Calm Energy Robert E. Thayer, Ph.D.
CALM ENERGY: How People Regulate Mood With Food And Exercise
Oxford University Press, 2001; Paperback ed. 2003
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ABOUT THE BOOK
You are what you eat, but why are you eating so much? Why can't you stay with a reasonable exercise program? It's your moods!
The causes of obesity and lack of exercise can be traced to unprecedented increases in stress, depression, and anxiety. People are working more, sleeping less, and gobbling antidepressants at an astonishing rate. The increased pace of life and the information age are overwhelming us, and the effects are evident. To combat stress in our lives, we are driven to seek energy from foods we eat. When feelings of depression and anxiety hit, we self-medicate with food. Drained of energy, we avoid exercise.
Mood is central to these negative cycles. Our moods are made up of two elemental feelings – energy and tension. Low energy and increased tension (tense tiredness) can result in depression, overeating, and avoidance of exercise. The opposite mood is calm energy, a Zen-like mood that others have referred to as "Flow" or "the Zone." When experiencing this state, we eat only what we need, and exercise becomes attractive.
Managing energy and tension – and therefore regulating our moods – is key to sticking to a healthy eating and exercise plan. In Calm Energy, Robert Thayer describes how most people's daily energy cycles function, and explains how you can learn about your own mood cycles. Instead of using food as a mood regulator – as in emotional eating – you can use appetite as a guide and have a better chance of controlling weight. When naturally occurring periods of tense tiredness occur, such as late afternoon and evening, you will recognize these danger zones. One of Thayer's most important research findings is that exercise is a better mood regulator than food or just about anything, and it can help you stick to a diet because it improves your mood by giving you more energy.
This provocative new approach to understanding and fighting weight gain and inactivity offers practical advice and a biological explanation for your cravings, moods, and avoidance of exercise. You can learn to choose exercise as an alternative to food when you are feeling down, and experience the optimum goal of "calm energy."
WHAT EXPERTS SAY ABOUT CALM ENERGY
"Do you want to be healthy and happy? I do. So I read this book. It's based on science. But it's practical, and tells us why we eat too much and exercise too little and what we need to do."
--FRANK FARLEY, Ph.D., Former President, American Psychological Association
"Robert Thayer proves that we can manage our moods by simple lifestyle interventions–he scientifically vindicates the food-mood connection! I would like to recommend this book to all my colleagues and patients."
–Dr. RONALD HOFFMAN, author of Intelligent Medicine and President of the American College for Advancement in Medicine
"Thayer's profoundly valuable research on energy and tension, the two decisive factors in mood, provides a practical set of guides for functioning up near our best, and feeling like it."
–T GEORGE HARRIS, Founding Editor and Past Editor-in-Chief, Psychology Today and American Health; Past Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Business Review
"[Calm Energy] (and much of Thayer's research) could have a very important role to play in getting people to start thinking (and behaving!) in a different manner about how they should take care of themselves, both nutritionally and physically. The book is well written and presented in a very readable fashion, complete with references for the reader interested in more detailed information. I think this is an excellent addition to the literature."
–STEVEN PETRUZZELLO, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Editor: Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
"As always, Robert Thayer is at the forefront in the new science of mood, its consequences, and its regulation. His research can (and has) changed the way people live their lives."
–JAMES A. RUSSELL, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Univ. of British Columbia
"Thayer presents ...interesting but subtle connections in a way that makes it easy to draw practical conclusions about how to manage both stress and one's moods through proper eating and exercise."
–RANDY LARSEN, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Washington Univ. in St. Louis
"Dr. Thayer...offers convincing evidence that by becoming aware of our daily cycles of energy and tension we can manage our moods and control emotional eating. Calm Energy is based on sound scientific findings and has clear practical applications. I recommend it highly."
–EDWARD ABRAMSON, Ph.D., Author of Emotional Eating.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert E. Thayer, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach, where he teaches "The Psychology of Mood," among other courses.. He is the author of THE BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF MOOD AND AROUSAL and THE ORIGIN OF EVERYDAY MOODS (New York: Oxford University Press). His work is widely cited in the scientific literature (for example, he is a Citation Classic author), as well as in the popular science media, where his research has been discussed in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. He lives in Seal Beach, California.
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 Mood, Self-Regulation, and Overeating 3
Eating and Other Mood Regulators
Mood and Overeating
A Theory of What Moods Tell Us
A Personal Example of How Moods Cause Overeating
How We Regulate Our Energy
Mood and Lack of Exercise
A Look Ahead
Chapter 2 Living in a Stressful World: Mood and Overweight 15
Is Overweight a Society-Wide Problem?
Is Stress Increasing in Society?
What is the Cause of Increasing Societal Stress?
Juggling Commitments of Work and Family
Stress in the Information Age
How Do We Try to Counteract Stress?
Depression: The Growing Epidemic
Are Depression and Stress Linked to Problems of Overweight?
Chapter 3 How Are Exercise and Mood Related? 29
Exercise and Eating
Why Aren't We Exercising More?
Exercise and Mood: A Vital Connection
Exercise and Energy
Exercise Intensity and Mood
Weight Training and Mood
Too Much Exercise
The Pleasure of Exercise
Negative Moods: A Double-Edged Sword
Chapter 4 Emotional Eating 49
Do Special Diets Produce Lasting Weight Loss?
How Moods Influence Eating
Food Urges and Self-Regulation
Triggers to Overeating
Tiredness and Tension
Relapse Among Dieters
Stress and Food Choice
Who Eats More Under Stress?
Why Is Emotional Eating So Important?
Does Overweight Indicate Emotional Eating?
Chapter 5 Mood Pleasure: Food versus Exercise 71
Pleasure From Food versus Pleasure From Activity
Food, Pleasure, and Learning
Eating versus Physical Activity to Counteract Low Energy, Boredom,
Anxiety, and Depression
Understanding Weight Gain as Disproportionate Pleasure From Food
How Exercise Can Reduce the Urge to Snack
Appetite, Hunger, and Their Cause in Physiology and Mood
Appetite Suppression and Mood: The Wider Circle of Evidence
Chapter 6 Why Do We Have Moods? 87
The Measurement of Mood
How Many Moods Do We Have?
What Underlies Good and Bad Moods?
What Is the Function of Moods?
The Effects of Energy and Tension on Eating and Exercise
How a Little Tension, but Not Too Much, Can Raise
How Increasing Energy Can Elevate Tension, but Only Up to a Point
Exhaustion: Too Tired to Be Tense
Chapter 7 Changes in Energy–And Mood 113
Energy Rhythms and Tension Changes
Self-Observation of Energy and Tension
Tense Tiredness and Negative Thoughts
Changing Perceptions of Our Problems
Can We Think Ourselves Into a Good Mood?
Energy Variations in Sickness and Health
The Value of Sleep
Are Your Moods Caused by Things That Happen to You?
Chapter 8 The Biopsychology of Energy and Tension 133
The Activated Freeze Response
Differences Between Energy and Tension
Both Body and Brain Direct Our Moods
Autonomic Nervous System
Hormones and Mood
Chemical Imbalance: Neurotransmitters, Modulators, and Neuropeptides
Serotonin, Endorphins, and Other Well-known Neurochemicals
Brain Structures Responsible for Arousal and Mood
Reticular Activating System
Chapter 9 Managing Your Mood 155
The Best Strategy for Eating Healthy and Maintaining an Exercise Program
Becoming Aware of Daily Cycles of Energy and Tension
Mood Influences on Food Urges, Hunger, and Satiation
Personal Problems and Low Self-Esteem
Depression, Anxiety, Boredom, Loneliness, and Anger
Reactions to Stress
How Do You Self-Regulate Your Moods?
Your Exercise Time
Effects of Exercise on Mood
Appendix. Energy and Tension Ratings 179
About the Author 276
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