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Day: February 28, 2018

3 posts

7 Secret Habits of Happy People

*The following has been adapted from The 30 Day Body Beautiful Program with Monika Polemicos, a therapeutic approach to weight management.

Hormones don’t lie. The following Secret Habits of Happy people have been researched to the wah-zoo and have demonstrated time and time again chemicals in your body determine your overall sense of happiness. These little suckers influence the way you feel –happy, sad or irritable as hell. Incorporating the following habits can assist you to use hormones to your advantage.

Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter found in the gastrointestinal tract and brain that regulates mood, happiness and sleep. The production of serotonin fluctuates during the day which can account for the 3 p.m. slump in energy that has you reaching for the cookie tin and 3 sugars in your coffee.

  1. Your brain triggers certain food cravings to boost serotonin production: carbs and sugars. Therefore…Eating complex carbs with a low GI (Glycaemic Index) like root and green leafy vegetables (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, and broccoli), legumes, beans ensure slow release and less of a crash and burn effect on your energy levels. Do not omit carbs from your eating plan; you will only binge on the wrong kind later.
    Eating and exercising right are the obvious not-so-secret habits of happy people. In addition to these are our social habits that have a far greater impact on happiness.
  2. Support network- Great people to be around and support you when needed. To have a great social network takes time and energy to establish and means going out of your way to help your friends when they need you.
  3. Have appreciation for others and experiences. Dopamine has long been known to be the ‘pleasure’ chemical. It’s produced when people are in love, engaging in pleasurable activities like eating or thinking about these things. Keeping a gratitude journal of daily reflections stimulates the production of dopamine and the overall feeling of bliss, it also helps to keep you focused on the things that are in your control and influence rather than dwelling on this you cannot change. A perfect pathway to becoming an optimist.
  4. Are in a relationship/in love. The Grant Study followed a group of men for their entire lives found that “the capacity to love and be loved was the single strength most clearly associated with subjective well-being at age eighty.”
  5. In addition to living longer, happy people also work hard, they have goals, are driven by a purpose and get things done. Happy people actively make plans and schedule to do things that make them happy—hobbies that are enjoyable and set time aside for family vacations etc. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow (a tad drastic I know) what are the things unfinished or you didn’t get around to doing? Time to make a bucket list, and fill your time with things that are really important to your happiness.
  6. Light exposure has been used as therapy to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (the SAD’s) occurs predominately in the winter months with the reduction of natural sunlight exposure. Some research shows light therapy effective in the treatment of depression. Ensure your indoor environment is brightly lit during the winter months. Spend time in the outdoors even when it is overcast.
  7. Contribute by volunteering to a worthy cause. Dr. Stephen Post a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine points out in a recent national survey of 4,582 American adults, 41 per cent of Americans volunteered an average of two hours per week; 68 per cent of volunteers agree that volunteering “has made me feel physically healthier”; and 96 per cent say volunteering “makes people happier.”

In addition, the survey results indicated that volunteers have less trouble sleeping, less anxiety, and better friendships and social networks.

How do you get into the right mindset to embark on a weight loss journey?

Great question! and often overlooked when staring any weight loss routine. As a hypnotherapist who specialises in weight loss, I help my clients with focus that will sustain them and their health for the long haul (rather than a quick fix).

Firstly creating a compelling and inspiring visual representation of your ideal future self is key. That is how do you want to look and feel at your ideal size? Practicing and connecting to this every day is like training your brain to scan oppotunitites in your environment that move towards that goal. A bit like the law of attraction, what you focus on is what you get more of, so if your focus is on “i don’t want to be fat” or “i have to lose weight”, your focus is on ‘weight’ and ‘fat’ which deflates energy.

Secondly its identifying the barriers to weight loss. On the surface this could be diet and exercise however I see a lot of people with lifestyle stressors, a history of trauma that had not been resolved and is undermining their long term results. Dealing with these first is essential as sometimes wanting to lose weight can act as a distraction to what is really going on.

Then really its about building an ‘easy to implement’ routine around the activities that will bring results. I would never recommend a complete lifestyle change initially, rather implementing a few key habits until it become second nature then adding more over time.

Going to the gym everyday may be extremely daunting for someone who has never been before or is self conscious about their weight. However walking everyday maybe the first positive step to moving their body they can commit to. Kale for someone who only eats fast food is a stretch, however preparing half the weekly meals a home maybe achievable.

Rewarding yourself after reaching short term goals also provides motivation to keep going and achieve the next one. Be sure to acknowledge the positive changes that have taken place like having more energy, being able to run a certain distance, lift weights or the positive outlook and confidence that you can do anything that you put your mind to.

How to have a food blowout and still look amazing Monika Polemicos

Wouldn’t it be dreamy to indulge now and then without the guilt of going overboard? to meet the nutritional demands of your body without the muffin top?

Changing your relationship with food and giving yourself permission to eat is only part of the equation. There are some practical guidelines that to keep yourself in check to ensure one indulgent meal does not become a week long food bender.

In a study dieters were asked to evaluate the impact of one sweet high calorie dessert on their eating plans. The participants who catastrophized the impact of the dessert identifying they had ‘blown’ their diet proceeded to eat 5 times more than those who identified their eating plan could accommodate the dessert.

Creating flexibility in your eating plan rather than rigidity is essential to your mental health while trying to lose or maintain weight. When you make foods forbidden somehow this only increases your desire for them. Following the 80/20 principle of eating healthy nutritious meals 80% of the time and sometimes foods 20% of the time takes the energy out of a food being labeled “good” or “bad”. For some this may mean they are a health nut during the week but on the weekend a little more relaxed. If you know Friday nights get a bit hectic and a take away is always calling you then enjoy! look forward to the experience with excitement and eat with gusto. Your state of mind effects digestion. Feelings of guilt and apprehension hinders nutrient assimilation when eating, that kind of stress only makes you overeat even more!

There does need to be some guide post to make the 80/20 rule work. Planning when you are going to indulge is a start. Mark when the 1-2 indulgent meals per week will be occurring in your calendar. These are times to looks forward to life a special occasion. In between those times you do your absolute best to provide grade A nourishment for your body.

‘but what if I get a craving’

no doubt you will and a perfect time plan for your next indulgent meal. Write about your cravings and save it next to the date for your next indulgent meal. This way you are not saying ‘no i cant have this’ you are saying ‘yes I will’ just at another time. This eliminates the forbidden nature of food because you can have anything you want.

When it comes to your indulgent meal time you should have a host of ideas you have generated during the week. By being aware of HOW you eat and listening to your own body cues you can eliminate going overboard and eating the whole tray/6 pack/box etc. In addition to savoring the moment you are finally united with the food you have been longing for, it’s a very satisfying experience acknowledging your body when satisfied and pushing the plate away. The key is increasing your food awareness during meal times.

For example:

  • Observe what your dish looks like, notice the colours shape etc.
  • Inhale deeply noticing what the aroma does to your mouth and salivary glands.
  • With your eyes closed observe the texture of the food in your mouth.
  • Follow the taste of the first bite through to watery paste right a the very end before it goes down the hatch.
  • Allow at least 20 min to complete your meal, frequently checking in with yourself “am I satisfied yet”. Be proud you have left food on the plate and clear away/bin any left overs.

With a few tweaks to the way you eat and think about food you can keep those indulgent meals on the menu and still keep that amazing body in check.