After years of battling weight issues personally and professionally there is one very important strategy that needs to be addressed. Long-term success will be achieved when and only when you understand and master this strategy.
In my practice when counseling weight issues I always come back to treating the mental and emotional aspect of weight. This includes weight loss, weight gain, weight maintenance and eating disorders. There is a reflex from your brain to your hand to your mouth.
The basics of balanced healthy nutrition are a science that can be taught. A Registered Dietitian has a four year Bachelor of Science degree, one year internship and then is qualified to sit for the national exam. The last step qualifies you to be state licensed to practice. For the lay person, knowing your own metabolism is the beginning. Next would be the ability to identify food groups and individual portions. There are other aspects as we go along but the very first issue is always “Who are you”? What have you tried before? How successful were you in achieving that goal? I can assume that you were unsuccessful in the long term and that is why you are reading this article. What do you want to do now? Are you ready to do the work required for long-term success? The answers to these questions are very telling.
In my experience once trust is established the next issue is learning who is sitting in front of me. Light bulbs usually go off because we all have messages that we send to ourselves. Many people are unaware until we start to examine thoughts and what we think of as habits. The subconscious is awesome. Memories come back and after true introspection a different conclusion usually occurs. There are many personas living in the subconscious. The outside environment where they must navigate determines which persona takes over.
Why do you think you might overeat? Is there awareness that you are really hungry and your body is looking for fuel or is a social situation where everyone is eating and food is abundant and available determining your hunger?
Were you told to finish every morsel of food on your plate when you were growing up?
Did you experience unpleasant situations in your childhood?
Are your parents healthy in their lifestyle? What diseases are in your family tree? Can you relate health issues and lifestyles to these disease states?
When you interact with strangers are you worrying about their assessment of you instead of conversing with someone new and learning if you have anything in common with them?
These are some common experiences that my patients have recognized and with my help have developed strategies to change the messages they used to receive that were triggers for among other things, binging, mindless eating, or emotional comfort. We either change the messages, or change the meaning of the messages and triggers into positive action thought processes.
It is a wonderful powerful transformation that has enabled many people overcome obesity or eating disorders.
This is a new year and the best advice I can give is taking care of this first. Learning to take care of you starts with this work. It is not easy and everyone has a different calendar of events to sort through. Once you have delved into your subconscious and understand what messages you were receiving and what triggers they arose, then you can be free to create a healthy plan to reach whatever goal you choose. The best news is this strategy and others are for the rest of your life and you can be a force within your own circle to help others.