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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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Walk the Walk: Robard’s VP of Sales Gets with the Program



If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. And that’s just what Robard Corporation’s Vice President of Sales, Mario Testa, decided to do on Super Bowl Sunday 2016. As the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, Mario was set to launch his own fight. He weighed 217 pounds, felt sluggish, tired and had very little energy. He had never struggled with weight as a youth, but age, lack of exercise, work, travel and, what he calls “perhaps a bit of laziness,” took their toll.

“I didn’t feel I was heavy until I saw a picture that ‘woke me up,’” recalls Testa. “It was a picture of me at my son’s sports banquet. It actually brought tears to my eyes.”

Mario had calculated that he had gained 85 pounds since he graduated high school — nearly three pounds a year. In addition to the weight, he faced a handful of related medical conditions, including high cholesterol and triglycerides and pre-diabetes. However, after just a week of using New Direction System products mixed with an occasional NutriMed shake, he began to notice a difference.

“I could tell it was working — and I was being disciplined to the program — because my pants felt a bit loose,” he says. “It was a huge motivator because I never ‘dieted’ before.”

Within a few weeks, his energy was improving, and he wasn’t getting out of breath as quickly. “I started exercising and being more active with my kids,” he says. “It also increased my confidence because I didn’t feel self-conscious anymore.”

Along with products, Testa began a simple exercise routine. He would walk around his neighborhood three nights a week and run on a treadmill one night a week without setting a distance or time. “I just do it until I work up a good sweat,” says Mario.

The discipline paid off. Now at 162 pounds, Mario’s showing no signs of slowing down. He’s got his eyes set on a strength conditioning program, and says that the current state of his health is excellent.

“My whole outlook on food has improved," he says. “I’m much more disciplined with what I eat, when I eat, how I eat and no longer have the cravings for the foods that fell into my danger zone. I’ve been able to keep all the weight off after nearly a year on the program.”

Mario never thought he would be so passionate about how losing weight and keeping it off could have such a positive impact on the overall quality his life — physically and emotionally. “I’m a true evangelist for healthy lifestyle and a disciple for our products,” he says. “It hasn’t changed my life. It saved my life.”

To find a New Direction System or NutriMed program near you, please visit our Find a Clinic page. If you’re a healthcare provider interested in Robard’s proven weight management programs, nutrition products and business services, you can learn more by visiting us here.


Blog written by Kevin Boyce/Robard Corporation

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5 Tips to a Healthier Family (Part 2)



Studies are increasingly showing that the epidemic of obesity is rapidly growing, becoming not just a public health crisis for adults, but for entire families. In our recent blog post Childhood Obesity Predictors May Not Be What You Think (Part 1), we found that not only is childhood obesity rising (doubled in the past 30 years), but it has also been strongly linked to parental obesity.

Research on families and obesity reveals that children of overweight parents have an 80 percent chance of also being overweight. You might be tempted to think that the majority of this is due to the family’s genetic predisposition, but researchers have shown that the link between one’s genetics and one’s weight accounts for only a small part of this 80 percent chance. What seems to matter more is your family environment.

In fact, establishing healthy routines for your entire household can support you in staying on track in your own diet and weight loss journey. Being healthy has a reciprocal effect; what you do for your children will positively affect you and vice versa. The key is to identify the problem and work to slowly chip away at it. To get started, try a few of these tips to start implementing healthier routines in your household this week:

1. Enjoy meals together. When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much.

2. Explore mindful eating and introduce the idea to your family to prevent overeating. For more about mindful eating, read our blog post.

3. Get kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus. For easy meals that even the kids can help with, check out these recipes for a week’s worth of healthy meals.

4. Make physical activity a weekly goal with your family, and find ways to make it fun and help bring you all together. For some ideas on fun ways to stay active with your family, check out this slideshow.

5. Talk to your kids. If you struggle with your weight, it may be impacting your kids whether you know it or not. Strive to be open about your struggles and your journey with your children. Model for them the importance of making your health a priority so they can learn to do so for themselves as they grow older. Try daily affirmations for positive body image with your kids. Plus, we don’t have to keep these struggles to ourselves. When we have the support of our family, so many things are possible. You may find that achieving a healthier weight can be more enjoyable, in addition to bringing your family closer together.


Sources: American Heart Association, Obesity Action Coalition


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation



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