Therapy That Works...

Teens On Fad Diets Can End Up Gaining Weight! - By Chris Gearing

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 describing why fad dieting may actually make American children GAIN weight - click here.

Why do our adolescent girls struggle so much with their weight?

Images of Perfection: Previous generations of girls have always struggled with body image but these issues are at an all time high. Our girls are inundated by images everywhere of physical perfection especially with our celebrity culture. The demands for excellence on girls have gotten worse over the past two decades leading to weight concerns in girls as young as six years old. But channeling energy into appearance and away from normal developmental tasks can disrupt, if not sabotage a young girl’s self esteem and ability to tolerate stress.

Helicopter Parents: The current generation of parents is full of parents who are well meaning but who are micro- managing their children's emotions and lives. Being "ordinary" or just “okay” has lost its allure for too many of today's parents who insist on their child not experiencing the ordinary problems of living. Frustration, rejection and even failure seem to be harder on the parents sometimes than it is on the kids. They project their own anxiety onto kids who just need to figure it out sometimes on their own. Over focusing by the parent makes the girl more anxious and the weight is one more report card she has to face.

Mothers with Eating Issues: Many mothers have struggled for years with their own weight so those issues are easily taught and inherited.

Epidemic Rates of Anxiety and Depression: Girls get depressed at twice the rates of boys when they enter puberty so eating problems flourish when mood disorders hit. Depression hits a full decade sooner than it did a generation ago and it re-occurs 50% of the time.

Why would girls get into this kind of fad dieting so early in life?

Trying To Compete with Other Girls: Many girls are influenced not only by the images in the movies and on TV of women, but also their peers. Many parents are paying for plastic surgery and liposuction for their children these days, and many young women can’t keep up. They instead turn to fad or extreme diets to drop the weight.

Get Slim Quick! Many young women find fad and extreme diets alluring. They just have to suffer for a short amount of time to be beautiful – they can tough it out for that kind of reward. But many girls don’t realize what kind of serious physical effects these diets can have on them and how on-again-off-again dieting is actually very unhealthy.

Why don’t fad diets work well?

Short Term Weight Loss: Many fad diets may actually work, but what girls fail to realize is that once they are off the diet – they will usually gain back the weight with a vengeance.

Lifestyle Change: Without a change of lifestyle and most importantly, without a fundamental change in attitude, any diet that works will only work while you are on it. The only way to truly lose weight and never find it again is to adopt a completely different, healthy lifestyle that combines food, rest, and exercise.

What can parents do to help their children?

Positive Example: Model what you want them to see and be. Mothers especially are incredibly influential for their daughters so be careful what behaviors you are modeling. What you say and how you handle yourself emotionally and with food will set the gold standard for your daughter.

Educate Your Daughters: Most kids don’t truly understand nutrition and positive eating habits. Make sure that they have all the information and understand how what they eat truly affects their bodies and their lives. Introduce healthy foods that are lower in calories but filling, and encourage him to drink a ton of water! Teach your children what is good to eat and how to stay away from foods that will pack on the weight.

Positive Eating Messages: Encourage positive attitudes toward your child's new self-image. Do not shame or embarrass him, but focus on the new body you can build together.

New Self-Soothing Techniques: For many kids, food is an escape from anxiety and stress. Emotionally coach your child to deal with his negative emotions by talking them out. Remind him that setbacks are temporary and that he can cope with whatever he is facing. Overeating no longer has to be a coping mechanism when you are more emotionally resilient.

Distract From Hunger: Begin to spend time with your child to develop new coping skills that will distract him from his hunger. For example, before dinner, go out for a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk. It is a great appetite suppressant and will increase his endorphins.


The work of Dr Martin Seligman

"Generation Me" by Jean Twenge

Never Eat Alone - By Chris Gearing

Friday, January 13, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube explain why you should never eat alone - click here.

Loneliness is rampant in today’s society, and it has been found to increase rates of depression, anxiety, and even rates of suicide. However, there may be another reason to seek the company of others.

I recommend to my clients that they try to never eat alone. Not only will they benefit from having some good conversation, but this simple technique has also been found to help with weight loss. When we eat with another person, we are more accountable for our food choices. In addition, we tend to have a conversation that can create breaks in between bites and slows the pace of eating. When we eat slower, we feel full faster and we end up eating less food! And since you are trying to carry on a conversation, you’ll also drink more water, which helps with hydration and also fills up your stomach!


Three Quick Weight Loss Tips - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube describe three psychological and physical weight loss tips - click here.

Here are three quick tips to help turbo-charge your weight loss:

1.) Smaller Portions, Smaller Bites

Weight loss experts universally recommend that you use smaller plates and utensils when preparing, serving, and eating meals. Americans tend to eat everything on their plates and they usually feel full afterwards, no matter how much food they actually ate! So, if you have a smaller plate – you can trick your stomach into eating less. In addition, smaller utensils will make you take smaller bites, which can make you feel full faster.

2.) Keep Your Dishes Off The Table

It happens all the time at family dinners, mom puts the serving dishes on the table for easy access and second helpings. However, studies have found that keeping serving dishes in one room and eating in another helped with weight loss. Keeping extra food on the table increased portion sizes, lead to snacking, and could cause you to eat another helping of casserole, even if you already feel full.

3.) Spice Things Up

Recent research has found that making your food spicy, whether with hot sauce or peppers, sends neurological signals to your brain that make you feel full. It will also make you drink more water which will help you stay hydrated and fill up quicker.

Check back tomorrow to find out a great trick to eat less at every meal!


Your Stomach Says Relax! - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on YouTube explain why your stomach wants you to relax before you eat - click here.

In our daily hustle, most of us grab meals on the go – usually from fast food restaurants or from the freezer aisle at the supermarket. However, eating when you’re in a hurry can cause you to overeat and accidentally choose higher calorie foods instead of making healthy choices.

Before you leave your house or office to go catch a meal, take five minutes and relax. Try relaxation techniques like remembering a wonderful vacation, watching a few minutes of television, or even some deep breathing exercises. Taking a few moments to calm down can restore your self-control and hopefully, you’ll eat slower and you’ll make better decisions when ordering!

Make sure to check back tomorrow for three of my best weight loss tips!


Could Baby Names Negatively Affect Your Child? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia on CBS 11 discuss whether a baby's name could negatively impact them - click here.

Your TV Is Making You Gain Weight! - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia on YouTube describe why your TV is making you gain weight - click here.

If you’re trying to lose some weight, here’s a quick trick to help.

A recent study found that millions of Americans consistently overeat because of one thing you have in your home – your TV. Those who watch TV while eating meals ate, on average, an extra 300 calories compared to those who ate without watching the tube. So if you’re watching what you eat… don’t watch TV!

Make sure to check back tomorrow and I’ll tell you a quick way to protect yourself from high calorie foods!


The New Trend of "Comfort Sex" - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Have you ever just had one of those days? Maybe your presentation at work didn’t go according to plan or your mother-in-law got on your case about how unclean your house is. Whatever the case may be, you need something to pick you up.

Many people are now engaging in what is informally called “Comfort Sex” where they are intimate with their spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend to get a much needed shot of endorphins and dopamine to help take the edge off the day.

I recommend it to my patients because its benefits are numerous:

1.) You can enhance your relationship with the other person just by having sex regularly

2.) This is a much healthier and natural way to make yourself feel better without drinking or eating anything

3.) Sex can be a great work out, and has been shown to burn somewhere around 500 calories per hour

So if you’re having a particularly tough day, consider calling up your partner and trying comfort sex instead of going out to the bar or indulging in “retail therapy.”


"Comfort Sex: Is It A Bad Thing?" by Jill Di Donato,

"I Love Female Orgasms" by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller, Illustrated by Shirley Chiang

How To Stay Focused At Work - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Having trouble staying focused when you need to finish something at work? There are hundreds of products and strategies that claim to help, but you don’t need to spend money to perk yourself up. Here are a few quick tricks to help your regain focus at work:

Whistle While You Work – Classical music was found to help keep the mind focused and clear if it was played at low levels. The repetition and structure of the music helps keep your mind from wandering, which helps you maintain your focus. Imagine a car that is driving on the highway instead of free wheeling out in the woods.

Peppermint Patties – Peppermint, whether tasted or smelled, was found to increase alertness and memory in office workers. It acts as a stimulant for your nervous system without any of the negative side affects. So if you feel yourself starting to slip, pop a peppermint and keep on chugging.

Coffee Up – Coffee is a classic pick-me-up, but recently it has gotten a bad reputation. However, there may be many other benefits besides the hour-long boost to cognition, problem solving, and concentration. Coffee has more antioxidants than any fruit or vegetable, has been shown to prevent diabetes, certain types of cancer, and may even reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s! So pour another cup without feeling so guilty.


Various articles at

Is Reality TV Bad For Your Daughter? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how reality TV affects your daughter's development - click here.

Why Are Some Kids Killers? - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss why some children kill on CBS 11 - click here.

What would drive an adolescent to kill someone?

Emotions are Contagious: In the heat of the moment a group of kids can turn into a vicious mob with little provocation. The negative influence of the group can override the good common sense of even a good child. In some cases, such as in this crime, the actions turn deadly very quickly.

Developing Brain: The adolescent brain is still developing and as a result, it is highly vulnerable to the influences of the crowd. The emotional centers of the brain are not fully connected to the logical analytical parts of our brain that tells us to “turn back” or “get out of there.” Instead, the emotional centers begin to fire, the bullying behavior begins, and the anger and taunting become contagious. The crowd of kids literally feeds off of the fear of the victim and things spiral out of control.

How common is this kind of crime?

We do know that teens tend to kill other teens. Here are the numbers:

Boys between the ages of twelve to nineteen commit one third of violent crimes.

Homicides are the second leading cause of death of this same age group.

Young males are FOUR TIMES more likely to be murdered than are females.

Eighty five percent of murdered teens are male and most were involved in some sort of physical fight that led to murder.

Are adolescent males more prone to this type of violence?

Anger is an Approved Emotion: Absolutely they are since anger is a socially approved emotion for young boys. You can’t be sad but you can be angry. Anger is also energizing. Anger feels empowering and it protects them momentarily from the shame and self-loathing so many of them experience. Group violence has become a ritualized outlet for boys to express their frustration.

Group Bullying Behavior is Rampant: This event that resulted in the death of a child is currently in the news, but bullying happens everyday to millions of children. Bullying behavior is almost always a group activity and it is rampant among males.

Violence is Normalized: In a group of adolescents, boys are normalizing and even glorifying the physical violence they exert against one another. They think that by pitting themselves against an adversary, they demonstrate their machismo, defend their honor, and show how tough they really are. It is a futile attempt to connect with each other and to give them an illusion of being tough, invincible and undefeatable.

What happens over time when a child engages in this kind of group bullying behavior?

Blood Sport: They become increasingly more violent because they become desensitized to violence and it becomes a sport. They have to “up the ante” to get the same thrill. Getting away with it this time means that you may get away with it next time. The violence tends to escalate to bond the group, provide a larger thrill, and display the power and domination of the bully.

Viral Violence: Violence is symptomatic of the basic problem American boys and men are experiencing. From early childhood, they are socialized to express themselves primarily through their actions and achievements instead of careful introspection and verbal expression.

Lack of Emotional Intelligence: Over time, many boys fail to develop the age appropriate emotional intelligence necessary to manage themselves effectively. They can’t communicate, they can’t recover from failure, and they sink into a scrambled, childlike view of the world on a dime. They become disconnected from what they feel and use a limited number of emotions to navigate their relationships and to make their decisions. This doesn’t just impact their friends in high school, but also future employment, family relationships, and basic beliefs about the world.

What are the warning signs if parents are concerned about their child?

Homicides are highly predictable if we pay attention to what we are observing. Learning to predict violence is the first step to preventing violence.

Here are the warning signs in teens:

  • Lack of Conscience
  • Angry Outbursts
  • Tendency to follow others no matter what
  • History of Oppositional Behaviors
  • Actual Threats—written or spoken
  • Past Acts of violence
  • Access to Weapons
  • Past Suicide Attempts
  • Family History of Violence or Bullying
  • Cruelty to animals

What pushes a teen over the edge into homicide?

A person arrives at a tipping point and decides to act violently when four conditions are met:

  • They feel justified
  • They perceive few or no alternatives
  • They believe that the consequences will be minimal
  • They believe that they have the ability to get away with it

What should parents know if they are worried about their children?

The worst mistake parents make is to ignore what they are seeing right in front of them. Intuition is the warning system built into our brains to allow us to predict violence and to avoid it.

Here are normal signals from your intuition:

  • Nagging Feelings and Persistent Thoughts
  • Black Humor—Jokes such as “He’s just going to shoot us all!”
  • Hunches and Gut Feelings
  • Hesitation and Suspicion
  • Uncontrollable Fear

Many adults prefer to view violence as a normal “rite of passage” through childhood. Nothing could be further from the truth. Please educate yourself about child violence and train yourself to recognize it when you see it.

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