When people ask me about my book, Healing Depression, I often predict that successful counselors of the future will be more like spiritual scientists who convince their clients to adopt love, forgiveness, and kindness by explaining how their every thought affects the chemistry of the body.
The same could be said of successful weight-loss counselors. Many people fail to comprehend how their stress level and the way they think affects the body chemistry that drives overeating. Next time your will power goes down the drain, HALT overeating. Ask:
Have I let myself get too Hungry?
Am I Angry?
Do I feel Lonely?
Am I really just Tired?
Each of these feelings affects the body’s level of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and/or serotonin, a neurotransmitter. The function of cortisol is to raise blood sugar. So guess what happens when your cortisol level goes up? One major side effect is that you feel like eating. Rats with low serotonin will eat forever – they lack the chemical ability to feel satisfied. So how do you HALT overeating?
Plan small, frequent meals throughout the day to balance your blood sugar and keep cortisol levels under control.
Five minutes of pure anger raises cortisol levels for six hours. If you want to be thin, learn how to control your temper. Forgive.
Seek out positive companionship. One of the most common biochemical markers of loneliness and depression is a high cortisol level.
Get enough rest. Lack of sleep will depress your serotonin level. Yoga will raise serotonin and energy levels.
The Mind-Body Connection and Blood Sugar
In case there is any doubt that how you think can have a direct, immediate effect on your appetite, now comes the latest research from the Medical College of Ohio about diabetics.
Scientists at the university found that diabetics suffering from high levels of depression, anxiety and stress had the most difficulty in decreasing their blood sugar.
Subjects who practiced relaxation methods were able to lower their blood sugar 9-12 percent. Those who did no relaxation therapy saw no change.
Message: To improve your body, you must improve your peace of mind.
Easy, Fast and Realistic:
Client Success with Ann Lindner
Who says you have to be under 40, male, or work out like a maniac and starve yourself for days to lose a lot of weight quickly?
Ann Lindner doesn’t. In 16 days, Ann lost 10 lbs. “It’s been very easy, and I’ve had more energy and less cravings,” she says, “just following your instructions.”
Although her husband is a gourmet cook and she used to enjoy fancy late-night feasts, I advised Ann to eat a good variety of healthy foods earlier in the day and switch to eating dinner by 6 p.m. Her exercise program: personal training with me twice a week, and aerobic workouts on her home treadmill for just 20 minutes every other day.
Asked what advice she would give others, Ann says:
“Write everything down.”
“Tell people what you weigh and what you are going to weigh. I told my closest friends and family, and they think it‘s impossible, so I have to do it!”
“Use positive affirmations.”
Every day when she keeps her food diary, Ann writes an affirmation about the size of the outfits she’d like to wear at Christmas. To reinforce those thoughts, she tries on clothes she once had trouble fitting into. Best of all: “I feel more in control.”
Join Me on the Radio
The new edition of Healing Depression: A Holistic Guide will be out in bookstores by mid-November. Already, the publicity has started with two hour-long, live, radio call-in shows in Phoenix, Arizona, and Providence, R.I.
Joe McFarland, a board member of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation, is highlighting people around the country who are innovating the Brain Gym work. He asked to interview me about my research on Brain Gym and depression, and about how I integrate simple elements of these mind-body techniques into my usual fitness workouts with my clients.
If there is a question about holistic treatments for depression or mind-body fitness that you would like to ask for the benefit of listeners around the country, call toll-free, (877) 433-5369 on Monday, Oct. 18, or Monday, Oct. 25, between 12 and 1 p.m.
Tuesdays, All Levels, McDonough Hall
Wednesdays, Level II – Brides Room
Thursdays, Level I – McDonough Hall
Where: Yoga classes are held at 4465 Northside Drive. Tuesday and Thursday classes are in McDonough Hall, the parish hall for Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Wednesday classes are located in the bride’s room.
How Much: $15 per class, or $50 a month for either the Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday class; $65 unlimited classes
To sign up, or for more information, call 404-350-858
Total Fitness for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit “Yoga transforms you by opening up the physical and mental binds that block your potential, limiting your life.” Joel Kramer, American hatha yoga master.