Willpower Alone Fails You: GRIT Propels You

20 Jan

UnknownWillpower is not sustainable. I’ll welcome the argument. I base this belief off of evidence while watching people work so hard and depend on willpower alone… and not be able to sustain long-term. It does NOT work alone!

Willpower is defined in the dictionary as “the ability to control yourself : strong determination that allows you to do something difficult (such as to lose weight or quit smoking).” This talks nothing about setting up your environment for success and what will help you “control yourself.” I don’t think willpower is bad but relying on it alone will kick your butt long-term.

So… After years of working with people making sustainable lifestyle change, reading tons of good/horrible research I have noticed and carefully pieced this together..

GRIT!!!!
I define grit as “the resolve to be patient with yourself as you consistently set plans to follow through on new daily behaviors leading to sustainable habits. ” Focus on those words… RESOLVE, PATIENT, CONSISTENT, FOLLOW THROUGH, DAILY BEHAVIORS, SUSTAINABLE. I have spent years compiling this definition as antidote to the false belief of willpower alone creating sustainability.
Again, this is not some opinion that I concluded while sitting back pondering things. Instead, I have seen this as key ingredients with those whom I’ve worked side-by-side, and it has been true in my own life/transformation.
I hope your new year’s desires and plans are going well!
– Dr. Brazier

What Diets are Missing

15 Jan

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I am not here to tell you what NOT to do, after all telling you what NOT to do is all that diets do. Instead, I am here to tell you what TO DO! Part of creating a healthy lifestyle and taking back control is breaking the perspectives derived from diets. So, today I want to highlight 2 important things that diets lack and if you don’t focus on these you will fall into that 92% that diets fail.

  1. Sleep! You might hear health professionals talk about how sleep will help you make better eating decisions.. .this is true! And, it’s much more than that. Proper sleep (7-8 hours/night) helps your metabolism, supports your adrenals, and regulates your hormones, and hormones have everything to do with weight loss and overall health. If you are not focusing on sleep you will struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Empower yourself! Diets tell you exactly what to do and when to do it. It’s easier to have someone tell you exactly what to do and act like a robot. However, it’s ineffective to not feel like you know why you are doing what you are doing and how to make choices day to day. Thus, I teach people to be students of their body/mind and learn as much as possible. I teach guiding principles that help people feel empowered such that they can learn, adapt, and sustain a healthy lifestyle!

These are only two examples of what all diets, no matter how good they might be, are lacking. There are many more examples! Remember, healthy living and weight control is much, much, much more than healthy eating. It’s healthy thinking, healthy actions, and being kind to yourself in the process.

Get out and enjoy the day!

-Dr Brazier

Why New Years Resoltions Flop and How to Make them Stick! 

31 Dec

You can make the new year a time for change, but first be easy on yourself. 

We get excited about the new year… a time for change and resolution. That’s great; however, don’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t fight the truth that it’s very difficult to make tons of changes at once and expect to sustain that. 

Having seen hundreds of people try New Years resolutions I’ve learned that taking small steps is most effective. Yes, that’s counter to typical New Years resolutions but the reality is New Years resolutions rarely work. They don’t work because we expect huge change and stop when we are a little off. Instead, I suggest the following …

Pick 2-3 things you will do. Once you mastered that go to the next goals. It is so simple. I watch people do this and succeed everyday. It will be sustainable and impactful. If there are several things you want to do then make note of the goals and implement them throughout the year. 

Look at every day as a new beginning. Don’t wait for the New Year. If yesterday sucked then make tomorrow your new resolution. Be easy on yourself! I challenge you to make 2016 truly different … Start with how you do your resolutions! 

Parenting and Balance: Is Self-Care Selfish?

13 Dec

imagesLet’s just get it out there… Is taking care of yourself as a parent selfish? No! In fact, not taking care of yourself is a disservice to a child.

I’m a parent. I have messed up in small and big ways. However, I will continue to learn and grow in that capacity which I consider to be of the grandest importance. It is my deep desire to keep my focus in life more clear, and in order to do this I cannot live in my shortcomings as a parent. Teaching my children through example and love is imperative in my desire to be a better parent.  That said, perfection is not even a thought nor should it be for any parent. In contrast, showing our children that we are human and that one day we can totally suck but the next day we will show up again and be a rockstar is important! I want to express that as parents we need to be easy on ourselves. I stand in no place to judge another parent. I simply want to share what I’ve learned since working with kids/teens and their families.  I see children today are crying out “mom , dad, somebody look at me… I want to be heard. I want to be seen.” And, kids will go to great lengths to get attention not because they are a messed up generation rather because humans need connection. Foundational connection is indispensable at the parent-child level. We are busy but our kids need us … desperately! They can’t be on our priority list, instead, they ARE our priority and the list comes after them.
Does all of this mean we just don’t have a life and follow our kids around until they are 18 and then enable them and not allow them to move out? Nope! I’m suggesting we get our priorities straight and included in that we remember that we , the parent as a living/breathing human , have to be healthy and balanced. We are also the priority and not on the priority list. Yes, we sacrifice as parents but we also exemplify to our children that when they are adults their happiness and needs are equally important. If they don’t learn this from the adults who they see everyday (aka their parents) then they could really struggle. Well, everyone will struggle but those struggles could be exacerbated.
So, what am I suggesting? Just be perfect! Yeah right. I’m suggesting we focus on 4 fundamentals in our own lives and this will show our children that we are caring for ourselves and will significantly increase probability that the vitality in both your life and that of your child’s will be greater! The 4 Fundamentals are :
1. Sleep
 2. Movement
 3. Nutrition
4. Spirituality
Family-exercise
(Incorporate family time with self-care!)
Now before you go yelling at me saying , ” Drew not everyone is spiritual.” I am not saying everyone is religious but I do argue that we are all spiritual beings and neglecting your spirituality is harmful. This is the science…. I’m not sharing opinion! That said , these 4 Fundamentals are also part of what I teach to people trying to lose weight!
Over the next week I will go in depth giving helpful tips for the 4 Fundamentals.
Am I saying an obese, overweight, or physically unhealthy parent is a bad parent? No!!! I am saying that taking control of your health is a good example.
When it’s all said and done our children need connection. They don’t need money (although teaching the value of money is helpful). Our kids need to feel safe which includes physical and emotional. They need to learn to manage their lives and they need that example from those to whom they look up the most.
Don’t give up! Just because your kid does a lot of crazy things and sometimes very scary things doesn’t mean you’ve failed. We all continue to screw up. I invite you to join with me and continue to learn and grow. Accepted stagnation is failure. Continued learning and growth breeds success.
Take care,
Dr Brazier

Revolutionary Weight Loss… and it’s Sustainable!

7 Dec Missing the Mark weight loss

Missing the Mark weight lossDiets are failing people left and right. Less than 8% of diets actually work. Diets are so unnatural and are typically tied towards selling a product or some other unnatural method that cannot be sustained.

If it is true that more than 90% of people are ABLE TO LOSE WEIGHT then why the heck are only 8% of people able to lose it and keep it off? It’s because what individual diets teach are not sustainable!

I have seen over 68% success with over 300 people. It appears that those numbers are only increasing. What is different about what I do? Is it me? Um… it’s not me. However, it is what I have experienced as a human being and as a professional. Is it because I am a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist? Or, is it because I am a Doctor of Psychology? Um… nope! Here’s why what I do works..

  1. I have studied hundreds and hundreds of diets. I have taken what is sustainable and what works and combined it in a very SIMPLE manner.
  2. I don’t teach people that thy need to restrict. Yes, I obviously teach people the reality of what happens to your blood sugar levels when you eat the wrong stuff but I don’t focus on limiting calories.
  3. As aforementioned, I don’t focus on calories. I focus on what actually makes fat and what actually burns fat. The calorie in and calorie out method is not entirely true. Sure, laugh at that as I did at first and fall in line with the 8% success mentality of diets. :)
  4. I teach about sleep. Diets say that sleep is important but they don’t teach you how to actually improve your sleep. Sleep has become one of the nations top health epidemics. It’s not as simple as most recommendations are of “just get better sleep and eat right.” I teach physiological and psychological skills that work!!!
  5. Diets tell you to exercise but they don’t know how to motivate you. Or, they will motivate you to start but don’t know how to sustain this. I have been studying sustainable motivation since I wrote my dissertation on working to motivate patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Since then, I have worked with hundreds of people and watched it work!
  6. Diets tell you what to eat and when. I teach you through actual science how to understand your body and mind. Then I teach you how to pay attention to both and get in quality nutrition. I teach you how to regulate your blood sugar levels and not just reduce calories. After all, regulated blood sugar reduces stored fat in the body.
  7. So many diets talk about stress being what makes more than 80% of dieters fail and then they teach you nothing, zero, zip, nada, zilch about that stress and how to work through it. They just put the blame on you and say you didn’t try hard enough. Actually, losing weight and sustaining it doesn’t have to be hard. I’ve watched it with hundreds of people, including myself! I teach you how to reduce stress on a daily basis.
  8. Diets do not teach people how to work through trauma associated with food and weight loss. How can someone rationalize losing weight when they feel like their weight protects them from dangerous situations? This doesn’t sound like a rational thought but it happens to so many people. Food trauma and trauma related to weight loss is real. This has to be addressed or the weight will come right back… or maybe never even come off in the first place.
  9. A healthy balance between activation of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems is imperative! What the what does this mean? Well, your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for allowing the digestive process to occur. If your sympathetic nervous system is overly activated you will not be able to digest food properly independent of the quality of the food. How can you balance the nervous system? I teach that and help people understand how to maintain this balance in very simple ways on a daily basis.
  10. Exercise, exercise, exercise- ugh! Yes, I enjoy exercise myself. However, most people think exercising is ridiculous and don’t have time. First, I teach people that movement is more important. Research indicates that exercising for 30-60 minutes per day does not offset sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours per day. Instead, I help people understand how they can incorporate movement in to their day without disrupting work or daily tasks. That is not to say we don’t exercise. We actually find what kind of additional exercise will work best and be sustainable!

There are many more things that I do while working with people on sustainable weight loss. These 10 points are just an example. I am humbled by this work and even more humbled by the many people who allow me to work with them! This work is natural.. it is not based on supplemental short-term patch work. Instead, we figure out what works and how to keep making it work!

All the best,

Dr. Drew Brazier

Gratitude is Good for the Heart… Actual Science!

26 Nov

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The Institution of Heart Math (IHM) states that, “true feelings of gratitude, appreciation and other positive emotions can synchronize brain and heart rhythms, creating a bodywide shift to a scientifically measurable state called coherence. In this optimal state, the body’s systems function more efficiently, generating a greater balance of emotions and increased mental clarity and brain function.” This means that gratitude has a physiological and psychological benefit for your body!!

In working with many people on trying to create heart rate coherence, I have found that bringing up feelings of gratitude creates the most calm/synchronized heart rate. People have tried many other positive emotions/thought processes but gratitude, the majority of the time, is the most powerful. That is pretty amazing!!

The IHM goes on to state that gratitude effects the following:

-Creates biochemical change by 1. Improved hormonal balance and 2. Increased production of DHEA (anti-aging hormone).

-Increases positivity.

-Boosts the immune system by increasing IgA, which is the first line of defense against pathogens.

From: https://www.heartmath.org/assets/uploads/2015/01/ihm-feeds-food-for-thought-thanksgiving-gratitude.pdf

All of these benefits lead to better PHYSICAL, MENTAL, and OVERALL HEALTH! I also find people who do daily gratitude practices recover from/ prevent significant mental health issues. In addition, people find more motivation to create healthy eating and exercise habits!

Many people have  heard of gratitude journals. A little twist to this can go a long way and make it more meaningful. I like to invite people to list one thing each day they are grateful for and then note a few sentences of why that thing that you are grateful for happened to you. Now, this takes some imagination at times but play with it. If you stay consistent with this for a few weeks you will likely have new outlooks and other positive changes!

For example, today I am grateful that I woke up and my whole family was together. This happened to me because Shayna continues to love me and forgive me for my shortcomings. This happened to me because I’ve been entrusted as a parent to crazy but wonderful kiddos. I have been blessed with a career that allows me to provide for my family and have a heater in the home!

Thank you all for your influence in my life!

Drew

How to Start Exercising When Nothing Feels Good?

24 Nov
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Find Your Movement!

It could be that you have dealt with weight issues for a long time, you just had a baby this year, or your health has just turned south… either way getting back into exercise  can be a challenge. Let me help!

First, be easy on yourself. I am talking about being compassionate with yourself. Self-compassion is more important than self-esteem. In other words, its okay to recognize in a non-harsh manner that it hurts to exercise right now and that you might not be perfect. “Insanity,” “P-90X,” and/or running many miles each day might not be the most effective way to start. Instead, be kind to yourself know that small steps will absolutely lead to big improvements. You will not get the “runner high” yet and that’s ok. If you don’t slowly warm up your body to the idea of consistent exercise you will inevitably fail and hurt yourself both physically and psychologically. So, recognize that your physical weaknesses are nothing more than challenges. Blaming yourself for where you are at right now does you no good. Instead, I want you recognize where you are and accept that you can take one step forward today. Be okay with decimal change each day!
Second, focus on the short-term benefits. Going to the scale every day, waiting for pant size to decrease, or watching your belly shrink can be discouraging to wait for. Yes, you want the long-term reasons for exercise to be on your mind but you need to have short-term reasons for getting out there and moving! Think about what you notice when your are done with exercise. Do you feel more clear thinking? Do you feel grateful that you feel exhausted? After all, that exhaustion is temporary and turns into more energy. If you are someone who likes to check things off on a list then put it on a list and feel good checking it off. Or, are you just stressed and had a bad day? Then go sweat it out and release the stress. Maybe you want to write a blog post or share on social media?
In working with hundreds of people in this situation I have also found that part of short-term motivation has to do with finding the right exercise. In fact, it may not even need to be referred to as “exercise.” People seem to respond best when we call it “movement.” Find your movement that works for you! You don’t have to go to the gym. You can do what you want. It can be as simple as starting with every time someone asks you to meet for coffee or lunch you can respond with let’s meet for a walk. Find your movement… find what you like to do not just what you have to do!
Third, get others involved. Don’t go it alone! I once knew someone who started their workout by walking down the street to check on a neighbor friend who was in bad health. Then this person progressed to walking around the block before getting to the friends house. Then it elevated to more and more! You can also get people involved by sharing your plans and sharing your successes.
Fourth, recognize that exercise/movement is not only done in a gym. Sure, I love to run outside and on trails. I also love to climb trees. Nothing makes me feel more like a kid than climbing a tree. Setting a 30-minute timer and getting up and down as much as I can is a great way for movement… I love it! But just because that works for me doesn’t mean it works for you. Find your movement!
Fifth and last (for today), put it on a calendar. We put the important events on the calendar. Well, you are important… so put yourself on your calendar. Be easy on yourself. I have seen so many people try to be hard on themselves and punish themselves in the weight loss process and they all fail. I want you to accept where you are but not accept remaining there. Where you are today is a launch pad for where you’ll be tomorrow.
Find your movement!
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