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Jun 08

How to Break a Bad Habit

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog

How to Break Bad Habits by Dr. Jack SingerDo you have habits that hold you back from experiencing the successful life you deserve? Your habit may be as small as biting your nails or buying expensive lattes every day. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may wish to break free of smoking, extreme anger, excessive eating, or other detrimental habits.

There is hope. You can rid yourself of the habits that hold you back. Use the tips below to help you put an end to that pesky practice once and for all:

1. Determine why you should stop. Think about how your habit hurts you and others. Does it harm your health? Diminish your appearance? Put a dent in your pocketbook? Does it make you act irrationally? Does it hurt your loved ones? Create a list of benefits that you’ll experience when you put an end to this habit once and for all.

  • If you lack a compelling reason to stop, chances are you’ll be less willing to work towards quitting. Find a reason to halt the progression of your habit and hammer that thought into your mind each time you feel compelled to continue with it. As with any though, the instant you think it and become aware of it, in that same amount of time you can kick that thought to the curb and replace it with something healthier. It is really a matter of your own self awareness.

2. Dangle a carrot. Naturally, when there is a direct reward at the end of your pursuit, you’re more inclined to give a wholehearted effort. Indulge in a trip to the spa, a new pair of jeans or a trip to your favorite restaurant each time you reach a large milestone.

  • Ensure that your reward is irrelevant to your habit. If you’re trying to quit smoking, it’s detrimental to reward yourself with a cigarette at the end of each week for “being good.” Instead, reward yourself with an activity that your smoking may have prevented you from doing. Now that you are feeling better you probably feel more like moving around, right? Go for a hike with your children, or take up some other activity that you have given up over time.
  • Save the biggest rewards for last. What do you want the most? What’s something you’ve wished you could purchase or experience for a long time? Spend the time you would normally spend indulging in your habit to plan your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
  • The reward should be in line with the complexity of your task. Rewarding yourself with a cruise to the Bahamas because you’ve stopped biting your nails is a bit of a stretch. However, rewarding yourself with manicure / pedicure is more fitting.

3. Read success stories. Purchase a book or browse the web to read success stories of those that have previously been in your shoes and conquered the same habit. Head on over to Audible.com and download great books to listen to while you are working on your computer or that you can listen to on your iPod. Some suggestions?  The Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma. Unlimited Power: the New Science of Personal Achievement by Anthony Robbins. Anything and everything by Ken Blanchard. There are truly unlimited resources for you out there. Seeing social proof that others have been able to achieve the task you’re facing makes the pursuit seem more manageable.

4. Small steps. Focus on only one small step each week to ensure long lasting results. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, eliminate sweets and sugary sodas from your diet for the first week. The next week eliminate other carbohydrates, like white bread, in addition to the sweets.

  • Slow and steady really does win the race. Crash diets don’t work, and quitting anything cold often leads to compensatory behavior. In turn, this will halt your progress and you’ll have to start at step one all over again. Again, there are MANY resources for you. Find the one or ones that attract you the most and dive right in.
  • Create measurable goals. If you’re trying to minimize your spending, determine the average amount you spend each week in unnecessary purchases. Then set a goal to reduce that amount by 10% for the first week.

Habits provide a level of comfort that everything in your world is okay. They give you a feeling of control over your circumstances. However, a dependency on a routine that has negative consequences to your physical and mental health can be replaced by choices that fuel your success.

Remember that you are in charge of your mind, body, and soul. Embark on the road to kicking your bad habit(s) today and prove to yourself just how strong you can be!

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Dec 15

Lose Weight Even During the Holidays

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Weight Issues

How to Continue Your Weight Loss Goals Even After the Summer Months

by Dr. Jack Singer

Continue to Lose Weight During the HolidaysIt’s easy to get motivated to start a weight loss plan at the beginning of the summer. Many people, motivated by the sunny weather and excitement that summer brings, resolve to get in shape over the summer months. With the summer comes a new beginning and new enthusiasm.

After a while, however, it can be difficult to maintain the same high level of motivation you need to keep going. When the motivation of an upcoming vacation or looking your best in a swimsuit is no longer in front of you, you can easily get discouraged and fall back into old habits. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts and parties being so much a part of the holidays, it is easy to give up and give yourself permission to start over again in the New Year.

Instead of giving up, choose success. Stick to your weight loss and fitness goals even after the swimsuit season with these tips and tricks:

1. Take baby steps. After you’ve been on a diet for a long time, you might feel like giving up if your ideal weight still seems far off. Instead, break your large goal up into tiny pieces. Seek to attain small objectives every few weeks or so. This way, you can reward yourself along the way and stay on track.

2. Work on maintaining weight. Instead of thinking in terms of dieting and weight loss, seek to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve been dieting for a long time, give yourself a break and try to focus on nutritional changes that you can maintain for the rest of your life.

* Weight maintenance is an excellent alternative to “giving up” because you maintain the progress you’ve already made instead of yo-yo dieting. You’ll still feel like a success every day when you look at yourself in the mirror.

3. Splurge. Even when you’re on a strict diet, allow yourself to indulge in a moderate amount of your favorite foods every now and then. You’ll experience fewer cravings and stay on track that way.

4. Control your portions. You can eat healthy, but if you’re eating too much you can sabotage your chances of losing weight. Just watch the amounts you’re eating. If you’re still hungry after a small portion, wait 15 minutes and see if you’re still hungry afterwards. Often, you’ll feel full after that time has passed.

5. Watch what you drink. Pay attention to how many calories are in the drinks that you consume. If you’re drinking lots of soda, coffee, or other sugary drinks, these calories can add up quickly. If you drink lots of water, you’ll be less hungry and have more energy. You’ll also avoid the crash that comes from those sugary drinks.

Weekly Weigh In

If you’ve become accustomed to weighing yourself every day, consider stepping on the scale less often. When you shift your focus from the number on the scale to your level of physical fitness, you’ll make wise decisions without the added stress that the scale provides.

Remember that if you’re working out, muscle weighs more than fat. The scale is only one indicator of how you’re progressing on your fitness journey. Do your clothes fit better? Do you have more energy? Are you receiving compliments about your appearance? Focus on those things and weigh yourself less often.

Above all, be kind to yourself. Set yourself up for success by focusing on the reasons why a fit body brings you joy. A compelling reason will drive you forward, and small steps will keep you moving forward. Small steps and healthy decisions will help you to maintain or regain the motivation you had at the beginning of summer.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Sep 27

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Weight Issues

by Dr. Jack Singer

Eating is a part of life.  Your body gets its nutrients from food.  We share love and friendship by sharing food. Food is very often the center of a family gathering. Food can become a way to comfort or self-soothe when we are upset or stressed. However, sometimes we can go overboard with our eating habits and it can result in gaining weight.  One issue with food is emotional eating. 

The problem of emotional eating may end with the scale but it begins in the mind.  Stress takes its toll on your life.  When your defenses are compromised your health takes a hit and so do your emotions. 

Everyone has good days and bad days.  How we deal with the bad ones brings emotional eating into play.  You look for comfort for your hurts.  People who turn to food for comfort find a coping mechanism that won’t judge them, hurt them or tell them “no.” To complicate the issue, eating pleasurable foods can stimulate the release of endorphins just like exercise.  So, after you eat, you feel better.

Emotional eaters use food to relieve stress.  They hide behind the food instead of seeking solutions to the problems.  This is not uncommon when the stressor is something horrible such as physical abuse or a death.

But, how do you know you are using food in this way?  The first sign is obvious.  You will gain weight if you eat too much.  In light of the weight gain, examine other areas of your life:

  • Have you been under stress lately at work or at home?
  • Has anything traumatic happened in the last year?
  • Are you dealing with a problem but haven’t found a solution?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions could mean that you are an emotional eater.  You eat but you are not necessarily hungry at the time.  The foods that you choose are what we term “comfort foods”:

  • High fat foods like French fries, fried foods
  • High carb foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes
  • Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies, cake

There is help for emotional eaters.  The first step is recognizing that you have a problem.  You’ll experience feelings of helplessness and guilt.  The guilt is over potentially ruining your health and the helplessness lies in the fact that you don’t see a way out.

Secondly, seek counseling.  There are many types of counselors out there that can meet your need.  Emotional eating has nothing to do with dieting or changing your eating habits but gaining control over your emotions. 

A counselor might suggest things like visualization, practicing problem solving skills, relaxation techniques and family support.  Visualization helps you to see your problems in a realistic way and not blown out of proportion.  You will also learn to see food as nutrition for the body and not an emotional crutch.

Thirdly, your family can learn your triggers for stress and be on the lookout for changes in your eating habits.  They can help you be aware of the foods you are eating, assist you in making healthy food choices and exercise along with you.  Proper diet and exercise increases immunity, blood flow and positive thinking.  Yoga enhances the mind/body connection so you don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.

If you are just not ready to pick up the phone and make an appointment with a counselor, my “Loving the Inner You” hypnotic program can help. By leaning the real source of your problems you will be able to master your emotional eating and overcome your weight issues.

Finding new ways to solve your problems and deal with stress will push food out of the equation.  You’ll feel good about finding solutions which will replace the dependence on food.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Sep 14

Ten Tips to Get Healthy and Fit

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Fitness and Health

By Dr. Jack Singer

10 Tips To Get Healthy and Fit by Dr. Jack SingerDo you desire a healthy life, but feel like the road to that lifestyle is an impossible one? The truth is that a life of vitality and energy is within your reach. If you’re willing to take a few simple steps toward your dreams, they can become reality. And this can happen quicker than you might think!

Follow these strategies to begin experiencing the healthy life you deserve, starting today:

1. Change your dietary habits. Small changes can make a big difference. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, for example. Choose whole-grain foods, and eat as much fiber as possible. Cut back on the sugar.

2. Stop smoking. Certainly you already know the health risks of smoking. Quitting smoking offers you many wonderful consequences. You’ll experience smells that might have been absent from your life for years. You’ll breathe easier and have more energy. If you smoke, the most powerful thing you can do for yourself and your family is to quit.

3. Reduce or eliminate alcohol. Drinking occasionally is okay. But binge drinking is harmful to your liver and other organs. Drink responsibly by limiting your intake of harmful alcoholic beverages.

4. Drink plenty of water. Water detoxifies your body and provides cells with much-needed hydration. If you feel low in energy, you might be surprised at how effective a glass of water can be at perking you up. Low energy is often a sign of dehydration. Drink water when you wake up, before each meal, and as often as you can.

5. Keep your body “regular.” Maintaining a regular bowel habit will produce lots of energy and make you feel healthy.

* Eat greens as often as possible to keep yourself regular.

* Fiber also helps your body to flush out toxins and fat. Eat as many whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as possible to add as much fiber as you can to your diet.

6. Exercise. Incorporate physical movement into your lifestyle for added energy and confidence.

* Try going for a walk at least 30 minutes a day, cleaning your house, gardening, or playing outside with the kids.

* Exercise increases your heart rate and respiration rate, providing more oxygen to your cells.

7. Keep your mind fresh and healthy. Read as often as possible. Play mind games, like crossword puzzles and logic problems. Challenge yourself to games and recreational activities that are outside of your comfort zone. A fit mind works in tandem with your fit body to help you create the lifestyle you crave.
 

8. Stay up to date with your doctor visits. Most family doctors recommend that you see them at least once a year for a routine physical. Other checkups, like regular prostate or breast exams, may be recommended more often. So check with your family physician.

9. Get plenty of rest. Everyone needs a different amount of rest. For most, a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep is a must for optimum health.

10. Hang around with like-minded people. If you want to be healthy, spend time with people who are healthy. Seek friendships with people that consider their health a priority in their lives. Spend less time with people that sit around all day and more time with active people. If you do, you’ll have a tendency to become healthy like those people.

A healthy life is within your reach. If you follow these simple strategies and remain patient, you’ll see, feel, and experience the amazing benefits of the healthy lifestyle you deserve.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Jul 19

New Research on Exercise and Weight Re-Gain

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Fitness and Health

New Research on Exercise and Weight Re-Gain by Dr. Jack SingerLosing weight can improve health and reduce disease risk, but many people have difficulty keeping the weight off.

Now, researchers have found that exercising during weight re-gain can maintain improvements in metabolic health and disease risk. In the study, individuals who didn’t exercise during weight re-gain experienced significant deterioration in metabolic health, while those who exercised maintained improvements in almost all areas.

In the study, University of Missouri researchers found that individuals who didn’t exercise during weight re-gain experienced significant deterioration in metabolic health, while those who exercised maintained improvements in almost all areas. The MU study, led by Tom R. Thomas, professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, is the first to examine the role of exercise in countering the negative effects of weight re-gain on the metabolic syndrome and on overall health status.

“Although many people are successful at losing weight through diet and exercise, the majority of them will relapse and regain the weight,” Thomas said. “The findings of this study indicate that re-gaining weight is very detrimental; however, exercise can counter those negative effects. The findings support the recommendation to continue exercising after weight loss, even if weight is regained.”

“It’s clear that the message to lose weight isn’t working because so many people regain weight; a new message is to keep exercising and maintain your weight to reduce disease risk and improve overall health,” Thomas said. “Don’t worry so much about losing weight, but focus on exercising and maintaining your current weight.”

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis