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10 Practical Tips for Avoiding Winter Weight Gain

This is for my kiwi readers – it’s freezing here at the moment! I got the idea to write this from an interview I did for the NZ Herald about weight gain during winter.

1. Eat at regular times, that are not too far apart. It will help you learn to recognize that if you have the urge to eat between these times, it’s probably psychological hunger rather than physical hunger.

2. Find some light (low-ish calorie) winter lunches, dinners, and desserts that you like. When salad ingredients are expensive, what do you want to eat instead? Things like soups can work, but you’ll probably want some variety.

3. Find affordable ways to eat fresh foods. The NZ apples (Eve, Jazz, Smitten) are awesome at the moment and relatively inexpensive. Find little tricks that punch up flavor and freshness. Adding fresh coriander/cilantro to a soup can give it an extra sense of freshness. Some herbs freeze well. You can just take some out of the freezer and add it at the end to add a dose of sunshine to your food.

4. Take your breaks at work. Go for a 5 minute walk around the block even though it’s cold. This will refill your willpower tank. If you really don’t want to take a walk, do anything relaxing during your break time, but take that break.

5. Put together a set of clothes that will keep you warm during exercise. I go walking with 3 jerseys on at once, a balaclava & another hat, trackies, socks, & gloves. These things get dumped on a table near the door and I just put them all on each time I go out. Exercising in cold weather is often not actually unpleasant when you have proper clothes on.

What works for me is going out for a late night walk with my significant other. We get a chance to do our connecting time and moving time simultaneously. We do a shorter walk if we’re not keen for our usual longer walk “Come on let’s just do 20 minutes” is a common phrase on really cold nights at our house. 20 minutes of exercise is the most important thing you can do for your health. If I do nothing else for my physical and mental health in the day, I do this. Most studies on the benefits of exercise are done on walking, just plain walking.

Ideally walk at morning tea or lunchtime so you get some daylight. Leave an old pair of sneakers and some warm clothing at work.

6. Don’t bring junk food to work during winter – it helps no one, even though it might seem like a nice thing to share.

7. Find a winter hobby. Something that gives you pleasure e.g., snow boarding.

8. Don’t have food in close proximity that you don’t want to eat. It’s asking too much of your willpower. Decide your portion size before you’re in the presence of the food, serve your portion, then put the rest away. There are a few foods I actually weigh e.g., I weigh my portion of potato chips in a bowl and put the bag away in the cupboard.

9. Don’t have any forbidden food. It’ll just cause you to binge.

10. Plan some things to look forward to, to keep your mood up.

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5 Types of Good Stress – My latest article for Psychology Today

Forest Park Philip LearaCommon advice is to minimize stress, but here are five types of stress that can help create a meaningful life. Read More

STRESS
5 Types of Good Stress
By Alice Boyes, Ph.D.

Click to read my latest article for Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201206/5-types-good-stress

Photo: License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.
Forest Park by Philip Leara

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What You Can Learn From TVs Modern Family About Happy Relationships

I am SUPER excited to announce that I have a new gig blogging at Psychology Today. (I’ll still be blogging here too). Uber-famous psychology PhDs like Sonja Lyubomirsky, Elaine Aron, and Kelly Mcgonigal also blog at Psychology Today. So, this is a very exciting step up for me!!

My first Psychology Today blog post is Six Healthy Relationship Patterns Seen On TV’s Modern Family. You’ll need to click through to the article to read it but it’s free and no sign up of any kind required.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201206/six-healthy-relationship-patterns-seen-tvs-modern-family

I have had heaps of support from people on Facebook about this new development and it is VERY much appreciated!! Thank you! Please share the above Psychology Today link via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Email etc. if you like the article :)

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5 Practical, Creative Tips for Soothing a Low Mood

1. Do something “perspective expanding” either in terms of time or space.

Examples:

Time: look into the eyes of someone alive in the 1400s by visiting an art gallery.

Space: A walk/coffee somewhere with an expansive view, a drive.

Both time & space: A trip into the mountains (they’re giant & they’ve been there a long time).

2. Get hooked on a TV series you missed but got raves.

A little light hibernation can sometimes be just what you need to weather the storm of a disappointment or recharge if you’re feeling exhausted from over stimulation.

Snuggle on your sofa and binge watch something you missed when it ran on TV e.g., Battlestar Gallactica, Big Bang Theory, Nurse Jackie, Homeland, Modern Family.

3. Do An Act of Love

I prefer “acts of love” to “acts of kindness” for boosting mood. You’re likely to get more benefits from investing love and kindness in one of your important relationships than from a random act of kindness.

Examples

- Leave a love note somewhere surprising (My significant other gets up earlier than me and I like to leave a sticky note attached to the jug)
- Email or call a relative you care about but you’ve lost touch with.
- Get some chalk and draw a giant heart on your significant other’s parking space.

There are heaps more of these types of suggestions in Fun Love Project for Couples – Max Your Relationship in 30 Seconds a Day (9.99)

4. Hit Up A Salad Bar

If you’re depressed, making a salad from scratch might be too hard but going to a salad bar and selecting yourself some greens and proteins reinforces the message that your wish is to treat yourself kindly and well. Think of it as an act of love to self.

5. Give Yourself Self Compassion Rather Than Self Criticism

A basic self compassion statement is:

This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I treat myself kindly in this moment. May I give myself all the compassion and kindness I need right now. [Source]

Research has shown that self compassion increases self improvement motivation. Self criticism, or even attempting to boost your self esteem after a failure, typically does not.

Why You Should Typically Focus on Actions in the First Instance Rather Than Changing Your Thoughts.

Your thinking will naturally become more flexible, expansive and balanced if you can boost your positive emotions. If your mood is currently a 2 out of 10, if you do something that lifts it to a 4/10 your thinking will naturally become less negative and stuck.

How the Cycle Works (> means leads to)

Positive behavior > positive emotions > more positive thoughts without necessarily a lot of extra effort to change your thoughts >
positive behavior > Positive emotions, successes, and you’ve built skills through your positive behavior > more positive thoughts….

Why You Generally Shouldn’t Try to Think Your Way Out of Rumination

Studies have shown that rumination impairs both the quality of your problem solutions and your motivation for problem solving, so it’s generally best to improve your mood a bit first & then try to straighten out your thoughts.

If you liked this post you might also like
- 10 Effortless Stress Relief Techniques (free)
or a low cost, paid option

100 Fun Things To Do If You’re Bored or Depressed (4.99).

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Feel Better About Yourself

No hard life changes or anything else intimidating required!

I have a new project for sale designed to help you feel better about yourself. In case you’re worried that the projects sound too much like hard work… My online products cost 4.99 to 9.99, and will show you how to enjoy your existing life more. No hard life changes or anything else intimidating required!

One of the ways the Feel Better About Yourself Project could help you.

Reducing self criticism is likely to be extremely helpful to you in your life. For example, a brand new study just came out providing yet more evidence that being kind to yourself increases self improvement motivation. Read the summary.

Grab the Project Now

Grab the new project now. The project is delivered via email. You’ll get 10 emails, one per day for 10 days. The sign up is pretty easy and I’m here to help you if you have any technical problems (you’re not likely to).

Buy Now for 9.99 *USD. You’ll be shown the price in your own currency and can pay in your own currency for most major currencies. For New Zealanders who would prefer to pay by internet banking rather than Credit Card, please email products@aliceboyes.com for account details.

Best regards,
Alice

Dr Alice Boyes
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