Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Things that make us go Hmmmm?

When I am looking for TOPS meeting topics, it is often confusing because of the massive amounts of information that are available at, quite literally, the tips of my fingers.  But how do you separate fact from fiction and the long-term advice that will serve you well over the long haul (because weight loss is a never ending battle, even if you are at your goal) from the latest fad that has popped up.  How do you believe what you read today when it seems to contradict what you read last week?  One week coffee is good for you – the next its not.  Last year eggs and dairy were the enemy and this year they are the best items to include on your list of healthy things to eat.

How do you wade through all the crap so that you can make wise and informed decisions that are not going to derail all your best efforts?

In a previous post I mentioned my accumulation of odds and ends about weight loss, specifically, and good health in general.  Each of the little bits of paper contains a nugget of information that is generally pretty good, thought provoking and interesting or sometimes, downright unbelievable.  All of the pieces sight authors, researchers, well-respected research facilities or doctors of one ilk or another.  None of the bits and pieces of scrap paper amount to a meeting topic in themselves, so I combined them to have a meeting I called “Hmmmm?”  Basically it was nothing more than an open discussion about the information and hopefully a consensus of “yes, I believe that” or “I’m not sure, but it couldn’t hurt” right down to “nope, I call BS”.

So, for your enjoyment (I hope) here are the “tidbits” that we discussed in our TOPS meeting.  I’ll include our general consensus on the item(s) but you make up your own mind … yeah!  maybe?  or BS.

So 250 food decisions ... our consensus was that this was very possible.  So with one decision down, here are 19 more to add to your total today.

Since we are all members of our TOPS group we all agreed that it was easier to stay on a healthy eating plan when you have friends or a group supporting you.  Our consensus … yes!

We all agreed that being informed about food choices and diet advice would be beneficial to staying on a diet.  Our consensus … being informed NEVER hurts.

 We were ambivalent on this one.  Those in our group who enjoy working out were adamant that it is an important part of any weight loss effort.  Those in our group who do not enjoy working out were relieved at the findings of the Brigham Young University Study but we all agreed that weight loss is the constant battle of calories in versus calories out (‘cause that has been drilled into our subconscious) so working out MUST be beneficial to losing weight.  The wording in the little blurb is deceptive though.  It states “researchers found that when it comes to KEEPING WEIGHT OFF” and that makes it sound like advice for someone who has already reached their goal weight.  We agreed that this advice might be accurate for, as they say, “KEEPING WEIGHT OFF”, but one needs to add exercise to the effort to get there!  Our consensus … this holds merit under certain circumstances.

 Sunlight is wonderful as a mood booster and being in a positive frame of mind certainly helps when one is trying to achieve any goal.  Our consensus … this advice falls firmly into the category of “couldn’t hurt” but one should not rely solely on sunshine to burn calories!

 Our group had the same feeling about this advice as the sunshine advice … a good mood certainly never hurts no matter what your endeavor.  We are all emotional eaters to some extent with some people eating more when they are happy and some people turning to food for comfort when they are sad or stressed.  Our consensus … yes, good advice!

 There is not doubt that the mind is a powerful thing and there is a reason we have the saying “mind over matter”, but unless you are The Amazing Kreskin, Uri Geller or David Copperfield “thinking the pounds away” is not going to whittle your waistline.  Our consensus on this one … we called BS!  (Note the honourable mention to deep breathing ... it comes up again later)

 It may not be possible to “think away pounds” but it is definitely possible to “think away cravings” by focusing on the positive outcome after making an eating decisions.  Our consensus on this one … absolutely yes, focusing on the upsides of resisting a craving will definitely “boost your willpower”.

We all liked this advice very much.  It is sound and made sense to all of us.  Focus on small attainable goals so as not to be overwhelmed by the scope of what you are trying to accomplish.  It also has built-in positive reinforcement.  Out consensus on this … definitely true!

 Everyone in the group seemed to remember a fitness program that was based on deep breathing exercises.  I personally remember trainers and coaches constantly talking about the concept of proper breathing.  Our consensus … proper breathing is important but don’t rely on deep breathing exercises alone to rev your weight loss …so, couldn’t hurt!

 We discussed how everyone backslides at one time or another and everyone has a cheat by indulging in a treat once in a while.  Our group agreed that any sensible eating plan is going to fail if you forbid yourself certain foods, so we agreed that if you simply cannot do without a treat you have to build it in to your eating plan.  The best piece of advice came at the bottom of the second article, “Bottom line: Be kind to yourself, even when you give in to a craving – it’s better than beating yourself up about it.”  Our consensus … everything can be part of a sensible eating plan in moderation so this was good advice.

 Some in our group have never played a video game and others (myself included) are recovering Bejeweled Blitz/Candy Crush/Jewel Star addicts so the whole get involved in a video game did not resonate.  We did all agree on the fact that focusing your mind on another activity or activity will definitely curb cravings (if it does not curb your “craving” then you need to consider the fact that you may actually be “hungry”).  Our consensus … good advice!

We all agreed that paying with cash makes you more aware of what you are purchasing because it limits the amount of “impulse items” you can throw into your shopping cart so you will stick to your shopping list and buy less.  We did not, however, agree that it would necessarily lead you to buy “healthier, less fattening food – with out even realizing it”.  Our consensus … not so much!

Well, that was all we had time for in our meeting, but we had a lot of fun and these little tidbits added some lively discussion to the meeting.  I think we’ll definitely being doing to again … which of course means there will be being posted here too.

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