Retrain your mind

retrain your mind photo from public domain

My name is Jackie Kleinsmith. I am an exercise science intern at Lifexcel. I came here hoping to get an idea of what it’s like to be a dietitian. My main focus was to shadow the dietitians here and see if it would help me decide if I wanted to become one. Some of the things I have seen are what I expected… people trying to lose weight and some who just wanted to learn how to eat healthy. As I sat in on nutrition discussions and initial consultations, I started to see a pattern. Many of the clients had been on diets before, lost the weight, and then regained it. What has made my experience here different than what I would expect to see at other places is that they are less worried about getting you to a specific number on a scale and more concerned about finding out why you are trying to or needing to lose weight in the first place. They focus on the causes of weight gain, for which there are many reasons. It’s no wonder that people gain weight after going off a fad diet, it isn’t specified to their individual needs! Lifexcel has opened my eyes to a whole new insight of the obesity problem we are facing. Unfortunately, not enough people out there can offer what Lifexcel can. If every weight loss company or business took on the nutrition, exercise and behavior aspect that they do here, then there wouldn’t be such a significant amount of our country overweight. It’s more than just giving you a meal plan. It’s helping you understand the root of the problem.

I never understood why so much of our country was obese. As naive as it sounds, I thought that people just didn’t care about their health or that they didn’t have the self control to stop eating. But there is so much more to it than that. Our society sets us up for over eating as well as for emotional eating. When you watch a commercial that involves food you don’t see sad people you see happy people munching on what ever snack is being advertised. You even see commercials of kids being sad until they get their favorite snack or cookie to cheer them up. I knew that food was always around us and there was constant advertising but I never realized how much of advertising is intended to play on our emotions.

I wouldn’t consider myself an emotional eater but I do think I have some of the characteristics (in fact I think the majority of the country does even if they don’t know it). I didn’t realize it until I came here but I would reward myself with food if I was having a bad day. Even if my stress level isn’t high but I’m a little irritated I will eat chocolate or other candy (I have a really bad sweet tooth- thanks Grandpa). I usually never thought twice about it but now it’s hard for me not to think about the reason I am eating a chocolate bar.

The most interesting thing that I’ve learned during my internship is the concept of mindful eating. Usually when we are eating we are doing others things as well. We are on autopilot. We know the food tastes good but we aren’t exactly concentrated on it. We may not even realize we’re eating during the middle of the meal. That’s what happens to me, I take the first few bites and think this is good. Then I start talking or watching television and I won’t notice the food again until the end. Then think… “dang, this is so good but it’s almost gone.” In reality, I didn’t even focus on the taste for half the time I was eating it. As I sat in on Sherri talking to clients about mindful eating I started putting it into practice. I paid more attention to the food I was eating and started thinking “is this something that really tastes good to me? Is it worth the calories?” I was surprised to find out that Pizza Hut’s pizza, which I had previously thought was my favorite, no longer looked or tasted as good as it used to.

I am almost halfway through my internship here and I have really enjoyed what I’ve learned. I didn’t think the information that was being given to clients would be able to relate to me as much as it has. This is just a touch of what I’ve learned here and I’m excited to see what is yet to come!