How to Jumpstart Your Day

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Many of us are on one end of the spectrum or the other – you either bounce up out of bed with the enthusiasm of a puppy, or you lay in the comfort of your bed sheets until you can will yourself to put one foot in front of the other. Depending on age, you’re more likely to be one or the other, however the opinions of people seems to be fairly divided.

Despite personal preference and what you consider to give you the “best results,” however, research shows that “morning people” are morepositive, persistent, and cooperative by nature. One study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine even found that those who expose themselves to more sunlight earlier in the day had a significantly lower BMI than those who received the majority of their light exposure later on. In addition, it has been found to be true that those who stay up later tend to eat more calories in the evening and consume fewer fruits and vegetables than their early-riser counterparts. In all, morning people tend to lead happier lives, statistically.

Contrary to popular belief, whether you’re a morning person or a night owl doesn’t have as much to do with inclination as it does your biology. The circadian clock is the manager of your circadian rhythm, which is a cycle that tells us when to sleep, eat, rise, and things of that nature. Our circadian rhythms are determined by both genetics and external factors, like light, which regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the period of a day. Because we have this naturally-programmed schedule, people are classified as “early risers” and “night owls” in relation to the average hours of functionality, and, when they have their patterns disrupted, can become ill-tempered and less productive. This exact process is responsible for the feeling of “jet lag” when traveling, as your body becomes thrown-off by irregular levels of sunlight and shifted meal times. In a sense, “early risers” are lucky, being that their sleep/wake times place their peak operational hours at the most societally and socially beneficial.

Though your circadian clock is impacted by things such as genetics and age, it’s not impossible to reset your rhythm to match your desired schedule. Follow these guidelines to figure out how to turn yourself from a night owl into an early riser:

1. Adjust your bedtime
Reverting back to a bedtime as if you were still a school-aged child may seem like a drag, but it’s necessary for setting a natural sleep/wake time. When we fall asleep at irregular hours, our bodies are not only impacted by lack of sleep, but become disoriented because of their inability to predict a proper time to shut down. By adjusting your bedtime to give you the recommended amount of sleep for peak functionality, (6-8 hours for adults) you’re enabling yourself ample time to recharge and therefore eliminating morning sluggishness.

2. Refrain from napping
As hard as it may be to resist a mid-day or even post-work nap, it is crucial to do so in order to keep your internal clock on track. While napping is, in some cases, considered beneficial, excessive napping can skew evening tiredness and make it harder to fall asleep when it is necessary to do so.

3. Expose yourself to light at the proper hours
Due to technology and internal lighting of the home, our bodies are frequently tricked into thinking it is in the presence of daylight when it may actually be late in the evening. Consider your sleep/wake goals and adjust light exposure accordingly – if you want to wake at a certain time, expose yourself to light by turning on your bedroom lights or exposing yourself to natural sunlight. When it is near time to be put to rest, dim the lights accordingly. If you are unable to separate yourself from technology, consider turning down the brightness or switching to the “night mode” many apps offer in their settings to minimize the effects of the screen brightness.

4. Avoid vigorous physical activity late in the day
When we exercise, our adrenaline spikes and brain activity increases, making it harder to relax and fall asleep. If you are going to exercise, give yourself sufficient time to re-balance body temperature and allow your heart rate to return to its resting rate.

5. Don’t skip breakfast!
You’d be shocked to find out how many adults skip the “most important meal of the day”. Eating breakfast is known to reduce morning irritability and daytime stress by providing plenty of vitamins and nutrients for proper functionality. When you eat breakfast, you’re giving your body enough power to make it through the day without any crashes, thus increasing mood and productivity, and minimizing early fatigue.

*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any service including a weight loss program or med spa treatment. Contact us to make sure this is the right solution for you.

Dr. Kim: Coping with Food Grief

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For some, food has been a good friend, support, strength, comfort, and love. Initially, after changing your eating habits and developing a new healthier lifestyle, your relationship will food will change. Unfortunately, this change often triggers food grief.

Grieving over the loss of the role food once played in your life is a normal process and most people go through it. It is a natural step in the re-birth process after dieting. It is time to say goodbye to those foods that made you overweight and unhealthy. They are not part of your life anymore, and isn’t that a blessing? You may be wondering how long food grief will last. Unfortunately, food grief doesn’t have a time limit. The best answer seems to be “as long as it takes.”

Also, try to remember that losing these foods is not deprivation. It’s freedom from the damage, pain and suffering they were causing you and your body. It’s time to celebrate your hard work and new healthy lifestyle and choose to keep your focus on what you have since gained… increased confidence, energy, health, and possibly a new wardrobe!!

Worden’s (1991) model of grief argues that we have ‘tasks’ when we grieve. These include:
1  Accepting the reality of the loss
2  Experiencing the pain of the loss
3  Adjusting to a new life without the lost person (in this case food…)
4  Reinvestment in the new reality.

The TEAR Model of Grief illustrates these four tasks of mourning:

T: To Accept The Loss 
Accepting the loss of the role food once played in your life can be challenging. While some people accept the loss immediately, others take time to say their final goodbye. However, accepting the loss is the first step to dealing with food grief.  According to the TEAR model of grief, it is important to tell your story. Find a safe, positive and non-judgmental environment where you can think, process and talk freely with a trusted love one or with a Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist. This step is vital to your food grief process.

E: Experience The Pain Of Loss 
The second step of the TEAR model is the core of the process. Allowing yourself to feel pain can be incredibly difficult and overwhelming, as it can seem long and never ending. If you are unsure of how you should mourn, you can follow this simple model that shows you how to let yourself open and experience your pain in 5 (also “TEAR”) steps.

1. Talking: You may feel the need to isolate yourself from the world when experiencing deep grief but the opposite actually helps you along. Instead of isolating, try to express your feelings and talk it out with a trusted friend, relative or even a Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist. Sharing your experience can lighten it and make it more tolerable.

2.Exercise: Painful emotions can be released with physical activity and help you reduce feelings of anxiety, anger, and tension. It can also aid in relieving you of symptoms of depression and intense grief.

3. Art therapy: Try creative expression through art and tap into your creative outlets to process your emotions on a subconscious level. Some examples of art therapy include painting, drawing, and scrapbooking.

4. Recording emotions: Record your experiences and emotions by writing into a personal journal or diary. This simple and surprisingly effective method allows you to release emotions and unload your worries into a book. When you write down things, you witness, feel and hear yourself in a private and safe environment.

5. Sobbing: Tears are not the signs of weakness. In fact, tears are the purest expression of heartfelt love and profound sadness. Don’t stop yourself from crying when you have to. Tears can be a catalyst for catharsis and will most likely help you feel better.

A: Adjust To New Environments 
It is important to adopt every step in the model to fully understand your grieving process. This method will help you adjust to your food grief. Naturally, mourning the loss of food takes time and effort and requires continual work on your grief related emotions.

R: Reinvest In A New Relationship
After you have acknowledged the loss and started adjusting to life without your old relationship to food, you may feel a rejuvenated sense of relationships. You may want to forge new friendships, find a new romantic partner or simply find more positive people in your life. After all, food is not a friend, lover, or loved one. It is simply fuel to keep your body functioning. Now that your unhealthy relationship with food is over, it is time to create healthy relationships.

Give yourself time and all the love you can to nurture yourself through the work of food grief. It’s a challenge, but when you really do the work, it will eventually become easier. Please remember, you can do this and we are here to help.

*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any service including a weight loss program or med spa treatment. Contact us to make sure this is the right solution for you.

4 Effective Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable

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Whether we are conscious of it or not, we make excuses all of the time. Phrases like “I’m too tired” or “I’m too busy” tend to surface whenever we know we should be doing something, but aren’t. It is difficult to stop oneself from making excuses, as it is the mind’s natural defense against doing things we may expect to be unpleasant. They are dangerous though, as once you begin to tell yourself something, you may begin to believe it.

This phenomenon is especially true as it pertains to long-term lifestyle changes, as Tucson Medical Weight Loss attempts to instill in each individual whom walks through our doors. Many people find the transition into healthy living difficult and revert back to their old ways from time to time, slowing down their progress and inciting frustration. A good way to keep yourself from throwing away all of your hard work is to come up with an accountability plan.

By holding yourself to some sort of a standard, it will be easier to keep your goals in sight. Accountability is instrumental in success for everything from playing guitar to doing household chores. If you don’t encourage yourself to do something, the reality of it is that it won’t get done. If you’re having a hard time holding yourself accountable or wondering how you can improve your efforts, think about implementing one of these into your daily routine:

1. Ask a Loved One to Keep Tabs on You

Whether it be your spouse, brother, sister, daughter or son, loved ones, especially ones who reside in the same household, have the potential to offer close to 24/7 accountability for your actions. Because they can see exactly what you are spending your time doing, they have the power to regulate, or at least influence your lifestyle choices.

Loved ones tend to be effective means of accountability, as they are generally trusted and may be able to notice things that you may not be able to notice about yourself. Additionally, we tend to take the commentary of family members more seriously than that of a stranger, or even friend. If your inner circle is on your side, nothing can stop you.

2. Start a Blog

Blogging is similar to keeping a daily log of your activities, except its public — which is the best part. Making your daily activities and meal choices public knowledge will undoubtedly influence you to make better choices, as you won’t want to disappoint readers or have them think any less of you.

Not only that, but proper blogging has the potential to generate you a dedicated support group for when you are in times of great hardship or have questions regarding what to do next. Sometimes, all we need is a little nudge or kind words to get us back in the right mindset.

3. Keep a Money Jar

The “money jar” method is perfect for those who either still want to be independent, or respond well to negative punishment. The idea with the “money jar” is that every time you make a lifestyle slip-up, you must “pay” a certain amount of money by placing it into a jar, only earning it back once your ultimate goal has been reached.

The idea of having to “pay” every time you slip up forces the realization that there is an actual cost associated with every action, which resonates well with frugal people as well as those who enjoy thinking about things in theory or putting life into perspective.

4. Implement a Prize System

Much like a scavenger hunt, the prize system is set up in a way that rewards you with incentives to keep moving in the right direction. This is especially effective for those who find their long-term goal to be impossibly attainable or those who choose to live day-by-day.

Implement this into your life by choosing a fixed increment to act as your “goal” – this can be pounds lost in a fixed period of time, number of clean meals eaten consecutively, or anything else you consider appropriate. Then, choose a [health-friendly] reward for each time you reach one of these checkpoints. We recommend pampering services, such as a facial or microdermabrasion treatment at our Med Spa location at La Cholla, new shoes, clothes, home décor, or anything else that would motivate you to keep moving!

Discouragement is a treatable issue, especially when you have a system in place to keep yourself moving. Your journey does have to be alone or completely internal, in fact it will actually be more pleasant if you share it or turn it into something fun for yourself! Do not be scared to go stray from the status quo, whatever works for you will give you the most positive experience. Just remember – there is always more than one way! As long as you are keeping yourself accountable, success is inevitable.

*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any service including a weight loss program or med spa treatment. Contact us to make sure this is the right solution for you.