Tag Archives: weight control

Why Are You Eating So Fast?

shutterstock_59586415I eat fast. I admit it. There is anxiety associated with eating if you have a weight problem and sometimes you just want to get the eating over with so you can reduce that anxiety. It’s stress, and guilt, and fear all rolled into one strange feeling when sitting down, or in many cases, standing up to eat. It’s almost like if I eat it quickly, it doesn’t count.

For me, I grew up with four younger brothers and so meal times were often frenzied. With five of us and me being the only girl, they would often be done before me and start eyeing my plate. “Are you going to eat that?” I get the same feeling at restaurants when the busboy starts coming around again and again to see if you’re done yet. It makes me want to protect my plate and eat faster so I can finally say YES, I’m done.

Several studies have shown that eating fast causes us to take in more calories and feel less satisfied after eating than eating slowly.

In this small study using ice cream, researchers measured the amount consumed in 5 minutes vs. 30 minutes and also measured the gut hormones that tell the brain we are full and satisfied. The sensors that tell us we are full come from the intestines and not the stomach. This is important to know and why it takes up to twenty minutes for your brain to understand that you are full and satisfied. It’s an odd design nature. You will feel pressure from your stomach when it’s full, and/or too full, but that is different than feeling sated.

This study also found that eating slowly led to taking in less calories and feeling more satisfied after eating. They used 30 healthy women.

In the largest study I could find, from Japan, they used over 3,000 people and they also found that eating quickly correlated with taking in more calories and higher rates of obesity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18940848

So why are we rushing?

There are the feelings of guilt and anxiety surrounding eating, I talked about, and there is also our fast food, fast moving culture. It’s different in other countries. In France, for example, they take time with their meals. They savor their food. They eat smaller portions and they are thinner than Americans, in general. They also walk a lot.

We eat at our desks, drive or take public transportation everywhere and then stop at the drive-thru on the way home and eat that in the car before we even get home. Or eat in front of the TV or computer and pay almost no attention to what, or how much, we are taking in.

So, how can we change?

It’s not easy to change a habit like eating speed. It becomes ingrained very early on, however, it can be done.

I use hypnosis with my patients in my private practice. This seems to really help both with the anxiety around eating and with remembering your goal to be at a healthy weight.

You can use self-hypnosis, meditation, exercise, relaxing music, candlelight, etc… to create a feeling of calm around your meals.

For many of us, who are too hyper to do those things, you can make certain rules for yourself. For example, no eating standing up or in front of the refrigerator. No eating in the car. I have to put my fork down after each bite, etc… These small changes can add up to big weight loss over time. In fact, just the other day I was doing this. I had a leftover piece of salmon and some fresh steamed spinach. Yum! I was eating slowly, enjoying it, and about halfway through, I realized I was comfortable and didn’t need any more. I hate to waste food, especially salmon, and since it was already leftover, I couldn’t save it again. So, rather than give my body food it didn’t need, I gave it to my dog. She was thrilled and I saved myself all those calories.

The paradox for many of us with weight issues is that we think we really love food and love to eat, but if we really did why don’t we take the time to enjoy it? To pay attention? To savor each delicious bite?

Ask yourself those questions and let me know what answers you come up with.

Meanwhile, slow down and fully enjoy your food!

That’s it for now. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing.

7 Habits For A Healthier Happier Life

The Olympics make you think you need a perfect 10 for a gold medal. But life’s Olympics only require a 7 for the gold.

For years I’ve been teaching my patients about these 7 points; and now the American Heart Association (AHA) has studied these 7 metrics that will determine how long and how well you will live. That’s right – get these 7 habits and metrics right and you will significantly lower your risk of death. Here they are:

  1. Don’t smoke — and if you are a smoker, quit within 12 months of starting
  2. Maintain a BMI of less than 25
  3. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and fiber-rich whole grains. Eat less than 1,500 mg per day of sodium. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
  4. Get moderate or vigorous physical at least 150 minutes per week.
  5. Keep total serum cholesterol below 200 mg/dL
  6. Maintain systolic blood pressure (top number)  of less than 120 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of less than 80 mmHg
  7. Keep fasting blood glucose to less than 100 mg/dL or Hemoglobin A1C < 5.7%.

These seven habits and metrics were based on following 7,622 adults who only had to be 20 years old or more. The researchers then looked at how many of these seven things people met and reported on their likelihood of death.

People who met 5 or more of these 7 metrics had a 78% reduction in dying from any cause and an 88% reduction in dying from heart attack and stroke.

In particular, not smoking or stop smoking for 12 months (that’s right – quit for a year or more and it increases your life span), Hemoglobin A1C < 5.7%, peoples diets and how much they exercised mattered most.

How many of these 7 habits and metrics do you meet? The more you can integrate these 7 habits you into your life, the longer and healthier you will live.

And the sooner you get these metrics and habits in place, the better.

In another study of 2,327 college-educated men and women at least 60 years of age, the investigators studied 3 lifestyle risk factors for death and disability over 20 years:

  • BMI > 25 kg/m2
  • Current smoking
  • Physical inactivity – never exercising enough to work up a sweat.

So this is your triathlon; control your weight, don’t smoke or stop smoking and keep physically active, and you will delay having a disability for 8.3 years and reduce your likelihood of dying.

Now that’s Olympic Gold.

Click Here to get free access to my Health Accelerator video series and learn more tips and tests on how to stay well and how to prepare for your annual exam.

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photo by: *Micky

Beating Yourself Up is Fattening

keep-calm-and-don-t-beat-yourself-upSo it’s a new year  and you have decided to change a few things. That’s fabulous!  Now can you do that without getting down on yourself for the way things are? If you can, you are in the minority. If you can’t, you might end up not changing a thing.
Let’s take “Michelle” (not her real name) for example. Michelle is a client of mine who has gained and lost vast amounts of weight during her 58 years on the planet. She has been up and down over 100 lbs. several times. Michelle had finally been successful at losing 150 pounds and maintaining that loss for several years. She did this by writing down everything she ate, counting calories and exercising. Very hard work but well worth the effort. Michelle loved being thin and looking great. She went shopping, dancing, dated and was out there having a great time.
Then, someone broke her heart. Yes, her thin heart.   Even though she was looking her absolute best, someone she really like rejected her. This was devastating to Michelle. She had spent much of her life as the fat girl and expected rejection. But to be rejected when she was looking her best was not something she was equipped to handle emotionally. So she began using the only trusty coping skill she had when things were at their worst. Eating. She put on 50 pounds before she was ready and willing to stop and start reversing the trend.
During her weight gain phase, Michelle was very mean to herself. She would say things like, “You fat slob. If you think men didn’t like you thin, what will they think now.” “You have gained back 40 pounds. How could you let that happen? What’s wrong with you?” “You will never date again….”   Michelle was very adept at beating herself up as she had done so her entire life.
If you want to change your weight, or any bad habit, beating yourself up is never a good option. To change we need energy. We need to feel hopeful, positive and powerful. If you are busy using that energy to hurt yourself you are swimming upstream.
Try, instead, to start right now anew. This day, this moment, is your first and you can change anything you like right now! Change your self beating by being present now and catching yourself next time you start those thoughts. STOP them and redirect your thoughts to what you are doing right now to make things better. Try it today and see what happens.

Santa’s 5 Health Intents for 2012

The rumor is true.

Santa has officially traded in his cookie plate for a fruit and veggie platter.

The decision came just hours after the red clad, white trimmed Christmas icon received his recent medical report from his doctor. It seems that both his weight and blood sugar were a little elevated. Turns out that Santa is under a lot of stress trying to make enough toys for all the kids. And with the down economy and all the sitting at work and on his sleigh, his belly fat finally drifted just a wee bit to far over his large black belt.

I finally caught up with Santa at his North Pole residence. Overall, he was taking it quite well. His view is that he’s in it for the long haul and if he wants to continue his annual trek around the world, he’s got to make a few lifestyle changes. So here are Santa’s 5 Christmas intents he asked me to share with you.

  1. Drink one less soda or sweetened drink per day.

Turns out the average American drinks nearly 60 gallons of soda yearly. Every 12 ounces can contains 12 teaspoons of sugar. Santa said if he drinks just one less soda or sweetened drink each day for a year he will lose 10 pounds. It’s that simple. He’s cutting down on diet sodas too. The artificial sugar in those drinks fools your body into secreting more insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that transfers sugar from the bloodstream into your cells. Without the sugar to transfer, the extra insulin causes an increase in the amount of fat that is stored in your belly and the acidity of diet sodas can rob your teeth of calcium. I call sodas liquid candy and you can watch a music video that explains why at http://www.doctorseibel.com/weight-control/.

2.   Add one fruit or vegetable per day to your diet.

Santa is trading in his plate of cookies for a fruit and veggie platter. Both the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association recommend eating a total of at least 5 fruits or vegetables daily. Fruits and vegetables help lower the risk of both cancer and heart disease. Santa admitted he didn’t love the taste of fruits and vegetables. But here is a trick. Try tasting the new one at least 12 different times. Even if you only eat one bite, repeating the tasting allows almost everyone to learn to like a new taste. Try it. You may be surprised that you’ve found a new great dish that you really enjoy and is great for your health. Just adding one fruit or vegetable daily can make a difference. Don’t be afraid of a squash! For a change, Santa is also snacking on a handful of walnuts. They’re full of omega-3 fatty acids and really good for your heart, joints and brain.

3.  Move more.

Sorry to disappoint you but Santa is actually making some of his deliveries on foot. He still gets to your neighborhood via reindeer but he parks his sleigh a bit further away from the house and walks the rest of the way.  Sometimes he walks up one flight of stairs or down two instead of taking an elevator. He even walks up the escalator. And I though this was very clever of Santa. When he’s on the phone, he doesn’t sit down. He stands and keeps moving. Even when he meets with his chief elf for a staff meeting, they take a walk together rather than sit. His goal is to work his way up to 10,000 steps each day. He said if someone wants to buy him a gift, he’d like a pedometer. It counts your steps and usually costs between $10 and $25. Hear a snippet of my song 10,000 Steps from the award winning Let’s Move CD at http://www.doctorseibel.com/lets-move-cd/.

4.  Find Quiet Time in your day.

According to Santa, this was a really difficult one. We all live hectic lives that never seem to slow down. Now, once or twice a day, Santa finds a quiet spot in a pleasant location. He takes a slow deep breath through his nose, holds it for 5 seconds, and lets it out slowly through his mouth. Doing that for even one minute begins to relax him. He says it didn’t take long to work his way up to 5 or 10 minutes once or twice daily. Santa Clause was amazed at how relaxed it made him feel. I’ve made a similar suggestion to smokers: try inhaling only air and leave out the cigarette. Make this is smoke free quiet time.

5.  Improve your sleep.

Santa told me that he struggles to get enough sleep. But now he knows that sleep plays a major role in his health, mood and productivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most people need between 7 and 8 hours per twenty-four hours but most Americans get just over 6 hours per night. Here are some simple tips that help Santa sleep better.

  • Starting at least 30 minutes before your bedtime, turn off all electronics.
  • Find a quiet spot and either read a book, listen to relaxing music, or talk with friends or family. It’s a great way to settle down and get ready for bed and it will likely help you drift off to sleep. Sleep not only keeps you rested and more alert and productive, it also helps control your weight.
  • Santa has just installed room darkening shades which help a lot
  • Santa never works in his bed. He just uses it for sleep and ___.  Santa asked me not to print the other thing he and Mrs. Clause use their bed for.
  • While we are sleeping, hormones are produced that curb our appetites and keep us from feeling hungry. Ever think sleep was an important part of your weight control? It is. For a free sleep diary to see if you are getting enough sleep, go to http://www.doctorseibel.com/sleep/.

These 5 tips are something everyone can do, even Santa. They’re simple and they will make a great difference in getting your health jump started in the New Year. And they are working for Santa. For a free download of a relaxing bedtime song, go to www.HealthRockWomen.com/podcasts. I’ve made one of my original songs, Sun Ra Lullaby, available for you to help you relax as you drift off to sleep. It’s off my award winning Lullabies for Kids of All Ages CD. It’s not just for kids. Enjoy!

Health authority and guest speaker Dr. Mache Seibel addresses consumers critical needs from weight control to HRT, menopause and beyond. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty 19 years and is a pioneer in many areas of women’s health. He works with companies and organizations to bring exciting educational content to consumers. Visit his award-winning website www.DoctorSeibel.com to sign up for his free monthly newsletter. Buy his latest book: Save Your Life: What To Do In A Medical Emergency.

Should There Be a Cholesterol Registry? What Should It Do?

Love of food is important, like love of self.  And you can have and should have both.

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has documented exactly what

 people do who have lost weight and kept it off.  Over 5000 people have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.

The research of the weight control registry helps me coach my clients to lon

g term weight loss too. I use it every day both in ChefMD online and Chef Clinic.

Because so many of my patients have lowered their LDL cholesterol levels by 50% and raised their HDLs by 40% with diet and lifestyle changes, I thought it might be helpful to create a site like NWCR which told the stories of people who have been successful, including changing the shape and size of their cholesterol, from unhealthy to healthy.

Chef Clinic is teaming up with nutrition firm Provident Clinical Research to work together to make this a reality.  If you’re in the Chicago area, Provident is offering free cholesterol screenings currently.

I mention the idea of a cholesterol registry in my first PBS Special, raising money for public TV. It airs this month beginning Saturday March 5 (it’s called "Eat and Cook Healthy with Dr John La Puma"); follow @EatCookHealthy for local #PBS broadcast times a few hours before air time’ pledge gifts include Super Healthy Combo package; 75 second video/pledge link preview here: http://vimeo.com/20618658).

What should a cholesterol registry do? Should it do research, offer testing, tell best stories, create or rank supplements, give best recipes, or give discounts on meds and tests? What would be your intent?


Can’t Lose Weight?

Of course you can but maybe you are stuck. The contemplation stage of change is often the most uncomfortable. You are aware you need to lose weight but aren’t yet ready, willing and/or able to do it. 
Honor this stage. It is part of the change process. Where some people come out of denial, realize they have a weight issue and attack it immediately;  far more spend some time deciding how to go about it. They may even go back into denial and decide their weight problem isn’t really that bad. They may try a few things briefly and then give up.   During this period of time people report a lot of self-loathing and depression. They hate the way they look and feel but think and feel that they are powerless to change it. They have thoughts like: "No matter what I do, I can’t lose weight." "All I eat is salad and I’m still fat." "I give up." "I tried (insert any diet, diet program, etc…here) and it didn’t work for me." "It’s genetic so I may as well just accept it." 
My research and experience on this shows that there is a wide range of time spent in this stage. There are those who spend little or no time here and are immediately in action mode. There are some who have spent 15 or more years in this stage. There are also those who lost weight, gained it back and went back to this stage after having been successful at weight loss in the past.
I was in this stage myself and it was truly awful. I did move out of it and have maintained a 50 pound weight loss for 20 years. You can too. Think about moving into problem solving mode. Try thinking about your weight as if it were a problem that could be solved. Try taking the emotion out of it and just use logic, education, planning and action. You can do it!

If you’d like to participate in the research for Irene’s new book about the process of weight loss, please take the survey. 

Loving You Body at Any Weight


Losing weight is not about hating the body you have right now.  It is about appreciating and loving that very body.  Within its own physical limitations, this body has been a wonderful and loving servant of your will. 


Your body is the point through which you experience all of your thoughts and feelings, all of your physical sensations and perceptions of the world around you.  Your body is the point through which you experience the entire reality of your life.  It is the one thing that you’ll always have with you from birth until the end of your life.  It deserves your love no matter what condition it is in at this given time. 


Your body is not your enemy; it is not working against you.  The body does not act  independently from your treatment of it.  Your body only responds to the way you treat it.  It reflects the care that you give it.  If you feed it foods that cause it to gain weight, it will respond by gaining weight.  If you exercise, it will become more efficient and toned.  It is a loving servant of your will within its individual limitations. 


Losing weight and becoming more fit can be done for no one else but for yourself.  Those members of your family and friends who have been urging you to lose weight love you and have your best interest at heart, but their urging alone is not enough if you are to succeed.  If you are not motivated on your own and are only bending to their demands, then you’ll only end up resenting those people who love you and sabotaging your efforts at losing weight. 


To succeed at losing weigh, you must realize that you are the one in control of your decisions and life.  Losing weight is a process rather than an event.  As with all processes, the movement forward is built upon a foundation of successes and setbacks.  Our setbacks can be as valuable as our successes and are opportunities for learning more about ourselves and our desires.  Learning from our setbacks allows us to move closer to the success we desire.


It takes determination to lose weight.  Unhealthy eating habits and lifestyles are not easy to overcome.  It is both a physical and emotional sacrifice you must make when it comes to achieving your desired weight goals.  The result of a sacrifice is to make something sacred.  When you change your eating habits and adopt a healthy exercise program, you perform a sacrifice that symbolizes to yourself, and those around you, that your health and quality of life are sacred to you. 


In some Native American tribes, it was called upon young members to make a sacrifice to achieve recognition of adulthood.  Often, that sacrifice involved a ritual of scaring the body.  The sacrifice you may endure on your journey to achieving your desired weight can be as meaningful to your psyche as any scar left upon the body and deserves to be honored and respected. 


A scar represents pain and injury; it also represents a capacity to heal and grow beyond what has been.  Scar material is always stronger than what existed before. 


You may have begun over eating as a response to medicating yourself from a painful emotional experience.  Food became a way of pacifying bad feelings.  Eating is a comforting and soothing experience that takes us back to younger days when we were children and a loving parent soothed our feelings with food. 


By choosing to lose weight, you have chosen a sacrifice that symbolically moves you beyond the immaturity of your youth.  It may be viewed as a rite of passage into adulthood. 


For a sacrifice to have meaning, it must be a personal choice made by you alone.  True sacrifice is not an imprisonment, but rather, it is the ultimate expression of your free will and that is to be honored and revered.





Ride Bicycle for a Healthy Heart…Especially if You are Retired

Staying in shape after retirement can de difficult without a regular exercise program.  Bicycling, like walking is a wonderful, simple form of exercise that you can do almost anywhere, anytime. They are both great aerobic exercises that strengthen the cardiovascular system as well as muscles and bones. Pedaling is actually better than walking in some ways. It will burn considerably more calories in the same time period.


Are You a Compulsive Overeater?


Compulsive overeating is characterized by an obsessive compulsive relationship to food. It is the sister to binge eating disorder, where one eats large amounts of food, sometimes 5,000 calories or more, rapidly. Most people with these disorders feel out of control when they eat, eat alone due to shame, eat really fast, don’t savor the food and get high from the serotonin that is produced in the brain. Following the high there is guilt and depression, which can lead to another eating episode to try and feel better again. This same syndrome, when accompanied by purging, is called bulimia. 
Why some people suffer from this, and others don’t, we are still learning about. Since we are just now able to look at different genes, and experiment with turning them off and on, there are daily and amazing advances that I hope will lead us to a cure. Meanwhile, if you suffer from these issues, there is hope and treatment. 
Most compulsive overeaters are not food connoisseurs. While it may seem like the problem is loving food too much, what we find is that it is really the love of the “high” they get from eating certain foods, in large quantities. Not the food itself. People who really love food tend to: eat slowly, are very selective about what they eat and tend not to eat past the point of full. Compulsive overeaters eat way past the point of full. Some I have worked with have consumed up to 60,000 calories in one day. 
Compulsive overeating and binge eating disorders are serious problems with the complications from each potentially fatal. If you suffer from these problems, a combination of talk therapy, medicinal and nutritional interventions have proven to be the best treatment. With help, it is possible to recover.  
I have personally suffered from compulsive overeating and exercise bulimia. Although the severity was less than in some, it was still a very difficult problem to overcome. It becomes like an addiction, and/or a very bad habit that is entrenched and resistant to change. While a cigarette smoker can quit, and an alcoholic can never drink again, a person with an eating disorder has to learn to manage food. This is very difficult, but completely possible.
Please share your story with us. If you, or someone you love, suffers from these serious problems. Your story might just help someone else.
If you’d like to participate in the research for Irene’s new book about the process of weight loss, please visit www.eatingdisordertherapist.com and take the survey.


Mindful Not Eating

Have you ever found yourself standing in front of the refrigerator, looking for something to eat? You look and realize there is nothing in there you want and leave the kitchen, only to return maybe ten minutes later. You open the refrigerator again, look around, close, and repeat ten minutes later? As if something would magically appear in there that wasn’t there a few minutes before, even though you are home alone? One of my clients actually counted the number of times she opened and looked in one day and it was 72. She only ate 5 of those 72 times, but she was trolling a lot. 

I was playing this little refrigerator game myself one day when I realized that what I was looking for was not in the fridge. Not only was it not in there but it wasn’t going to be in there because I wasn’t hungry. I was trolling for food because I was looking for something to do. I might have been bored, or in need of a break if I was working on a project. I might have needed to make a call that I didn’t want to make and was using the idea of food as a stalling technique. Whatever it was, it had nothing to do with being hungry and needing to fuel my body. It is completely appropriate to eat when your body needs fuel but not when you need something fun to do.
I remember watching the sitcom Mad About You years ago and Helen Hunt’s character is trolling in the kitchen. She tries the refrigerator, the cupboards and finally in frustration says, “There is nothing fun to eat.” That line stayed with me. Eating for fun, eating to fill time, eating to take a break, eating to dull feelings, eating for the hell of it, all contribute to our weight problems. If we all only ate when we were hungry (and not too hungry), ate mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, stopped when we were no longer hungry vs. full and/or stuffed, there would be little if any morbid obesity in our country. Most of us don’t eat this way.
So to become more aware of why you are eating; before you eat ask yourself this very simple question, “Am I hungry?”
If the answer is no, see if you can do something else besides eat. I recommend writing a list of non-eating, home-based activities you can do when you realize that what you need is something fun to do.
Examples are: knit, garden, call a friend, watch TV, read, internet surf, write in a journal, play computer games, do a jigsaw puzzle, take a hot bath, clean, go through your sock drawer, play guitar (harmonica, learn a new instrument), put all your photos in a scrapbook, paint… Some of my clients have posted their own lists of alternative activities on their fridge, to remind them. 
So to sum up: Before you eat ask yourself if you are hungry. If not, don’t eat. I call this “Mindful Not Eating”.
                        Post a list of non-eating, home-based activities you can do when you are bored, tired, needing a break, wanting to procrastinate, etc…
                        If you are hungry head for fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Stay away from high fat, high calorie processed foods and drinks.
                        Eat until you are no longer hungry. Not until you are full or stuffed.
If you do this you will be amazed at how often you head for food when you are not hungry. You will also learn why you are looking for food and hopefully develop a repertoire of other behaviors to fill that empty space.
That’s it for now. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing.
If you would like to participate in the research for Irene’s new book about the process of weight loss visit http://www.eatingdisordertherapist.com/ and take the survey.
Originally Posted on The Huffington Post


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