Break Free from Smoking Using Hypnotherapy


Stop Smoking

This article is adapted from John Melton’s original post in 2005:

hypnosis.edu/articles/smoking/cessation

People are often skeptical about hypnosis and its ability to aid in smoking cessation. Because of my many years of experience helping people break free form smoking, I understand the skepticism. The purpose of this article is to help people understand the benefits of hypnosis as a smoking cessation aid.

First and most important is to understand that smoking is an addiction. Popular media has informed us about the obvious addictive potential of nicotine but not much is discussed about the psychological part of this addiction.

Cigarettes find their way into the very fabric of everyday life, becoming a part of so many activities. Habits are formed, creating associative relationships to things like food and alcohol or even driving a car. Smokers also learn to identify themselves with cigarettes, and after a while, it seems to become a part of them. You must understand that psychological cravings are just as real as chemical ones.

Perhaps most importantly cigarettes become for most people, part of a coping mechanism to try to deal with emotional pressures like stress and boredom. When a smoker becomes upset, he or she reaches for the cigarette to try and feel better. The truth is that cigarettes are a false friend that tries to control and injure you, it is an abusive relationship. There are much more positive ways to learn to calm and feel better without replacing smoking with food and putting on weight. You can learn how.

Recent publications tell us that our bodies eliminate the need for nicotine only a few days after we quit smoking. If it was purely a physical addiction, we would be done with smoking after a few days off the cigarette. But as most smokers know, the cravings usually continue when they try to quit cold turkey far after those first few days are over. This is because of the psychological needs that continue to drive the motivation to smoke through the many association stat develop over time.

This is where hypnosis helps. Hypnosis is an excellent tool for re-learning. By changing subconscious motivations to smoke you will change the habits and associations that drive much of this behaviour. You can also learn new coping skills so that the cigarette is not needed during stressful or emotional times. With these new attitudes and tools, getting through the first couple of days of the chemical addiction is usually much easier. Dealing with both the chemical and the psychological addiction is the real key to long term smoking cessation.

As you can imagine, with a smart plan and new tools and new attitudes about smoking, you can learn how to change the habits and healthfully deal with the emotional strains of a life free from cigarettes.

Hypnosis is not magic, it is a powerful tool. With professional help and understanding and if you really want to quit and are willing to put in some effort and invest in yourself, you really can quit smoking for life.

I have had great success with both my face to face and self help Break Free from Smoking programmes and there is more information on my Brain2Body Product page at the top and also details of sessions in the Hypno-Psychotherapy page.

 

Beat Stress Naturally


Stress! You have heard about it and probably experienced it in some way, shape or form. The word stress can be associated with different things and used in many contexts.

However, what is stress, really?

In simple terms, stress is a type of tension, strain or pressure that is exerted on something or some object. It can also be exerted emotionally or mentally on a person. It could occur as a result of fatigue, it may also develop based on the occurrence of traumatic, demanding and other adverse situations.

Also important to know is how to cope with or get rid of the stress that you may be feeling or experiencing and this leads to understanding another dimension related to stress which is referred to as the stressor.

Stressors provide a stimulus which causes stress. Hence, while stress is the actual feeling, the stressor is linked to causation. In busting, reducing or eliminating stress from our lives, sometimes, focusing on the stressor can be beneficial. There are different things that could help reduce or eliminate the stress that we feel including certain scents, foods and exercise.

Let’s look at 7 Great Stress Busters!

#1 – Tea

Sip your way into a renewed state of mind. If you do not drink tea, you may want to reconsider after discovering that drinking tea could help soothe away stress. Theanine, which is an amino acid that is present in certain varieties of tea such a black or green tea may cause a lifting of stressful feelings while promoting relaxation.

Green Tea

Green tea contains different types of polyphenols which are basically antioxidants that are able to fight oxidative stresses. There have been studies which link fresh green tea leaf polyphenols to oxidative damage that stress creates and it is suggested that drinking five cups of green tea in a day could reduce psychological stress [1]. The decaffeinated brands of teas are preferred in terms of reducing stress, because high levels of caffeine could do more to prevent a person from being able to relax, sleep or get sufficient rest.

#2 – Fruit

Fruits

Blueberries, Oranges, Passion Fruit and More! Nutrition plays a big role in reducing or managing the amount of stress we have in our lives. Fruit can be a healthy food option for your waistline and perhaps you did not know that fruit could also help you relieve stress. The not-so-secret weapon of fruits such as blueberries lies in the high level of antioxidants contained in these foods.

Antioxidants target cell repair and the protection of cells. Hence, the body is fortified against conditions that could make it more susceptible to attack. Also, fruit can be rich in vitamin C which contributes to a healthy body, is capable of minimizing hormones related to stress such as cortisol and is also able to reduce blood pressure.

Foods like passion fruit have been known to have stress-relieving properties. The passion flower extract has been studied for its relation to anxiety order and results have shown that there can be some improvements related to quality of life and relief from anxiety [2]. However, there are opportunities too for future research in this area.

#3 – Chocolate!

Nibble in moderation. Yes, there may be many people who are glad that chocolate made it on this list. Indeed, chocolate could help to relieve some of the feelings of pressure and doom that a person is facing. This is why chocolate seems to be the food of choice for those who are simply having a bad day!

Chocolates

The challenge with using chocolate as a stress-reliever is not to overdo it, though. It can be very tempting to eat more chocolate than we should, as it may make us feel really good when we eat it. It tends to release a lot of the “feel good” or serotonin hormones.

However, too much chocolate could wreck havoc on our waistline. Hence, nibble in moderation, as this food can pack a punch in terms of caloric count. Overeating and weight-gain could be stressful by itself. So, it would be unwise to try to reduce stress by overeating chocolate or other foods and thereby repeating the cycle of stress.

There are also different varieties of chocolate and the darker chocolate appear to have the most benefit for reducing stress due to higher capabilities to affect levels of catecholamines and cortisol hormones which are linked to the stress a person can feel.

#4 – Asparagus

Time to eat your veggies! This may not be a food you usually eat. However, knowing that asparagus has been connected to folic acid levels and the ability to boost a person’s moods could make you re-think the way you choose to ignore this vegetable or begin to include it in your meals.

Asparagus

Compared to other foods that are loaded with fat, you really cannot go wrong by adding this food item and there are different ways you could gradually begin to eat more asparagus including options for grilling, sautéing or steaming asparagus. Simply steam some asparagus stems or add chopped asparagus to an omelet for a tasty dish that helps to reduce anxiety and stress.

In addition, being rich in folic acid contributes to the ability of asparagus in affecting serotonin levels in the body. Vitamin B and folic acid can create serotonin. Asparagus also has other favorable biological properties include being anti-bacterial, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory [3]. Apart from asparagus, there are other vegetables like spinach which could promote a state of well-being and provide a reduction in anxiety levels. A common effect regarding these vegetables is the ability to specifically target and regulate the cortisol stress hormone.

#5 – Lavender

Calming and relaxing. There are some scents that could provide a calming effect and one of such scents is lavender. There has been a lot of research regarding the use of lavender and how its use could be beneficial in treating various conditions. The lavender plant produces flowers and lavender-scented oils can be extracted from this plant for use in treating depression and anxiety.

Lavender

Such aromatherapy has been deemed effective for these purposes in both controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials and research studies also reveal that taking well-defined essential oils from lavender as an oral supplement in dosages of 80 mg per day produced high quality or superior results when compared with some prescribed anti-depressants [4]. Hence, such data could give room to discussions with a primary care physician regarding the possible use of lavender oil to manage depression, anxiety and stress.

#6 – Avocado

Rich in B Vitamins. To reduce anxiety, it would make sense to tackle a trigger that could affect the level of anxiety that a person feels. When consuming avocados, the benefit we receive from this food that is rich in healthy fats, is an abundance of B vitamins. These B vitamins are needed for the healthy development and sustainment of brain cells and nerves.

Avocado

In addition, the healthy fats and the high potassium content that is found in avocados [5], also helps to maintain adequate blood pressure levels which help to reduce stress and keep the body in balance. Half of an avocado can contain about 480 mg of potassium.

In terms of caloric content, avocados can have a high fat content, however, it is the right kind of fat to eat and a necessary part of your diet. Hence, consume in moderation or as a moderate spread on bread, toast or crackers. However, a big selling point for a healthy avocado snack is that it can also fill up the tummy quite well or provide the feeling of being full. Hence, this feeling of nourishment coupled with the fact that avocados contain healthy fats can be a significant stress reliever.

#7 – Exercise

Simple but effective! Yes, exercise can be a simple but effective way to bust stress right out of your life!! It does not have to be gut-wrenching, muscle-pulling types of strenuous exercise. A simple walk outside on a cool or mild day could help relax the muscles in your body, clear your head, expose you to the amazing scents of the flowers outside and fill your lungs with fresh air as well.

Trainer

You could also do some exercise indoors, on a treadmill or with weights. Stretching and Yoga posses could provide some relief from stress as you purposely place you mind and being in a more centered place. Exercise does not only target a person’s physical state but could provide beneficial effects to mental capabilities as well.

In addition to exercise, massages, self-hypnosis and meditating can also prove to be very relaxing and effective in relieving stress.

Busting or getting rid of stress can occur through the help of mood-boosting foods, scents and exercise. When people get stressed, they can show signs so anxiety, pressure, overload, difficulty, nervousness, trouble and worry.

There is benefit in getting rid of stress as this condition could be linked to a diminished immune system, abnormal heart rates, heavy breathing, lack of sleep, high blood pressure, twitching nervously or other nervous traits, headaches, fainting, stomach upsets and tense muscles.

If stress is not checked or appropriately handled, it could lead to other behaviours or events such as problems in relationships, the abuse of alcohol, the abuse of drugs, overeating, not eating enough, withdrawal from social gatherings, mood swings and other possible conditions.

Using these 7 Stress Busters could help contribute to a life in which stress is well-managed!

 

Words = Language = Communication


Do the words you use and how you say them help you or hinder you?Have you ever stopped to think about how the words you use affect how you function in your everyday life? That sometimes simple, little words can profoundly affect you and the people you talk to, especially when you overuse them?

One of the biggest, little words we use is, try.

This one word, TRY, often leads to nothing because it implies failure from the very beginning.

Have you ever heard the expression trying is lying? I’m not referring to lying in the sense of deliberate deception, manipulation, or in a hurtful manner. I am suggesting that when people tell themselves and others “I’ll try” or “I’m trying,” what it really is, is an innocent self-deception.

Has anyone ever said to you that they would try to call, and then actually called you? Has anyone who said “I’ll try to be there” (at your party or other event) actually shown up? If you’re honest the answer is, very seldom.

Wise old Yoda, from the Star Wars movie, said “there is only doing or not doing, there is no trying.” Often we hear family, friends, and acquaintances say say things like “I’m trying to lose weight,” or “I’m trying to kick a bad habit,” or “I’m trying to make more money,” but do they actually do it? Only a few might and the vast majority don’t.

So what is the solution, cure, or antidote? The first step is to simply hear ourselves say that evil little word (try). Once we become consciously aware of saying it, we’ll then start catching ourselves saying it. Once we start catching ourselves, we will alter our thought process and then will really start doing more.

Instead of trying to clean or tidy up, we become more likely to actually do it. Don’t try this, just do it! In his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra explains the Law of Least Effort by remarking that “fish don’t try to swim, they just swim, birds don’t try to fly, they just fly (THEY JUST DO IT!).

Another culprit from the world of words is the dreaded should. We often innocently say we should do this or that (lose weight, exercise more, eat less sugar, study more, make more money, save more money, the list could go on and on). The effect of using the word should is to prolong our own avoidance of the very thing we probably need to do. It is procrastination in it’s shortest form.

The good news is there is an antidote. Like try, the first step is to hear ourselves saying it (should), and then start replacing it with the word need. When we tell ourselves we need (add in the lose weight, exercise, etc.) to do something, we are more likely to actually do it. Need is simply a more positive, powerful word. Need also implies or imparts a sense of some urgency to the activity that would benefit us, and we become more likely to do it.

Yet another sinister word in our vocabulary is the contraction of can and not: can’t. When we tell ourselves we can’t do something we really enable (or make stronger) our inability to do something. The way this contraction works against us is that the first part of the contraction (can) is in effect the enabler to NOT do something. The way our brains process this and other negatives is like we say to ourselves “I am able to NOT do this.” This makes going from can’t to will, (do this), very difficult, if not impossible. And, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a solution.

As always the first step is to hear ourselves (consciously) saying can’t. The second step is to replace the word can’t with the contraction won’t. Won’t is a contraction of the words will and not. When we use the word won’t (instead of can’t) we increase the likelihood that we will do something we formally could not do. The idea is that it is more possible to go from won’t to will, than it is to go from can’t to will.

You may have noticed a theme to this article, it’s that the first step is always to consciously hear what we are saying. This is how effective Hypnotherapy works: the Hypnotherapist brings into conscious awareness what is motivating our behaviour from a subconscious level. Once those motivators are exposed on a conscious level, we have a much better chance of changing something that will improve the quality and value of our life experience.

Also this works on the impact of your language with other people and as such will have an enormously positive effect on your ability to motivate, influence and persuade others regardless of environment.

So, have a think about these kinds of words that you use, think about what you can replace them with and how you can rephrase the sentence and get practicing catching yourself saying them.

The first step is the hardest and then once you begin to catch yourself it just gets easier and easier until it is second nature.

Have fun.

Simon 

10 Top Tips For Successful Goal Setting


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1) Work on one major goal at a time; your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one thing at a time, especially when you’re changing your behaviour. If you have more than one space them out through the year so that you can still hit them one at a time

2) Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about deciding on and setting your goals, instead devote some time before to reflect upon what you really want to achieve for yourself

3) Avoid previous goals that you didn’t achieve; deciding to re-visit a past goal sets you up for frustration and disappointment, plus it may not be that important for you anymore

4) Don’t be a sheep and go with the traditional goals. Instead think about what YOU really want out of YOUR life

5) Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable, and time-based yet will push you and expand your comfort zone

6) Tell your friends and family about your goals, this increases the fear of failure and can elicit support from others. Create a contract with yourself and sign it and stick it on your fridge door

7) Frequently remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim

8) Reward yourself with a small treat whenever you achieve a sub-goal, this will maintain your motivation and a sense of progress. Make sure your reward is not something that will set you back

9) Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a hand-written journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures. You can set this up at the beginning when you plan your strategy

10) Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time at the beginning. Build the occasional relapse back to your old habit as part of the plan rather than a reason to give up. It is a part of the natural cycle of behavioural change. In fact plan 3 relapses in so that you can look forward to them and tick them off, knowing that after the third one, your new habit should be well on its way to being second nature

If you need some guidance I have a pdf called ‘How To Set Effective Goals’ which is for sale at £4.99 and this will give you everything you need to set yourself up for success in 2014

If you want to buy a copy just send me an email at:

simon@simonmaryan.com

How Scarcity Affects Our Minds


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I mucked up this morning and missed out this link referring to the original  author of this article, Dr Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. who writes for Psychology Today and has her own practice in Marin County:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201401/the-psychology-scarcity?quicktabs_5=0

When we experience emotional deprivation in childhood, this feeling of not being important or lovable enough can persist into adulthood as a “deprivation mindset.”  We may never feel as if we have enough of the things we need.  This sense of insecurity can harm our close relationships. We may expect our loved ones to let us down, never express our needs directly or choose romantic partners who are avoidant of intimacy. Feeling deprived of important resources like love, food, money, or time can lead to anxiety or anger. We may obsess about the thing we are deprived of.  Or we may feel like we need to operate in emergency mode—penny-pinching or scheduling every second of our days. New theories and research about the psychology of scarcity provide some insights into how perceiving scarcity negatively impacts our brains and behaviour.

How Scarcity Affects Our Thinking

A scarcity mindset narrows our time frame, causing us to make impulsive, short-term decisions that increase our difficulties in the long-term, like putting off paying credit card bills or not opening the envelopes, hoping they will magically disappear. Poor farmers in India do better on cognitive tests at the end of the harvest when they are flush than at the beginning of harvest when they are running out of money. The size of this effect was equivalent to a 13-point drop in IQ! Dealing with extremely limited resources increases the problems and barriers we have to deal with, resulting in mental fatigue and cognitive overload. Other studies show that being lonely or deprived of food results in an unhealthy obession, hyperfocus, and overvaluing of the thing we don’t have. Ironically, the nature of scarcity itself impedes our coping efforts.

Scarcity and Motivation

Stress and anxiety associated with scarcity interfere with motivation, causing us to be more vulnerable to temptation. Do you notice how people buy stuff they don’t need at after-holiday sales when they’ve already spent most of their money? Perceiving scarcity, we’re unable to resist the time-limited super-bargain. Similarly, crash/starvation diets make us more likely to binge eat—not to mention the physiological effects of hunger on thinking and performance.  Lonely people see themselves and others more negatively and may counterproductively avoid joining group gatherings and activities for fear of rejection.

 What To Do

So, how do we overcome this scarcity mindset without becoming too complacent and living in ‘la-la-land’?  While different people may be comfortable with different levels of scarcity versus abundance mindset, the following suggestions can help you feel less deprived.

  1. Practice Gratitude – Deliberately focus your mind on what is good about your life, including the people who support you, the sense of community in your neighborhood, your achievements, or your exercise and healthy lifestyle. This can stop you from magnifying the importance of any one scarce resource like time or money.
  2. Don’t Compare Yourself With Others – You will always be exposed to people who have more time, money, or possessions and may experience a touch of envy. But in reality, you don’t know what it’s like to walk in that person’s shoes. As the saying goes, “Don’t compare your inside to everybody else’s outside.”  Your struggles may have created inner strengths that you don’t fully appreciate.
  3. Stop Obsessing – It is easy to get caught up in mental scripts about all the wrong decisions you made or worries about “what if.”  To break these cycles requires a lot of effort and preparation. Make a plan for what you will do if you catch yourself ruminating. Getting up and getting active can activate the left side of your brain, which breaks the depressive emotional focus. So, take a walk, call a friend, tidy your house or read a book.
  4. Take Preemptive Measures – Make a list when you go to the supermarket or program automatic appointment reminders and deposits into savings accounts. Don’t take your credit card to the shopping mall—take a frugal friend with you instead. Put the biscuits on the top shelf or give them away before starting your healthy living plan.
  5. Don’t Be Greedy – When resources are scarce, people get competitive because they think that more for somebody else means less for you. In fact, when you help somebody else grow their business, they may be more likely to refer extra business to you. Being helpful to others can lead to deeper friendships, gaining respect and reputation, creative bartering, or making allies.

What’s the Hype About Sugar?


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Each week the average Briton consumes 238 teaspoonfuls of a potentially toxic substance linked to long-term health problems – often without knowing it. But just how hard is it to go sugar-free?

Whether we like it or not, few of us get through the day without adding sugar to our daily diet. We are a Pavlovian population made up of sugar, treacle and toffee addicts, drawn to the taste of sweetness like bees to honey. So ingrained is our desire that even writing about sugar now is sending my salivary glands into overdrive as my brain reacts to the very thought of it, whizzing neurotransmitters around to prepare my body for a delicious glucose injection. Perhaps you, while reading this, are reaching – almost unwittingly – for something sweet?

But that’s not a problem, is it? We could stop and eat a piece of cheese instead – any time we wanted. Or could we?

Perhaps not. It appears that our ingrained desire to load up with sugar regularly may not be the cheeky false reward/energy boost we thought ti was. Experts Increasingly believe we can be genuinely addicted to sugar. French scientists in Bordeaux reported that in animal trials, rats chose sugar over cocaine (even when they were addicted to cocaine), and speculated that no mammals’ sweet receptors are naturally adapted to the high concentrations of sweet tastes on offer in modern times. They worryingly wrote in a paper published in 2007, that the intense stimulation of these receptors by our standard 21st-century sugar-rich diets must generate a supra-normal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

So if you feel like you are craving a chocolatey treat, that craving is more than just a figure of speech. You may be one of the world’s most common dependants: a sugar addict as some schools of thought define it.

Fear not, for around the world, an ever expanding body of expert opinion – the ‘No Sugar’ movement – is leading a global counter attack and warning that our sweet habit is completely out of control, leaving a sickly taste in the mouth of the body public. Sugar, whether added to food by you or the manufacturer, is the greatest threat to human health, bar none, they say. And unless we wise up and quit en masse, we don’t just risk personal obesity and disease, but national bankruptcy and collapse as the toll our ill health takes on our countries’ economies threatens to destabilise the modern world.

The movement is led by Robert Lustig, professor of paediatric endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, author of Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar, numerous scientific and press articles, and presenter of “Sugar: the Bitter Truth”, a YouTube clip viewed more than 3,300,000 times. But ‘No Sugar’ proponents also include Australian writer David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison and the new Sweet Poison Quit Plan, just out in the UK, as well as actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who reveals in her new cookbook It’s All Good that her family are not permitted to eat any refined carbs (let alone sugar), and even Andy Burnham, the Opposition Health Secretary, who called in January for high-sugar children’s foods such as Frosties and Sugar Puffs to be banned by politicians.

Lustig leads the field with his warning that not all calories are equal, because not all monosaccharides – the simplest forms of sugar, the building blocks of all carbohydrates – are equal.

At a basic level, sucrose, or table sugar (which is made up of equal molecules of the monosaccharides fructose and glucose) is not metabolised in the same way that a carbohydrate such as flour is.

He explains: ”An analysis of 175 countries over the past decade showed that when you look for the cause of type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes, the total number of calories you consume is irrelevant. It’s the specific calories that count. When people ate 150 calories more every day, the rate of diabetes went up 0.1 per cent. But if those 150 calories came from a can of fizzy drink, the rate went up 1.1 per cent. Added sugar is 11 times more potent at causing diabetes than general calories.”

Why is this? Well, look more closely through the microscope, and Lustig (and others) believe it is the fructose molecule in sugar that is to blame.

Lustig explains that instead of helping to sate us, some scientists believe that fructose fools our brains into thinking we are not full, so we overeat. Moreover, excess fructose cannot be converted into energy by the mitochondria inside our cells (which perform this function). “Instead,” he explains, “they turn excess fructose into liver fat. That starts a cascade of insulin resistance (insulin promotes sugar uptake from blood) which leads to chronic metabolic disease, including diabetes and heart disease.”

Look online and you’ll see fructose described as “fruit sugar” – it’s the nutrient that nature put into apples and pears to entice humans (and birds) to eat them. So do we stop eating fruit in order to go sugar-free? It’s not that easy. Fruit is sweetened by fructose but it doesn’t contain very much, although you still shouldn’t eat very sweet fruit like grapes and melon to excess.

The problem lies in sources of sweetness like corn syrup, agave or maple syrup and honey, which contain a higher percentage of fructose than fruit, especially if they have been processed, meaning additional fructose is added in. Some agave nectars, for example, can be 92 per cent fructose, eight per cent glucose.

The food industry loves these sweeteners, especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), as they make every type of food more palatable – from soup to bagels, ketchup to bread. In the United States, HFCS is especially popular following governmental production quotas of domestic sugar, subsidies of US corn, and an import tariff on foreign sugar, making HFCS super cheap. As a liquid, it is also easier to blend and transport. In particular, it is used in low-fat foods (which would otherwise taste, says Lustig, “like cardboard”). His theory goes a long way to explaining why the low-fat diets which rose to popularity in the Seventies have coincided with a rise in obesity and related illnesses.

So before you can think about giving these sweeteners up, you have to turn label detective – and find them.

Thousands of miles away, nodding in agreement, is David Gillespie, a Brisbane-based lawyer turned researcher whose Sweet Poison books chart his own decision to stop eating sugar, resulting in him losing six stone without dieting in a year. He explains: “You are breaking an addiction, so you need to stop consuming all sources of the addictive substance. They are all hard to give up because they are addictive – but they are all easy to give up once you understand what you are doing and why.”

He adds: “Your palate adjusts significantly and quickly when you delete sugar. You can suddenly experience a whole range of flavours that either you didn’t know existed before or were muted by the presence of sugar. One thing people often remark on after they’ve been off sugar for a month or so is that suddenly they can smell it. They can tell you where the confectionery aisle or the breakfast cereal aisle is in a strange supermarket by smell alone.” What worries Gillespie, though, is not the candy by the checkout – but the fructose lurking in your ready-meal. “Very few of us are making conscious decisions about the sugar we eat,” he says. “The average Briton is consuming more than a kilo – 238 teaspoonfuls – a week, but I bet they’d be flummoxed accounting for more than a few teaspoons of that. Sugar is deeply and thoroughly embedded in our food supply.”

He’s right. We’re buying fewer bags of granulated sugar. And Defra statistics show that we’re consuming fewer calories from “free sugars” such as table sugar, honey and sugars found naturally in fruit juices – although at 13.9 per cent that is still higher than the recommended 11 per cent we should be aiming for – than in previous years.

Even the actual number of calories we consume has fallen: Defra figures show that there has been a long-term downward trend in energy intake since 1964, with average energy intake per person 28 per cent lower in 2010 than in 1974.

Yet, obesity rates continue to rise: currently 26 per cent of Britons are obese, half of us are overweight. This is a mighty problem: direct costs caused by obesity are now estimated to be £5.1billion per year. Obesity is associated with cardiovascular risk and with cancer, disability during old age, decreased life expectancy and serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and hypertension.

Like Lustig, Gillespie sees our inate weight problem as connected to the rise in consumption of hidden sugar. Unlike Lustig, Gillespie’s ideas were inspired personally, from looking down at a belly that was expanding year on merciless year, regardless of what trendy diet he tried.

“In 2002, my wife Lizzie and I had four kids under the age of nine,” he explains, “when I reached my maximum weight of 20 stone [127kg].” (Gillespie is 5ft 9in.) “I felt lethargic and unwell most of the time. When Lizzie announced our fifth child was to be twins, I had to do something.”

Gillespie began reading John Yudkin’s book Pure, White and Deadly, published in 1972, which also showed that consumption of sugar and refined sweeteners is closely associated with long-term disease.

Fascinated, Gillespie soaked up research papers which connected fructose (in particular) to fatty liver disease, to appetite stimulation, and to gout, diabetes, memory loss and, of course, obesity. He was shocked to learn “how many of our organs sugar systematically destroys without symptoms until it is too late. First the liver, then the pancreas, then the kidneys, and ultimately the heart.”

The more he learnt, the more Gillespie was determined to do something about his own eating habits. “I stopped eating sugar and immediately started losing weight – without adjusting anything else about how I lived.”

For Gillespie, the weight started dropping straight away, but the sense of addiction took a little longer to go: “At the two-four week mark I noticed I was no longer craving food and in particular I could leave things which I would have found difficult to bypass before.

“But I wasn’t feeling deprived. I ate what I wanted and as long as it didn’t contain sugar, the weight kept coming off. I had stumbled upon a way of fixing what had obviously been a broken appetite control system up to that point in my life.”

But there were setbacks: “I discovered the addictive power of sugar early in the process. I was out at a fundraiser and was served up a chocolate cake. I’d been off sugar for about a month and I didn’t want to waste it, so I ate it. I figured I’d be all right, but how wrong I was.

“The next day I had constant cravings for sugar and the gnawing desire to eat and drink everything available – clearly I’d crossed a threshold and needed to go through sugar withdrawal again. I did, and two weeks later was once again able to walk past chocolate without feeling any particular longing.”

His family were not left behind. “The kids didn’t like it,” he says, “but eventually they got used to it and their palates adjusted. Now they are pretty pleased with teeth that don’t have cavities, rarely getting colds and feeling energetic, with none of the highs and lows that come with sugar eating.”

That mood roller-coaster is one of the reasons Gwyneth Paltrow, in a blog entry on her website Goop, gives for quitting sugar: “Sugar gives you an initial high, then you crash, then you crave more, so you consume more sugar. It’s this series of highs and lows that provoke unnecessary stress on your adrenals. You get anxious, moody (sugar is a mood-altering drug) and eventually you feel exhausted.”

So is it time for everyone to accept a life of total abstinence? Not so fast, says the British Dietetic Association (BDA). “Sugar is not bad for you as part of a balanced diet,” says dietitian Sylvia Turner. “It has an important role in providing flavour and texture to foods. Just remember, sugar contains calories but few nutrients, so eating too much added sugar and sugary food and drinks instead of other healthy foods can make your diet less nutritious.”

She adds: “Some research suggests that sugary drinks make it harder for us to regulate the overall amount of calories eaten and a regular intake may be a factor contributing to obesity in children.”

And not all scientists agree with Lustig: a US study published last summer in the journal Diabetes Care suggested that fructose could have a positive role to play in the regulation of blood sugar in type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes. Even so, Gillespie points out: “The public have taken to the ‘No Sugar’ movement. In Australia, hundreds of thousands of people have successfully quit sugar.”

And once the decision is made, it can be stuck to. “It’s no particular feat of willpower,” he promises. “I just make sure I don’t inadvertently consume fructose and the rest takes care of itself. My weight stays the same and I eat and exercise normally (not like a person on a diet). I am no more tempted to eat sugar again than a smoker who has successfully quit for 10 years would be tempted to light up again.”

Are you addicted to sugar?

1. Do you struggle to walk past a sugary treat without taking ‘just one’?

2. Do you have routines around sugar consumption – for example, always having pudding, or needing a piece of chocolate to relax in front of the television?

3. Are there times when you feel as if you cannot go on without a sugar hit?

4. If you are forced to go without sugar for 24 hours, do you develop headaches and mood swings?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one of the questions above, you are addicted.

Taken form an article originally published in the Telegraph in April 2013

 

Now there are always at least two sides to any story and yes food manufacturers aren’t always as open about the quantities of sugar in their products and whether it is natural or artificial. This clearly does not help the consumer in making wise and healthy choices in the super markets and often, the cheaper options are the ones with higher quantities of sugar. How ironic that sometimes you pay more for less!!

 

In todays socio-economic climate, many people are still tightening their belts and with the government talking about making more cuts, it is likely to become even harder for some people to make healthy choices. It is a bizarre situation where on one hand you are told to eat healthily, buy organic to be pesticide free and to exercise regularly, yet, healthy and organic foods are more expensive than the cheap and unhealthy crap and most gyms charge you a fortune every month for services many of us never use.

If sugar really is addictive then the section of the UK population that is obese can  not, to a degree, be blamed for their level of obesity, and there should be more research and treatments available for sugar addiction if that is actually the case. It is plain to see how much sugar is part of our daily lives and it is like an iceberg, because what e see is just the tip compared to the hidden sugars in so many foods we take for granted are healthy according to branding and marketing.

it is a truly complex situation and one that will not be resolved quickly, however, we can all help ourselves by taking sugar, along with many other highly enjoyable foods and drinks, in moderation. Too much of anything can potentially be bad for your health.

This is one of the many reasons I developed the Brain2Body System, because it tackles the thinking patterns that created the problem state and allows you to change it into a pattern that is positive and beneficial for you in your life.

Effective Goal Setting for Success


I was watching the news early this morning and they were talking to the CEO of Fitness First and discussing how gym membership increases at this time of year yet they struggle to keep retention at the same rate throughout the year.

New years resolutions are a great idea in theory and a big part of why they fall to the wayside is because they are unplanned. Many of us have these intentions and rush out to renew or take out a new gym membership without really taking the time to think about what it is we want from it and how we’re going to achieve our goal. Now I know that you rely on the gym staff to play a big part in that, however, how much help do you really get.

The CEO was talking about how they have changed their contracts to allow more flexibility and not tie people in as  much as they used to and they are retraining their staff to help their members make the best use of the facilities and get value for money through regular and consistent attendance. This is Fitness First looking at it’s goals, reassessing and rewriting them in order for them to achieve their goals and be successful, why should you be any different.

While Fitness First updates their goals and their plan, it will certainly help people towards achieving their goals, however, without actually sitting down yourself and going through a structured process that will allow you to:

  • discover what you want to achieve
  • what’s important about that for you
  • what will you have to do differently
  • what will you have to give up
  • what will it give you
  • create a step by step plan of short terms goals that will give you constant encouragement that you’re on the right path

This will keep you motivated as will having a visualisation in your mind of what it is you want to achieve and practicing this visualisation every day and each time you practice it will add in more detail. Over time this will develop into  a deep set image that is burnt into your mind and builds an emotional connection with the end result, because as you achieve your short term goals, you can tick them off your goals sheet that you will have already created and also mentally tick them off.

In the Free Stuff tab under the photo at the top of my blog, you will find a free ‘Setting Effective Goals’ pdf that is available until the end of this weekend, after that it will be replaced with other things to help you. Grab a copy now and read through a couple of times before you get stuck in and put it into practice. It is detailed and in-depth and will enable you to create some incredible goals that will have deep meaning for you, huge value and that will stretch your comfort zone outwards, and all this will massively boost your confidence and self-belief.

If you get stuck you can email me on simon@simonmaryan.com and arrange a Skype coaching session to get you up and running.

Have fun with it and enjoy creating your future with a purpose.

Simon 🙂

 

What do you read?


What do you read?

I read a lot of books and usually have 3-4 on the go at the same time. One is the obligatory bathroom reading, one in my work bag, one by my bed and another in the car.

This got me wondering what other people read so I decided to share a photo of one of my book cases which contains mostly my work related books etc. What do you read for education, pleasure, work?

Share your bookcase photo with me on here and maybe you’ll find some inspiration from others when you see their bookcase.

Pain Control Through Your Mind


Managing Chronic Pain

 
 
 
 
 
 

I’m sure you have heard this before: The mind is able to control the body. For the chronic pain patient who may have seemingly exhausted all treatment options, the notion of mind over matter becomes hugely appealing.

When there is some sort of injury or insult causing pain, the signal conveying pain travels to the brain via a sensory pathway and an emotional pathway. The emotional aspect of the experience of pain travels to the parts of the brain known as the amygdale and the anterior cingulated cortex. The mind-body treatments that involve such activities as hypnosis, meditation and relaxation likely affect these emotional networks.

Researchers have used functional magnetic resonance  imaging (FMRI) to allow chronic pain patients to “visualise” pain. These images allow a patient to actively participate in manipulating what has previously been an amorphous concept. The chronic pain patient becomes empowered, whether it be through hypnosis, yoga, biofeedback, or meditation.

Any such coping technique for chronic pain often can begin with controlled deep breathing:

1. It is best to be in a relaxed position in a dark or dimly lit room, with eyes closed or focused on a point.

2. Breathe deeply, while continuing to focus.
3. Continue with controlled breathing for a few minutes.
4. If you sense this control of respirations is allowing for a slowing down of breathing, then try a particular imagery technique.

Examples of imagery and chronic pain control techniques include:
1. Focus on a non-painful body part, and see whether this diverts the mind away from focusing on, say, chronic back pain.
2. Mentally separate the painful body part from the remainder of the body; use dissociation to keep the pain away.
3. Divide different sensations of pain into separate parts: If a patient feels burning associated with pain, he or she might find it helpful to focus solely on the burning sensation, and not on the pain by using such sensory splitting.
4. Imagine a numbing injection of some miraculous medicine.
5. “Travel” back in time, when the patient was pain free.
6. Imagine a symbol for one’s chronic pain, for example, a loud noise; turn the volume down, and reduce the pain.
7. Use positive imagery to focus on something pleasant.
8. Count silently to divert the mind from the chronic pain.

These tasks seem silly to some; or at best, self-evident. But for some chronic pain patients, they do help. A professional may be needed during the learning process; and it may take practice before these techniques can have a highly positive and beneficial impact on the chronic pain patient. Such a patient should work on these pain coping mental exercises at least 30 minutes three times a week.

You know you are doing good when you can reduce pain and increase relaxation with a few deep breaths. The sense of control that accompanies such mastery in and of itself can be responsible for a significant reduction in chronic pain.

When have you experienced a lack of pain when you would have expected to feel it or do you know someone who uses this or some other method to manage chronic pain?

I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Simon

Latest review of my new book


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I just received an email today with this independent review of my latest book, happy is an understatement. http://lnkd.in/dqJR7Wu

Check out the review and if it flicks your switch, why not get yourself the book, you never know it might just be the difference that makes the difference for you.

Whatever you do have fun.

 

Simon 🙂