Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

One Change That Could Change Your Family

posted by Linda Mintle

What if I told you there was one family change you could make that would bring a host of positive benefits? Would you do it? Well get ready. Here it is:

Next time you click through the television channels, find the cable channel that shows old shows like Leave it To Beaver, Andy Griffith and My Three Sons. You will notice something that doesn’t look familiar in today’s culture. All of these shows feature families at the dinner table sharing a meal, laughing and having conversations about their day. The modern American family has lost this important tradition. However, it is time to revisit this timed tradition.

According to several studies, families who eat meals together experience benefits that will hopefully motivate you to consider reinstituting this lost tradition. Families who eat meals together:

1)    Decrease a child’s likelihood to drink, smoke or use illegal drugs[1]

2)    Decrease a teen’s likelihood to have sex at a young age, get in fights, be suspended from school or become suicidal [2]

3)    Improve nutrition and eat healthier [3]

4)    Improve family relationships and intimate connections

5)    Improve a child’s academic success [4]

These are five incredible benefits to simply adding the family meal to your schedule. I know it is hard given our busy schedules. In the future, I will have tips on how to make this happen. For now, commit to it and give your kids five great benefits.


 

 

 


[1] Columbia News, CASA 2000 Teen Survey. Teens With “Hands-Off” Parents at Four Times Greater Risk of Smoking, Drinking, and Using Illegal Drugs as Teens With “Hands-On” Parents, last referenced 10/1/2002.

[2] Sandra L. Hofferth, “Changes in American Children’s Time,”1981-1997.” University of

Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, Center Survey, January, 1999. National probability samples of American families with children ages 3-12, using time diary data from 1981 and 1997. Findings on how time use is associated with children’s well-being are reported in Hofferth, S. L., “How American Children Spend Their Time,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, (2001).63, 295-308. Retrieved online October 4, 2004,  from http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:H5jg_Q0-v74J:edprojects.che.umn.edu/takeback/downloads/research.pdf+overscheduled+kids+and+underconnected+families&hl=en

[3] Gillman, M.W., Rifas-Shiman, S.L., Frazier, A.L., Rockette, H.R.H., Camargo, C.A., Field, A.E., Berkey, C.S., & Colditz, G.A. “Family Dinners and Diet Quality Among Older Children and Adolescents,” Archives of Family Medicine, (2000). 9,235-240. A questionnaire using 24- hour recall that was mailed to children of participants in the ongoing Nurses Health Study II. Retrieved online October 6, 2004, from http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:H5jg_Q0v74J:edprojects.che.umn.edu/takeback/downloads/research.pdf+overscheduled+kids+and+underconnected+families&hl=en

[4] 2CASA. Why Family Day?, last referenced 9/1/2003.

 

 

Tips to Break Emotional Eating

posted by Linda Mintle

Last night, I did a live webinar on Food Addiction and emotional eating. So many of the call-in questions concerned what to do instead of reaching for food when emotionally upset. This is a great question because it has to do with breaking the habit of going to food for emotional reasons.

In order to break that habit, you have to substitute another behavior for the food. This doesn’t mean that the substituted behavior will be as pleasurable as eating, as easy to do as eat, or as rewarding as food. But it does mean that if you can continue to substitute another behavior, or what I am calling use an an emotional rescue,  you will eventually break the habit of reaching for food to soothe yourself.

Here are examples of emotional rescues. Your list should be tailored to you.

 

 

  • Walk around a room–get up and move and distract yourself
  • Talk to someone
  • Play a CD and get lost in the music
  • Write a To Do list
  • Draw or paint
  • Take a long relaxing bath
  • Clean something
  • Play with your pet
  • Count to 10 and then backwards, deep breathe
  • Pray
  • Journal your thoughts
  • Exercise–short walk, stretching, etc.
As you develop your list, come up with ideas you can do in the car, at the office and at your home. Look at the list when you want to eat and make yourself choose an emotional rescue. Over time, you can change your pattern of emotional eating.

Another technique called the Graduated Approach, uses this idea with food. When you feel like you must have a trigger food, add a small helping of a fruit or vegetable to the trigger food. Do this every time you reach for the trigger food and add a little less of the trigger food, and more of the healthier option. Eventually, you will associate the healthy food with the reward feeling of the trigger food.

Add these two tips to your plan to work on breaking free from emotional or compulsive eating. It can be done.

 

Is Food Addiction Real?

posted by Linda Mintle

“Hi. I am John and I am a food addict.”

Somewhere in a 12-step group called Food Addicts in Recovery, John is working his steps and kicking what he believes is an addiction to food. But is food addiction a real addiction?

Tonight, I am presenting recent research on the topic of food addiction during a live FREE webinar for the American Association of Christian Counselors (Here is the link, live 6-8:00p.m. ET).

The scientific community is currently debating whether food is a real addiction. More studies are needed but the idea that people can be addicted to food is gaining ground. Because of neuroscience, we can see into the brain and recognize the neural pathways similar in food addition to other types of addiction. Food and drug addictions both disrupt parts of the brain involved in pleasure and self-control. And addictive-like eating behavior and substance dependence share similar patterns of neural activation that we see on functional magnetic resonance imaging.

That said, food addiction is NOT a mental illness, nor is it a category in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental illness that lists substance abuse as an addiction. However, it is possible that there are subsets of people capable of abusing food as a substance.  For a certain group of people who struggle with overeating, this classification may make some sense even though the jury is still out. Food addiction could be one contributor to obesity.

Food addiction advocates see early warning signs as obsession with food, eating to relieve worry and stress, eating until so full that one feels sick, feeling anxious while eating, overeating because food is available, eating fast to eat more, eating everything on the plate despite feeling full, guilt with eating, secretive eating, food bingeing after dieting and avoiding food.

Obviously, an abstinence approach with food is not possible. We all have to eat multiple times a day. So treatment programs based on 12-step models are available as well as other treatments.

I’m following this evolving field of research, but not sure if I believe that food is in the same category as cocaine or other drugs. Certainly, treatment is needed to stop  food obsession and compulsive eating regardless of how you think about food addiction.

I’ll keep you posted.

What are your opinions about food addiction? 

 

 

7 Anger Cool Downs to Practice and Use

posted by Linda Mintle

A few weeks ago, a fired worker unloaded his rage at his Minneapolis employer through a shooting spree that wounded two, killed six people and then shot himself. It appears that mental illness played a partial role, but what motivates a 36-year-old to get even by killing people who upset him? The answer is complicated but nothing justifies these actions.

Work environments can be places of stress for those who struggle to deal with anger in a reasonable manner. With today’s violent media modeling acts of horror in movies, the unbalanced person who has not developed good coping skills can act out a fantasy of getting even. But getting even is not an answer. People need to control their anger and learn how to manage it. Here are  seven cool down strategies taken from my small book on Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness that has sold close to 100,000 copies.

1) Count to 10 or higher, deep breath and relax your body.  We are taught this as children and it works. Count to 10, breathing slowly and calming down your body. The key is to try and slow yourself down, relaxing the body.

2) Take a time-out. Get away from the situation but your self-talk matters during the time-out. You have to calm yourself, not rev yourself up with what may feel like an injustice. Self-talk like, “It will be OK. I can handle this. I need to be more forgiving. I am not a victim and can deal with this…” are the types of calming statement to tell yourself while you are in time-out.

3) Pray. When you are frustrated, angered, pray. Jesus was the brunt of injustice and knows that feeling. Take your anger and outrage to Him. He sympathizes with your plight. now, cast those cares on Him. Retaliation is not the Christian way.

4) Practice restraint. Don’t act impulsively or meditate on ways to get even. Be the bigger person and use restraint. The Holy Spirit in you, can calm you down if you submit to God.

5) Write a letter you do not send. If you need an outlet for rage, write a letter that you don’t send. It may help you release those feelings and is a safe way to vent. But venting anger, often gives rise to more.

6) Problem-solve in ways that are not hurtful. If you feel unfairly treated, misunderstood or victimized, think of ways to solve the problem without violence. Most times, you have options.

7) Minimize consumption of violent media. Violent media do contribute to our desensitization of violence and do increase aggression. If you struggle with anger impulses, be sensible and don’t consume media that feeds that struggle.

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