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Sticking To New Years Resolutions

Posted Jan 06 2010 12:00am


How many times have you vowed to lose 20 pounds starting with the New Year or said that this was the year you were going to cut back on your drinking or quit smoking once and for all?
New Year's
After the excitement of the New Year dies down, will your New Year’s resolution survive?
After celebrating on New Year’s Eve and using it as the last hurrah to overindulge, most people set out on a stringent quest of resolutions beginning the very next day. Then around the end of January, many fail to live up to their stated resolutions, give up and go back to their former lifestyle.
One survey listed the top three resolution categories in order of popularity:
  • 37% - Start exercising
  • 13% - Eat better
  • 7% - Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption or quit smoking
The researchers found that people who looked at self-control as a form of willpower had the tendency to make more than one resolution and those who perceived themselves as having poor self-control gave up sooner in trying to meet their goals or folded quickly in keeping their New Year’s resolutions.
And the expectations and success/failure rate of these resolutions showed that:
  • 75 percent failed on their first attempt
  • 67 percent made more than one resolution
How to Make a Winning New Year’s Resolution
The bottom line is all about your self-perception and belief in yourself. If you believe that you have unlimited, strong self-control and confidence in your ability to set and achieve your goals, then your chances of success are much greater and you will naturally set more goals for yourself.
The second part of successfully meeting your goals is becoming an active participant. Just saying that you’re going to quit smoking doesn’t automatically make it happen. You have to make it happen by doing research on effective quitting methods and seeking out other means of support and resources to achieving your goal. Otherwise you’ll be making a half-hearted attempt that winds up in failure.



Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions center on leading a healthier lifestyle and with that often comes the challenge of breaking addictive behaviors. The addictions that top most New Year’s resolution lists are smoking and overeating, two habits that can have detrimental health effects over time. Unfortunately, many fail at their attempts to break these habits and ultimately fall back into their old patterns.


overeating
If you struggle with overeating, keep reading for tips to help you break free. ask The Anytime Guy reveals one simple secret few know or will tell you!
Experts say the way to breaking these addictions is through a process of behavioral change, with the bulk of the work taking place in your brain.


According to Dr. James Prochaska, director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center at the University of Rhode Island and co-author or the book Changing for Good, in order to make most behavioral changes you have to go through six stages:
  • Stage 1: Pre-contemplation
  • Stage 2: Contemplation -- Acknowledgment of the problem
  • Stage 3: Getting ready to make some changes
  • Stage 4: Action -- Working on changing the behavior
  • Stage 5: Maintenance -- Making sure not to fall off the wagon
  • Stage 6: Termination -- When the behavior is under control and is no longer a threat
If you are looking for immediate results be warned that experts say most behavioral change takes time and mistakes are going to happen throughout the process -- but that’s okay, they say.


If you lapse -- sneak a smoke or binge on birthday cake -- the goal should be to go back to the plan as soon as possible,” said Kristin Gustashaw, clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center. "It's OK to make a mistake … That's where most people fall apart; they don't learn from their mistakes and (they) give up,” she said.


Smoking is one of the most difficult addictive behaviors to conquer. Research has shown that even those who are successful in quitting the first time around suffer the same 75 percent relapse rate as recovering alcoholics and heroin addicts.


Americans Going up in Smoke
With the New Year just begun, more and more of the 24.8 million estimated smokers make a vow to give up their smoking habit. Oftentimes, they end up failing because they don’t know how to go about quitting. In addition to the fact that tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, there is an abundance of startling statistics that act as motivators, driving smokers’ desire to quit smoking:
  • Between 1964 and 2004, cigarette smoking caused an estimated 12 million deaths
  • Cigarette smoking results in more than 400,000 premature deaths in the United States each year -- about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths
  • Cigarette smoking accounts for about one-third of all cancers, including 90 percent of lung cancer cases.
  • Smoking causes lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • It increases the risk of heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, vascular disease, and aneurysm
  • Smoking has also been linked to leukemia, cataracts, and pneumonia
  • On average, adults who smoke die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers
  • Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of miscarriage, stillborn or premature infants, or infants with low birthweight
Why is Smoking Hard to Quit?
Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to break because of the strong addictive effects of nicotine, the main drug in tobacco. Nicotine quickly begins to make changes in your brain by building a tolerance for it, causing you to feel like you need to smoke more to get the same initial rush.
The challenge to quit smoking depends on three key factors:
  • The number of cigarettes you smoke daily
  • The number of people you surround yourself with that smoke such as friends, family and co-workers
  • The reasons you smoke whether it’s for weight control, in social situations or related to peer pressure
The psychological challenge of quitting is based on the triggers, stimuli or situations that you equate to smoking that surround your everyday life. This could be driving past the gas station where you normally buy cigarettes, having a certain food or drink, after a good meal or getting together with someone you normally smoke cigarettes with. Everyone has different triggers. Getting to know all of your triggers and being prepared ahead of time is a critical component in successfully quitting smoking.


Effective Treatments for Tobacco Addiction
quit smoking
Stopping your smoking habit cold turkey, then seeking behavioral therapy for support, they say is often an effective method to quit smoking for good.However, we have a simple secret that you may find more effective! Keep Reading!
For most people who are trying to quit smoking it will involve many attempts and in some cases require outside behavioral assistance and resources such as counseling.
Usually the first few weeks of trying to quit are the most difficult and get much easier after the three-month mark. There are several techniques to quitting smoking and some that work for others may not necessarily work for you. The best strategy is to find the method that works for you that you can stick with to accomplish your quitting goal.
Here are two different techniques you can try:
  1. Do it on your own and go cold turkey --This is one of the most popular methods that 90 percent of the smoking population uses when they try to quit smokingOne of its appeals is that it’s free, plus it takes less time than going through counseling sessions.
  2. Seek behavioral therapy -- Finding a therapist to work with you to help identify your triggers, provide you with self-help materials and emotional support and arm you with coping strategies for when you’re feeling weak makes behavioral therapy a very effective quitting technique.
We Have Found, Experienced, and Used a Very Simple Yet Effective Way to Break Through Addiction for Ourselves!
Replace (vs. Eliminate)
Consider, what does this mean? If you have ever gotten close to what is considered eliminating an addiction you have likely also gained new cravings or potential addictions as a result.
For instance, many ex-smokers replace their cigarettes with junk food.


When you have a strong compulsive reflex conditioned response for something it must be replaced with something as strong or stronger in order for most people to break the addiction. This is due to the subconscious pre-conditioned reflex response, which is called an addiction.


Ideally, decide ahead of time what behavior you will use to replace your addiction, and ensure it is both healthy and controlled.


Add These Four Simple Lifestyle Changes to Increase Your Success Rate
In addition to smoking cessation techniques and the “replace versus eliminate” method, there are also some important things to remember that will help you significantly in your goal to quit smoking:
  1. Identify your triggers so you can replace them with healthy choices that become reflex actions (replace vs. avoiding them) -- Once you know your triggers you can structure your life to replace them with better healthier choices, which will become your preferred choice (vs. only running and trying to stay away from the situations that are connected to smoking). We recommend doing both but always having your replacement. A glass of water may work well to replace the need to have and hold something in your hand plus the water will help flush out the toxins and help you feel better sooner. This is especially important to do in the first three months, which are the most difficult and are the most tempting to start smoking again.
  2. Be prepared to be challenged the most during the first few days of quitting -- The first few days of quitting are always the hardest, especially if you go “cold turkey.” Once you weather the storm beyond the first week, things will start to get easier.
  3. Do whatever you can to be prepared and replace your cravings with healthy replacements. Having a few alternatives for some works while for others having only one consistent replacement is all that works. Resist your craving to smoke via the replacement choices you have made -- It sounds simple, but each time you replace it and don’t give in to your prior craving, you are increasing your rates of complete success. We all know there is a psychological need for replacement, as most smokers gain weight due to replacing smoking with food. This addiction can be as unhealthy as smoking in the long term.
  4. Get involved in a new activity with your non-smoking friends (especially in the times you would typically be going out for a smoke with your smoking friends, etc.) -- This will divert your attention from smoking and put you in a situation where you don’t have to worry about triggers.
The Difference Between Eating When You’re Hungry and Eating Just to Eat
Aside from smoking, the other addictive behavior many people struggle with on a daily basis is overeating. This is a result of many societal things we have been exposed to over the years -- fad diets, subliminal advertising, getting a treat when we were younger for being well-behaved and the list goes on and on.


Over time, this distorts our way of thinking of food in an unhealthy way and results in episodes of overeating.


Experts say that eating becomes a problem when you can no longer distinguish between eating because you are hungry and stopping once you are comfortable.


There are several lifestyle factors that act as triggers to overeating and overindulging. As with smoking, the key is familiarizing yourself with your triggers and knowing what to do to overcome them.


Below are common overeating triggers along with techniques you can use to control them.


Not getting enough Zzzzz’s


Feeling groggy and mentally foggy aren’t the only things happening to your body following a sleepless night. Lack of sleep also sets off a cycle of metabolic changes, affecting the hormones that control your appetite and satiety (leptin and ghrelin), which may also be the culprits behind your extra weight.


Also, it’s common to reach for sugary foods and those high in carbohydrates for an energy lift when you are feeling exhausted.


If sleep deprivation is contributing to your weight gain you could:
  • Start your day with some egg whites with some whole-wheat toast or have a bowl of high-fiber cereal with fruit and a yogurt.
  • Get outside for a mid-afternoon walk to ward off any sleep-deprived cravings.
  • Use your bedroom for sleeping and sex only and go for getting seven to nine hours a night
  • Once you are in bed, listen to relaxing music or sleep CD like Sleep Easy to help you "shift gears" and relax into sleep.
Replace (vs. Eliminate)
”Replace” Stress-Induced Weight Gain with Calm, Healthy Enjoyment
Over time constant stress on your body results in the production of high doses of hormones like cortisol that when mixed with insulin causes your body to store more visceral fat and increase your appetite, leading to overindulgence in foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
If your weight is being sabotaged by stress you can try replacing it with these calming highly focused enjoyable stress-reduction techniques:
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep-breathing exercises to relieve tension
  • Relaxing music
  • Stress management programs. To keep stress levels at bay, subscribe to the most read health newsletter on the web , more than 5 million views monthly by Dr. J. Mercola, one of the most respected mind/body integrative therapists of our time. Try progressive muscle relaxation techniques, alternately tensing and relaxing muscle groups
  • Exercise
  • Dancing
  • Playing a sport
Rewire Your Brain to Lessen Your Cravings by “Replacing” Each 
Despite billions of dollars spent on medical research, supplements, healthier foods, and fitness clubs; more than two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese, and millions are plagued with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Ever ask yourself 'why'?
staying healthy
Learn more about Staying Healthy in a Stressful World Subscribe to my Health Newsletter, now!
Denying your cravings goes beyond willpower and could be blamed on your ancestral roots, a time when people hunted for every meal and depended on fat-rich foods to get extra energy and increase their chances of survival.
To further complicate trying to control our cravings are triggers you are faced with on a daily basis. Smelling scents of fast-food restaurants as you are driving, seeing the picture or a commercial of a favorite fatty food or passing by a bakery that carries your favorite cookies can all bring on cravings.
You can learn to tame your craving triggers by “REPLACING” them (vs. attempting to eliminate them, which rarely works as most often they are then replaced by other addictions by chance rather than by choice):
  • Replace your unhealthy favorite treat with a healthy food
  • Avoid eating between meals especially when you’re feeling sad or depressed
  • Take the longer route to get home to avoid passing your favorite bakery or ice-cream shop
  • Listen to clues of what your body is telling you… replace unhealthy with healthy choices when a temptation strikes and think about the health benefits such as feeling less winded when you walk or how good your stomach feels an hour after eating healthy food (vs. feeling tired or sick an hour after eating unhealthy food)… all by becoming aware and not giving in to the temptation of your prior pre-conditioned behavior replaced with your new healthy desired behaviors!
  • Indulge in healthier versions of your favorites such as:


    • Munchies: i.e. dip raw pecans into hummus or guacamole (vs. chips and dip) for the same crunchy dip experience (only you’ll feel good about eating healthy)
    • Dessert treat: i.e. greek yogurt with almonds or blueberries (instead of a hot fudge ice-cream sundae with the works).


  • Clues: Listen to how your body feels one hour after eating one particular food. Do you feel good and more energized or worse with less energy? Food should fortify you and raise your energy level if you have replaced unhealthy food with the right combination of healthy food for your body! Get in tune with your body and don’t assume you are getting sick when you simply ate the wrong unhealthy food that made you feel sick. Know when you feel good (one hour after eating) that you made the right decision with the best choice of healthy food replacements for you!
Don’t Keep Beating Yourself up if you Slip
Everyone makes mistakes and the trick is to get back on track toward your goals, and again focusing on replacing your prior behaviors with new desired behaviors. There are four simple ways you can do this:
  • Forgive yourself and move on to focus on what you should have done and will do the next time.
  • Allow yourself to start again with healthier foods such as lean grass fed protein, organically grown veggies, whole grains and fruit low in fructose.
  • Learn from your mistakes and recognize what triggered it so you can be aware of it in the future to “replace” the old behavior with an automatic reflex new behavior. See the old as toxic and the new as fresh clean and nourishing your body making you healthy and strong mentally and physically.
  • Exercise in ways that make you feel good, renewed and energetic (vs. as a form of punishment)! Get back on track and feel in control again with daily routines you can do quickly and often at home by scheduling it into your day each and every day for 15 minutes!
Know that you can and will do it… once you make up your mind and commit!


Overcoming Overeating
Experts say there are things you can do to know when you are beginning to feel full and have reached that comfortable level. Replace old behaviors that have prevented you from losing weight with new behaviors. Some of these eating techniques include:
  • Place half or less the serving size on a much smaller plate (vs. large plates), which make the amount look the same (large plates conceal immense volumes of food while reportedly most people who eat off of small plates feel fully satisfied after a smaller half-size meal as they had when they ate larger portions on larger plates. Eating less on a larger plate only reinforces the psychological desire for more food to fill the empty portion of the plate. Use a small plate).
  • When out to dinner: share or take home to reduce servings in half (vs. eating the entire amount):  1) Order and share one meal together… or 2) if you have different meal preferences then ask the waiter to place half the meal in a to-go container the moment the meal arrives. Cutting the volume in half (vs, eating all that is served) is half the calories plus great cost savings. Like her or not, Barbra Walters shared her lifestyle healthy weight maintenance “secret,” which is simply to move around the food on her plate with her fork when out to dinner, asking questions and staying eye-to-eye focused on the other party, eating small bites infrequently, then asking for a to-go container when leaving.
  • Chew your food slowly (vs. fast) -- Taking your time to eat your meals allows the food satisfaction sensation signal to reach your brain, it helps to handle the nutrient uptake more efficiently and considering the 15 minutes it takes to signal your brain your no longer hungry you will eat less by chewing 30 times per bite
  • Take in all the senses of your eating experience (savor each bite vs. downing it all too fast) -- Smell your food, take your time in between tastes and become more in tuned to the whole eating experience.This means to eat at the table without distractions so, not in front of the computer or while driving.
  • Make your meals aesthetically pleasing (focus on making a small delicious beautiful portion presentation on a small plate... vs. large masses of food piled on a large plate) -- Put some effort into the presentation of your meals to increase your awareness and appreciation for the food.
Remember: Don’t just attempt to eliminate. Instead “replace” any addictive behavior or habit you seek to change with a new healthy form of activity. 


Often, exercise is the best choice! Most people who try to eliminate one behavior usually gain a new addiction in the process. So choose carefully in advance. A small investment of time and small amount of money "now" could save you tens of thousands of dollars later, plus make a world of difference in your improved health and well being!   
Please Pass This On! Because YOU Know Loved Ones Who Could Benefit From This Article!
Recommended Reading
How to Quit Smoking … for Good!
How to Stop Overindulging
Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How to Set Your Resolutions For Success

Sources
Chicago Tribune October 30, 2009
American Heart Association
NIDA
Web MD Smoking Cessation
CNNHealth.com September 18, 2009
WebMD Overcoming Overeating






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