Nutrition Health Review


Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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Page 19 of 27

Nutrition Health Review consume another meal. When it comes to exercise, conserving energy was a priority of our past because we needed energy to be available to fight, work, farm, or travel long distances. Things have changed radically. In the last few generations, calorie-dense, high-fat food has become abundant, and there is very little need in the lives of modern human beings to expend large amounts of energy. The result is that now we need to restrict our food intake and force ourselves to exercise to maintain health. If this theory makes sense, then you may agree with what happens next. Since "dieting" or "working out" are relatively new concepts for human beings, it is as if we are going against our own instincts, and something very interesting happens. Our minds begin to work against us, too. We actually become our own worst enemy. Our minds actually send us messages that give us long lists of really good reasons to stop dieting and exercising. Many psychologists believe we are "hard-wired" to say YES to food and NO to exercise. When we try to say no to food and yes to exercise, we are actually going against human nature. This is why self-talk is important. When it is time for a workout, our minds will begin to go through a list of possible reasons that allow us to skip that workout. Almost everyone's mind works in this way. Call them "excuses" because that is the purpose they serve. For example, we will search for a good reason to consume the foods we know are not on our diets. Have you ever said to yourself, "Well, it is a special occasion. I'll just have a little bit of the cake." Or with exercise, one might say, "It is cold outside. I can't work out in the cold." Then tomorrow there is another reason. Many times, the excuses may be true. The gym may be very expensive, or it may be very cold outside. That's not why they are excuses. They are called excuses because we don't find a way around them. We don't exercise inside if it is cold. We let the excuses stop us from exercising. Accept that excuse-making is normal, natural, and part of life. Your challenge it to learn to ignore the excuses by overriding them through positive self- talk and behavioral strategies. Those who successfully achieve and maintain their healthy lifestyle goals are the ones who learn to recognize the excuses and decide to ignore them. You will want to listen to them. Learning to override them is one of the most important keys to long-term success. Let's consider two different scenarios: 1. Mary gets out of bed and takes a shower. Afterward she looks in the mirror and says to herself, "You look disgusting. How could you ever go out in public looking like this?" Her self-talk will now influence how she feels. She will likely leave for work feeling down, self-conscious, negative about the day, and not motivated to eat properly or exercise. As her day progresses and lunch approaches, she may make poor choices, asking herself, "What difference does it make anyway?" In the afternoon she has a big piece of her coworker's birthday cake, rationalizing, "This will be my last piece. I'm really going to hit the diet hard tomorrow." When she gets home she does not exercise, deciding, "The day's shot. I'll start again tomorrow." This cycle perpetuates itself as she feels even worse the next day. 2. Mary gets out of bed and takes a shower. Afterward she looks in the mirror and says to herself, "You look strong. You will take care of yourself today, and tomorrow you will be even stronger and healthier. You're a winner." Her self-talk will now influence how she feels. She will likely leave for work feeling better about herself and more motivated to eat properly and possibly exercise. When lunchtime approaches, she again uses positive self-talk by saying to herself, "A healthy lunch will make you feel better, lose a little weight, and you're worth it." She orders an appropriate lunch. Later, at the company birthday party, she says no thank-you to the cake because she tells herself, "It's not worth the calories. You'd have to walk three miles to walk that off." When she gets home, she is tired from a hard day, but says to herself, "You can manage 30 minutes of walking. You'll feel better than if you skip it." This cycle perpetuates itself as she feels better the next day. CHANGING NEGATIvE SELF- TALK TO MORE REALISTIC TALK At times, our negative self-talk becomes completely unrealistic. 20 Self-talk, continued from page 18 Continued on page 22 * Y o u w i l l s u c c e e d !

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