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Do you sometimes feel like a Food “Addict”?

Are you one of the millions of people who describe the pull of food on your life as an “addiction”? Do you suffer from that nagging feeling or voice in your head that drives you toward foods that you know are not beneficial or healthy?

Unlike chemical substances, addictive behaviors around food are not likely to be about the chemical make-up of the food but about the way we think about food, react to it and the habits we form. In short, scientists who study food be-haviors tell us that food addiction really isn’t about the food itself at all.

For many, food can become a coping mechanism — eating can be a way to relieve stress, a method for reducing anxiety, anger, sadness and feelings of inadequacy, just to name a few. It’s the repetition of this type of coping mechanism that can cause a “food addiction”. When we use food over and over again to deal with issues, the body becomes conditioned to crave food as a way to feel relief.

Several studies have demonstrated that when pleasurable foods are consumed, the reward centers of the brain light up and release dopamine – a “feel good” brain chemical. Dopamine is also released when the pleasure sensation is stimulated by drugs or alcohol. Another reason why food can sometimes seem like a true addiction.
If you sometimes feel like food has too much control over you and your life, consider the following ideas for taking the power back from food:

Follow a Structured Meal Plan. One suffering from an unhealthy relationship with food can get on the right track to recovery by following a meal plan and a regular eating schedule – no starvation…no binge eating. This helps the person set safe boundaries with food and feel satisfied so that there is not a physiological need to eat.
Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food. In traditional 12-step addiction-based recovery models, addicts are challenged to remain abstinent for healing. However, with food addiction, one can’t simply stop eating, as food is es-sential to life. Thus someone suffering with food addiction must address reasons for turning to food to cope. Identify healthier coping mechanisms and strategies so that you can begin learning healthier means of dealing with emotions.
Set Boundaries with Unsafe Foods. Typically, trigger or “unsafe” foods are removed from the diet and bounda-ries are set so that managing these foods in a healthier way can be relearned. If someone binges on ice cream when he or she is stressed, it’s best not to keep it in the house. Eliminating the temptation until he or she can eat ice cream again in a balanced way is a safe option.
Seek Professional Advice. Beating a food addiction is a process and does not happen overnight; it often needs to involve a registered dietitian and licensed therapist that specialize in the area of disordered eating. These profession-als will help a person suffering from food addiction to implement appropriate strategies and provide accountability with sound advice.

Step Up To “The Challenge”!

Have you decided to take “The Challenge” this summer? Have you challenged yourself to walk 1 million steps? It’s not too late! Just add days in September and you can still challenge yourself over these 100 days to walk 10,000 steps each day.

If you are like many people, you have what researchers at the Mayo Clinic call “sitting disease” and it is slowly killing you. The average American is not active enough to stay healthy and lean – getting an average of only 3,000 to 5,000 steps per day.

Are you ready to change all that? If so, join us this summer for the 1 Million Step Challenge. Sound like a lot of steps? It’s really not. The challenge will run from June 1st to September 8th—exactly 100 days.

100 days X 10,000 steps / day = 1 Million Steps!

Now the good news: studies provide overwhelming evidence that workplace wellness programs reduce the negative impacts of a sedentary workforce. Employees who walk 10,000 steps a day and work out at the gym three times a week can add five years to their lifespan according to a Body-Brain Performance Institute and Swinburne University Brain Sciences Institute walking study.

In another Body-Brain Performance Institute walking study, 40 employees were tested for brain function, including the ability to plan, remember, simulate future scenarios and make decisions as well as their alert-ness, energy levels and levels of anger and stress. The research showed a clear link between vigorous physical activity, increased brain function and reduced stress levels at work.

So why wouldn’t you want to participate this summer? Get your pedometer and get moving!

Around Town Fit Tips…

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Sleep is extremely important, but almost nobody gets enough of it. Recent studies suggest that lack of sleep may have more serious implications than previously thought. Lack of sleep might make you gain weight and it could even increase your disease risk.

1. 33% of those who drink 4 or more caffeinated beverages daily are designated “at risk” for sleep apnea – a disorder in which breathing is interrupted briefly and repeatedly. Chronic snoring can be an indicator.

2. The less you sleep, the more your genes contribute to how much you weigh. The more you sleep, the less your genes determine how much you weigh, and the more control you can have over your weight.

3. Lack of sleep can raise the sensation of hunger by 25 percent. Sleep more and you can eat more or burn more calories.

4. Studies show that regularly sleeping too little (6 hours and less) OR regularly sleeping too much (more than 9 hours) is associated with shorter lifespan. Seven to eight hours is the ideal.

5. Sleeping directly after learning something new will improve your ability to remember it effectively.

6. Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility to the internet.

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good “sleep hygiene.” To improve your sleep hygiene, consider incorporating some of the following tips:

1. Stick to a sleep schedule – the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock (circadian rhythm) and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

2. Avoid bright light and “blue light” before bed. Turn down the lights and turn off computers, cell phones and TV’s. Bright light and blue light turns off melatonin—a natural sleep enhancing hormone.

3. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.

4. Evaluate your room. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees, free from any noise that can disturb your sleep and free from any light.

5. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes and heavy meals in the evening

6. Try a natural sleep aid such as sour cherry juice or turmeric milk.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional

What’s The Risk?

Focus on Blood Pressure

About 1 in every 4 American adults have high blood pressure, also called “hypertension”. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart and kidney diseases, stroke and heart failure. High blood pressure is especially dangerous, because it often gives no warning signs or symptoms. Fortunately, you can find out if you have high blood pressure by having your blood pressure checked regularly. If it is high, you can take steps to lower it. Just as important, if your blood pressure is normal, you can learn how to keep it from rising.

A healthy blood pressure number is less than 120/80.

You can prevent high blood pressure or lower blood pressure by:

Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight can make you two to six times more likely to develop high blood pressure than if you are at your desirable weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can make a big difference in helping to prevent and treat high blood pressure.

Get moving….Get together….Get inspired ! !





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