Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Pain of Fat

Hello Everyone:

When people ask me, "how do you lose weight?", I have a simple answer: eat less and exercise more. True, but not very helpful. When people ask me as a psychologist, "how do you lose weight?", I expand on the answer. I explain that you need to change the psychological association you have with your eating and physical activity. A heavier person will be conditioned to associate pain to healthy diet and exercise and pleasure to poor eating habits and laziness. They might say things like, "I hate to exercise", or "I love chocolate". Hence, weight loss becomes a futile exercise in will power, frustration, and eventual failure.

On the other hand, when people make their mental associations with healthy eating and exercising towards more positive, the healthier choices become much easier and the weight comes off. For instance, a person associating pleasure with healthy choices might tell themselves: "I have energy when I eat well" or "exercise makes me thin".

So, to begin improving the psychological associations you have with healthy weight loss choices, take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the top left side, put a title that says, "the pleasure/good things I'll enjoy when I _____ (eat better, exercise more, etc.)". On the right side, put a title that says "the pain/problems that will happen if I don't _____ (eat better, exercise more, etc.). Then create an ever growing list of these polar opposites, study them, visualize them, and make them important themes in your life.

Another helpful suggestion: get some hypnosis. It's a quick and powerful way to quickly change how you'll think and feel about your weight loss journey. In sum, make your weight loss associations healthy, positive, and productive and watch the pounds come off.

Best wishes on your weight loss journey!

Dr. Randy Gilchrist

Friday, October 3, 2008

Keeping It Off

Hello Everyone:

Even though a person may lose some weight, the real challenge comes in keeping it off. This is especially true when the diet and/or exercise program used to lose the weight was someone else's formal plan. Most of the time you won't want to do this no-fun plan rest of your life (i.e., the no-carb Atkins/no blueberry muffins the rest of your life diet plan).

The natural tendency once you've lost the weight is to celebrate! And what is our favorite way to celebrate as people? By pigging out and putting back the weight. In a 2002 Consumer Report study entitled "The Truth About Dieting", 8,000 successful dieters who had kept off their lost weight at least a year revealed that the overwhelming majority of them (81%) created their own personalized diet program. The other 19% of the successes eventually adopted their own healthy, lower weight eating and exercise plan and lifestyle.

So, the first key to losing and keeping the weight off is to 1) research and create an effective personalized diet and exercise plan that you are willing to do, stick with, and incorporate into a permanent lifestyle change.

Other suggestions for keeping the weight off:

2) Be flexible and adjust and adapt over time. What worked at one time may not work later. Continue tracking, adjusting, and refining your maintenance plan with what works. while dropping or modifying what doesn't. Continue to track your efforts and research new ideas.

3) Resist laziness. Remember to keep working hard and to pace yourself. Don't start cutting corners and going back to old ways. You lost the weight because you made some strong choices and sacrifices. Don't allow laziness to ruin your hard work and efforts down the road.

4) Resist pride. Great, you lost some weight. Congratulations. No don't get too cocky. Don't think you're too strong now and allow yourself to be placed in tempting situations that will compromise your success. For instance, don't spend a bunch of time at the grocery store checking out the doughnuts that you"used to" eat. If you're not careful, it won't be a "used to" anymore.

5) Keep tracking your weight, body fat percentage, and looks in the mirror. The numbers don't lie and the mirror doesn't either. Try to not slip, but if you see it starting to happen, nip it in the bud and makes the necessary course corrections ASAP! It's like the old saying goes, "it's better to kill a monster while it's small". You don't want it to grow the size of Godzilla and knock over the buildings you've worked so hard to construct! (That is, your lower weight and better body).

In short, stick with it. Pace and refine yourself and your plan. Don't get lazy, sloppy, or prideful. You can keep it off. It's just a permanent assignment. A healthy, lower weight lifestyle is a permanent lifestyle. To thine own self be true!

Until next time,

Dr. Randy

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fat as Intimacy Avoidance

I know, I know, no one ever wants to be overweight, right? I think that's generally true on the conscious level. However, there are certain subconscious payoffs/enticements for keeping the pounds on. One very common inner reason to stay over weight: it can effectively keep potential intimate relationships away. This seems ever more true today with our current looks-obsessed culture.

Specifically, we often stay heavy to try to minimize the chance of getting involved in a couple relationship, along with all of the potential pitfalls, heartache, and rejection risks that may go along with it. Such heavier individuals often possess traumatic emotional scars from their past and often feeling unlovable. Therefore, the extra pounds can serve to validate how they already feel about themselves.

We generally assume that people who feel bad about their weight, therefore feel sad about themselves. However, sometimes a person feels bad about themselves first, and then they gain the weight afterwards to be consistent with their inner selves. True statement: our outer selves often reveal what is going on in our inner selves.

So, what do you do if you find yourself sabotaging your weight and appearance to stave off potential mates?

1) Ask yourself: if I was my perfect weight, would I really be ready to date right now, or would I find another reason to avoid relationships? If so, why? What am I so afraid of?

2) Next, choose to reject this self-defeating approach and replace it with something productive. Instead of avoiding dating through being heavy, choose to give yourself a voluntary sabbatical from relationships. During this break, devote yourself heavily to learning about healthy relationships: what they are and how you can choose and nurture one. Also, work on your confidence and self-esteem.

To prepare yourself for healthy relationships, I recommend going to a licensed psychotherapist to work through your barriers and insecurities to healthy relationships. I also recommend the following self-help resources:

*The Assertive Woman by Phelps --or-- Your Perfect Right by Alberti. Both of these bookes will train you in assertive communication.

*Tongue Fu by Horn. This is a book on how to respond to criticism through deflating, disarming, and defusing there the other is coming from.

*The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work by Gottman. This is a book from the world's leader marriage expert on what makes for healthy relationships that last vs. what interactions predict will eventual divorce.

*The Secrets of Successful Relationships by Gray. This is a comprehensive 12 CD audio set with a lot of good info in it and is only available new through

3) Raise the bar of what you now looking for in a potential healthy partner. May a written list of your wants and needs. Now, commit to yourself and others that you will never settle again on less than a healthy partner and a healthy relationship ever again.

4) Choose and print off a number of profiles of what you now feel are potential "healthy" dating prospects from a respected online dating site. Have your selections reviewed by a wise, trusted friend or family member to confirm or reject the health and potential of your profiles.

5) Continue to elevate your self-esteem, your confidence, and your overall knowledge of healthy relationships during your break. When you feel strong and prepared enough to enter the fray, begin your search. Remember: never settle on less than you want and need. I've never seen a problem in life with someone being too picky in their partner search. The problems I've seen come from lowering the bar and not being picky enough.

I hope you find this information to be helpful.

Dr. Randy

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Depression and Weight Gain

Hello Everyone:

Depression is more than just feeling “sad”. It also includes a number of other possible symptoms, including poor eating and sleeping habits, lowered self-esteem, low energy, loss of interest in activities, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts.

All of these symptoms create extreme emotional upset that can wreak havoc on your weight. Because depression is such a miserable experience, poor eating, laziness, and excessive sleeping often become avenues for temporary relief. Unfortunately, overeating and a lack of bodily movement can add a lot of extra pounds. These self-defeating choices then serve to increase your depression, and so the cycle goes.

The best way to not allow depression to hurt your weight is to proactively and strategically manage your depression better to elevate your mood. Obviously, the better your mood becomes, the easier it is to make better eating, sleeping, and exercise choices. Here are a 3 ideas help you better control and elevate your mood:

1) Seek psychotherapy from a qualified psychotherapist. The therapy approach best shown to minimize depression is “cognitive-behavioral therapy”. To find a helpful therapist, I suggest searching the therapist finders at: and, and then looking up the therapist websites for more detailed information.

2) Search out and utilize quality self-help materials for depression. I recommend 2 possible workbooks: The Feeling Good Handbook by Burns and Mind Over Mood by Greenberger and Padesky. CD programs that many of my clients have found helpful include How to Love Yourself by Hay and Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. Websites with helpful material on depression include: and

3) Consider taking a supplement to minimize the depression from a biological angle. An assessment for antidepressant medication from a psychiatrist is an option. A second is to look into natural supplements such as strategic vitamins, minerals, herbs, and health foods. A good resource natural supplement information is Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch.

Depression is more than a risk to your weight. It can be a serious issue needing direct professional intervention. Please consider the ideas above to start. Remember, life is too short to be unhappy, let alone overweight. Think about it.

Best Wishes,

Dr. Randy

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Peer Pressure to Stay Overweight

Hello Everyone:

There are many potential hurdles to losing weight: hunger, laziness, emotional eating, procrastination, etc. However, an unexpected challenge often comes in the form of unsupportive peers: family, friends, and even coworkers. Even though these are ordinarily the people you’d expect to support you in your weight loss efforts, the opposite is often the case.

So, why would those who are supposed to be closest to us try to sabotage our diets and keep us heavy? Here are several possible reasons:

1) If you successfully lose weight, that might remind them of their own unsuccessful weight loss efforts. In other words, if you succeed and get thinner, it reminds them that they’ve failed and have continued to fail. However, if they can somehow sabotage your efforts to succeed, they won’t have to feel so bad. When it comes to weight loss, “misery loves miserable company”. If everyone feels unsuccessful together, the shared pain doesn’t feel so bad. Sad, but very common.

2) If you lose weight, your peers might suddenly feel like they need to lose weight as well—which they might not feel ready to try (again). Therefore, if they can somehow persuade you off of your diet, it buys them more time before they have to change their own habits.

3) If you became thinner, this would attract more attention, compliments, and acceptance towards you. This, of course, would mean less attention, compliments, and acceptance for them. Hence, some selfishly might try to limit your success because your gain would mean their loss.

4) You changing your diet and exercise habits might interrupt some of your old peer-bonding activities together that your friends don’t want to lose/cut back on. Often, this involves eating out at high calorie restaurants, having parties with fatty snacks, and spending time in more sedentary activities like hanging out and watching TV and movies.

Does all of this mean that your friends and family don’t want the best for you? Well, that depends. The more selfish, jealous, insecure, and superficial they are, the more of they’ll try to sabotage your healthy eating and exercise habits. Conversely, the more service-oriented, gracious, secure, and principles/values-oriented they are, the more that they will support, celebrate, and emulate your efforts.

If you find that your peers are of the more selfish/insecure variety, you may wish to limit your time around them and/or tactfully encourage them to make the same changes you’re making. If they choose to reject you and isolate you because of your weight loss success, you might be better off spending less time around them anyway. Staying overweight should not be a requirement to maintain a relationship. Think about it! You’re not doing either of you any favors. The price of health is sometimes high, but is always worth it. As the saying goes, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

Best wishes...

Dr. Randy

**Quality Hypnosis Works!**

Monday, January 7, 2008

Having An Attractive Attitude


Is getting down to your ideal weight the most important component to looking good? What about muscle tone, a skin tan, and being fashionable and trendy? Although all of these factors can contribute to a person “looking good”, they’re all just a part of the whole attraction package. There is still a large, key factor remaining in the equation.

My simply point is this: as you are losing weight and working on your looks, work on creating a positive attitude as well. The entire package of looks and attitude go far in attracting a potential life partner (and/or to nourish a present one).

I remember talking to a client of mine in my private practice about this issue of attraction and attitude. He said to me: for every unhappy Brazilian supermodel out there, there’s some guy tired of (making love to) her—although he used a much more colorful term. He further explained that “if she’s angry or depressed she becomes instantly unattractive”. Fair enough. He also said that “no man likes an unhappy woman”. I’m sure this is basically true for women’s attraction to men as well. A positive attitude counts.

Here are 5 ideas to cultivate a more positive attitude:

1) Become aware of your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. Practice radiating a more positive, endearing countenance as much as possible. Often, acting the part will help you eventually feel and be the part. If nothing else, this will help others want to be around you more.

2) Remember the rule of thumb: do I present myself in such a way that I would want to be around me? If not, change yourself accordingly. It’s like the Golden Rule from the Bible: do unto others (that is, maintain a positive countenance and attitude) as you would have them do unto you.

3) Learn how to think more positively and challenge old, self-defeating beliefs—including letting go of “emotional baggage”. This may be challenging to do by yourself, so you may wish to seek out a qualified and licensed psychotherapist to assist. In addition, you may wish to look into the following self-help cognitive therapy workbook: Mind Over Mood by Greenberger and Padesky.

4) Learn social skills and build up your relationships with others. As you reach out and connect more, your mood and attitude will naturally improve. A suggested book on the subject: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

5) View happiness and positivity as a choice in your life and a skill you can learn and improve, rather than a personality attribute that some fortunate few are blessed with (and others not).

Finally, remember that improving your attitude takes work just like weight loss, fashion, etc. I leave you with thought by Samuel Goldwyn: “I’m a big believer in luck. The harder I work, the luckier I get”.

Best wishes,

Dr. Randy

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Media’s Role in Making Us Fat

Yes, the media has a role in prompting us to eat large portions of high calorie fatty and sugary foods. These include fast-foods, sugary deserts, fatty meats and dairy, processed foods, and other “nutritional offenders”. So, how is the media doing this and why?

The “how” part is simple: the media bombards most of the western world with endless television commercials, magazine ads, billboards and signs, internet ads, and so on. These ads show delicious-looking foods, along with hungry, ecstatic people eating that food. Included with these ads are often catchy statements and slogans of how wonderful it would be for you to eat these foods. Examples: “you deserve ____”, “mmmmmm, ____”, “follow your taste buds”, etc.

The “why” part is also simple: the companies putting out this advertising do so because they want to sell you a lot of their food products and MAKE A LOT OF MONEY. They don’t care about your health and your weight. They are businesses, not health care establishments.

The results of all of this advertising? We consumers make poor food choices and buy larger proportions than needed. The foods we buy are often the ones with the best marketing, rather than those best for our health, our energy, and our waistlines.

Several suggestions to minimize the effects of food advertising:

1) Plan you meals and snacks ahead of time in writing. Make these choices as healthy as possible. Then, resist buying and eating emotionally outside of your plan.

2) When encountering food ads, focus on the fat, sugar, or calorie levels in the food, versus the ecstatic person eating the food.

3) When encountering food ads, restate their positive slogan with something negative. For example, change “you deserve this” to “I don’t deserve to be fat”.

I wish you health and happiness!

Dr. Randy