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  • Healthy Through the Holidays

    Healthy Through the Holidays

    Including the Thanksgiving Turkey through the Christmas Goose into the New Year’s champagne, you will probably launch yourself into six weeks of heavy eating.

    The tradition of stuffing ourselves with seasonal delights is ongoing. Holiday weight gain tends to be small – an average of a pound a year, according to one study. But it sticks with us and is a leading cause of obesity later in life. A little holiday overindulgence can lead to years of health problems later on.[1] Still the already overweight and obese gain more weight than those who are within their normal weight. In addition, there are other problems for these individuals.

    Six of ten people in the United States are overweight, with a third of those individuals within the area of obesity. The extra weight leads to at least 100,000 deaths annually. Obese people are at a much higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers.

    A person is considered obese if their weight in kilograms is more than 30 times bigger than their height in meters squared. This is a high body mass index or BMI.

    It has been noted even children are getting fatter. In a nationally representative study of US children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years, the prevalence of obesity in 2011-2014 was 17.0% and extreme obesity was 5.8%, up from 4% in the 1970s.[2] Doctors have been turning to behavioral therapy to try to keep these children from gaining more weight. 

    The cost of all this extra fat is immense. Direct medical costs are easiest to calculate, coming in at $93 billion, or 9%, of our national medical bill. Increasing body mass indexes are associated with significantly longer hospital stays and costs. Every 5-unit increase in body mass index beyond 30 kg/m2 is associated with approximately $250 to $300 higher hospitalization costs in primary total knee arthroplasty and $600 to $650 higher hospitalization costs in revision total knee arthroplasty (Incavo & Derasari, 2014). These estimates are after adjusting for the simultaneous presence of more than one chronic disease state and complications.[3] An important finding of another study is the 12-percentage point increase in the proportion of obese patients undergoing Total Hip Replacements (THA) during the 8 years from 2000 to 2008. Again, obesity was associated with longer hospital stays and costs in THA.

    However, there are other costs. Obese people are less likely to be given jobs; they are waited on more slowly, they are less likely to be given apartments, they are less likely to be sent to college by their parents.

    Obesity-attributable costs of absenteeism are substantial and impose a considerable financial drain on states (Andreyeva, Luedicke, & Wang, 2014).[4] Each year, the U.S. economy loses $8.65 billion in productive work time due to obesity. On top of substantial health care expenditures and other indirect costs in the workplace and elsewhere, obesity imposes a significant economic burden on the U.S. economy and society.

    Because people are fatter, airlines spend more on jet fuel, and the obese themselves spend more on gas. As airlines continue to cram more and more people into each plane, the flying experience gets less comfortable for all passengers — especially as the traveling public grows increasingly overweight. Most carriers now have some sort of policy in place to prevent obese travelers from infringing on the personal space of the passengers next to them. However, these tend to be hidden from consumers themselves.

    Many researchers believe that it is cheaper, in our fast-food society; to eat a high fat, high-calorie diet than it is to stay slim. Supersizing a meal at McDonald’s, Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken costs a consumer only 67 cents out of pocket. But after health costs and the price of extra gasoline are factored in, for some people, the price of the meal may have been effectively doubled.

    So why use Hypnosis for weight control? Many people struggle with maintaining or losing weight; some use diet after diet. They may lose weight initially, but then over time, it comes back. Even with a strong desire and fairly good willpower, old habits have a way of creeping back.

    The reason for this is that often eating habits are fueled by motivations that exist deep within the subconscious mind. Perhaps in childhood food was used as a reward. Alternatively, food may have provided emotional comfort: there was nothing like a peanut butter and honey sandwich to make the world seem right again.

    The subconscious mind is very powerful. It is where some of our deepest drives originate, so it can be very difficult to overcome it with the conscious mind alone. That is why weight loss can be such an effort: there is an ongoing struggle between subconscious desires and conscious intentions.

    Hypnosis can be very helpful, either by itself, or as support for a weight loss program.

    This is because messages are given that cause changes in the subconscious mind allowing it to support, rather than sabotage our conscious desires. It is a little like removing a virus from the hard drive of a computer. The virus can wreck havoc with our software, but once it is removed, we can run any programs we choose.

    In effect, hypnosis can help to remove the “gain weight virus” so that we can move forward with greater success in following our weight loss plan. (See our information on our new “Healthy Through the Holidays” Program)

    [1] Schoeller, D. A. (2014, July). The effect of holiday weight gain on body weight. Physiology & Behavior, 134(7), 66-69.

    [2] Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Lawman, H. G., Fryar, C. D., Kruszon-Moran, D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2016, June 7). Trends in Obesity Prevalence Among Children. JAMA, 315(21), 2292-2298. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.6361

    [3] Incavo, S. J., & Derasari, A. M. (2014, May 7). The cost of obesity. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 96(9), 79. doi:10.2106/JBJS.N.00019.

    [4] Andreyeva, T., Luedicke, J., & Wang, Y. C. (2014, November). State-Level Estimates of Obesity-Attributable Costs of Absenteeism. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(11), 1120-1127. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000000298


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