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Activating Agents part 1. Wednesday September 11, 2013

I googled ‘Books about Dieting’ just now and got 33,300.000 results. The industry is worth a fortune. Yet trying to find success in weight loss and management is so challenging.

So, I go back to my guest dog, Sussi (blog post Sept. 3). She arrived overweight at the start of her 5 weeks visit. I cut her food down by 20% and massively increased her exercise level. She’d had a very dormant period in the previous months. So, those 5 words ‘eat less and exercise more’ worked well and she shed the extra kilos and her shape changed with all the exercise.

It was easy for Sussi. She had no choice. She didn’t need to read any books. The elements of decision and self-control were managed on her behalf. Of course, equally, her earlier weight gain and lack of exercise were also managed on her behalf to begin with.

It seems to me, the diet industry is focused on the wrong place. It is our minds and our emotions that need the management. And it’s just not about food and diet. It’s pretty much about anything. We somehow need to try and set ourselves up for success. A thought on how to start? Well, remove the activating agents, those things, those behaviours, those people, the music, the environments that trigger us into the undesired patterns. But this is a big story so I’ll perhaps return to it again shortly if you can bear with me.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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The Entertrainer Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 7:41am

33,300,000 results on dieting is a lot to digest.

Sophie Bostock Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 8:02am

Hi Bill, I think that your comments on dieting are interesting and our minds and emotions are contributory factors. At the moment I am trying to control my weight, I am an emotional eater and the lbs have crept on big time this year - my husband is critically ill and I've had problems at work and am in limbo waiting for another job in a foreign country where the bureaucracy is like nothing on earth! So, what I am saying is, I cannot simply remove the activating agents ... I am trying to remain as positive as I can, with varying degrees of success, but the situation(s) I find myself in at the moment are largely beyond my control. Yet I know it is up to me what I eat. Please return to this 'big story' I would like to hear more ...

Elizabeth Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 8:53am

Hello Caroline,
sorry for the off topic, but please, I must ask once more, would it be possible to change back the title of the page and remove the horrible "Depression test - am I depressed" question? I mentioned recently moodscope to a group of people, who might be interrested in measureng their mood - but they mostly don't know about me, and I cannot share the page now. Moodscope doesn't focus solely on depression, is it then really necessary to claim it in the title like this?

Julia Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 9:09am

Actually I now agree with this. The words "Depression test" crops up on my screen in all sorts of places notably history and my buddy site. I am sure my children and partners saw this when they stayed here and won't know what to think about me now. (I have hidden my mental health issues from these members of my family)
You explained why you did this, so that people googling,looking for a site dealing with depression would find Moodscope.
Might there be an alternative description which succeeds in drawing in users of the site?

Caroline Ashcroft Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 9:24am

Hi Elizabeth and Julia, I have explained why we have done this - so that people with depression can find the Moodscope site so it is rather important but I do understand your concerns and can see that it may be a problem. We're going to monitor the situation over the next 3 months. If the new title doesn't help in any way we'll review it and change it.

Nicola Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 9:44am

I love this article. I have read at least 10 diet books and in theory, I know exactly what to eat. However, nothing an stop me reaching for the cake when it's sitting in front of me in a meeting!

Anonymous Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 9:58am

I agree with Elizabeth and Julia's points, and I don't like seeing that direct question every morning. It's a mood scoring system, not just for depression as far as I understood from Jon's explanation, your now excluding people with bipolar disorder with this title question.
Just to add I'm very close to with drawing the monthly subscription I pay, with all these changes that have taken place in the last few months. This maybe the final straw for me as £71.88 per year is a high price to be paying for a service which doesn't listen to its present users.

Anonymous Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 10:09am

I agree. I think in order to "remove the activating agents" it has to be the right time and place for you. I suspect that if you added those things into your equation now, it would simply mean more pressure. Perhaps when these more critical situations have been resolved or lessened, then would be the right time to look at your emotional eating.

Anonymous Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 10:16am

I was interested in your "remove the activating agents" ... I have just had to accept that for my health I will have to separate myself from a lady who was my best friend for a number of years... It is very difficult, particularly as she is bi-polar and being held for treatment ... I was dragged down trying to help her, but she has now turned against me... Needing to protect yourself to maintain your stability can be pretty hard at times!

Julia Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 10:19am

Thanks Caroline. Apart from this issue, I continue to love Moodscope and all its features. It is such an enormous help.

Julia Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 10:25am

I like that phrase.."needing to protect yourself to maintain your stability.." I am finding it very difficult to say no to certain demands from family right now but will have to try as my health has suffered recently from saying yes to everything asked of me.
So I can understand your post anonymous and thank you for reminding me of the ways in which I can maintain stability. And thank you to Bill for throwing up similar issues in today's blog.
Saying no to demands is so problematic for people who feel low themselves and want to please. Like I do.

Christine Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 11:35am

If eating less and taking more exercise were the only obstacles in stopping us becoming, as a society, increasingly obese, then we would not be in this situation.

If it were all as simple as that, my goodness, what on earth would the problem be?

There have been innumerable TV programmes and newspaper articles in such publications as The Guardian, which have explained in great detail and depth that Fat is A Political Issue; it not just down to us fatties stuffing our faces and sitting on couches all day long.

Many of us struggle to keep down increasing weight...I prefer to be in pain than take pain relief tablets which have a side effect of weight gain (and pain, that's another side effect)feeling that I have enough to contend with without gaining a further 100lbs.

Moodscope is the focus of my day at the moment. I love to read the blogs and look forward to them all. I have enjoyed so many of Bill's previous blogs, that this morning, I feel sadly let down by his naïve approach to this incredibly complex issue.

I am so annoyed by this article. Its simplistic approach

Anonymous Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 11:55am

I sympathise with people who feel they are not eating as they should. My life changed when I read about Paleo lifestyle in Paleo for Dummies .It could well be that the foods we crave which cause us to leave out other foods all add to our depression. I feel so much healthier and less depressed when I use the info in this book and also the web site Mark Sisson which is free and really informative. Why not have a look? I now find that even after just the first thirty days I need to reduce the waist size of my clothes. I never dreamt this could happen now as I am over sixty!

Anonymous Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 2:54pm

Totally agree with Elizabeth and Julia, bit of a shock to see "depression test" all over my screen even when I'm not on the page, in full view of children / visitors. Take it off please!!!!!!!

There must be a way to include the "depression" tag somehow so it shows up in a search, but not in the page title.

Actually it makes me feel miserable to see those words. "Mood test" seems far more open minded.

Anonymous Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 3:44pm

Hey Bill, I love this blog! I want to be somebody's guest dog too: no pesky decisions to make over that cream cake or glass of wine! Can't wait for your next bit. You doing Wednesdays then?

Anonymous Wed, Sep 11th 2013 @ 3:46pm

Paleo for Dummes, eh? Sounds like a good one. I love doing the Paleo thing but it doesn't work for the rest of the family so I'm now doing the 5:2. Just as good for the mood and the middle and I can eat biscuits too!

Lostinspace Thu, Sep 12th 2013 @ 1:00am

How I wish I was a dog. How gladly I would lose weight, somebody else preparing my meals and taking me out for lots of lovely exercise and in between I get to snooze or watch somebody else being busy!

Often I go to the fridge and look inside and wish there was something interesting to eat - then I realise that it is only me who shops and cooks. What a pain! I lost 15 lbs once but the effort was gargantuan. My son is coming to visit us at Christmas, he is really a metro sexual and I always lose weight before I see him, (we live outside the U.K.) as I fear he will dish out the disdain he accorded my daughter who when she went to the U.K.for the first time found it really difficult and was depressed and gained weight. For my son she became fat and therefore unacceptable. What he didn't give her credit for was that she did not throw in the towel and come home, she stuck it out and got her degree at a British university and is still in the U.K today.

I am looking forward to tomorrow's post. Thank you Bill!

Anonymous Thu, Sep 12th 2013 @ 1:53pm

I see a naturopath now who helped me change my diet with a focus on lots of protein both for feeling full and for mood, as well as fresh vegetables. I find it easy to follow on work days bc of the structure, but when im off work i go off the pattern of eating. Also the naturopath is working with me to remove energy blocks using accupuncture, counselling to relieve emotional issues-which makes me eat more- and 2 supplements, one that supports brain recovery from years of antidepressant use, and fish oils for healthy fats for the brain-also one tincture which is made of a range of flower extracts which not only has taken my excruciating menstrual pain away-miracle!, but also acts as a mood stablizer. The supplement supports are really cheap too. Soon they will fund the blood test which actually tests seretonin levels and other levels-something which regular doctors dont do-they just give you the pills related to seretonin without testing if you actually need it and how much you need-so im looking forward to finding out the truth about whats really going on in my body. Basically what im saying is im taking a holistic approach to weightloss and mood management.

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