage of small changes so that the entire habitweb becomes more flexible and less of an obstacle to healthy change.

No Diet Diet suggestions for small changes:

  1. Get up one hour earlier.
  2. Try being more (or less) conventional.
  3. Listen to a different type of music.
  4. Be nice to someone you don’t like.
  5. Go to bed one hour earlier.
  6. Learn a new skill.
  7. Write in a journal for 15 minutes.
  8. Do something new with the kids.
  9. Throw away something you no longer need.
  10. Make a list of your goals for next week.

Do something different every day for a while.

The idea is to shake things up in a not-so-serious way. If you usually read the paper in the morning take a week off. If you never read the morning paper try reading it for a change. Take a different route home from work. You get the idea.

“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” ~ Mark Twain

Give it a try! I’d love to hear how doing something different works for you.

The No Diet Diet is available at amazon.com.

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Stop drinking wine to lose weightBy Linda Gabriel

What if it were just as easy to lose weight as it is to gain it?

If you’re reading this it’s likely you’ve struggled with dieting, exercise, and weight loss – probably for years. You’ve read countless articles, spent time and money as you suffered through your attempts to lose weight. You’ve watched people be tortured and shamed on prime time shows like The Biggest Loser or Celebrity Fit Club. It’s obvious that it’s painful and difficult to lose weight.

Or is it?

How I Lost 10 Pounds in 2 Months. Effortlessly.

When I was in my early 30’s I was the mother of two young children.  I’d gained 50 pounds with each pregnancy and had managed to lose all but about 10 extra pounds. Those 10 extra pounds weren’t what I now refer to as “vanity pounds” – the attempt to look like an underweight runway model.  My BMI (Body Mass Index) was too high and those 10 extra pounds posed a health risk.

Not only was I responsible for a couple of active toddler boys, our family was building a home while remodeling our current home into an office for my husband’s practice. The office he was leasing had been rented to a new tenant so there was a strict deadline by which we had to have everything done. It was left to me to handle the daily problems that cropped up in our simultaneous building projects.

How did I deal with the stress? 

Every day I had a glass of wine.. or two. Finally the day came when all had been completed. We had finished the projects, had moved office and home but I was still polishing off my couple of glasses of wine with dinner each night. I can’t remember exactly when it hit me but one evening I had a “Betty Ford” moment.  I liked my wine a little too much.  It had served it’s purpose, but now that the major stressors were gone I really didn’t need it any more.  So I decided to quit.

I quit drinking wine.

Within 2 months I lost 10 pounds. Effortlessly.

The only thing that had changed in my diet was no more wine with dinner. I was also getting a bit more daily exercise now that I was living in a larger house with an upstairs bedroom, but I really didn’t notice the difference consciously. The truth is, after a couple of days, I really didn’t miss the wine. I’m not a drinker and it had just become a habit during a time of stress.

Those last 10 pounds made a noticeable difference in my appearance. Friends started asking me, “What did you do to lose weight? You look great!” When I told them it was as simple as cutting out wine with dinner the answer was always, “It couldn’t be that easy.” One friend’s response to my explanation was to lower her voice to a conspiratorial whisper and ask, “Really, Linda. You can tell me. What did you do?” “No, seriously,” I insisted. “I just stopped drinking wine.” She refused to believe me.

The disbelief was universal.

Virtually everyone insisted that it couldn’t be that easy. But I’m telling you truthfully – it was.

I had trouble believing it myself. I wanted to figure out how cutting out wine with dinner had made such an amazing difference. Once upon a time I’d looked up the caloric value of a glass of white wine. It was 90 calories, right? I checked again.  I’d failed to notice it’s 90 calories for 3-4 ounces. Nobody drinks only 3-4 ounces of wine.

I’d been mindlessly consuming an extra 600 calories each night!

I pulled out one of my lovely wine goblets and decided to measure how much liquid it actually held. I was shocked to find the capacity was 12 ounces!  Because it was stemware, the glass appeared to hold much less than say, a full can of cola. But most certainly it did. I was shocked to realize I’d been drinking at least two 10 ounce glasses of wine.

600 x 7= 4200 calories per week.

4200 x 8 weeks = 33,600 calories.

It takes approximately 3500 calories to gain (or lose) one pound. Suddenly it was clear how cutting out those glasses of wine had led to losing 10 pounds in 2 months.

If you eat 100 extra calories than you burn per day, that adds up to a weight gain of 10 pounds per year.
200 extra calories per day? Twenty pounds per year.

You could be 10 pounds thinner in just a few weeks!

The reverse is also true. If you cut out 100 calories per day, you will lose 10 pounds within a year. 100 calories amounts to a soft drink or a few bites of food per day. 200 calories is one extra cookie, or the amount you eat when you “finish your plate” instead of stopping when you are full. If it’s easy for you to quit drinking wine or beer, you could be 10 pounds thinner in just a few weeks.

Automatically. Efforlessly. Without suffering or shame.

Let me ask you another simple question. Where could you effortlessly cut out a few hundred calories per day?

Photo Credit: garryknight

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by Linda Gabriel

meditation weight loss

Are You Sympathetic or Parasympathetic?

Your body has evolved a special system to protect you. In “caveman” days, if you were threatened by an enemy or predator, your body would shift into “fight or flight” mode, instantly secreting stress hormones like adrenaline.

This system, called the sympathetic nervous system, is designed to protect you in any life-threatening emergency but the chemicals it uses are very taxing to your body. While they are essential to speed up your reflexes so you can survive in an emergency, over time they can be quite harmful to your health.

Once the threat is over, another part of your nervous system compensates by secreting a different set of chemicals that calm you, allowing your body to rest and repair itself after the stress of having to fight or flee. This calming system is called the parasympathetic nervous system. Together these two systems form the autonomic nervous system which works in the background below the level of your conscious awareness. Ideally the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are in balance.

Surviving Modern Life

Today we no longer fear attack from wild animals, but we face other “survival” fears from every area of modern life. The problem is your subconscious mind isn’t very skilled at distinguishing between a real and imagined event. It tends to interpret many experiences as life threatening even though you may not be in actual physical danger.

Being stuck in a traffic jam, the fear of losing your job, a failing grade on a report card, ending a relationship – while none of these are actually life-threatening your subconscious mind may feel like your very survival is at stake. Your subconscious mind will even interpret stories you hear on the news as reasons to feel anxious even though they don’t affect you directly. Eventually your sympathetic nervous system starts to work overtime. And if you don’t have a chance to relax, your parasympathetic nervous system can’t come to the rescue.

The Dangers of Cortisol

When you experience constant stress, your body begins to secrete a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is linked to a number of health problems. Recent studies have also linked cortisol to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. It’s that dangerous “belly fat” you may have heard about on the news – a story that, while informative, can also activate your sympathetic nervous system and add to your level of stress. It’s a vicious cycle!

How to Create a Strategy for Stress Reduction:

The best weapon against stress is to have a strategy to relax on a regular basis. It’s important for you to enter a parasympathetic state every day to allow your body to balance all those stress hormones you create when you’re in a sympathetic or stressful state. Here’s a list of activities that have been shown to create a parasympathetic response.

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Qi Gong
  • Meditation
  • Deep Breathing
  • Spending time in Nature
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Guided Visualization
  • Hypnotherapy

Breath Meditation

One of the simplest and easiest ways to relax and renew is meditation. It requires no equipment – just you! It’s amazing how even 5 or 10 minutes of quieting your mind can offset a whole day of stress. I invite you to take a moment right now to close your eyes and take 3 or 4 slow, deep, relaxing breaths. Make sure to breathe all the way into your belly so that with each inhalation you can feel the belly gently expand and then with a slow, complete exhalation you can feel the belly gently relax. Don’t try to force the breath, just let it become slightly slower and deeper with each breath.

Go ahead now and try it. I’ll wait…

No really. Stop reading and take a few deep breaths. If you’re like most people, it will only take 3 deep breaths to begin calming down your nervous system. It’s one of the reasons people sigh when they’re upset; that’s your body’s attempt to balance itself. It’s also an unconscious reason why many people smoke. They believe it’s the cigarette that calms them down but it’s really the deep breathing!

Relax, Renew, and Reduce

Are you willing to take a few minutes each day to relax and renew? If you do, you’ll allow your body chemistry to balance itself, paving the way to better health, a greater sense of well-being, and a more efficient metabolism.

Photo Credit

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