Monday, March 21, 2011

Give yourself a compassion break

I read an article on this last week and its been on my mind since.
Do you treat everyone else better than you treat yourself?
Do you ensure that others eat the right things while you do not monitor your own nutritional intake?
I know that I had to admit that I cut others a lot more slack than I do myself.  I am the first person to tell someone who is feeling overwhelmed that they need to take a break, yet I will keep pushing myself even though I know I am on the edge.
Why?  Why do we do this to ourselves yet show others such kindness?
I'm not sure why it has taken researchers so long to start looking into this but it is no longer a neglected area.
There are books and websites and articles all dedicated to the topic.
Here is a self assessment link
The person who created that assessment, Kristin Neff, is a pioneer in the field, and shares information on her site.
The people most likely to score low on the self-compassion tests are those who are most likely to be supportive and understanding to others.
Research shows that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health.  People that score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. 
Self-compassion contributes positively to motivation, with self-compassion you do what's healthy for you rather than what's harmful to you.
So what can you do to improve your self-compassion?
Here are a few tips:
  • List yur best and worst traits, reminding yourself that nobody is perfect
  • Think of steps you might take to help feel better about yourself
  • Take mediation and "compassion breaks," which involve repeating mantras like "I'm going to be kind to myself in this moment."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Useful Calorie Trackers

Many of us know that if we are serious about losing weight we need to keep track of the number of calories we take in. We need to know how many we are eating (it's also good to know how many you are expending so that you can ensure that you are expending more than you are taking in.)

Unfortunately it isn't always easy or pleasant to accurately track calories but now there are some quite good online calorie trackers that also make use of mobile apps.

Here is a little info on four good ones: - $12 – the mobile apps (apple and android) are at

Features an exercise log and you can set nutrition targets. It is easy to use and has a thorough list, though some ethnic foods are not available. Great for browsing for additional info about healthy eating. - $9 – mobile apps (all mobile OS's) included

Easy to read graphs and nutrition labels. Good quality database, searching can take time. To get an item's calorie count you have to click on it to get its nutritional information label - $9 – free version available but doesn't provide a daily food analysis – mobile apps included (apple, android, & blackberry)

You can customize to track nutrients and also features exercise tracking. Excellent, quick food input, large community database. As-you-type search feature guesses the item you want to select. – free – apple, android & blackberry

Recipe builder and an active online community are nice extras. Easy-to-use, some irrelevant search results. Few bells and whistles made the information from the food diary easy to understand

All four are fairly accurate in calorie counting with MyFoodDiary and MyNetDiary the most precise. Although on a test day the four sites were within 311 calories of each other, which isn't too bad.

I haven't tried these myself the information above was taken from a WSJ article.

I do think that I will give one of them a try and see how easy it is and how beneficial. Although I am not sure I want to start today – it's St Patrick's Day and I am sure my input will be greater than my output!

Which reminds me – keep in mind not to obsess about calorie intake – the most important thing is that you are eating fewer calories than you are expending!