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Check out SP's new Blog site: the dailySpark!

Monday, August 18, 2008

In case you haven't heard, SparkPeople has launched a brand new blog-style website called dailySpark.com . Instead of adding new blog entries here on my SparkPage, I'll be blogging there from now on, along with our other Coaches and experts!

To learn more about what the dailySpark is all about, check out this article for a full explanation.

Go to www.dailySpark.com anytime to read and comment on the new and interesting posts made daily by all of SparkPeople's experts! There, you can find my bio and blog entries by following this link .

I'll see you at the dailySpark!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

~KINDREDSPIRIT~ 8/8/2014 4:25AM


Thanks for this blog. It looks different from before..

PS: You write, "To learn more about what the dailySpark is all about, check out this article for a full explanation." The URL does not work.

Lastly, thanks for all your articles. I read them a number of years ago and they were the best. I'll go into this area and hopefully see more.

take care

Comment edited on: 8/8/2014 4:28:12 AM

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IMEMINE1 8/22/2013 7:08AM


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VINGRAM 10/17/2012 12:28PM

    Have you stopped blogging? emoticon

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REDROCK25 3/7/2011 10:38AM

    Did you submit the recipe for Thrive Applie Cinnamon Energy Bars?
It doesn't say refrigerate but with cooked Quinoa should I refrigerate them? I was thinking of taking them backpacking but wasn't sure if they need to stay refigerated.

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KAT7457 10/27/2009 2:28PM

    thanks for sharing. hope you feel better soon. many prayers to you.

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SPEACOCK06 7/3/2009 8:31AM

    I too could not comment on the dailysparkblog. But I did want to let u know that I read your article about dealing with your unhappiness. I have a BA in psychology and lived with a sibling with many mental illnesses. I worked in public mental health. And I have suffered depression in my adult life. To me, viewing your current depression as a means to a different future self seems logical. The key now is to find out how to use the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and lack of interest to bring you to the future self. Of which I'm sure you already know! It reminded me of two things: first when I was in my abnormal psych class, the instructor started the very first class with the question "what is normal?" Leading us to discussion about who says what is normal. For a while I thought I signed up for a philosophy on sociology class! But it did embed certain questions that i still consider. The second thing was when I worked in mental health, we took consumers to a convention with a guest speaker, whose name I cannot remember, who had lived successfully with schizophrenia for his entire adult life. He said he managed to do this by embracing his hallucinations and accepting what his voices told him. He said that he may not necessarily believe what they told him, but that he acknowledged them as the opinions of whichever voice said it. This brought back something from abnormal psych about a group in England that was formed for people with schyzophrenia. The group decided to meet and discuss the validity of their hallucinations, instead of trying to suppress them.
This brings me to the way I handle my own depression attacks. Most people have that little voice in their head that talks to them. My own little problem is my negative self-talk. I often find myself saying "Man you are so stupid" or "You will never amount to anything". So in order to get past it, I have personified it. My negative self-talk has become Eddie. So when it starts, I just say "oh Eddy shut up, you don't know what you are talking about" then I tell myself something positive. Now maybe this sounds like I belong in one of those groups I referred to above! But it has been seeming to help. Sorry the comment was so long, but this is something that is near and dear to me.

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MOVEITGRACE 8/19/2008 5:40PM

    I read your article about behavior modification that was accompanied with the "feedbags" video...it was hilarious! Definitely worth marking as a fave!

Btw, I couldn't mark it as a fave nor could I comment on it, although I did see others comments there. (There were 11 a few minutes ago). I was able to share it. When I tried to make a comment it asked me to log in (I already was). I put my log in info again, and clicked the log in button, but nothing happened.

I had to go out and again and search for it. Searching the site with keyword "feedbags" didn't work. Luckily I had noticed that you wrote the piece before I got out the first time. It was so worth tracking it down.

I'm not telling you all this to complain--just to alert in case there's a site glitch.

You know everyone will not "get it"--but hopefully they'll remember it! Thanks for being risky. Life's more fun that way!

Comment edited on: 8/19/2008 5:39:17 PM

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COLEMANSR 8/18/2008 7:14PM

    Thank you.

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The Power of Conformity

Friday, August 08, 2008

Have you ever wondered why social support is so important for a project like weight loss?

There are lots of ways social support can help you out, of course. Being involved in a group of people trying to do the same thing you are can be a great source of reliable information, good examples, inspirational stories, and moral support when things get tough.

But people often overlook another very important way that social support can help increase your chances of success: by harnessing the power of the human desire and need to "fit in."

The fact is, we are social animals, and we come hardwired with a lot of needs, preferences, and desires that make it pretty hard to "go it alone" when it comes to anything important. We want people to respect us, like us, and approve of who we are and what we do; we need to feel like we belong to a group. Getting this kind of response from others is a pretty basic motivation behind a lot of what we do. It's probably a pretty big part of your motivation to lose weight in the first place.

For many years, our society has tended to make fun of social conformity and conformists, and to hold up the rebel or the "rugged individualist" who doesn't care what other people think as a more worthy ideal--at least for men. Even our psychological theories about what constitutes a healthy personal identity and sense of self tend to emphasize concepts like "self-determination" and having good "boundaries." If you hang out on the message boards much, you'll see lots of conversations about how hard it is to stick to a healthy diet or exercise plan when the people you spend most of your time with aren't very interested in this kind of thing. And a lot of the advice people give is along the lines of "you just have to do what's right for you, and put yourself first."

That's true enough. But it's also very hard to do that, exactly because we're not really designed to go it alone, without worrying about how other people see us. In fact, our chances of succeeding at something like weight loss go up dramatically when we get into just the opposite situation--when the people around us provide some pressure and incentive to do the right thing, and doing our best to fit in helps us stick to our goals at the same time.

In other words, one of the best ways to ensure your own success is to find (or build) yourself a community where doing what you need to do to meet your weight loss goals is also what it takes to "conform" to the group's expectations . This can more than double your motivation to stick to your goals when the going gets tough. But it takes a special kind of group to provide this extra motivation--one where people understand the difficulties members face, and are committed to mutual respect, active participation, and reciprocal well-being and success through cooperation, mutual support, and effective communication. A group where the process is just as important as the goal. But also a group that expects you to do well, and counts on you to make your best effort.

An on-line community like ours here at SP can play a big role in boosting your success, but often real-life connections can really enhance the group effect. That's one of the reasons why we've introduced our new SparkAmerica city leaderboards for sparkteams in the same geographical area. Each city's page includes info about local events and resources that members can add to and update themselves. This gives people an easy way to share info and feedback about local events and other ways to hook up face-to-face, so sparkpeople can get and give each other even more support than you can in our on-line community.

So, be sure to check out what's going on in your local area . If there's not a city page for your local area yet, think about what you can do yourself to get something like this going in your community within the organizations and groups (including sparkteams) that are active there.

Here's an entertaining video that demonstrates the power of our human need to fit in.... But remember, being a conformist is only as good (or as bad) as the group you're trying to conform to--it's doing your part to make the group as good as it can be that really makes things work. What you get out of being part of your community depends on what you put into it.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INHERITED 8/17/2008 12:10PM

    emoticonAnother great read , Coach Dean.....Thanks

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ADIOSADIPOSE 8/16/2008 11:14AM

    What a thoughtful, right-on-the-mark blog entry, Coach Dean! And, I really got a kick out of that old Candid Camera video. I'm old enough to recall watching that show as a kid, but this video - funny as it is - strongly illustrates that deep human need to conform, even with our variances in how rapidly we do so. Thanks!

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BLACKCHICK38 8/16/2008 10:40AM

    reading this blog has advanced my healthy issues,thank u

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EZCOME/EZGO 8/15/2008 11:55AM

    I really appreciated your wise words of wisdom, support and commitment to members of a society who, I believe, represents the majority of our population that has to deal with the issue of fighting a constant battle over our weight.

Whether it be due to medical issues, genetics, medications or whether or not we have learned to make the right food choices in our lives. We need to work together and support one another to overcome those who have stereotyped this population.

I really enjoyed your video and it even brought to mind more so my thoughts on how society has stereotyped what we should do and what we should look like.

How I came to joining SP this week is that I went shopping to purchase a dress to wear to my best friend's wedding at a large mall (155 stores). I found 1 dress on the rack in a Macy's Department store that was in Women's sizes, the remainder only went up to size 16. I asked a sales clerk where the remainder of Women's sizes were and was told they don't carry anything that large in their store. (The reason they had the one dress was a customer returned it there for convenience purposes only.)

After leaving Macy's, I went to Nordstrums and found they only went to size 14 and continuing checking all the remaining stores in the Mall. Not one single store carried Women's sizes. Only Petites, Juniors and Misses.

So I left there in tears having to go on a quest searching for a dress to wear. I am so disgusted with the buyers, retailers, designers and whomever is in charge for allowing this type of discrimination to be allowed for a majority of the population. Do they realize they we too want to look our best as well and that sometimes we don't have the full control over our situation?

We can work hard to achieve our goals to better our health, nutrition and fitness, but let's get real, for some of us due to our body types, and as previously stated, predisposed genetics or medical conditions, may never be a size 2, 4, or even 16.

If anything I would like to do, is to make an impact on the designers and retailers that we want too want to look stylish, elegant and professional whether we dress for work, a wedding, a date or even just to go to the grocery store and we shouldn't have to pay more for the larger size as well. It didn't take any more time to make it. When I saw a size 2 in a dress and a size 16, they were the same price. What did they do with the extra material there. They didn't give the size 2 a discount.

I think it's important we stick together on all issues relating to conformity.

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ANEWSUSIE 8/15/2008 10:08AM

  How true! I really enjoyed the video.

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BLAZINGSWORD 8/12/2008 10:44AM

    It just goes to show that if you are human, you definitely want to be a part of the crowd!

It was funny but it was so true!

Great find! emoticon

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MSSLICK 8/12/2008 7:11AM

  I thought it was funny!

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SOULMATE94 8/12/2008 12:36AM

    Great blog. You said it.
Support is key to success.
Thanks for all of yours.

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KMHILL123 8/11/2008 7:44PM

  I concur!! Great article!!! emoticon

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QUAIL75 8/11/2008 2:03PM

    Great article, thanks!

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OPENAMIND 8/11/2008 2:00AM

    I enjoyed reading this article. There is a lot of truth in what you have said. Going it alone is hard. I know when my walking partner is unable to come it is hard to go on that walk by myself and takes some extra effort. I always feel better when I make that extra effort but feel down if I neglect to go.
Openamind (Cleveland) emoticon

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HATCHETTJOB 8/9/2008 8:28PM

    So true! I think this is why keeping my resolve is so much harder during the school year (I'm a teacher) than during the summer. Summertime is when I can control my contacts with negative people and avoid being bombarded with food saboteurs. Once school starts, food is everywhere and it's never healthy stuff. It makes my eating plan harder.

I never thought about this situation in terms of conformity before, but I can definitely see now that the sudden expansion of my peer group during the school year is problematic.

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2BHOTNTONED 8/9/2008 1:18PM

    I enjoyed reading the article, thank-you. :0)

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    Thanks, this is great!

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KIRCHOS 8/9/2008 11:26AM

    Thanks for the laugh, very funny.

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BKRISTEN1213 8/9/2008 10:36AM

    I enjoyed this article. Thank you!

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ZSAZSAJANNY 8/9/2008 1:46AM

    Yes, belonging to a team gives us the support we need WHEN we need it. There is laughter, sympathy, empathy, and the occasional 'shove' in an oh, so gentle manner. Most importantly, there is positive encouragement!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Oh, I'm one of the 50 year olds, too!

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RENA1965 8/8/2008 11:18PM

    Part of the success of lossing weight for me is knowing what works for me and what does not. I like the face to face approciate of someone asking me how my week went, do I need to talk about any problem bugging me or just plan give me a nutrition sheet next week when I am battling maintenance problems finding healthier substitutes. If I had a dumb week I can milden my bad mood with listening to others whom have had worse. Many times I review my situation and think heck it could have been much worse.. My consultant fine combs my nutrition sheets and suggests healthier alternatives which 99% work.. Wonderful!
The great thing about being face to face with other people at a meeting is everyone is in the same bus, and if someone comes with a difficult problem we hammer it out and give the person a few mental or practical tools to go home and try.. I had a friend from a little island off denmark at our meeting, she just could never feel satisified eating three meals so I suggested she tried to break it up into 5-6 meals. Well from that day on, I had a new buddy whom sits near me whom is lossing weight better and was a totally new person! I get stopped regularly by folks in our difficult group (MS/Depression members) and sometimes they return to me and say thank you for telling me to stay with it. One replied you must have seen I was on the edge of giving up, thanks for supporting me and explaining the stuff with medications, they pointed out their doctor explained it this way too.. I love the support and being able to give to others in return for my success. Spreading the spark so to speak!

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H-2-OH 8/8/2008 8:21PM

    That is so funny! I wonder why the guy in the hat was so eager to do as everybody else. Shy guy? Insecure guy? Hm. Interesting!

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LAB-LOVER 8/8/2008 8:19PM

    I know that the online community that I've discovered here on SP has made a HUGE impact on my ability to lose weight, exercise and clean up other "clutter" in my life. I've tried to lose before but have never found this kind of support in weight watchers meetings. I'll check out my city board!

P.S. The picture is TERRIFYING! I can't imagine living in a place like that.

Comment edited on: 8/8/2008 8:18:04 PM

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KAY_1952 8/8/2008 6:13PM

    A great video I had a great laugh!

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DIANNARUCKER 8/8/2008 5:51PM

    Love the movie
Yes I think you are right about SP. I am also on Runningwater's Team. Please visit us

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RUNNINGWATER 8/8/2008 5:19PM

    Dean- I wish that you could find a minute or two to visit one of the best teams in SP and say hello to all the ladies and myself, a team I just love for the social support that you're talking about in this blog.
Come on around and say hello,
PAMELA984 recommended this blog to all

TEAM: 50+ members with 10-24 pounds to lose

FORUM: General Team Discussion Forum
TOPIC: Chat Room - August

Looking forward to you coming,

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OUTOFIDEAS 8/8/2008 4:30PM

    You have stated a profound truth...it's the content that we try to conform ourselves to or rebel against that is important...not conformity or rebellion for its own sake.

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COACH_NICOLE 8/8/2008 4:17PM

    hahaha that video was really funny!

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How Far Are You Really Willing to Go?

Friday, August 01, 2008

You've probably heard of "aversion" therapy--that's where you take some behavior you're trying to stop and pair it with an immediate negative experience (like an electric shock) so that your brain starts associating that behavior with the negative experience. Alcoholics, for example, sometimes take a drug called Antabuse, which literally makes you sick if you take a drink.

This is a little harder to do when the behavior you want to stop is a mental behavior, but sometimes using a little imagination and a powerful visual image can do the trick. For example, consider that silly mental behavior we all tend to engage in once in a while (if not more often): the "I've already blown my diet for today, so I might as well keep eating" game.

Obviously, this is nothing but a flagrant rationalization. If you stopped for even a second to think about it, you'd realize that going even further over your calorie quota makes no sense at all. It just makes repairing the damage even harder. But the real problem here is not that you use rationalizations that don't make sense. The real problem, of course, is that you want to keep eating, and that's the thing you need to change. Once you do that, the rationalizations and excuses will disappear on their own.

Unfortunately, just telling yourself that your rationalization doesn't really make sense isn't usually enough to change the desire to keep eating into something else. For that, you need to connect the desire to some kind of undersirable experience or image, so that your brain will be desperate to go somewhere else when it pops up.

You could do something like hit yourself in the head whenever the urge to keep eating comes up, but that would be pretty inconsistent with the healthy lifestyle approach we recommend here at SP. This is where you need to use a little imagination to get the job done. Instead of fighting the urge, or telling yourself how dumb it is, try taking it to the extreme, in your mind. Imagine, for a minute, what it would be like to never have to stop eating, and see how that makes you feel. Is that really what you want, or how you want to be?

For those of you who have trouble imagining something like this, here's a link to a video you can use to get your creative juices flowing:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAITLYNSNAMMY 12/30/2010 7:52AM

Together we can!

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2ABETRLIFE 5/20/2010 11:51PM

    Love your ideas, Coach Dean. Ridiculously funny video, but maybe something like that IS what I need to imagine the next time I'm heading for a junk food purchase. Thanks for the inspiration.

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BATYAFA 2/10/2010 12:44AM

    Loved the feed bag video! emoticon

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LADY-IN-BLACK 3/2/2009 12:20PM

    Thank you for this idea! Will make a mental note for next time! LOL

What about a husband that tempts you with pizza knowing you have no will power?

Do I use shock therapy on him? hehehe

Lisa emoticon

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SINGINGSARA 1/6/2009 11:29AM

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. Recently, I've decided to not count calories, but to just eat like a 'normal' person (eating regular food, but not overindulging or binging)...all of my life I've either been on a diet or overindulging in food, but I've never been the type to eat when I'm hungry...I don't know what hungry feels like. This blog will definitely help the next time I feel like I need to binge.

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GREATDANELOVER1 12/8/2008 11:05AM

  Thank you for identifying the REAL problem and how it is just addiction talking to me. emoticon

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WHISKEYWOMAN3 9/13/2008 10:29AM

    HaHa ! Love them feed bags,it's not far from where we are.Just love your motivational blogs.Imagery ect.. is not working for me,I don't even like telling myself what to do.So,I am listening to Gorayeb Seminars Hypnosis Library if its all subliminal maybe I wont know about it. emoticon

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LINDAANNE2 9/1/2008 12:43PM

    Great article and video. Thank you.

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NATHANSMAMA 8/12/2008 11:03AM

  Unfortunetly it is easy to say, I have already failed, so what does more failure matter. Thank you for pointing out the trick of what happens if we never stop eating. We are all here because we are unhappy with our health and our appearances and this is a GREAT tool for me! emoticon

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RAMBLINGROSE3 8/12/2008 1:58AM

  Mmmm....you identified something that I realise now I do a lot. I need to re pattern the thoughts a bit. Thanks.

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WHITEKP 8/10/2008 1:43AM

    Great article and video - thanks!


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BKRISTEN1213 8/9/2008 11:20AM

    Great laugh! Thanks for the article.

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COLEMANSR 8/8/2008 4:04PM

    Thanks for the laugh.

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DAWNPHARMER 8/7/2008 11:07PM

  Thought we had time traveled back to ancient Rome!
I watched the video twice as it really was funny. Reading the scrawl along the bottom got my attention a third time.

I do best focusing on how I feel after a really good workout. I get so energized and pumped up that I can hardly hold still after my sessions. Positive reinforcement works best for me. I even donated all my old clothing from 12 pounds ago. Each week I try on something that almost fit when I bought it. If it fits well, it makes it into my closet. I then choose an item that was a bit baggy the week before and if it is even baggier, to the donation pile it goes. Eventually, I will run out of items which were purchased a tad too small and will actually need to go to a store again. (I can't wait!) emoticon

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CATIATM 8/6/2008 10:22AM

    Sometimes stopping for a moment and thinking through the consequences helps me.

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    Makes me think about what really put all the people in the nursing homes. Eating out of a feed or presented as "real" food--fast food is the same. Yuck! emoticon

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LAWLI56 8/5/2008 8:12AM

    Yuk! The very thought of those feedbags makes me feel sick!

Actually I've found that putting a photo of me at my fattest on my fridge and food cupboard has helped me think twice before I overeat at home, plus visualising that same photo when I see something I fancy eating while I'm out, like a piece of cake, helps as well.

I think aversion therapy is definately the way to go.

Comment edited on: 8/5/2008 8:16:36 AM

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KATHYLM51 8/4/2008 7:35PM

    Thank you for that reminder..... I do not want animal behavior when eating, but when you think about it the way we are driven to eat something outside of and beyond hunger is even worse than animals since their eating is based on physical drive and we on mental drive.

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SUPERDUPER26 8/4/2008 6:52PM

    Ewwwwwww! Can you imagine if that were real!?!?!? T
hanks for the laugh!

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HEALTHFORLIFE1 8/4/2008 8:28AM

    haha! really funny. Thanks!

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REVSERENA 8/2/2008 9:23PM

    The video was funny.

I have had some success remembering how I felt when I really did let myself over eat. That slightly sick, "what have I done!", bloated nasty feeling. If I can get it back into my mind, I can resist almost any food.

Another trick, when I've started eating something that wasn't on the plan, is to stop eating when it stops tasting wonderful. Usually we only taste the first couple of bites. After that it's just the evil "clean plate club" rearing it's ugly head.

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AMOSLA 8/2/2008 10:04AM

    yuck! I had to turn away.

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ELLIQQ 8/2/2008 2:23AM

    Yours was pretty gross .. here's another gross: want to stop your eating something at a certain time, whatever .... just imagine it grossly, like with a cockroach running across it ... worked pretty good for me LOL.

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ALIAGOGO 8/1/2008 11:04PM

    OMG! funny!
"we're always looking for more efficient ways to get food product into our customers' gaping maws"
I always wondered if fast food marketing execs said things like that! Your article puts it in perspective, I always enjoy reading your blog, thanks! now I'm hopping off to practice that hunger theory you talked about... :)

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RENA1965 8/1/2008 10:32PM

    Hillarious, has anyone asked if they can get one of these yet lol..

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NEVADA_SLIM 8/1/2008 7:24PM

  Oh that is disgusting. Hilarious but disgusting. Talk about aversion therapy. Good going Coach. LOL.

I know a few people who would actually go for one of those. Isn't that scary. And this morning I heard about research being done on a drug that mimics the effects of exercise, but without the effort.

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    That is hillarious, thanks for sharing!

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    So funny! I don't frequent those places anyway, but now I won't be able to drive by one of the them without thinking about this vid, and that will be sure to keep me away! Gotta love the Onion!

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COLEMANSR 8/1/2008 4:55PM

    I'll check the link out.

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CARLI_MAE 8/1/2008 4:20PM

    I don't think my browser linked to the right page ... clicking the link took me to the home page, and I watched this disgusting Domino's Pizza research study ... making the most awful looking pizza's topped with horrible ingredients, and finding that people would actually pay money for them & eat it even if it looked like garbage. One they did was an Oreo Cookie Pizza, and the guy said it turned out to be a top seller!

When I manually typed in the page link, I got a web page error ...

But I get the point ... sometimes I used similar mental images when I stopped smoking and got a really bad craving ... picturing a pair of lungs turned all black and leathery, or a woman I knew who died at 68 for refusing to get off the stuff, and looked like she was about 120 -- even her face was stained brownish-yellow! Yecch!

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MYKIDSMOM726 8/1/2008 4:05PM


Just thinking about that made me sick! Thanks!

It reminds me of : 'I Can Make You Thin' by Paul McKenna. His techniques also use the imagination - for example, visualizing worms crawling all through your chocolate cake. Suddenly, you don't want the cake anymore.

This is great "Food for thought" & should be a regular part of my plan.

Thanks, Coach!

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PAMELA984 8/1/2008 4:01PM

    Well, that image from the video will certainly stay with me - now, why did I eat so much at lunch?

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Just a reminder...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

For those of you participating in the experiment (see earlier blog with Einstein photo), you can post your results as a comment below. Please include how many times you were and weren't successful at your goal, and what words you substituted for the "m" word. I hope you'll also share whatever observations you have about whether doing this made it easier to stick to your goal, harder, or made no difference.

I'll summarize the results and go over the theory in a couple of days.


Coach Dean

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOVETHESCALE 8/9/2008 6:07PM


Part 1

Exercise is still a problem for me to do on a regular bases. I find excuses for not getting it done most of the time lately. For a short time I had a fairly good routine down, but now I find it difficult to get back in any routine at all.

“I’m too tired now so I’ll do them later”. Which doesn’t happen
“I hurt from doing it yesterday”.
“I don’t feel good”
“Just too many other things need to be done”.

I think its because I really don’t feel that “GREAT FEELING” or that “EXTRA ENERGY” everyone talks about when they are done. I feel exhausted, sweaty and sore at times. I guess it’s my commitment to getting up and out to do something.

** I would like to do Cardio exercise - 3 times a week. Strength training- 2 times a week. Or at least 5 day a week of exercise

If I were motivated to do this every week my attitude would hopefully be that this is a good thing and I feel great about it. My accomplishment would give me the motivation for the next month.

My goal of 5 days (or 20 for the month)

13 days completed
7 didn't complete

Changed words for Motivated

- guilty
- had to (paid for trainer) 6
- inspired (by someone else)
- good, energy (2)
- improvement (3)

- to busy
- sad
- tired (4)
-didn’t want to

Part 2

I found that to get started I needed to have someone give me a little push. This challenge was the start and also hiring a trainer for 6 sessions helped to get me started. While excuses are still a problem I am finding once again that the exercise helps with so many other things in my life.
I have also found that I have more energy through the day even the days I don't exercise. Also I have found that part of me that likes to see improvement. I am working on doing push ups which I still can only do 10 modified now, but will do a regular push up some day. That feeling of accomplishment is great when you work for it.
In order to continue exercising I still need outside help to keep motivated. Whether its my husband reminding me that I want to do this, A scheduled time for a workout, or even a challenge from some other SparkPeople.

I hope this is helpful to your information gathering. It has been an eye opener for me. Thank you. emoticon

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HOJISCOTT 8/5/2008 10:28AM

    Hi Coach,
I did well tracking for only 16 days, but I can say that the following 15 or so days pretty much went the same way. I did much better then I've done before on both fronts. I still did not follow my beautiful schedule, but it does still pull me and does give me some structure.
For the Housekeeping, I was successful (in that I did something to improve things) 14 out of the tracked 16 days, the most common word was determined, the two off days were tired and distracted.
For the Arts n' Crafts, I was successful (in that I did things related to creativity; writing, designing my new studio, and doing other designs, etc. ) Some of the words were determined, inspired, happy, but most common was "on track". The one off day was tired (the same day as the tired above).
My house is less of mess, but still needs so much work. I feel less overwhelmed and more able to pick small improvements that I will actually do. I am also able to ask my husband for more specific assistance instead of just "I need some help".
We have big changes going on and this has helped.
I hope my less then stellar tracking will be of some help anyway. I'm looking forward to reading your theory.
Thanks again!

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Can Feeling Hungry Make You Happy?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here's a new concept that could make losing weight a lot easier: emotional not-eating.

We all know how easy and tempting it is to reach for something to eat--especially something that's sweet, rich, or salty--in times of stress. "Comfort" eating and "emotional" eating are two of the biggest problems for most people who struggle with their weight.

But one of the odd things about comfort eating has always been that it rarely actually makes us feel good for more than a couple of minutes. After that, we quickly end up feeling guilty or upset--especially if we're trying to eat healthy or lose weight. But still we do it, even though we know how bad we're going to feel as soon as we're done. That immediate reward we get from it really conditions us to reach for the food, and before you know it, you've got an automatic habit on your hands that's very hard to break.

Wouldn't it be nice if NOT reaching for something to eat in times of stress produced that same kind of feel-good reward? It sure would make it easier to break the habit of comfort/emotional eating.

Well, guess what? According to some recent research, those good feelings may be just what you can experience if you can manage to get past that first impulse to eat something when you need a little comfort.

Nutrition scientists have known for a while that, when our bodies notice we need more calories, levels of a hormone called ghrelin increase. Rising ghrelin levels produce hunger, but new research suggests this may be a side effect of its primary job as a stress-buster and feel-good chemical.

In this study, researchers manipulated ghrelin levels in mice through prolonged calorie restriction, ghrelin injection and a genetic modification rendering the mice numb to ghrelin’s effect, in order to observe the effects. What they found was the the mice with low ghrelin levels (ie, those who had eaten recently) seemed depressed. If pushed into deep water they made no effort to swim. When introduced to a maze, they clung to the entryway. And when placed with other mice, they tended to keep to themselves. (These behaviors were reversed when the mice were given a low-dose antidepressant commonly prescribed to humans.)

In contrast, mice with high levels of ghrelin swam energetically in deep water, looking for escape. They eagerly explored new environments. And they were much more social.

As the article describing this study (see link below) says, this makes a lot of practical sense. The time when we most need a lot of energy, ambition, and high expectations of success is when we're hungry and need food--that's what gets us off our duffs and out looking for food.

Now, mice aren't people, and it's not clear yet how much these effects of higher ghrelin levels will transfer to people. And the researchers say that these postive effects of high ghrelin levels may not occur until someone has lost about 10-15% of their excess body weight.

But, if you struggle with emotional eating, it just might pay to give this experiment a little try yourself. If you can manage to get comfortable with mild hunger long enough to get your weight down 10% or so, you might find that eating less actually makes you feel pretty good, gives you more energy, and makes it a lot easier to avoid the autopilot eating associated with emotional and comfort eating. It's certainly true that many people who learn to eat "clean" and do without much comfort eating report that they get a lot of positive feelings from this.

You don't want to go too far with this, of course, to the point that you're half-starving yourself in order to get those good feelings. Try approaching this the way those people in Okinawa, Japan (the ones who live to be 115) do it--push yourself away from the table when your about 80% full.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIQUID11 10/8/2009 4:25PM

    METAMORPHOSIS... mmm, interesting twist

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    Hmmm interesting , I wonder if this could work for me who has a problem with feeling hungry . This is one thing I hate is to feel hungry. As a child I was punished by having to stand in corner in dining room all day with no food and them eating there meals as I was in corner. I wonder if I could use this to retrain my thought on hunger. Its worth a try.

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6MONKIES 8/5/2008 11:34AM

  Good read. Thanks! :)

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CURVYCARA 7/31/2008 6:00PM

    Interesting, but be mindful that it doesn't turn into the kind of addictive rush that anorexics get from hunger. Also, whilst I agree with the principle of eating less than usual by stopping eating when no longer hungry, as opposed to when full, it seems to me that not eating when hungry is a bad idea, other than waiting a short while until moderately hungry instead of eating at the slightest inkling of hunger. Avoiding eating when genuinely hungry will likely lead to eating problems such as bingeing and/or starving. It seems to me the biggest issue is avoiding eating when NOT hungry. It can give a psychological boost to use an alternative coping mechanism such as distraction, exercise or art, or drinking water in case thirsty rather than hungry for example, by regaining a sense of control and achievement.

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LISAPORCALLA 7/29/2008 6:58AM

    I will try this and keep it in mind when I am eating or want to munch. emoticon

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BEACHDREAMS 7/28/2008 9:23AM

    Oh--sorry--didn't see the link at the bottom!

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BEACHDREAMS 7/28/2008 9:22AM

    Interesting--a nutritional variation of learned helplessness/learned optimism behavior. Whose study is this?? I'd like to read it--if you could share the reference?

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MIMI_B 7/23/2008 9:23PM

    I think I've experienced this phenomenon every now and then. Like when I first starting following the SP plan... After a couple weeks, I felt so good that restricting calories to 1200-1550 was no problem. And sometimes, when I go to bed with an empty stomach (actually grumbling / growling), it feels good rather than spurring me to get out of bed and go to the kitchen! Interesting...

The You on a Diet book talks about ghrelin a lot, but I don't remember them mentioning this. emoticon

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DECAROLIFIC 7/22/2008 5:07PM

    Hmm, I've told others before that I felt good when I felt hungry because it meant that my body was starting to work on my fat stores. Didn't recognise that there was actually a physiologic reason for feeling good- thought it was all in my head! emoticon

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HELENAD 7/22/2008 9:42AM

  This is SO True! I was aware of it in my own eating patterns, but it was nice to see it in black and white with a scientific explanation! Being a little bit hungry is a good thing! I knew IT!

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SCJILLIAN28 7/22/2008 7:42AM

    Thanks for this information! What I hate most about weight loss is always feeling hungry. This gives me a different perspective on being hungry; it kinda turns a negative into a positive emoticon

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ALLTHEWAY4 7/18/2008 5:00PM

    Hmm! I will try this. Thanks Coach.

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MCDOELI 7/18/2008 9:56AM

    I've kind of toyed with this idea myself of making myself feel better by not eating. Obviously the point isn't to starve yourself but instead allow yourself to gain control of your actions again. It's great to see that research is being done to investigate this!

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  Yes, I agree with you. Today is the first true day of my life change with spark people.com. I've tried a million other diets, but have come to the conclusion that an actual "get healthy, and stay healthy approach is the best route for me. I have been slightly hungry all day and have resisted several urges to pick at food. I actually feel really good about myself today, and had the energy to move forward and do some water aerobics. Mice don't lie! I'm glad I read your article. Sharon

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CYNDI_LMT 7/17/2008 6:30PM

  Thanks. This helps. I'm just starting over with my personal food journal. I fell off the wagon. I remember how satisfying it was to turn down an empty calorie "treat" even when my stomach was gnawing a little and be able to fill out my journal with a clear conscience and within ranges. Looking forward to seeing my numbers start coming down again.

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MISSYCHRISTEN 7/17/2008 6:02PM

    Very interesting. I've often thought of what I do as "comfort exercising", instead of comfort eating. Well, what I try to do, anyway!

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VISITORX 7/17/2008 4:03PM

    Very interesting! Thanks.

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WIREDFORJOY 7/17/2008 3:57PM

    What...mice aren't people? LOL. Good info to try at least. I esp like the approach of pushing yourself away from the table at 80% full. Appreciate all your sharing and shuggestions!

Lee emoticon

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COLEMANSR 7/17/2008 3:12PM

    Thanks for your blogs. I'm passing the link to your page on to my teams. You have to great topics here.

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    Very Cool!

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