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Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

This is Childhood Obesity Week.

From the time a baby is born, it links the provision of food with love as it suckles on its mother’s breast for the first time.  As a child, you probably remember being offered a sweet as a treat, or a biscuit to make you feel better.  We learn that sugar- and fat-laden foods are treats which are given if we endure the healthy food – “you can have your ice-cream once you have finished your dinner.”  Add to this the convenience of fast food, it’s no wonder that childhood obesity is a problem.

In 2010 The World Health Organisation reported that there are around 40 million children under the age of five who are overweight.  It is thought that this figure is much higher in the UK – apparently we have the highest rates in Western Europe.  All of this despite the education we have around food.  And we only have ourselves to blame.

The great news is that we can change it.  You are in control of what you put on your table and what you stock your cupboards with.  Not so easy is getting used to the language that we use with our children to position healthy food as desirable and junk food as, well, junk.  I help a lot of adults lose weight and many of them say that they have so much temptation at home with the crisps and sweets they have in the cupboards for the kids, as though these are necessities.  Much better to teach your child that treats are the healthy, colourful foods which make up a healthy diet.

In the nine years to 2009, there was more than a four-fold increase in the number of children requiring hospital treatment for problems associated with obesity.  It can lead to conditions such as type-2 diabetes, breathing difficulties, and more.  It usually causes low self-esteem as an added bonus.  So, teaching your child to have a healthier relationship with food is a great foundation for them in life.  Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure there is a lot of colour on the plate – this will provide your child with lots of nutrients for health, mood and brain function.
  2. Make sure portions are child-sized, not adult-sized.
  3. All meals should have protein which is necessary for a growing child and to stave off hunger pangs.
  4. Give them regular meals and healthy snacks in between – a few almonds or a piece of fruit are a great way of providing nutrients and balancing blood sugar.  A glass of milk is another option and is great for bones and teeth.
  5. Keep beige food (burgers, fries, biscuits and cakes) to an absolute minimum – call it emergency only food because there is no real food available at the moment.  Never, never, never, frame fast food, sweets, biscuits or cakes as a treat.
  6. Instead of using food as a way of soothing emotions, teach your child recognise their emotions and to respond to them in a positive way.  It is OK to feel emotions.  As humans, we are supposed to feel.  However, they should be taught to deal with them in a positive way.  Teach them EFT to help them.
  7. Involve them in deciding what to eat – make choosing a new fruit or vegetable a game that they play.  Involve them in new and different ways of cooking healthy foods, or of eating them raw.  Fruit kebabs are fun, cruditees and vegetable dips too.
  8. Eliminate unhealthy sugars and re-educate their pallet for healthier foods.
  9. Make exercise and activity part of their daily life.  This is good for them emotionally, physically and socially.  It also keeps their mind off food.

As parents, we are either part of the solution or part of the problem- your children will take their cue from you.   If you are concerned for your child’s health and weight, why not book a consultation on 0845 130 0854.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2014

Tricia Woolfrey is an integrative therapist, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner in NLP, nutritionist and author, and utilises bioenergetics to help you be the best you can be.  She has practices in Surrey and Harley Street, London.  She can be reached on 0845 130 0854

Self-Help for Weight Loss – 10 Tips to Lose Weight

self help for weight loss

Are you constantly yo-yo dieting?  Do you lose weight and then put it all back on again, plus some?  Or have you reached a plateau.  Losing weight can be a challenge because, unlike stopping smoking where you just don’t smoke again, you still have to eat. Not only that but there is temptation everywhere.  What can you do to help yourself?
1.       Realistic goals
The first thing to do is set yourself a target with milestones along the way.  Unless you are the kind of person who loves big bold goals, smaller goals might be more achieveable for you.
2.       Have a big enough ‘why’
Motivation is much stronger than willpower, so make yourself a really long list of all the reasons you want to lose weight.  What are the benefits to you?  If you are losing weight for someone else it will not be nearly so effective.  This is a journey you take for your own benefit.
3.       Keep hydrated
A lot of people confuse thirst with hunger.  Make sure you keep hydrated throughout the day and, if you do get hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes before deciding if you realy want to eat.
4.       Variety is the spice of life
Sometimes our bodies just crave nutrients rather than any old food.  So do make sure that you keep your food intake varied so that you are getting all the nutrition you need and to avoid boredom.  Who wants to live on beige food every day?
5.       Be wary of the saboteurs
It is strange that as soon as you say you are on a diet, people seem to want to feed you cakes and biscuits like never before.  “Just one” is a constant refrain.  Manage these by saying you are full and couldn’t eat another thing.  Or, if they buy you chocolates, just say that they don’t agree with you.  It makes life a lot easier and your weight loss goal more achievable.
6.       No more waste on waist
Eating leftovers, snacking and huge portions are not going to save anyone starving in Africa but they will cause your waistline to expand.  Make it a rule that you are no longer going to treat your body like a rubbish bin.  Remember that you only need to eat 500 calories a day more than your body needs to put on 1lb a week.  That’s 3.5 stones a year! 
7.       Staying regular
It is important that your bowels function efficiently so do be sure to eat plenty of fibre and drink lots of water.  Avoid laxatives though as they can make your bowels lazy and can compound the problem.  If you still have problems, do contact Tricia Woolfrey on  0845 130 0854 for a consultation.  Regular bowel movements are important for your weight and your health.  For more information on fibre-rich food, the Meal Planner will help you.
8.       Manage your energy
When your blood sugar is low you will be very tired and crave the wrong foods.  So, to keep your blood sugar stable eat little and often and ALWAYS eat breakfast so that your metabolism gets a boost.  Reduce sugar, white bread, pastries, white pasta and cakes.  If you have to have sugar do eat it with a healthy meal as it helps to stabilise your energy.
9.       Manage your emotions
Most people eat too much because they are eating in response to their emotions.  If you find that you crave a specific food it is likely that this is emotional hunger rather than physical hunger.  Learning how to understand your emotions and respond to them appropriately is essential.  The Food Diary will help you to understand your eating, while Ultimate Weight Loss CD will help you overcome emotional eating habits.  Food only distracts you from your problems it is no solution to them.
10.    Eliminate food intolerances
Sometimes people find it hard to lose weight because they are eating foods they are intolerant to.  Having a food intolerance test can help you understand what foods your body is struggling with.  Click here to find out more.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2014

About the Author
Tricia Woolfrey is an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, coach and wellness practitioner.  She is also a master practitioner in obesity issues and eating disorders.  Author of self-help books, CDs and MP3s she has practices in Byfleet Village, Surrey and Harley Street, London.

How Do You Know If You Have An Eating Disorder?

Eating Disorders by Tricia Woolfrey

This week is Eating Disorders Awareness week.  Eating disorders create misery for the sufferer and the people they care about.

An eating disorder can be defined as abnormal feeding habits associated with psychological factors.  These can cause extreme health problems and can create a strain on relationships.  Anyone with an eating disorder will have an excessive – and often distorted – focus on their weight and shape. This, in turn, results in extreme eating behaviours which are difficult to control.

There are various forms.  As a Master Practitioner for Eating Disorders, by far the most difficult one that I treat is the most well-known – Anorexia – as the sufferer is usually in denial about the effects of their condition, and is adept at manipulating their way out of eating.  Here is a quick overview of the most common eating disorders:

Anorexia:   Excessive restriction of calorie intake, yet obsessive and knowledgeable about food.  Will often employ excessive exercise as another way of burning calories.  Will be convinced of their “fatness” despite a skeletal frame.  May use vomiting, diuretics, or abuse laxatives or enemas as a way of keeping weight down, though these habits are very dangerous.  People suffering from anorexia will have a genuine fear of gaining weight. This condition is very troubling for relatives who despair at seeing their loved one disappear in front of their eyes. They will have a BMI of 17 or below and the condition can be fatal.
Bulimia:   Bulimics tend to binge and then make up for this by “purging”, either by the use of laxatives or by vomiting.  These methods are extremely dangerous, however, and must never be used as a way of managing weight. The bulimic’s weight will often be normal so the condition might be invisible to others, or they may experience fluctuations in weight.
Binge Eating:   Bingers have episodes of overeating which they tend to do secretly and alone.  They will suffer severe cravings and gorge vast amounts of food very quickly.

Other, less well-known eating disorders, include, but are not limited to, Night Eating Syndrome, Orthorexia and Selective Eating Disorder.

So, how do you know if you have a healthy relationship with food?  You will eat regularly, feel healthy, eat healthy food, eat until satisfied rather than over-stuffed, stop when you’ve had enough, feel in control of your eating, feel happy about what you eat, don’t gain weight, have weight within normal weight range, have pleasure and satisfaction from food yet feel neutral about it.  Your behaviour around food will be flexible and relaxed.

Eating disorders are notoriously difficult to treat and cause misery either to the sufferer and/or those close to them.  If you suspect that you, or someone you love, has an eating disorder, it is important to seek professional help sooner rather than later.  The longer you have an eating disorder, the longer it takes to overcome it.

Part of the treatment includes dealing with the emotional causes of the problem; change the person’s relationship with food; help to balance the body including regulation of blood sugar levels; help build self-esteem, increase assertiveness, manage stress levels and, last but by no means least, to feel good about themselves irrespective of weight.

We are not our weight and the media have an awful lot to answer for, though they are not the sole cause of these problems.  They do, however, feed (pun intended) our fragile body-image with digitally enhanced and surgically honed images.

If you have concerns about your weight or eating disorders, do give me a call to see how I can help you.  I can be reached on 0845 130 0854.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2013

Tricia Woolfrey is a hypnotherapist, coach, wellness practitioner and author based in Byfleet Village and Harley Street. She is a Master Practitioner of Eating Disorders and is qualified in advanced clinical hypnotherapy and psychotherapy, holistic nutrition and food intolerance testing. 0845 130 0854.