Archive for January, 2010


Weight loss is a simple mathematical concept: consume fewer calories than you burn on a daily basis.  This equation can be manipulated on either end: by reducing intake and/or increase expenditures.  None of this is new, special, or revolutionary.  The trick is how to motivate yourself to do this, how to be consistent in your efforts, and how to deal with the inevitable challenges to your plans that occur in day-to-day life.

Dr. Judith Beck, Ph.D has a novel and effective approach to this problem.  By utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy principles, she instructs the reader how to change their thoughts and change their behaviors leading to a healthy approach to food and exercise that is for life.  In her most recent book, The Complete Beck Diet for Life, a follow-up to her How to Think Like a Thin Person, Dr. Beck expands on her tools for dieting success by suggesting options for healthy eating.

Dr. Beck’s CBT approach has been an effective tool, when employed, for dealing with the “sabotaging thoughts” than can occur while dieting: Permissive-thinking, “All-or-None” thinking and others.  When combined with accountability, support, and appropriate (non-food) rewards/motivations, weight loss success can be realized.

  • Plan your meals and record everything that is consumed.  Use a digital food scale to weigh or measure food.  Lose it is a free iPhone app (or is available through their website) to log calories consumed.  Websites such as CalorieKing.com and Nutritiondata.com provide wonderful information on calories of various food including foods from restaurants when available.
  • Exercise is not optional. Although some weight loss can be realized by calorie restriction, our bodies were created to move.  There are multiple health benefits of exercise including reduction of depression and improvement in blood sugars.  Some exercise is better than none…get moving!
  • Your body is not a trashcan. Excess food is wasted whether you put in on your waist or throw it in the trash.  Do not eat unplanned food & count every bite.
  • Give yourself credit.  By recognizing what you have done right or well, you give yourself a basis to improve from.  We act on what we believe and we believe what we tell ourselves.  Believe that you can be successful!
  • Find your motivation.  Write out your reasons for losing weight and review them often.  Set incremental goals and reward yourself along the way with non-food rewards.

These are some of the tips and resources I use.  How about you?  What have you found to be helpful or not? I would love to hear what has worked or not worked for you.  Please feel free to comment and join in the conversation.

Happy New Year! If you’re like most, you embrace the New Year by resolving to improve your life. I am no exception. This year I am focusing on making SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) instead of making vague resolutions. I have enlisted my trusted iPhone to assist me in my endevors.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle.

By this logic, it is necessary to create and maintain useful habits. The Habit Factor ($3.95) is nice in that it allows you to set both Goals as well as Habits to achieve your goals. It tracks your daily progress and gives some accountability as well as serves to organize your goals/habits based on certain areas: Body, Mind, Spirituality, and Social. Another goal setting app is 43 Things (free) which allows you to set goals and track progress made.

Following the Body, Mind, Spirit model, I have set specific goals for each of the areas. In Body: to lose weight/exercise more. As noted in the New York Times article on 12/31/09 a multitude of apps exist to aid in the pursuit of better physical health. Some that I have used include: Weightbot, Lose It, iPump Lean, and Yoga Stretch.

In the area of improving the Mind, I look to read more in the New Year. This is easily done on the iPhone with Apps for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and book readers such as the Kindle. I also intend to be more regular with my postings.  I welcome any ideas you may have for topics.

For Spiritual growth, I plan to continue reading the Bible daily using YouVersion’s The Bible which has multiple translations, allows bookmarking of verses and sharing through Twitter and email, and is free. I also will get back to meditating, using guided mediations from iTunes or the Mayo Clinic Meditation app.

I was pleased to see that the Habit Factor included a category of Social growth. This year I aim to improve my relationship with my family in several ways: I will be doing The Love Dare and playing more games with my boys including UNO and LIFE. I continue to enjoy the socialization available through Twitter and Facebook; I’ve made some great connections and look forward to the insights and entertainment. However the biggest resolution that I am making this year may require only one button on my “trusty iPhone”: the power switch. The most meaningful thing that I will work on this year is being present….and that requires the removal of distractions and banishment of partial attention. Wish me luck!