Hands up if these scenarios are familiar:
• You get the exercise bike/treadmill/elliptical you wanted for Christmas, but by April, the machine has been moved to the basement for lack of use.
• You sign up for the weight loss plan that promises pounds will fly off your hips without you having to give up the foods you love. It works for awhile, until one day you discover you weigh more than you ever did.
• You decide to give up smoking, but put it off until next week when you’re not so stressed.
Motivation expert Michael Vallis say most people fall into a pattern. They start out with the best intentions and do well for a little while … but then fall back into old habits. It’s a classic health trap: two steps forward, three steps back.
And that’s a problem. People end up feeling bad about themselves. Moreover, the two-steps-forward-three-steps-back dance ends up increasing the health problems the behavioral changes were supposed to address in the first place.
But people concerned about their health can not only start a new behavior but continue it if they’re honest and realistic about their motivation, says Dr. Vallis, health psychologist with Capital Health and professor of psychiatry and psychology at Dalhousie University. His main area of expertise is in adult health psychology, with an emphasis on diabetes, gastroenterology, cardiovascular risk and obesity.
“People really need to identify personal and meaningful motivations,” says Dr. Vallis, 53, a father of three children. “What’s going to keep you going when it gets hard?” (Some questions to ask yourself: Do you think your behaviour is a problem? How distressed are you about your behaviour? Are you interested in doing anything to change this behaviour? Are you ready to take action now?)
Next, the person has to change their behavior by laying out “smart, specific goals.” In other words, you can’t just resolve to “get more active,” you’ve got to identify when and for how long you’ll do an exercise, whether it’s yoga or swimming or cycling. “Get more active” turns into “I’m going to go for a brisk, hour-long walk on Thursday night at 6 p.m.”
The third part of making change stick is to recognize the role emotion plays in your health and coming up with strategies to cope without resorting to destructive behavior, for example, eating when you’re feeling down, or lighting up a cigarette when you’re in a social situation.
“Stress is what is going to knock people off the best-laid plans,” says Dr. Vallis. “All these unhealthy things—eating the whole carton of ice cream, drinking, smoking—are ways of medicating anxieties.
“If an unhealthy behavior serves a purpose for the patient, it’s important to ‘replace the function’ of that behavior. So, an emotional eater will often be unsuccessful at weight loss until they develop alternative methods of coping with their emotions other than eating.”
The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native not only talks the talk, he runs. When his father died of cardiovascular disease at the age of 57, he realized he was at risk for heart disease, too. He started running when he was in graduate school and now “can’t not run—it’s part of my lifestyle.”
He says health professionals have to be good role models; it’s no longer acceptable for nurses or doctors to preach healthy living if they’re eating poutine in the hospital cafeteria or smoking on the sidewalk between patient appointments. He’s been doing training sessions with health professionals to get his message on motivation out to more people than he could reach one on one.
For more information on making a health plan and sticking to it, check out the website, http://knowyourratio.com.
New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences