In honour of his Back 2 Canada tour and the fact that I just bought tickets to it, I give you: the very talented artist, formerly known as the symbol, formerly and once again known as……. Prince! This is one of my favorite work out songs, so I hope you dig it
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Who doesn’t love a holiday full of candy and chocolate? Especially when it involves dressing up and behaving like a fool.
I believe very strongly in enjoying life and occasions, and a key component of many of our holidays is excessive food consumption. Halloween is no exception. While I do love the overabundance of bite-sized chocolates everywhere (and I do mean everywhere), if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, they can prevent you from reaching your healthy behaviour goals.
One of the (many) reasons people overeat is that they simply have no concept of what they are putting into their bodies. Sure, that bite-sized Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup looks harmless enough, but what you may not know is that it has close to a 100 Calories in it! Recall that a typical woman needs approximately 2000 Calories a day and a man needs 2500 (depending on weight, height, age and activity level). Well, if you are going to eat one small chocolate/candy packet, that’s harmless enough—-but let’s be honest: do you? If you are even remotely like me, you probably consume quite a few during the Halloween season. I actually recall as a child sitting in my room and secretly binge eating Halloween treats until they were pretty much gone (unless my brother got to them first). Those Calories can add up quickly and before you even notice!
Most Halloween treats pack anywhere from 50-100 Calories per package. So just be aware that if you are eating 5 of those, you have just packed on 250-500 Calories (without giving your body many of the essential nutrients it needs). I am not saying you should totally avoid them (even I’m not that unrealistic) but remember the key dietary concept of moderation and don’t lie to yourself about what you’re eating.
Here’s a few tips for eating less:
1) Don’t leave your treats where you can see them. Leaving them on your table/desk is a strong visual cue to consume. Put them away or get a family member to hide them on you if you know that the temptation will be too strong.
2) Keep track of how many you have eaten in a day. A good way to do this is to leave the wrappers in front of you. This provides some strong feedback as to your consumption patterns.
3) If you know you can’t resist having treats around the house: just don’t buy them. Why make it hard on yourself if you don’t have to?
So enjoy Halloween (and life for that matter), have a blast, and eat a chocolate/candy or two. But try to approach it with the right attitude and knowledge so you don’t throw off your commitment to healthy eating.
And, well, if you do, remember that tomorrow’s another day and don’t beat yourself up about it too much. Just start fresh again and remember why you have decided to adopt healthy behaviours in the first place. Then remind yourself again, and again, and again…..
Let me clarify: I am not pleased I have gained weight, but I am pleased that I can state this fact and not think that it somehow makes me less of a human being. I had a phenomenal summer, but it lead to a shift in my behaviours towards less healthful ones. In my life, good times typically means a lot of social occasions, with a lot of food exposure (rarely healthy) and decreased opportunities for physical activity. I ate a bit more than usual and exercised less—but, damn, I had some good times!
Oh well, it happened, I’ve gained weight. There is nothing I can do about that fact right now. All I can do now is forcefully zip up my now-tight jeans and reclaim control over my behaviours. Starting……..now!
I am also happy to say I have gained weight because I feel that I have many of the tools I need to change my behaviour and take control of my health and weight again. It also now gives me more of a chance to share as many of these as I can with you as you follow me on this journey and progress through your own.
To begin, two tools of essential importance for behaviour change are an internal locus of control and self-efficacy. Having an internal locus of control (as opposed to an external one) means that I know that I, not some external force, am in control of my actions. I have control over improving my diet, eating a bit less and more healthfully at every meal. I have control over my daily exercise, and I have to find activities I enjoy and that challenge me. If you think that some external force, be it money, time or genetics is completely in control of your weight-related behaviours, you are simply incorrect. While they can influence your behaviours, the capacity to change them, even just a little bit, is still in your possession. Everyone’s capacity for change is different, but we all typically have a strong level of control over our daily behaviours.
Having an internal locus of control is also essential for another psychological predictor of behaviour change: self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to accomplish a certain goal. I personally know that I can encorporate more physical activity into my day, and I know that I can eat less. The latter of the two is more difficult for me, but I know that my overeating is typically psychologically driven and I can work to manage this. To accomplish this, I will have to spend some time in my head reprogramming my thoughts towards more healthful ones. I am by no means saying this is a simple task; it often takes time and a lot of self talk. It is, nonetheless, doable—And I CAN do it. Ya, self-efficacy!
The human body has an amazing ability to adapt and change towards what you ask of it, the human brain is no exception. Your brain currently has a certain thought/behaviour pattern, but constant reinforcement can direct it towards the change you desire. We all have the physical ability to increase our physical activity levels and improve our nutritional habits, but what is stopping us isn’t so easy to describe and it is often psychological. You have to find out what’s stopping you and convince yourself (because it is true) that you can overcome it. BUT, if you don’t think you can succeed or that you are not in control of your actions, then you have already committed yourself to failure.
Change doesn’t happen over night. It happens with time, commitment, and perseverance. The simple fact of the matter, however, is that when it comes to behaviour, we ALL have the ability to change. PERIOD.
You never know what you are capable of until you take control of your actions and commit yourself to an attainable (and maybe even scary) goal. I would have never thought that ‘obese Diana’ could change her behaviour, but I surprised myself before, and I will do it again. Now, it’s your turn…….
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James Brown shows how he earned the title of ‘Hardest Working Man in Show Business’ in this classic clip.
He also provides us with some classic words to live by for moments when things aren’t quite going our way:
“Get up off of that thing and dance/shake/twist ’till you feel better!!”
Have a great weekend!
It is virtually impossible to change your external environment. You can’t always control what foods you’re going to run into and the temptations you might face as you venture out into our excessive food environment. You can, however, control what you encounter in portions of your immediate environment, such as your home.
First off–don’t bring home foods that are poorer choices and that you can’t resist. If you can pound back a full bag of chips without breaking a sweat and will do it if it’s in your cupboard—then don’t have them in your cupboard—leave them at the store.
Also, don’t leave temptation foods in plain site. If you leave a bowl of candy on your counter, and you have a weakness for candy, then everytime you walk by it you are giving yourself a visual cue to eat. Why do that to yourself? That’s not very nice of you if you are trying to eat candy in moderation!
Behaviour change doesn’t happen over night and it is more difficult for some than others, and depends on the behaviour in question. Find ways to make it easier on yourself and make sure that you are not unnecessarily tempting yourself back into the negative behaviours.
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I’m off to get my rodeo on at the Stampede, and this song will help me get there! Happy weekend!
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Flow with Flo to get you geared up for the weekend!
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Happy birthday to my wonderful, beautiful country! I am forever proud to call you home!! Happy Canada day!
Sometimes you have to trick yourself into eating a bit less. That way it’s a little more painless and you won’t actually realise anything is majorly different. Try to think of little things you can change that will reduce the amount of food you consume, without severely compromising your tastes or the joy of eating!