Psychology of Weight Loss

Psychology of Weight Loss

Psychology of Weight Loss
There are good days and bad days on the journey to a healthy weight, and your state of mind has a great deal to do with how you weather the weight loss storm. Be kind to yourself through the inevitable struggles and employ positive self-talk to help you get up and get moving. Also, make awareness a priority, not just of the fat and calorie content of the food you're eating but also when and how much you eat. Make the cycle a positive one and remember, "success fuels motivation; motivation fuels success."

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  • 12 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    There are lots of reasons to eat: You're bored, you're at a party, your kids left 17 extra fries on the plate. The ultimate reason to eat is to provide fuel for your body-not only to keep you lean, energetic, and strong but also to feed your organs with the foods and nutrients they crave to keep your entire internal infrastructure running smoothly.

    Depending on what you put into your body-as well as in what amounts and how often-eating affects how you feel and how you live. You can change the way your body works-and how you feel-with the food you eat.

    However, when most people diet, they don't eat enough-and they actually slow their metabolism (which is the way your body digests food for energy). In essence, they go into a pseudo-starvation mode-the body stops burning calories as fast because it senses the need to preserve them. That's why exercise is so important. Physical activity helps keep your metabolic rate moving quickly.

    In other words, exercise is what gives your body approval to burn calories. So essentially, you must exercise to keep your body from panicking and going into starvation mode.
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    A , Fitness, answered
    Well that sure is a tricky answer.  I will tell you this when a person loses weight if weight has been a real problem for them it typically makes them feel a lot better about themselves and a lot more comfortable in relationships.  This allows them to in many cases quit focusing on their own issues and allows them sometimes to better focus on others.  When we focus on other people they may or may not love us more but they sure will benefit from a relationship with us and that in and of itself brings us a greater feeling of self worth.  Tough question because it encompasses so many things but I would say that if by losing weight we can deal with an issue that is blinding us to the needs of other people than if nothing else we sure will be more valuable to those around us and isn't that what really matters.
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    A , Midwifery Nursing, answered

    Peer pressure is an important part of weight loss. We all want to be part of the group and feel accepted. If everyone is eating donuts and we don't then the group will always try to make you one of them. It takes a strong person to say no in a situation like this.

    Basically you have 2 choices in this situation. One would be to always have a healthy homemade baked good that was on your weight loss program that you could have along with them and joke about how yours actually tastes better.

    Or you could remove your self from this situation and find other peers to be with that all eat healthy and support your weight loss efforts.

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    It's easy to get into the habit of eating on the run, eating just to fill up, and eating for entertainment. It's important, however, to remember the real reason for eating and become mindful about the foods that we put into our bodies.

    The real reason for eating is to re-fuel our bodies, both for energy and for sustenance.

    If we are trying to re-energize our bodies, then eating on the run is the wrong approach. Taking the time to think out a healthy meal, put it together and eat it will give you the where-with-all to take specific action throughout the day, keep you alert and allow you to be more efficient with your time, and more than make up for the few minutes saved by just grabbing a snack and eating it in the car on your way to work.

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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of

    Hedonistic eating is emotional eating; it is driven by the need for pleasure not hunger. When eating is motivated by pleasure, rather than hunger, in the brain reward chemical signals are activated which leads to overeating. The phenomenon ultimately affects weight and may be a major factor in the rise of obesity.

    Hedonic hunger’ refers to the desire to eat for pleasure, and to enjoy the taste, rather than the body’s energy needs. For example, desiring and eating a piece of cake even after a filling meal is generally driven by pleasure and not by hunger. The physiological process underlying hedonistic eating is not fully understood, but it is likely that hormones regulating reward mechanisms in the brain, like the hormone ghrelin, are involved.

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    A , Health Education, answered

    Being overweight may not be as dramatic as an acute disease, but it has considerable bearing on how you perceive yourself and those around you. Even being just ten or fifteen pounds heavier than you would like can be detrimental to your relationships. When you are feeling fat, you are more likely to be mean, snappish, and insecure. You have less energy, less patience with your kids, and try to avoid social situations altogether. Your preoccupation with your weight keeps you focused on yourself, and prevents you from really being available to those around you.

    Being healthy, physically and emotionally, includes appreciating what you have got and refusing to indulge in any form of self-loathing. You may have some excess omentum, but you can not put off enjoying your relationships until that day in the fictional future when you will look very slim. The fantasy that you will be perfect once you lose those extra pounds actually gets in the way of doing something about your real situation.

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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    One of the realities of being overweight is that many dieters—that is, people who know they need to and want to lose weight—are somewhat comfortable with their bodies. Yes, that body may be 20, 30, or 40 pounds heavier than the day she turned 18. But maybe she's used to post-baby weight, she enjoys Friday lunches with her friends, or she can't face a total wardrobe overhaul. It's who she is—and she's more comfortable living her life at that level than going through the struggles and hard work (not to mention the guilt and shame) of trying to shed weight.

    So she has two choices: She can stay on the current hill where she's (relatively) comfortable. Or she can try to get to the top of that beautiful mountain in the distance—the ultimate destination for all of her weight-loss goals. There, on the next mountain, she'll find smaller sizes, leaf-size bikinis, likely fewer health problems, and probably an increased quality of life. Maybe that's where she'd ideally like to be.

    But the problem is that there's no easy bridge from the comfort zone of the hill to the peak of the mountain. To get there, she must travel all the way down from her current comfort level, hit some rough terrain along the way, and then climb, climb, climb her way back up this seemingly insurmountable incline. So she asks: Is it worth it to go through all the hard work to reach the top of the ideal mountain, or am I comfortable enough where I'm standing right now?

    That's how the dieter thinks after trying it one or two times. It's easier to stay in the current comfort level than to go through a short period of uncomfortable change by doing things like exercising, or changing menus, or going through periods or irritability and hunger. For many dieters, that path is hard to find, so they return—very quickly—back to the original hill, the original place of comfort.

    So we have to build that bridge—with smart food choices and exercise. And we have to support that bridge with strategies and tactics that help us work smart, not hard. How do you do it? By getting started with small actions that lead to big changes.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    When a new client comes into my office for weight-loss counseling, I begin by asking two questions to assess his or her motivation: How is your weight hurting you, and how is your weight helping you? Most people can easily respond to the first question, but almost everyone is puzzled by the second.

    There are actually a multitude of secondary gains that stem from being overweight or obese, and these so-called benefits can cause people to be subconsciously resistant to losing excess weight. In fact, an individual’s obesity is often a hidden factor that keeps a couple together. Consider these two scenarios:

    Scenario one: “We are not having sex because I’m fat.”

    When sexual intimacy has become infrequent, it is often easier to blame the lack of sex on something superficial (like weight) than it is to discuss the real underlying issue. For instance, some overweight women use this reasoning to protect the egos of male partners who struggle with sexual dysfunction.

    Alternatively, overweight individuals might use the “I’m too fat” excuse when sex is physically uncomfortable or unsatisfying. Or a couple might not be having sex because they have fallen out of love. In each of these cases, as long as the weight stays on, the partnership can continue without sex.

    Scenario two: “My relationship is unsatisfying, but I can’t leave because I’m overweight and no one else will want me.”

    Leaving a romantic relationship can be a painful and complicated process for many reasons. The thought of potentially ending a current partnership to pursue a more fulfilling one can be frightening.

    Because of this, people often use their weight—and their belief that they would not have success on the dating scene—as a way to justify (to themselves) staying in an unhappy relationship. Some fear that if they do lose weight and start to receive more sexual attention from other potential partners, they might be tempted to end their current relationship and then be forced to cope with the aftermath.

    When I learn that one or both of these scenarios is true, I bring the issue to light. In most cases, individuals are unaware of the subconscious reasons that they may remain overweight, so awareness can be transformative. Then I encourage my clients to deal directly with the relationship issue at hand. After that, weight loss may naturally follow.
  • 12 Answers
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Yes, if it causes you to take action. In today’s environment, we are surrounded by endless amounts of tempting foods. To make matters worse, most make a living by being sedentary and do not get regular physical activity. Therefore, if you’re not conscious about your weight, you will likely experience slow weight gain over time.
    Use your thoughts to identify a few positive steps you can take towards a healthy body weight and then commit to taking action for at least 21 consecutive days. This time period makes it more likely that you’ll establish a healthy habit. Repeat that process several times and you’ll find yourself moving closer to a healthy body weight.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    No matter what kind of diet you may have tried in the past, you've undoubtedly worked with a list of off-limits foods. High-protein diets might ban potatoes. Low-fat diets might ban cheese. Sugar-busting diets may ban you from ever setting foot in Aunt Thelma's kitchen again. Inevitably, like a child instructed not to touch the champagne flutes, you will want potatoes, cheese, and Aunt Thelma's snickerdoodles. So you cave.

    But because you've set yourself up with a list of banned foods, you perceive five French fries, or a hunk of gouda, or a bite of snickerdoodle as first-degree diet homicide: The diet's dead. And that's where guilt sets in—from the fact that you know you deviated from a pre-determined set of standards. (This holds true for all levels of people who fit the psychological description of avoiders, who often struggle with obesity.)

    We all identify with nutrition-induced guilt, and then we make a subconscious decision that it's easier to deal with the effects of being overweight than it is to feel the boulder-heavy guilt every time we want to smother a carrot in bleu cheese.

    For the person who feels she cheated on that diet—whether it was a late-night flirtation with a Kit Kat or an adulterous romp with a vat of cake batter—there's an even worse feeling than guilt. And that's the shame associated with dietary infidelity.

    You've cheated, so you now feel you lack the strength to succeed. So what are you going to tell your spouse and all your co-workers who've been watching you feast on iceberg lettuce at lunch for the past 8 days? That, yes, you're a failure? You could only last on your diet for a week? You have one little thing you're doing, and by gosh, you can't even keep a stinking cheese doodle out of your mouth?

    The public humiliation—or just the perceived threat of possible embarrassment—primarily stems from that societal disdain for obesity. But this shame—a much more profound emotion than the guilt—spins you back into this cycle of avoidance: It's better to not be on a diet and be fat, the avoider calculates, than it is to be on a diet and eventually prove to the world that you can't succeed.
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