That Day You Missed in Psych 101

Sigmund Freud

Ivan Pavlov

B.F. Skinner

Jean Piaget

Carl Rogers

Erik Erikson

 

Some of these names look familiar? If you are one of the millions of people that have ever sat through a Psych 101 course, a few of these names should jump out.

Whether you soaked up every mind-behavior connection morsel like a sponge, avoided the inner workings of the brain like the plague, or operated on some kind of general apathy continuum towards the “Soft Sciences” – I promise you all missed a day.

It’s a shame too…because that was the day where they told you the secret to meeting your health goals and maintaining lifelong weight control.

[?!?!?!!?!?!??!?!?!!?!??!?!!?!?]

Too bad.

Oh Miss Fit, how you tease…

Surely you jest…

Do I?

Well I certainly talk in third-person every now and again so I suppose that’s possible.

But really. You seriously missed an important day.

Lucky for you, I hunted down the information and am prepared to give it to you right here on the internet [thank you, Al Gore] in the comfort of your own home or mobile device.

Which means the following items will hopefully NOT be needed:

1. A time machine

2. A book bag

3. Scented spray

[because somehow you always end up next to the smelly kid in class; honestly this problem should have ended in 3rd grade MAX, how it still happens into college is truly mind-boggling…Freudian? Perhaps that was the day *I* missed inI Psych 101…]

4. Sunglasses

[to hide your Hangover; feel free to read this hung over in your birthday suit for all I care]

 

Additionally, feel free to eat noisily, play music, take a Selfie, and text while reading this article.

Ok, ground rules established – Moving right along then.

 

Lewis Goldberg circa 1980.

Lewis and a few of his cronies are the ones credited with developing the Factor Five Model, often better known as the Big Five – specifically The Big Five Personality Test.

The Factor Five Model is the best accepted and most commonly used model of personality in academic human psychology. It focuses on five measures of human personality – Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Openness, and Extraversion [sometimes the acronym CANOE is used] and uses test question responses to place people on a continuum for each of these measures and paint an overall picture of natural disposition.

What does all this have to do with weight loss?

Hang in there. Take another Selfie. Get a few Facebook Likes in and stick with me.

Let’s chat for a quick minute about CANOE.

Or I suppose you could use OCEAN.

Probably just don’t take your canoe into the ocean… Miss Fit is not responsible for any items or persons damaged in the attempt to test that theory.

Conscientiousness: reflects how careful and orderly an individual is. Conscientious individuals are generally hard working and reliable. When taken to an extreme, they may also be “workaholics”, perfectionists, and compulsive in their behavior. People who score low on conscientiousness tend to be more laid back, less goal-oriented, and less driven by success; they also are more likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behavior.

Agreeableness: reflects how much you like and try to please others. People who score high on this dimension tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy. People scoring low are generally less concerned with others’ well-being and report having less empathy. Therefore, these individuals are less likely to go out of their way to help others. Low agreeableness is often characterized by skepticism about other people’s motives, resulting in suspicion and unfriendliness. People very low on agreeableness have a tendency to be manipulative in social relationships and more likely to compete than to cooperate.

Neuroticism: the tendency to experience negative emotions. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than the average to experience such feelings as anxiety, anger, envy, guilt, and depressed mood. They respond more poorly to stressors, and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. They are often self-conscious and shy, and they may have trouble controlling urges and delaying gratification [aka impulsivity]. Neuroticism is a risk factor for the “internalizing” mental disorders such as phobia, depression, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders, all of which are traditionally called “neuroses”.

Openness: simply, reflects how much you seek out new experiences

Extraversion: reflects how much you are oriented towards things outside yourself and derive satisfaction from interacting with other people. High scorers are said to be “extroverts” while low scorers are said to be “introverts”. Introverts will tend to become tired out by socialization, while Extroverts will be energized by it. Introverts value down time while Extroverts value stimulation.

Please note, the above are merely brief explanations. They are by no means a complete analysis of a personality type and most certainly not to be used for diagnosing your friend, family, and significant others…or is it…

Ok well that is for you to decide. But in the meantime, let’s carry on.

I want to share two studies with you that I came across recently.

The first article was from Dr Jokela and colleagues featured in the Obesity Review journal in April 2013. The article captured some hard truths and shared them openly:

Generally, obesity treatments have poor long-term maintenance. To date, relatively little is known about factors that explain individual differences in long-term obesity risk or the likelihood of relapse in weight [gain]. Psychological dispositions, indicated by measures of personality, have been implicated in obesity risk…”

The study utilized 80,000 participants across the USA, UK, Germany, and Australia and assessed for CANOE traits using the Factor Five testing method. The data collected revealed that the Conscientiousness trait was closely linked to the persistence of obesity. Their findings read:

“Individuals with High Conscientiousness are described as self-disciplined, task-oriented and well organized, whereas Low Conscientiousness is characterized by poor self-control, impulsivity and lack of long-term planning…Compared to individuals with Low Conscientiousness, individuals with High Conscientiousness have almost 40 percent lower odds of being obese. Evaluating degree of conscientiousness may help in individualized obesity prevention and treatment strategies”.

The second was an article written describing the work at the National Institute of Aging led by Neuroscientist Angelina Sutin.

Not to be confused with Angelina Jolie. One is a Neuroscientist and one is currently at the Box Office masquerading as Malficent.

Dr Sutin and her colleagues also found heavy correlations between CANOE scores and weight loss success/maintenance. The most dramatic finding of theirs was twofold: [1] Scoring in the top 10% [or the “90% percentile”] for Neuroticism and [2] Scoring low [bottom 30%] for Conscientiousness was correlated to an average of 22lbs of excess weight in the person over his/her lifetime.

Additionally, those high in Neuroticism and Low in Conscientiousness [must present with both for their findings to be valid] tended to be the most frequent participants in the Yo-Yo dieting cycle.

Why might this be?

Yo-Yo-Diet

property of bradfitzpatrick.com

If you look back at the definitions above it can begin to take shape… High in Neuroticism tends to mean Impulsivity…someone who is Impulsive often has trouble planning ahead [food prep, etc] and resisting temptations [swing by fast food, eat the office donuts, etc] but also someone who can practice very strict, controlled behaviors at times. This matrix of self-discipline and the consequent lack thereof is the hallmark of Yo-Yo dieting.

The other part of the equation – Low on Conscientiousness – makes sense as well. Again, referring to the above definition, it tends to be the more laid back, less goal-oriented folks at baseline, so sticking to a plan and seeing it through hard times requires a lot more effort and consistent hard work than they may be willing [or able] to exert. This then makes it additionally frustrating for the individual to meet goals they may speak of but lack the due diligence to carry out, creating a gap between the life they say they want and the life they have. Which then can jump start the feelings of Neuroses…and the cycle starts all over again.

Gah!

stop-yo-yo-dieting

property of healthyhabitsolutions.com

So is there any hope?

There is.

But you have to be willing to consider fitness solutions outside of the standard “programs” [ I wont mention any names here…but um.. no the Shake Weights are probably not going to be the answer…]

Dr Sutin sums it up well when she says,

“Weight Loss programs ought to be designed around personality types”… “Buying healthy groceries, having set mealtimes, and planning ahead all help significantly with weight management but these are the exact kinds of tasks [Impulsive] people struggle with”.

 

She’s right!

And THAT misfits is what Fit4Life is all about.

It’s not just about an exercise program or a gluten-free bagel. It’s about understanding the whole picture and learning what your unique set of strengths and barriers is. I know we focused on the personality types that may struggle additionally with weight management, but there are personality traits that actually work much towards your advantage. It’s about capitalizing on the strengths and working through the weaknesses.

Curious to see where you fall in the CANOE?

Comment below or contact direct at write.with.ms@gmail.com and I would be happy to get you connected with a test and work through the results with you.

OH- and in case you were wondering…Yes… I’ve taken the test… and the results may surprise you …

A Lesson on Michael Jackson, Trunk Monkeys, and -oh yeah – some Health Stuff

I would like to make an additional addendum to one of my earlier posts in which I reference the fact that the only things for certain in life are Death, Taxes, and Work.

There’s a new player in the Game: The Propensity Towards Convenience. Let’s call her PTC for short. Not to be confused with P.Y.T by Michael Jackson circa 1983

 

Although… let’s take a look at those lyrics:

You know you, you make me feel so good inside
I always wanted a girl just like you
Such a P.Y.T., pretty young thing, ooh!

Where did you come from lady?
And ooh won’t you take me there?
Right away, won’t you baby

Don’t you know now is the perfect time
We can make it right, hit the city lights
Then tonight ease the lovin’ pain
Let me take you to the max!

Now that it’s out there – there is striking similarity between PTC and PYT… Can you see it?

The hints of “gimme, gimme”, doing what feels good, and a since of desire and mystery for why we might feel this way… that only gives way to more lust for it?

Yes – Michael Jackson [may you rest in peace], not only were you a powerful force in HipHop, but, evidently [likely unbeknownst to you] your lyrics are going to act as a meaningful metaphor on a fitness blog.

Shocking I know.

But a writer never knows when inspiration will strike. And well, perhaps I too have a PTC…

 

Ok, enough tangential philosophizing – what does all of this have to do with your health?

Allow me to explain:

 A while back I put some feelers out there to gauge from friends, family, co-workers, clients, random people I met, just what exactly they felt the biggest barrier to achieving their health and fitness goals was.

I got several very specific answers [such as certain bodily pains or malfunctions that need not be noted here…oddly enough these were from the strangers…] but as a general consensus, there were three main BUZZ words that seemed to keep creeping into the conversation:

 

  1. Time
  2. Expense
  3. Convenience

 

Although, if you really boil it down – things that are too time-consuming or expensive are clearly not convenient.

In which case I present to you my Thesis for this article:

 That we all have a luscious, dirty little secret crush on our PTC and, while there are oh –so-many reasons to love her endlessly [i.e. She’s a cheap date and, always available, and ready right when we need her to be – no waiting hours while she primps…] she is in fact getting in the way of our health and fitness goals.

Now, before you get all bent out of shape or calling your counselor to admit to your mistress… Let’s be realistic for a second –

 

  • We live in a fast-paced environment.
  • We do need some things to be as convenient as possible.
  • There are people in our life who just don’t see our time as valuable as their own.
  • It really DOES feel like there just is not enough time in the day. Most days. Ok. Every day. Especially weekends. Can I get a scientist in here… I swear Saturday is only half as long as Tuesday… what is that about?
  • Going through a drive through and getting enough food for the whole family for $11 is pretty awesome.
  • Gyms are petri dishes for germs
  • 90% of the year it is either too hot or too cold to be active outside. Comfortably, anyways.
  • There are some expenses that are just “musts” [i.e. Cell phone, Netflix, Cable/Internet, and happy hour tabs] so the fund to buy Lycra spandex capable of turning normal, attractive XX an XY creatures into androgynous amoebas did NOT MAKE the cut.
  • It’s a successful day if you make it home in rush hour traffic without releasing your trunk monkey more than once…

SO, all of this being said, it makes good sense why so many continue to have their health and fitness goals thwarted time and time again, yes?

What if I told you that you could learn to understand this human PTC and how to make it work in your favor instead of against you?

 Consider the Following:

 I recently read a series of articles discussing health care costs.  I know, I know, the media has been inundated with these sorts of articles lately. If we aren’t hearing about Justin Bieber making his parents oh so proud or yet another wedding for one [or possibly two?] of the Kardashian’s we are most certainly hearing something about ObamaCare aka The Affordable Care Act.

Breathe.

I am not going to discuss any of that.

Unless of course you email me directly and want to chat about some traditionally taboo topics like religion, politics, and the death penalty, oddly enough I am open to that.

These articles were not discussing the ongoing battle of costs struck up between pharmaceutical companies, the FDA, and the government [over which we as “lay persons” like to think we have control over but in fact do not…]

NO, no, these articles were actually discussing health care costs that you and I have control over… sort of.

There are three types of Cost often reviewed when looking at Health Care [1] Preventative Care [2] Direct Medical Costs and [3] Reduced Productivity.

 Before going any further, let’s take a look at some operational definitions for these Costs:

 

  • Preventative Care: money that goes in to the education and promotion of community awareness regarding the proven or suspected lifestyle elements believed to contribute to the onset or proliferation of a specified illness [i.e. smoking, eating certain foods, maintaining high stress and low activity levels]
  • Direct Medical Costs: refers to the equipment and facilities needed on account of a specified illness such as in-patient hospital stays, physician office visits, maintenance prescriptions, prescriptions for additional complications, in-home care, and nursing home facilities
  • Reduced Productivity: a.k.a. “Indirect medical costs”; this category looks at labor that is lost on account of increased absenteeism i.e. missed work from a specified illness, routine or emergency physician appts, and lost capacity due to early mortality

For the purpose of this article, and because you can’t help but hear about the astronomical statistics lately, I am going to use Type II Diabetes [aka Diabetes Mellitus, abbreviate “DM” in hospital jargon] to illustrate a few points.

According to the American Diabetes Association [ADA], there are over 20 million Americans diagnosed with DM and over 80 million diagnosed as “prediabetic” [which is based on a score received on a blood test. I would be happy to go into more detail offline for anyone interested. Simply send me an email write.with.ms@gmail.com]

 

The way I see those stats – we basically have 100 million people in the United States alone who have DM at the forefront of their minds.

Considering there are currently 317 million people in the United Stated TOTAL…that’s roughly one in every three persons. And if you believe in the Six Degrees of Separation module – that means we all know about 2.3 persons [I would hate to be that 0.3 of a person… I hope it’s my good side…] who either already have DM or are projected to get it.

That’s pretty extraordinary… With so many people so soon to be affected, you would think the majority of health care dollars would be going to that little category I mentioned first above labeled “Preventative Care”… but alas this is not the case.

And it’s because the Direct and Indirect care costs are so elaborate and it would be morally disconcerting not to attend to them. For instance if you have $1, 000 and you have to decide if you are going to pay for a speaker to go to a few high schools and talk about Prevalence Rates and Contributing Factors for DM or if you are going to pay for the amputation of a man’s leg that became necrotic due to poor circulation [common in uncontrolled DM] the choice seems obvious – the money goes towards the immediate need.

And the Prevention tactics take a back seat.

Understandably.

But at some point, we must realize that there is a bigger picture… that this propensity for “Bandaid” solutions is not sustainable. That more of an effort needs to go into preventing the “boo-boo” from happening at all.

Perhaps you need a few more numbers to illustrate my point.

According to the ADA, in 2012, $245 Billion were incurred on account of Direct/Indirect costs associated with DM. This is up 41% since 2007.

Doing a little math, adjusting for inflation, I calculated that, presently, in 2014, the new estimated Direct and Indirect health care costs associated with DM in the United States comes in at approximately $278 Billion.

$200 Billion of that is Direct Care; and the other $78 Billion is Indirect Care.

Even with a Health Care Budget of over $1.2 Trillion dollars that is still more than $1 out of every $5 health care dollars going towards DM alone.

 Ok enough Math.

Yikes.

I know some of you are contemplating sicking that trunk monkey on me…

 

So what are these elusive Preventative Care tips and tricks we don’t seem to have enough of?

 

Where are all the pamplets???

 

They are there…they are even right at your finger tips… of all the crazy Google searches we have done, a quick “tips to prevent diabetes” actually yields some healthy results…

 

  • Get an annual check up with your Primary Care Physician
  • Cook meals at home using fresh ingredients
  • Avoid overly processed foods like boxed desserts and frozen meals
  • Read nutrition label- Be wary of ingredients you cannot pronounce
  • Drink plenty of water; avoid soda See article https://phoenixfit4life.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/hydration-houdini/
  • Include several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily meals
  • Aim for 30 mins of moderate activity daily and more as tolerated
  • Know how many calories and grams of sugar are in your favorite alcoholic beverage
  • Consider small changes before big leaps [i.e. take the stairs instead of elevator; eliminate one fast food run weekly]

So what gives?

 

Ahh…. There she is … that PTC…

 

She thought we had forgotten about her.

 

If only we could.

 

She waits for us always.

 

Ever so patiently.

 

To tempt us with her sexy, speedy ways…

 

 

 

 

 

Having trouble kicking the habit? Email me direct at write.with.ms@gmail.com and I would be happy to chat with you about some ways to reach your goals.

Daily Post : Wordly Encounter

Worldly Encounters

as posted by The Daily Post:

The friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial you run into outside your house is asking you to recommend the one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about. What do you pick?

 

This one was easier for me than I would like to admit.

While there are heaps of things that flew into my mind at first read of this prompt – I immediately settled on the one that I feel truly sums up the

Chronically

Hopeful,

Yet naiive,

Yet hopeful,

Yet disparaged,

Yet hopeful,

Yet confused,

Yet hopeful

Montage of our World…

A World filled with mortals grappling to find their meaning in the tiny blips of silence amidst the chaos…

Only to find that they exist so much more profoundly in the chaos.

Or do they?

 

 

 

Gluten-free By Way of Los Angeles

 

Oh Jimmy Kimmel… forever spoofing on the errs of humanity…

In all seriousness though – this video raises attention to an important issue – the concept of Health Hearsay.

Now, I am not sure if that is an official term or not but, if it is not, please let the record stand that Miss Fit is dubbing it.

Health Hearsay

  • When the effects of  Herd or Mob Mentality interact with Fad diet and Sensationalism;
  • Appears to be especially common in areas where frequent Tabloid persons reside;
  • Accounts for a significant percentage of food marketing profit

Before beginning any kind of nutrition or fitness regiment, I urge you to educate yourself from places other than the tabloids and word of mouth sensationalism.

Now you may be thinking :  “Well sure, I know I should be doing that, but I mean look at Eggs.. one minute they are the best source of vitamins and proteins around, the next minute they are the leading contributor to heart disease – how am i suppose to make a decision?” [see article as brief example].

Even the Chicken Doesn't Doesn't Know What To Make Of This...

Even the Chicken Doesn’t Doesn’t Know What To Make Of This…

Well yes, it can be a muddled mess out there but that’s quite honestly part of the main reason Miss Fit exists. It is literally my job as your consultant to stay on top of the leading research and make sure that it is coming from reliable and trustworthy sources and that sample sizes and correlations are legitimate and un-skewed.

Whether you choose to consult with Miss Fit or go it on your own accord, make sure to consider your sources and take inventory of changes [positive or negative] to your mood and your body when starting alterations to a meal plan or exercise routine.

Remember, what works for one person, may not be what works for another. There are a lot of X factors to consider and taking the time in advance to identify the ones that pertain uniquely to you  can help set you up for maximum success in reaching your health goals regardless of your physical or emotional starting point.

 

Know of any of other subjects you suspect to be Health Hearsay? Post your comments below or email direct to write.with.ms@gmail.com

 

 

 

Daily Posts De-ja-vu

Miss Fit has been in rural Ohio for the last 8 days and in addition to rain, cold air, and greenery [all of which have almost become foreign concepts to me as a Phoenician] I have been without WiFi

*cue faint* yes  – really – sans Wifi. And as much as I adore the miracle that is 4G on my phone, there is just something about writing on a blog that I just can’t do on a phone.

So at any rate, lots of great Daily Post Prompts have come and gone in the last week and I thought I would share some stream of consciousness with you all as I sit in the Kentucky airport anxiously awaiting my next flight.

Yes, anxiously.

Not because I have any real reason to worry.

And I actually love traveling…but anyone who knows me knows I’m an anxious traveler.

Mostly out of habit.

So, yes, that foot you see over the top of the stall – that’s Miss Fit doing ABSY – or Airport Bathroom Stall Yoga.

[In case this phenomenon strikes your fancy, here is a video series on bathroom yoga… You really can find anything on Google. It’s official. Cheers to this chic!]

Whatever works for ya, right?

I’ve managed to be Xanax-free for 26 years. That in and of itself is quite the accomplishment here in the States.

 

OK! Time to welcome you to my Brain for a few minutes!

Daily Prompt – Pick Me Up

The one phrase that cheers me up when I’m having a bad day is, “I’ll see you soon”

No Matter what I am going through, I know that I can handle it when I’m seeing my best friend soon or family member soon. As long as there is a foreseeable end to my pain and that end involves being in the arms of someone who knows me, someone I don’t have to pretend in front of-  there is no hardship I can’t find a way to weather.

 

Daily Prompt – Witness Protection

When you do something new or scary would you prefer to be surrounded by friends or strangers?

A drafted a poem for this prompt.

The Looking Glass

looking glass

Today is the big day

Today I take the leap

I’m so excited

I can hardly eat or sleep.

People always ask about the Past

I’d like to tell them, it’s so much more than “those years that simply didn’t last”

I’d like to tell them that at some point is all comes together…

A moment – that moment – that helps the others makes sense

I’d like to tell them that I see more clearly now …

Just why I swam those oceans and crossed paths with those Gents

Yes,

Today is the Big Day

Today I take the leap

But

SSSShhhhhh

We must be quiet, mustn’t make a peep

For, someone new is with us

Someone way down deep

There is something to be said for that ghost in the mirror.

Has he always been there?

Or did he just appear?

I used to ask these questions

As I did of my past

Back in those days where my Self was bound and masked

So strange the prisons we build

When we could be so free

Is it strange to say I feel free with this ghost right beside me?

It’s a good thing he’s here though

Because today is my big day

I’m not sure who else will be there

I’ve sent the invitations

Booked the locations

And, well, I’m doing this regardless

Here’s hoping for at least one “Congratulations!”

But wait

Silly me

I almost forgot

All that worry is for naught.

There is something to be said for that ghost in the mirror.

Has he always been there?

Or did he just appear?

Homeward Bound – To Be Continued

Hello Readers!

I wanted to let you know that a few days ago I flew back to my hometown – where tomorrow I will be participating in the Cap City Half Marathon with my best friend from high school – a crazy idea I alluded to back in March in my Sunday Morning Smile Post.

I cannot believe it is less than 24 hours away – hell in 24hrs, god-willing, I will be done.

As before, my only real goal is to not vomit or asphyxiate. If i can complete that task in less than 2 hours – that will be a a true success.

Here’s to pounding pavement and making memories. Just a few of my favorite things…

Stay Tuned for pictures and anecdotes!