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“This year I’m going to stay on my diet and lose weight.” How many years have you made this promise to yourself only to find that you’ve fallen off the weight-loss-band-wagon?

The reasons for blowing your diet are plenty. Favorite excuses include, “I work hard, I deserve a good meal.” “Why should I diet when no one else seems to be worrying about what they’re eating?” and “I’ll never be thin anyway.”

“I’ve used those excuses and plenty of variations,” says Mary D., a social worker in Atlanta. “Every Monday I’d go on a diet. Sometimes I’d last for several days, sometimes a week. But then I’d be off the diet and into the potato chips. I took care of my emotional needs with food. If I was feeling lonely or had a disagreement with one of my children, I’d grab the peanut butter jar and dig in. Food was my salvation.”

Most overeating is not about the belly but the brain. The true key to weight loss and a healthy body is changing the neuro-landscape of the brain. Learn to harness your thoughts and you’ll change the way you behave. And you will lose weight.

Before Mary goes to a party, she says she prepares herself for battle because she knows attitude is everything and it’s mind over matter. “I tell myself, It’s only one party. I can get through it without overeating.” I also limit myself to no more than six snacks, which might include a drink, three shrimps, a piece of cheese, and a brownie. I use the acronym “HALT” on and off throughout the day, which reminds me, “Don’t get too Hungry, too Angry, too Lonely, or too Tired.”

When Jill needs an emotional fix, instead of turning to food she calls a friend, talks to her husband, reads, writes in her journal, takes a walk or prays. “I take heart in knowing that I’m not alone in my struggle with food,” she says.

Carol of St. Louis once wore a size 24. She never weighed herself or exercised, and claims she never denied herself  “anything” when it came to food. But she has now gotten on the weight-loss wagon. Each night after watching a late TV show she calls to leave a message on her therapist’s voice mail. She reports calorie intake and the minutes she spent exercising. “It makes me accountable,” she says. “If I didn’t have to call and report, I know I’d be cheating.”

“I used to think about food and what I was going to eat. Now I think about what it’s going to do to me. “I’ve lost almost 70 pounds–and I’m determined to continue to lose.”

“Last week I told my therapist that I feel so thin. She said that I wasn’t. And that thinking I was thin wasn’t helpful at this point in time. We had a good laugh and made a pact that a year from now I will be thin.”

Are you willing to make the same pact? If so, when will you get started?

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” (a middle grade read) as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” www.doriswildhelmering.com.

 

The critical parent versus the rebellious child: overcoming marital games.

I see a couple in therapy who fight about orange juice. Here’s the way the scenario goes. He says, “Will you stop and get some orange juice for tomorrow morning?” She says, “Sure.”

That night as they are getting into bed, he says, “Did you get my orange juice?” She says, “I forgot. I got too busy. Besides, if it is so important, pick up your own juice.” His response, “I would if you hadn’t told me you were going to get it.”

She then turns the light out in the bedroom and the two of them lie there feeling frustrated and misunderstood. He thinks to himself, “After all I do for her, and I can’t even count on her for juice.” She thinks to herself, “Why can’t he get his own juice if it’s so important?” How often does this type of situation occur? About once or twice a month.

How can they get out of this game? He could decide that he will always be responsible for getting his own juice or she could decide to keep him supplied with juice.

Why won’t they stop playing? Because each of them gets a payoff from this game. Long ago they established a relationship in which he takes the role of the Critical Parent and she plays the role of the Rebellious Child. The juice is simply the excuse for him to act indignant.

In adolescence, this fellow made a decision that most people are incompetent. The juice script allows him to play out his original decision about people: she’s so incompetent she can’t even remember my orange juice.

She, on the other hand, made a decision that men are fools based on the fact that her father was usually drunk and acted foolish. To prove out her decision, she “forgets” the juice and watches her husband act like a fool over a little juice.

Another couple that I see played the same game around vacations, although in there situation she plays the Critical Parent and he plays the Rebellious Child.

Each year about January, he starts talking up a vacation. She responds to his enthusiasm by going to the internet, reading up on vacation spots, and making plans. Come May, he announces that they don’t have enough money for a vacation. She responds with indignation and outrage.

They both operate from the old script that men are supposed to financially take care of women. Neither question the availability of money until feelings are riding high about the upcoming vacation.

The other thing that supports this game is that as a young child this man lost his father. For years he walked around feeling gypped and inadequate. Not being able to provide a vacation for his family helps him re-experience these old familiar feelings.

Here are a few more examples of how one spouse plays Critical Parent and the other plays Rebellious Child:
• When he’s late she gives him lectures on discounting her feelings about being on time.
• She uses his car and leaves the gas tank empty. He writes her nasty notes on the bathroom mirror.
• He wants to keep a running balance in the check book and she doesn’t write down the amounts.
If you recognize yourself, well . . . you’re halfway to giving up your part of the game. The other half is changing your behavior.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” (a middle grade read) as well as, “The Parent Teacher Guide.” www.doriswildhelmering.com.

 

 

Take the following: Are You an Emotional Eater Quiz.

1. Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
2. Do you eat or continue eating even if the food doesn’t taste good?
3. Do you eat when you can’t think of anything else to do?
4. Do you eat after an argument or stressful situation to calm yourself down?
5. Do you eat to reward yourself?
6. Do you keep eating even after you’re full?

Each “yes” indicates that you’re eating in response to your feelings. In other words, the primary reason you’re eating is because of your emotions. The key to getting emotional eating under control is awareness. Before you take a bite, ask yourself: “What am I feeling?” Let yourself feel the feeling for five minutes without eating. Then figure out something else you can do to help relieve it instead of putting yet another bite in your mouth.

 

Visit Doris at www.doriswildhelmering.com.
Check out her middle grade book as well as her parent and teacher guide.

finalcover

The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World will grab the attention of any upper grade or middle school student. Whether interested in science projects, bugs, getting along with others, or motivation, readers are caught up in the story from the first page to the last. Teachers, parents, and counselors will find the book useful to stimulate conversation about difficult topics like bullying, doing well in school, and family illness. Students will love the practical approach to friendship and family. Would make for a great classroom book group discussion!

Dr. Catherine Von Hatten, Educational Consultant, Retired Public School Assistant Superintendent, Teacher, and Principal

Do you realize that your thoughts determine how you behave? If you learn to harness and control your thoughts, you’ll change your behavior. You can change what, when, where, how often and how much you eat, and you will lose weight. And it all starts with harnessing your thoughts. In other words, it’s mind over matter.

One thing you can do is to become an “Impartial Observer” of yourself.

Every time you start to put something in your mouth say, “I am aware.” For example,
I’m aware that I’m eating the rest of my son’s peanut butter sandwich.
I’m aware that I’m going to the freezer for my third bowl of ice cream.
I’m aware that I’m walking down the hall to buy a candy bar from the vending machine.

Becoming aware of your eating is one of the most important ways to stop overeating and get into control of your weight.

Another way to change your brain is to change the way the way you talk to yourself in your head.
For example, instead of saying, “I can’t lose weight. Say I won’t lose weight.” If you say I can’t, you’re putting yourself in a victim position. And you’ll definitely feel helpless to do anything about your weight. If you say I won’t lose weight, you’re now in control. You’re in the driver’s seat. You’re making the decision and at any point you can decide to start working out, watch your food intake and lose weight.

Another change you can make — don’t say, “I’m fat” or “I’m so overweight.” Because if you do, you are defining yourself as a fat person. Say instead, “I carry too much weight on my body.” Now you’ve distanced yourself from your weight. You’ve put it out there and you can do something about it.

Another neuro-linguistic, mind-over-matter technique is to use picture words when you talk to yourself. Instead of saying, “I’m going to be careful at lunch today”, say instead, “I’m going to order a salad with grilled chicken strips. I’ll have the dressing on the side. And I’ll order an espresso for my dessert”.

By using picture words, you can see that lunch sitting there on the table. Right?

Or instead of saying “I’m going to exercise today”, say instead, “I’m going to put on my red tennis shoes, walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and listen to some rock n’ roll”. Now you’ve painted a picture in your head, you can see yourself on the treadmill listening to the radio. And because of this picture, you’re more likely to follow through and do it.

Mental pictures trigger electrochemical changes in your brain that turn your thoughts into action.

Visit Doris at www.doriswildhelmering.com.
Check out her middle grade book as well as her parent and teacher guide.

 
Doris Wild Helmering’s young adult book The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World is ostensibly a story about 12-yr-old Alex who is unmotivated at school but realizes with the help of a sympathetic school counselor that he loves to learn about bugs and worms. However, this book has an unusual twist in that it is also a learning tool that provides essential information about how protein-rich insects and worms can be used to enhance worldwide nutrition.

After a few dark months of recuperating from a serious accident, Alex visits an indoor cricket farm where he encounters terrible smells and overwhelming chirping sounds. He asks a lot of questions and is inspired at the food potential of these loud, malodorous creatures. At first, Alex and his grandmother cook up a few recipes with crickets and worms in their apartment kitchen. Although his mother is at first skeptical, his grandmother, brother, and counselor encourage Alex to think big about his newfound knowledge. After a successful class science project, Alex partners with a company to raise crickets and produce “bug bars” to help feed the world.

This is an engaging tale that rings true regarding a boy’s enthusiasm for insects and application of what he learns to help alleviate world hunger. Illustrations by John Dyess also help make this book rich with visual energy. Endnotes offer readers additional information about the role insects can play in meeting global food needs and activities that encourage children to think more about nutritional protein sources for food.

By offering nuts and bolts information about nutrition in insects, Doris Helmering has provided an unusual twist on the story of a child who doesn’t like school and feels that he is not meant to do anything important. This work would appeal to upper-elementary and middle school students and their parents, and even adult book clubs could enjoy this story within a story and might even be inspired to taste a few crunchy crickets.

Patricia Gregory, PhD — Assistant Dean for Library Assessment Professor, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University

Now Available on Amazon

I asked a friend who is an architect how business was going. He said it was fine except that he had a cash-flow problem because people weren’t paying him fast enough. Then he smiled boyishly and said, “of course, I don’t bill them right away either.”

“How long do you wait until you bill them?” I asked.
Now he laughed sheepishly and said, “oh, about three months after I’ve completed the work.”

“You do your clients no favors.” I said. “People who don’t get billed for three months have already forgotten about that debt because they are on to making new ones. And then when your bill comes, they have to stop and figure out how to make a payment to you.”

“So why do you think I procrastinate?” my friend asked.

“Maybe you have a problem with charging people for services,” I said, “and you don’t think you’re worthy of the money. You’d be surprised how many professionals grapple with this issue.”

“That’s interesting,” he replied. “Have you any other ideas as to why I procrastinate?”

“Maybe you like the stimulation that comes from living on the brink of financial trouble. Or you are testing people to see if they will call and ask about the bill.”

“Why else do you think I procrastinate?” urged my friend.

Not able to resist, I went on, for I like to play, “I’m only trying to help you.”

“Maybe you had a parent that procrastinated and modeled for you that way of behaving. You just never learned how to be a self-starter. Or you procrastinate because that’s the way you learned to express your anger. Procrastination is passive-aggressive behavior, you know.”

“But what do you think is the real, underlying reason for my procrastination?” my friend queried.
“Maybe you’re not supposed to be more successful than your father, so you procrastinate to keep yourself less successful. Or you’re afraid to fail, so you don’t complete a project.”

“Why else?” he demanded.
“Could it be,” I mused, “that always asking ‘why’ is in itself a form of procrastination?”

“Let’s change the subject,” laughed my good-natured friend.

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