The Inner Critic
"I missed my afternoon walk again, why can't I get this weight loss thing right?"
"Why did I eat that cookie, I am so weak, I'll never lose weight!"
Do any of these remarks sound like you? If so, you may be an Inner Critic when it comes of weight loss. At Jenny Craig, we focus on the full picture for weight loss success. That means connecting what you eat and how active you are to how you think. The Inner Critic the weight loss mindset that is characterized by self-critical thoughts - constantly blaming yourself for weaknesses you feel caused your weight problems.
Research shows that your level of optimism may predict how successful you will be at maintaining a dietary change. Results from the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial showed that women who scored higher in areas of optimism (including perceived control, positive expectations, empowerment, fighting spirit and a lack of helplessness), were more likely to decrease their intake of fat.* Reducing fat intake leads to reduced total calorie intake, and is a change that can support you in reaching your weight loss goals.
How can you learn optimism? Start to listen to your inner dialogue and be aware of what you are telling yourself throughout the day. You may be taking a self-defeating approach when it comes to losing weight, mentally beating yourself up for every extra calorie eaten. Be aware of this, take a step back and observe this negative self talk.
Next, create affirmations, self-accepting thoughts to replace the self-critical thoughts that you are having. Affirmations usually begin with "I am" or "I can" and end with a positive behavior that is personally relevant to you. For instance, if you are worrying about an upcoming social event that will have high fat or high calorie foods that will tempt you, your usual habit might be to say to yourself:
"I'm never able to get through a party without cheating on my diet"
To make the change to a more positive mindset, say something affirming, like:
"I can have fun at the party without overdoing it"
When you do have a set back in your weight loss plan, it's important to remember to forgive yourself and look at the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Try this Jenny Craig technique:
4-Step the Situation
- Forgive yourself. Your lapse was a single event, a moment from which to learn so you can make plans for a different result in the future.
- Analyze the situation and your typical response. Where were you? Who were you with? What did you do? As you retrace your steps, figure out where things started to go wrong, and what you could have done differently.
- Plan a strategy for the next time this situation arises. When you are faced with the situation again, what will you say, feel and do?
- Summarize your plan and rehearse. Practice your plan in your mind or with a friend.
Your Jenny Craig Consultant is an excellent resource to help brainstorm ideas for affirmations, create plans and practice for success. We also have several online tools to support you in your journey from Inner-Critic to self-acceptance. Find sample affirmations and journal your thoughts at www.jennycraig.com, just click on the E-tools section for more information.
*Tinker et al, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July, 2007.
Everyone Deserves a Cheerleader
Committing yourself to a healthy lifestyle means changing long-established eating patterns-some of which have been in place for decades. The change requires knowledge, vigilance and support. Your friends and family may want to help, but not know how. To help them help you, print out this list:
- Focus on my successes-not my failures. Please notice when I make the right choice and don't be afraid to comment.
- If I slip up, don't berate, nag, threaten or bribe me. Remind me, instead, that this was a one-time indulgence, not a complete "diet buster."
- Don't bring sweets or salty snacks into the house or try to force me to have "just a bite" of a food I've already rejected.
- Don't expect me to bake for you. Instead, praise me for preparing healthy meals that make you feel better,as well.
- When I'm tired, stressed, bored, angry or frustrated, I may be more inclined to eat. Please recognize these times and help me choose an alternative activity.
- Exercise with me. Think of new ways we can get out and play.
- Remember, when you help me, you'll be helping the family. Supporting my efforts will also make you look and feel better.
Living Healthy Is Really Living
Healthy living. We see the term everywhere. But what does it really mean? Bean sprouts for breakfast? Grueling, pre-dawn jogs? Lettuce-leaf lunches? Zen Master training? Hardly. Healthy living isn't about starving yourself or testing your limits. It's all about achieving balance between the physical, emotional, nutritional, and spiritual elements in your life.
Take a quick "balance" inventory. What foods do you eat or crave most? Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, along with plenty of water and a limited intake of alcohol and caffeine make a pretty good recipe for nutritional balance. Too much fat or too many carbs can easily affect it. How much exercise are you getting? Even a short walk has some physiological benefits. What about rest? Unless you make a concerted effort, you probably don't get enough. These factors and others can directly affect your weight, mood, attitude and general sense of well-being-your "balance."
Striking a Better Balance. Try these tips to restore your body's balance:
Exercise: If you're not getting any, you're missing out. Regular exercise-even for brief periods-can help you feel more energized and more alert. Exercise has also been proven to improve cardiovascular function and reduce your risk of certain health conditions. So get up and get moving!
Nutrition: In a recent review of food intake surveys by the USDA, experts declared that it is a moderate approach, built on a high-carbohydrate base that predicts successful weight loss. With the proper nutrition, your body will function more efficiently, resulting in more stamina and more energy for the things you want to do.
Stress: Everyone experiences a certain amount of stress. That's life. But prolonged periods of mid- to high-level stress can have detrimental effects on your body, including reduced immune function. Be aware of your stressors and develop strategies for managing them.
Rest: Forty winks? Most people get twenty, if they're lucky. But a good night's sleep can make all the difference in how good you feel. Pick a bedtime that will allow you to wake up naturally, without an alarm. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed. Turn in at the same time every night. If possible, sneak a nap in on the weekends. If you don't snooze, you lose.
Attitude: No one expects you to walk around giddy and grinning all the time, but your emotional responses can affect your physiological function. Try to cultivate a positive outlook. Hang out with fun, positive people. Read motivational or inspirational literature. Re-read the tips above. Even small behavioral changes can produce big attitudinal improvements.
A Weight Loss Plan to Succeed
Successful weight loss doesn't happen overnight. It takes practice and planning. People who successfully lose weight plan what they'll eat and how they'll be active on a regular basis. Planning is a big part of your weekly consultations. Here are some steps to help you make your weekly plans work for you!
- Choose What Matters Most to You
There are a variety of skills, strategies and information that can help you achieve your weight goal. To get the most out of your Program share what's important to you with your Consultant.
- Focus on the Benefits
Once you choose your focus, think about the benefits of making changes in that specific area.
- Set a Realistic Goal
Just as you didn't gain your weight overnight, it's not realistic to expect to lose it overnight. To ensure your success, set a goal that is specific, realistic and motivating for you.
- Know Your Challenges
When you think about your area of focus, take a moment to honestly assess who or what could get in your way. So, make what you need a part of your plan.
Erin* was a diet extremist. Every time she started a new diet she would throw out all of her favorite foods and exercise vigorously for at least an hour a day. She thought that her tactics were effective, she usually lost some weight, but she ended up making herself miserable in the process. And, the diet always ended in the same way, with Erin reaching the breaking point and binging on the things that she had deprived herself of for so long.
When Erin joined Jenny Craig she was surprised to learn that she didn’t have to stop eating the foods she loved. She could enjoy chocolate cake, pasta and even comfort foods like meatloaf and still lose weight. Physical activity was also not an overwhelming, time-consuming chore. She and her Consultant were able to come up with many easy, practical ways to incorporate it into her regular schedule.
Setting a realistic goal for your weight loss is the first step to letting go of a diet extremist mindset. Too often, we use the size 0 images we see in the media as a model for weight loss success. But the reality is that few people will be able to healthfully attain that ideal. A more realistic way to determine your goal weight is with Body Mass Index or BMI. Use our on line BMI Calculator to find the healthy weight range for your height. Other things to consider when determining a realistic goal weight are your personal weight history, genetics and level of physical activity. Even if you are not able to achieve your dream weight, keep in mind that you can gain health benefits by losing just 5-10% of your initial weight. You will also be more likely to maintain a moderate amount of weight loss for the long term.
If you are a diet extremist, you will find that taking a more moderate approach to weight loss can lead to long term success. Think of weight loss as a lifestyle change and not a diet. Do this by replacing extreme tactics with more moderate ones. For example:
|Self-control||Self-awareness: Become more aware of the things that challenge your weight loss success.|
|Deprivation||Moderation: Enjoy small servings of your favorite foods. You will find a small portion is just enough to satisfy a craving and ward off a binge.|
|Willpower||"Skillpower": Rather than placing yourself in tempting situations, come up with creative solutions to avoid your weight loss challenges.|
|Perfection||Self-acceptance: Realize that the goal is progress, not perfection. Remember where you started, look at how far you’ve come and resist the urge to compare your success to others.|
|Radical change||Realistic steps: Focus on small lifestyle changes that you can maintain over the long haul.|
Set some realistic goals for yourself today. Whether you are looking to make a change in Food, Body or Mind; be sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-specific.
Seven Tips to Get Yourself into Swimsuit Shape!
Spring is the season to make a fresh start and now is a great time to get ready for summer. To help you look your best and make it into a swimsuit, Jenny Craig Chief Nutritionist, Lisa Talmini has these tips for you:
- Enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables to add variety without sacrificing satisfaction. Fresh asparagus, green beans and strawberries have wonderfully robust flavor when picked at their peak.
- Substitute a sprinkle of chopped walnuts for hollandaise sauce, a splash of olive oil for butter, and sliced avocado for sour cream to keep the focus on heart-healthy fats.
- Limit casseroles, cream-based sauces and other winter "comfort foods." Instead, try a chef's salad filled with luscious tomatoes, lean turkey and reduced cheeses along with fresh berries garnished with fat-free whipped topping for dessert.
- Tackle your spring-cleaning, dig out your gardening tools or chase your children at the playground. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk activity most days of the week.
- Grab your walking shoes and hit the pavement, beach or trails. Instead of focusing on how far you need to walk, pay attention to the unique sights, sounds and smells of spring. You’ll feel rejuvenated by the time you return home.
- Using comfortable weights, resistance tubes or cans of vegetables, add 15-20 minutes of light weight training twice a week to tone up muscles. For every pound of muscle you gain, you burn an extra 35 calories – which can add up to a 10-pound weight loss over the course of a year.
- Adopt a fresh attitude. Just like a gardener can retrain a vine to grow in a new direction, so can a negative, judgmental thinking style be guided along a positive, self-accepting path.