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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    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 , 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 , Geriatric Medicine, answered
    The day after a major unhealthy eating splurge, it is important to return to a focused and disciplined mindset. If you really overdid it, you are likely to be less hungry the following day. Listen to your body. If you aren't hungry, don't feel obliged to eat, and be sure that you consume sufficient fluids, especially water. This will help reduce hunger, increase your body's ability to burn fat stores, and help maintain your energy level, because dehydration is associated with fatigue.

    It is also important to get right back into your routine. That means you need to do a good workout and be careful about what you eat. Be particularly good, rather than trying ease back into your efforts gradually. Intensely focus on this the first day after a splurge. Psychologically, you'll be tempted to be a little less stringent. The sooner that you get back into your routine, the more likely that one day of splurging will have little overall effect.
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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 , 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.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    The Wise Witness is our true self, the one who naturally knows what to eat to keep us healthy. It's who we are when we're not listening to and believing in the ego. It's that inner place of calm and serenity that we've all visited in moments when the mind is quiet. Think back to a time when you've felt completely at peace. That delicious feeling is the true self. Even though we may not be aware of this consciously, each of us taps into it every day!

    We can see the true self clearly in the innocence and openness in babies and animals. They're the true self embodied. I'm not suggesting returning to the pre-egoic state but, rather, that if we want to experience life from a delightful place of openness, wonder, and curiosity, we have to relearn how to connect with the true self, shedding what no longer serves us so that our natural state of radiant happiness shines through.

    Connecting with the Wise Witness means entering the thought free state beyond identification with our minds and bodies. Although meditation is the most common way to move out of the mind, we can do this anywhere, anytime, as long as we're not caught up in thoughts or feelings. We can notice the clock on the wall, a leaf floating in the breeze, or our hand as we turn the page.

    When you are in the ego-based state of consciousness, thoughts and feelings come between you and direct experience. For example, you're in the true self, in a moment of awe, when you see a beautiful sunset -- and when thought comes in, saying, "Oh, what a beautiful sunset," you're back in the ego. Information we receive from the senses, before thought comes in, takes us to the true self. If we are to break the habit of paying attention to and following our thinking, which is responsible for our food issues, it helps to cultivate a new habit of diving into the space between our thoughts. To do that, try to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes every day sitting quietly, either in silence or while listening to restful music.

    There are two ways to approach eating: from the Child's (pleasure-seeking impulses) point of view (our conditioning, which is part of the ego) or from the true self's point of view. Whenever we're eating to fill a psychological need rather than a physical need, we're identifying with our conditioning. The true self, on the other hand, encourages actions that support the optimal functioning of the body, so it's unlikely that the true self will move us to overeat when we've had enough.
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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
    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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    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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