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3 Facts About Food Addiction




As the obesity epidemic continues to grow, more and more physicians are considering treatment. Obesity is recognized as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association, and even binge eating, which can lead to obesity, has been officially classified as an eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

As doctors work to find more effective ways to treat obesity, the underlying causes of weight gain are also being considered. While societal factors and lack of education on exercise and dieting certainly play a role, physicians should also consider even deeper causes of excessive weight in the individual, including food addiction.

Recent studies have begun to show that the pattern of weight loss and regain, combined with the inability to control eating habits, clinically presents like an addiction. The clinical presentation and symptom profile between substance abuse and food addiction is
well documented.

To learn a little more about food addiction, take a look at this infographic and download our free white paper on food addiction by clicking here.


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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Relating Mental Health & Behavior to the Weight Loss Journey




In my experience working at the Dr. Rogers Centers, a provider of fitness, wellness and weight loss services in San Antonio, Texas, behavioral techniques are introduced to help participants modify eating and exercise habits. Weight loss program participants have access to a Licensed Professional Counselor/Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor to receive cognitive behavioral therapy to help treat their symptoms and how to think differently about food and their lives.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
According to the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the importance of thinking about how we feel and what we do. Much of this therapy involves changing our thoughts about different aspects of our lives. This therapy also utilizes mindfulness therapy to keep the participant in the present moment to help relieve anxieties about past experiences.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques can help controlling cravings and primitive impulses. Cravings and other addictive behaviors that trigger pleasure are controlled by our limbic system, sometimes called the “lizard brain.” Our primal instincts are managed in this part of the brain as well. During mindfulness therapy, breathing techniques are used to reengage the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex supports impulse control and is also responsible for decision making. Weight loss program participants can make clearer, conscious decisions about their cravings through this simple therapy.

The Reciprocal Relationship
Many weight loss program participants suffer from co-occurring disorders — typically obesity and depression, or obesity and anxiety. With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, healthcare professionals are able to treat both problems. It is important to treat both issues simultaneously as they are in a reciprocal relationship and will feed off of each other. Learning what our triggers are and recognizing our disordered eating patterns is the key to success. There must be an understanding that food is not the problem; rather, food is fuel for our bodies. The problems lie in our lifestyles, are emotional, and can even involve negative feelings towards certain foods or exercise.

Healthy Supplementation
In addition to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and understanding the relationship between obesity and mental health issues, a professional counselor may recommend supplements to support mental health. Exercise is one example of a “supplement.” It increases dopamine, which is the “feel good” chemical in our brains. Instead of increasing dopamine from unhealthy cravings or other addictions, exercise can be used to achieve this “high.”

Other vitamins and nutrients that are commonly recommended are:

• Vitamin D3: Important for all body functions. For brain health, it helps to release neurotransmitters that affect brain function and development.
• 5-HTP: Converts into two important chemicals: Melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin supports sleep and wake cycles. Serotonin is known for being a “happy chemical” and supports positive mood and outlook.
• Calcium: Essential for healthy brain function. Deficiencies can lead to anxiety and moodiness.

For medical professionals interested in turnkey weight loss programs that incorporate all of the elements for behavioral change for long-lasting results, you can request more information here. Also, take a look at Robard’s upcoming webcast on “Brain Systems Underlying the Munchies.” To register for this webcast, please click here.


Blog written by Gabrielle Harden, Guest Blogger



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Feeling Out of Control Over Your Eating Habits? It’s Treatable!



In a society that continues to stigmatize obesity, many believe that overeating and obesity are the result of lack of motivation or self-control. However, for many that struggle with weight loss, the problem goes much deeper than sheer will power. In fact, there are a number of signs and symptoms that point to Binge Eating Disorder (or BED) as a potential cause for overeating which can lead to obesity.

Binge eating disorder is more than just eating too much food. “Insatiable cravings that lead to eating large amounts of food, often quickly and to the point of physical pain, and followed by intense shame and self-loathing, characterize binge eating disorder,” says Kathleen Murphy, M.A., LPC, and Executive Clinical Director at Breathe Life Healing Centers, where the Breakfree@Breathe program specializes in treating binge eating disorder. This overeating/guilt pattern is a vicious cycle; people who suffer from BED feel that they have lost total control.

While anorexia and bulimia are more commonly known, BED is actually the most common eating disorder in the United States, with 5 million sufferers nationwide. Additionally, two out of three people with BED are obese and 30 percent of people looking into weight loss treatments likely exhibit symptoms of the disorder.

How do you know if you have BED? People with binge eating disorder display a combination of symptoms. These include:

• Regularly eating more food than most people would in a single sitting
• Feeling out of control while you’re eating
• Having binge eating episodes at least once a week for three months or longer

In addition to the above, people with binge eating disorder must have at least three of the following symptoms:

• Eating really fast or past the point of feeling full
• Experiencing negative feelings of shame, guilt or remorse about binge eating
• Eating a lot — even when you’re not hungry
• Eating alone, particularly because you’re embarrassed about how much you’re eating

Although BED is a treatable disorder, it’s estimated that 57 percent of people with binge eating disorder never receive treatment. However, in 2013, binge eating disorder was finally categorized as a recognizable and treatable diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) produced by the American Psychiatric Association™. This was incredibly important to the treatment of the disease, since a diagnosis that can be documented leads to greater access to care for sufferers. Since BED is now listed as a disorder, many insurance plans cover treatment.

If you think you may have Binge Eating Disorder, getting support and treatment is paramount. If left untreated, BED can perpetuate the disease of obesity, in addition to a host of other health conditions and comorbidities. Treatment options are now more available than ever, and the prognosis for recovery is good. To find a treatment provider who specializes in binge eating disorder, please visit the National Eating Disorder Association’s Treatment Options database today. Once you are receiving proper treatment for your BED, you may find more success in a weight management program. To discuss starting a weight management program and starting the journey toward a healthier you, visit our Find a Clinic page.

Sources: National Eating Disorders Association, Healthline


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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