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I’m a Psychotherapist Who Sets 30-Day Challenges Instead of Long-Term Goals. Here’s Why

As a psychotherapist, I spend a fair amount of time completing paperwork that convinces insurance companies to pay for someone’s mental health treatment.

In order to help people get their services covered, I have to help patients answer questions like, “How do you hope your life will be different in 90 days?”

Asking people with a mental health problem to look that far ahead can feel like torture. People struggling with depression often can’t see 10 minutes into the future, let alone 3 months down the road.

And individuals experiencing anxiety are often consumed with the future–and they’re usually making catastrophic predictions. They might imagine themselves losing their jobs, becoming homeless, or contracting a rare disease all within the next three months.

But even if you aren’t experiencing a mental health issue, pinpointing how your life will be different 90 days in advance is tough.

Establishing a 30-day challenge can be a more effective way to create positive change. In fact, 30-day challenges (or sometimes 30-day experiments) are how I stay motivated to reach my goals–especially my fitness goals.

Most recently, I set out to see if I could get six-pack abs in 30 days. I hired Robert Brace, a fitness trainer who is known for getting people in shape fast, to help me reach my goal.

And just as he promised, over the course of one month, I saw my formerly flabby stomach morph into a muscular set of abdominal muscles. Almost every day, I could see progress, and it helped me stay on track to reach my goal.

Had I set out to do the same challenge in 90 days, I’m certain it wouldn’t have worked. Having more time would have led to fewer results. Not only do I know this from personal experience and anecdotal evidence from my therapy clients, but science also backs up this notion.

Your Brain Is Designed for 30-Day Challenges

Studies show our brains view time according to either “now deadlines” or “someday deadlines.” And “now deadlines” often fall within this calendar month.

For example, if you have a project due at the end of the month, studies show that you’re likely to start working on it earlier in the month, because your brain tells you that your deadline is looming. You’ll prioritize the project as something that is due “now.”

If however, that same project is due at the beginning of the next month, your brain will categorize it as a “later project”–even if the calendar is set to roll over to the next month within a few days

You’re more likely to procrastinate when it comes to working on the goals you categorize as “later.”

So whether you’re trying to quit smoking, or you want to lose weight, your brain will categorize a 90-day goal as something you can work on later. And if you don’t start out filled with motivation and momentum right from the beginning, you aren’t likely to pick up steam as time passes.

Why 30-Day Challenges Work So Well

Whether your goal is to pay down debt, or you want to start going to the gym, design your own 30-day challenge. In addition to your brain viewing it as a “now” goal, you’re more likely to succeed because:

  • You won’t have time for excuses. When you have a short-term goal, there isn’t time to take days off because you feel tired. And you don’t have time to make up missed work later. You have be all in if you want to reach your goals.
  • Fast progress builds momentum. Your hard work will begin to pay off fast. And when you begin to see results, it’s easier to stay motivated. Building momentum early can help you stay on course and finish your month-long challenge strong.
  • Short-term pain feels tolerable. Working hard to reach a new goal means you’ll have to give something up. It’s easier to give up time with your family or your daily latte when you know there’s an end in sight.

Create Your Own 30-Day Challenge

There are many 30-day challenges that can improve your physical health, mental health, social life, or spiritual life.

And as we approach the beginning of a new year–where many people will be setting gigantic annual goals that they never reach–it’s a great time to launch a 30-day challenge. You might find that a short-term objective is a much more effective way to create big changes in your life.

By: Amy Morin

Source: I’m a Psychotherapist Who Sets 30-Day Challenges Instead of Long-Term Goals. Here’s Why

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Dr. Paul Thompson talks about how imaging has revealed the positive effects of exercise on the brain as well as the detrimental effects of stress and cortisol on the brain. For more information visit: http://www.loni.ucla.edu/ http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/ Photos courtesy of: LONI, the Human Connectome Project For NIBIB’s Copyright Policy: https://www.nibib.nih.gov/policies#co…

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Death by Diet Soda Artificially Sweetened Beverages To Premature Death

There was a collective gasp among Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi drinkers this week after media reports highlighted a new study that found prodigious consumers of artificially sweetened drinks were 26 percent more likely to die prematurely than those who rarely drank sugar-free beverages.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, followed 450,000 Europeans over 16 years and tracked mortality among soft-drink consumers of all persuasions — both those with a fondness for sugary beverages and those who favored sugar-free drinks.

Given the well-documented health effects of consuming too much sugar, it was little surprise the authors found that people who drank two or more glasses of sugar-sweetened beverages a day were eight percent more likely to die young compared to those who consumed less than one glass a month.

But what grabbed headlines, and prompted widespread angst, was the suggestion that drinking Diet Coke could be even more deadly than drinking Coca-Cola Classic.

“Putting our results in context with other published studies, it would probably be prudent to limit consumption of all soft drinks and replace them with healthier alternatives like water,” said Amy Mullee, a nutritionist at University College Dublin and one of 50 researchers who worked on the study, one of the largest of its kind to date.

The study is not a one-off. Over the past year, other research in the United States has found a correlation between artificially sweetened beverages and premature death.

The problem, experts say, is that these and other studies have been unable to resolve a key question: Does consuming drinks sweetened with aspartame or saccharin harm your health? Or could it be that people who drink lots of Diet Snapple or Sprite Zero lead a more unhealthy lifestyle to begin with?

A number of nutritionists, epidemiologists and behavioral scientists think the latter may be true. (It’s a theory that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has guiltily ordered a Diet Coke to accompany their Double Whopper with cheese.)

“It could be that diet soda drinkers eat a lot of bacon or perhaps it’s because there are people who rationalize their unhealthy lifestyle by saying, ‘Now that I’ve had a diet soda, I can have those French fries,’” said Vasanti S. Malik, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the lead author of a study in April that found that the link between artificial sweeteners and increased mortality in women was largely inconclusive. “This is a huge study, with a half million people in 10 countries, but I don’t think it adds to what we already know.”

The authors of the JAMA paper tried to account for these risk factors by removing study participants who were smokers or obese, and they tried to improve its accuracy through statistical modeling.

But Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital, said these so-called observational studies cannot really determine cause and effect. “Maybe artificial sweeteners aren’t increasing mortality,” he said. “Maybe it’s just that people with an increased risk of mortality, like those with overweight or obesity, are choosing to drink diet soda but, in the end, this doesn’t solve their weight problem and they die prematurely.”

Still, scientists say the alternative to observational studies — a clinical trial that randomly assigns participants to a sugary drinks group or a diet soda group — isn’t feasible.

“Clinical trials are considered the gold standard in science, but imagine asking thousands of people to stick to such a regimen for decades,” said Dr. Malik of Harvard. “Many people would drop out, and it would also be prohibitively expensive.”

Concerns about artificial sweeteners have been around since the 1970s, when studies found that large quantities of saccharin caused cancer in lab rats. The Food and Drug Administration issued a temporary ban on the sweetener, and Congress ordered up additional studies and a warning label, but subsequent research found the chemical to be safe for human consumption. More recently-created chemical sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose have also been extensively studied, with little evidence that they negatively impact human health, according to the F.D.A.

Some studies have even found a correlation between artificial sweeteners and weight loss, but others have suggested they may increase cravings for sugary foods.

“There’s no evidence they are harmful to people with a healthy diet who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Barry M. Popkin, a nutritionist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He and others remain concerned that giving diet beverages to young children might encourage a sweet tooth.

Still, many scientists say more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of consuming artificial sweeteners. Although Dr. Mullee, one of the authors of the study, cautioned against drawing stark conclusions from their data, she said the deleterious effects of artificial sweeteners can’t be ruled out, noting studies that suggest a possible link between aspartame and elevated levels of blood glucose and insulin in humans. “Right now the biological mechanisms are unclear but we’re hoping our research will spark further exploration,” she said.

For consumers, the mixed messaging can be confusing. Dr. Jim Krieger, the founding executive director of Healthy Food America, an advocacy group that presses municipalities to enact soda taxes and increase consumer access to fruits and vegetables, said the new study and others like it raise more questions than they answer.

“Gosh, at this point, you probably want to go with water, tea or unsweetened coffee and not take a chance on beverages we don’t know much about,” he said. “Certainly, you don’t want to drink sugary beverages because we know that these aren’t good for you.”

By

Andrew Jacobs is a reporter with the Health and Science Desk, based in New York. He previously reported from Beijing and Brazil and had stints as a Metro reporter, Styles writer and National correspondent, covering the American South.

Source: Death by Diet Soda? – The New York Times

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Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: how to Naturally Boost your Health (and more!)

Vitamins and Minerals (also known as Micronutrients)are important substances that allow your body to function and stay healthy. If you already have a balanced diet, you probably do not need to take them as supplements, and yet in some cases people should. This article is the result of a collaboration with Annalisa Brigo, a Nutrition […]

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No Excuses Body Makeover Membership (view mobile)

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Are You Tired Of Waking Up To A Body That Now Robs You Daily Of The VITALITY And SENSE OF WELL-BEING That Once Came Without Effort?  I’m About To Reveal To You The REAL Reason That Getting Into Shape Is Near Impossible For Most Of  Us – And Then Offer To Show You How To Reliably RESHAPE Your Body, RECLAIM Your Health, And Finally Take Back The Life You DESERVE. The Good News? You’ve Just Stumbled Onto The Culmination Of More Than 30 YEARS Of Experience In The Fitness Profession – Time I Have Spent Teaching Others How To Get Into Peak Physical Shape WITHOUT Having To Diet Or Otherwise Deprive Oneself Of Life’s Simple Pleasures. With “No Excuses” You’ll Discover How To Master Both Your MIND And Your BODY To Achieve A Truly Enviable State Of Health That Most People Will Never Experience In The Latter Part Of Their Lives. But With This Program You’ll Do Exactly That…Read more

What’ll Happen to You If You Start Eating 3 Eggs a Day – Bright Side

Eggs have been getting a bad rap in the health and fitness community because they are associated with cholesterol and weight gain. Others say they may trigger a heart attack. But you might be missing more benefits than you realized. Bright Side will crack the myths behind eggs, especially the egg yolks and let you know what will happen if you eat 3 eggs a day.

TIMESTAMPS: What an egg contains 1:02 Eggs keep you full and help with weight loss 3:44 Eggs improve eye health 4:16 Eggs keep your bones healthy 4:54 Eggs prevent iron deficiency 5:17 Eggs help with brain development in infants and fetuses 5:42 How to choose the right egg 6:35 What will happen if you eat 3 eggs a day 8:11 Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/… SUMMARY: – Eggs have been getting a bad rap in the health and fitness community because they are associated with cholesterol and weight gain.

Others say they may trigger a heart attack, and people who want to lose weight usually remove eggs from their diet. But what if you tried to eat 3 eggs a day? You might be missing more benefits than you realized. – Egg contain calories, protein, healthy fats, folate, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins A, B5, B12, B2, D, E, K, and B6. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids and dietary cholesterol. – A large egg contains about 6 g of high-quality protein, which may help you eat less for several hours after a meal.

As a result, this helps you lose weight. – Egg yolks contain lutein, which helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. It contains zeaxanthin, which protects you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. – Egg yolks improve bone metabolism and prevent the risk of osteoporosis. They are also a source of iron. – The yolks can also help to prevent birth defects during pregnancy. Vitamin B is important for the development of the spinal cord and fetal nervous system. It also helps prevent breast cancer, according to a study.

– There are 4 types of eggs, and they are organized based on where the hen is raised and fed. Brown and white eggs have the same nutritional value according to the USDA (who debunked all previous myths on this matter). – A study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut revealed that a person who consumes 3 eggs a day may experience more of an increase in good cholesterol and decrease in bad cholesterol than someone who eats the same amount of egg substitute.

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The 8 Healthiest Fruits That Are Available All Year Long – Infographic — Positive Health Wellness

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Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy – Erika R. Cheng

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Obesity affects 40 percent of adults and 19 percent of children in the United States and accounts for more than $168 billion in health care spending each year. Sugary beverages are thought to be one of the major drivers of the obesity epidemic. These drinks (think soda and sports drinks) are the largest single source of added sugars for Americans and contribute, on average, 145 added calories a day to our diets. For these reasons, reducing sugary beverage consumption has been a significant focus of public health intervention. Most efforts have focused on sodas.

But not juice. Juice, for some reason, gets a pass. It’s not clear why.

Americans drink a lot of juice. The average adult drinks 6.6 gallons per year. More than half of preschool-age children (ages 2 to 5) drink juice regularly, a proportion that, unlike for sodas, has not budged in recent decades. These children consume on average 10 ounces per day, more than twice the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parents tend to associate juice with healthfulness, are unaware of its relationship to weight gain and are reluctant to restrict it in their child’s diet. After all, 100 percent fruit juice — sold in handy individual servings — has been marketed as a natural source of vitamins and calcium. Department of Agriculture guidelines state that up to half of fruit servings can be provided in the form of 100 percent juice and recommend drinking fortified orange juice for the vitamin D. Some brands of juice are even marketed to infants.

Government programs designed to provide healthy food for children, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, offer juice for kids. Researchers have found that children in the program are more likely to exceed the recommended daily fruit juice limit than those who are similarly poor but not enrolled.

Despite all the marketing and government support, fruit juices contain limited nutrients and tons of sugar. In fact, one 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is roughly what’s in a can of Coke.

Drinking fruit juice is not the same as eating whole fruit. While eating certain fruits like apples and grapes is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, drinking fruit juice is associated with the opposite. Juices contain more concentrated sugar and calories. They also have less fiber, which makes you feel full. Because juice can be consumed quickly, it is more likely than whole fruit to contribute to excess carbohydrate intake.

For example, research has found that adults who drank apple juice before a meal felt hungrier and ate more calories than those who started with an apple instead. Children who drink juice instead of eating fruit may similarly feel less full and may be more likely to snack throughout the day.

Juice may also be a “gateway beverage” — 1-year-olds who drank more juice also drank more sugary beverages, including more soda, in their school-age years. Children’s excessive consumption of juice has been linked to an increased risk of weight gain, shorter stature and cavities. Even in the absence of weight gain, sugar consumption worsens blood pressure and increases cholesterol.

It’s tempting to minimize the negative contributions of juice to our diets because it’s “natural” or because it contains “vitamins.” Studies that support this view exist, but many are biased and have been questioned. And we doubt you’d take a multivitamin if it contained 10 teaspoons of sugar.

There is no evidence that juice improves health. It should be treated like other sugary beverages, which are fine to have periodically if you want them, but not because you need them. Parents should instead serve water and focus on trying to increase children’s intake of whole fruit. Juice should no longer be served regularly in day care centers and schools.

Public health efforts should challenge government guidelines that equate fruit juice with whole fruit, because these guidelines most likely fuel the false perception that drinking fruit juice is good for health. It’s much easier to prevent obesity than it is to reverse it. We need to teach kids how to eat healthier when they’re young so that they develop good habits to carry on for the rest of their lives. In the past decade or so, we have succeeded in recognizing the harms of sugary beverages like soda. We can’t keep pretending that juice is different.

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21Days To Healthy Eating

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In 21 Days To Healthy Eating you will find recipes to guide you in the kitchen and in the supermarket. You will learn which foods to embrace, and which to avoid. But more importantly, you will understand the reasons behind the decision to put one food type into your trolley, and leave others on the shelf. In the war with junk food, you are a combatant, whether you know it or not, as are all the members of your family. It is time for all of us to equip ourselves with the knowledge we need to fight that war.

With 21 Days To Healthy Eating on your shelf you will be ready to fight those battles, and claim daily victories that stack up not only as extra days that leave you feeling energized and vibrant, but which add to your lifespan. I want you to experience the same satisfaction and well-being that I enjoy everyday, in large part due to simple decisions I make each time I sit down to eat.

Your body is being robbed daily of the nutrition that it needs to function at its peak, and the result is rebellion – biological cravings for more food that result in overeating. To get overeating under control, so that you can maintain a healthy body weight, it is absolutely essential that you discover for yourself the truth about what it is that you are eating.

What’s Inside 21 Days To Healthy Eating?

1 – You Really Are What You Eat
This is where you discover that the old maxim You Are What You Eat is not only true, it is frightening in the context of today’s appallingly low food quality. If we are what we eat, then the bodies of most of us are almost entirely made out of corn. I kid you not.

In this chapter you will be introduced to the scope of the challenge that faces you today whenever you turn to “food” as a means to quell your hunger. It sure looks like food. But is it? What are the consequences of building our bodies from the cheap foodstuffs that mimic the real thing?

You will learn why dieting is a fundamentally misguided approach to sustained weight loss, and why you will continue to be a slave to your hunger and food cravings if you do not cease chasing the fantasy of the miracle diet.

2 – Both Calories And TOXINS Make You Fat

Would you be surprised to learn that the total calorie count of the food you are eating is not the only thing that is making you fat? It is true. There is another component to your food that nobody is talking about which is also making you fat. If you remain ignorant of this one fat loss factor your attempts to drop body weight will always stall, no matter how hard you try. Eliminate this component from your food, and then you will be able to watch the pounds come off.

3 – How Clean Eating Speeds Your Weight Loss

This is the core of the book – an introduction to the concept of clean eating. This is the solution to the problem exposed in Chapter Two, and is the key to easy body weight control. You are going to learn how an adherence to clean eating is the guiding principle by which you will be able to decide how to prepare your meals for the greatest long term health benefits.

But do not worry – clean eating is not an all or nothing approach that will have you falling off the healthy eating wagon after a month. Rather, it is a sensible approach to nutrition that has as its main benefit the stabilization of your blood sugar levels. This one change can mean the difference between a life of constant health struggles, and a life that makes enjoyment of everyday activities possible again.

4 – Banishing HFCS And Trans Fats From Your Diet
Prepare to take control of your shopping cart as we work to eliminate the most harmful foods from your pantry. Simply knowing how to analyze a food ingredient label will set you on course for more healthy food choices and have you wondering why you did not notice the warnings earlier.

In short, the presence of a food label is the number one indicator that the food you are holding on your hand should probably not go into your shopping cart. This is not an absolute rule, and you will learn how to sail the murky waters of food ingredient terminology. You will know what to avoid, and why you are doing so.

5 – Become The Architect To Your Weight Loss Goals
Now it is time to begin using our newfound knowledge of natural and processed foods to make decisions on how to select the foods that best suit our goals for maintaining a healthy body weight. If you need to lose a few pounds, you will learn the

best approach to doing that in the kitchen. You will be introduced to the concept of a “balanced meal” and appreciate the role of each of the food types that go into creating a balanced meal.

All food is currency of one type or another to your body. If you get the balance wrong, your body suffers in the short term, and your health deteriorates long term. Balance is the key to longevity. This chapter ends with some examples of meals that have been balanced according to the framework provided.

 6 – 21st Century Nutrition

Now that we have mastered food selection we can start to build meals that solve the problems that others fall prey to using

the unguided approach to meal preparation. This will introduce you to a completely NEW way of looking at when to eat, and how much to eat.

I am going to tell you to toss out the three square meals a day philosophy that you grew up with and replace it with an eating pattern that quells hunger, stabilizes blood sugar, and stifles the urge to overeat. Do not worry, this is less radical than it sounds. More importantly, it works!

7 – Planning For Weight Loss – One Meal At A Time
The haphazard approach to anything in life tends to lead to unpredictable results. So this is where I teach you how to plan your meals for best weight loss results. If you want to see the pounds peel off consistently, you will benefit from the methodical approach taught here.

I will show you how to optimize your chances for sustained success by adopting habits that virtually guarantee you never go astray for more than the period of a single meal. You will be introduced to quantitative measures of success, such as calorie counting, and see how they can be used, at least initially, to guide you. You will also learn the importance of measuring body composition in the fat loss war.

8 – The First 7 Days To Fat Loss – Reinventing Breakfast
This is the section of the book where we dedicate the first 7 days of our 21 Days To Healthy Eating looking at how

breakfast can be restructured to fit in with our new rules for eating. You will learn how to track your food intake for the short term, until such time as your new eating pattern has been established and you follow it automatically. We end the chapter with some example breakfast meals that satisfy our goals.

9 / 10 – The Second 7 Days To Fat Loss – Let’s Do Lunch / Final 7 Days To Fat Loss – Dinners That Delight

I continue to slice and dice both lunch and dinner meals for you so that you can do likewise. These two chapters cover the remaining two-thirds of our 21 day plan to restructure your meals and bring you into the healthy eating fold. You will be given a ton of ideas for recipes to use right from the pages of the book.

11 – The Challenges Of Eating Clean


It’s not easy being green. Or eating clean. At least, not all the time. So in this chapter I address the challenges associated with eating clean and present you with a few tips to help you keep on track.

Let’s face it, trying to avoid processed food is almost as challenging as trying to ignore noise pollution. It comes at you from every direction, and you are going to have to be on your toes for much of the time if you are to stay ahead of the curve. But it is doable, and I will show you how

12 – A Firm Toned Body Is Your Ticket To Fat Loss

Finally, in the last chapter we take a quick look at the other major factor that determines how your health progresses as you age. I would be remiss if I did not at least point you in the right direction, and what I am talking about is, of course, physical exercise, and it is a key element to any successful fat loss strategy. If you are hoping that by eating healthy you will get better control over your body weight, you will do so. But to get the best results you cannot ignore the role of physical activity. I will tell you how to get those results from exercise in the shortest amount of time.

OK, so now you have a pretty good idea of what my 21 Days To Healthy Eating approach is all about. The next part is up to you. If you want to get started on the road to better health and a proven path to sustainable fat loss through mastery of your eating habits, you know what to do next..

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