You know them well—your obese clients who have tried everything: weight-loss meal programs, fat-burner pills, crash diets, gym memberships. Nothing worked for very long. When they turned up at your door, low self-efficacy was all they had to show for their sincere efforts to change.
More than anything, you want to help them turn the corner and adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors they can maintain. But how do you do it?
Can your mind fool your physiology into believing you’ve either eaten something very healthy—or done the opposite? A study from Columbia Business School postdoctoral research scholar Alia Crum says yes.
People often know what they should eat to fuel their workouts, support good health, and manage conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, but they don’t always make the best decisions about food. Here’s why it’s so difficult for people to make healthier choices and how you can help them develop lasting, beneficial behaviors.
It’s Not That Easy to “Just Do It”
Many athletes like to “psyche up” as part of their precompetition ritual, but does this really make a difference? And is one psyching-up method more effective than another? According to new research, imagery—visualizing oneself performing a task to the best of one’s ability—seems to be the most effective approach, at least for running sports.
Significant research [that has been reported in this column] supports the role of moderate exercise as an adjunctive ther- apy for adults with depression. New research shows that these same benefits may be available for teens who suffer from this condition.
Kara A. Witzke, PhD, leads the exercise and sport science program at Oregon State University-Cascades. Her work in the health and fitness industry spans more than 20 years and has included positions in personal training, cardiac rehabilitation, workplace wellness, fit- ness certification, weight management, education and research. Most recently, her research has focused on the effects of exercise on musculoskeletal and metabolic systems through funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Millions of Americans ring in the New Year with lofty intentions to lose weight and exercise more, so why is it that by March, most New Year’s resolutions have fizzled like stale champagne? Typically it’s because people start out with unrealistic goals, misjudging the difficulty of breaking deeply ingrained habits. Impractical goals lead to disappointments that undermine the willpower people need to keep their New Year’s resolutions.newsletter_teaser: Millions of Americans ring in the New Year with lofty intentions to lose weight and exercise more, so why is it that by March, most New Year’s resolutions have fizzled like stale champagne? Typically it’s because people start out with unrealistic goals, misjudging the difficulty of breaking deeply ingrained habits.
Mere decades ago, it was unfathomable for baseball, football, soccer and basketball athletes to include strength and conditioning exercises in their training. Misinformation about what strength training would do (not for men and women, but to them) was pervasive then, and it persists to this day.
Thirty years ago, Fred Hoffman, MEd, 2007 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, taught with a light heart and a heavy bag of vinyl records. “I brought a stack of albums with me to class,” he recalls. “I changed the music after each song, [switching] the LP each time. There was no such thing as mixed music!”
You know your next client, Doug, really well. He’s been working with you for 2 years, he’s committed to his fitness program, and while his body is already well-conditioned, he is determined to keep improving. His session will focus mainly on intense weightlifting, and Doug is used to “psyching himself up” before each set—he finds it helps—but you’ve both observed that it’s getting harder for him to make real gains. How can you help?