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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Ways Your Favorite Hobby Can Help You Lose Weight!

From Crafthealthy Living
Written by Rebecca Ortinau
(Article given to me by a friend about a year ago, I do not know the original publication date.)
This article briefly mentions buying a new scrapbook album as a reward for hard work in weight loss.  Remember, scrapbooking and cardmaking are crafts and can be used just as knitting and painting are mentioned here.  Hope you enjoy!


   How many times have you become so involved with a craft project that you glanced at the clock only to realize that hours had flown by- when it seemed more like minutes?
   Now think about how often, in that same period, you might have picked at a coffee cake on the counter, dug into a dish of leftover casserole, or crunched on handfuls of potato chips if you hadn't been holding a paintbrush or knitting needles in your hands.
   Can crafting actually help you lose weight?  You bet!  Besides cutting caloric intake and increasing physical activity, health experts recommend certain behavioral and lifestyle changes to individuals interested in losing weight and keeping it off over time.
   Here are a few ways crafting can play a part in your weight loss program:

Craft to Cut Stress
   Stress, a contributor to a number of health complications including high blood pressure and weakened immune system functioning, is also known to trigger a behavior that prevents weight loss- overeating!
   When stress hits, a chemical called cortisol is released into your bloodstream.  Cortisol indicates to your body that extra energy may be needed for an upcoming (physical) struggle.  Your body reacts by sending out hunger pains, hoping you'll eat the right foods so it can "re-fuel."
   For those experiencing chronic stress, constantly elevated cortisol levels may cause constant feelings of hunger.  To reduce appetite, try reducing stress with craft activities such a knitting, crochet or cross-stitch.
   Dr. Thomas Manger, nutrition and diet expert and host of smartcalorie.com, notes, "Many people eat because they feel stressed.  A good hobby or craft is a wonderful way to take your mind off the stressful events of the day.  You're coping by making something, rather than eating something."
   For best results, spend a little time working on craft activities each day, and keep small projects on-hand to pick up, instead of the usual candy bar or jelly donut, when things get hectic.

Craft to Distract

   When there's nothing to do, or nothing you feel like doing (laundry and dishes are always waiting), how often do you find yourself opening the fridge for a snack?
   When feelings of boredom or restlessness surface, don't eat- craft!  Once you begin, your mind will focus on details of your project, and your hands will stay busy creating.  "Instead of eating when you're bored, take your easel and paints to the park," suggests Laura Kraemer, registered nurse and founder of a weight-loss program called SlimKids (slimkids.com).  "There are three important factors in a weight control program- healthy food portions, increase in daily activity and change of habits.  Crafting can be that change of habit." 
   If starting a project seems like too much trouble, keep supplies easily accessible.  Set up a table in the corner of a room and go to it, instead of the pantry, when you feel the urge to eat.

Craft to Reward

   Losing weight feels great- but results may take some time.  To boost motivation, reward yourself with fun, craft-related items or activities when a set goal is reached.  If you lose a certain number of pounds by a certain date, for example, treat yourself to a new scrapbook, patern or set of paints- or enroll in a craft class you've been wanting to take. 
   Smaller accomplishments, such as walking an extra mile when when you hadn't intended to or saying "No" to dessert at your cousin's anniversary party, deserve recognition too.  Establish a system of rewards based on crafting for fun and encouragement throughout your weight-loss journey.
   Also remember that crafting itself is a reward.  When you create something using your imagination and your own hands, your self-esteem will rise.  Giving your handmade item to a loved one or to charity will only enhance that good feeling.