for May, 2017

How to avoid weight gain when quitting smoking

Posted on May 30, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

By Rhonda Stanton, Psychologist on World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2017

The road to quitting smoking is different for everyone. While some weight gain is common, with a healthy diet, it slows down the longer you stay quit. Being aware of what might happen to your mind and body after quitting can put you ahead of the game, and help you stay quit.

Weight gain is common in the first few months of quitting for a number of reasons (Quit Victoria, 2017).

  • Nicotine is an appetite suppressant. After quitting you may feel hungrier. As your appetite returns, along with your sense of taste and smell, food becomes more appealing.
  • Nicotine also speeds up metabolism. After quitting, it returns to a normal rate which can result in weight gain.
  • Smokers often miss the hand to mouth action of smoking and eating can replace this urge.
  • If smoking has been associated with being a reward or treat, or to fill boredom, increased snacking can fill this function.

Tips to help manage weight gain. 

Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Have healthy snacks readily available and clear your house of unhealthy snacks e.g. chips, biscuits, lollies, soft drink. Try to eat mindfully and avoid strict diets because hunger will make quitting more difficult. It helps to increase your physical activity such as walking, to keep your weight down and also to act as a distraction from cravings.

If you use food to help you cope with feelings such as stress, boredom or loneliness, try increasing other activities that you enjoy. Replace your smoke breaks with a “breathing break” – you can still take time out from stressful situations without a smoke.

Research suggests that those that enlist the help of friends, family and health professionals to support you during the quitting phase have a better chance of long term success. Having a support network will help you manage cravings and triggers that tempt you to smoke and provide the emotional reassurance you need.

Psychologists are trained in helping people quit smoking by supporting them with a variety of effective evidence-based approached to combat relapse and help identify triggers. Mindfulness-based therapy is one commonly used strategy to help people be more present and make considered decisions in response to triggers and cravings.

So, when you’re ready to quit, don’t let the fear of weight gain stop you. With the right help and support, you can start living a smoke-free life and enjoying all the health benefits that come with it. If you would like help quitting speak to your GP about a referral to see a psychologist.

Here are some helpful resources and information to help you plan your quit date:

Please follow and like us:
Read more

Top 5 Winter Sleep Tips from Towards Better Sleep

Posted on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

By Kathryn Smith, Clinical Psychologist & Dr Curt Gray, Psychiatrist

1. Stay up later rather than going to bed earlier

2. Avoid the afternoon ‘nanna nap’

3. Keep up the exercise, even though the bed is cozy and warm

4. Develop an evening relaxation routine

5. Keep your evenings tech free 

If you are struggling with insomnia the next Towards Better Sleep group programme starts Tuesday 13th June from Psychology Consultants Morningside. To register contact the office, places are limited to nine people per group, call (07) 3356 8255 or email

What is Towards Better Sleep?

Established 14 years ago by Clinical Psychologist Kathryn Smith and Psychiatrist Dr Curt Gray,Towards Better Sleep is a cognitive behavioural treatment programme that uses evidenced based techniques that focus on sleep education and behavioural techniques, correcting faulty thinking and relaxation strategies.

The group is held in 4 x 1 hour sessions at Psychology Consultant’s Morningside practice. A group setting offers many benefits including reducing the cost of treatment and giving clients the opportunity to share and learn from each others insomnia experiences.

Here are just a few reasons why the programme and its group setting has proven effective for past participants.

  •  A group setting offers many benefits including reducing the cost of treatment and giving clients the opportunity to share and learn from each others insomnia experiences.
  • The cost is far less because of the group format, individual sessions are $185 each and you would need 2-3 sessions minimum.
  • The group has been running with very good results for over 10 years, with the same facilitators – a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist.
  • The format of the group is laid out to successfully educate, correct, and complete homework strategies over the 6 weeks of the course.
  • Participants learn from each other, and keep each other motivated to correct their sleep problems.

Talk to your GP about your suitability for the programme and visit the website for more information.

Please follow and like us:
Read more

Why You Should Never Say; “I don’t know how she does it”

Posted on May 8, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

Some advice this Mother’s Day from Erika Fiorenza, Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Consultants 

Recent studies reveal that women experience higher overall levels of stress and anxiety than our male counterparts.

Once a woman enters motherhood, her stress levels reach an all-time high as she tries to juggle her career with children, home life and everything in-between.

A woman’s body is also more chemically susceptible to stress and depression with the various hormonal balances associated with premenstrual, post-partum and menopausal change.

Research shows that high levels of stress can impact the immune system, and result in more serious health problems.

The problem is, women, and mothers in particular, are very good at looking after everyone else’s health but notoriously bad at looking after their own.

It’s important to take a minute to check in with ourselves to ensure our emotional, physical and mental health is in balance. This means saying no more often and ridding yourself of that wretched guilt that creeps up when you might consider putting your needs first.

There is also increasing pressure on mothers to be experts at multitasking and keeping it all together. Adding this sort of pressure to your existing work-life stressors is unnecessary and can lead to the mother of all meltdowns.

Enlisting help, keeping it real and being open about how difficult juggling everything can be will help the sorority of motherhood and relieve the pressure to do it all.

My advice this Mother’s Day is to pass the baton and let someone else take charge. Let yourself be spoilt, take some time for yourself to do something you enjoy – and do it guilt-free!

If you are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety or other emotional difficulties, don’t just solider on. Prioritise your own health and seek professional help today.

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)