So I’ve begun researching ways to help redirect myself when it comes to eating. I’ve learned a few things the past few days as I’ve started this process:
- Just addressing some of my time and energies toward the topic has helped me to be more aware, but, more importantly, more confident and strong in my ability to fight back. Knowing I’m taking steps to take better care of myself gives me power.
- There are a lot of books out there about weight loss, but not nearly so many about emotional eating and food addiction, which I think are huge contributors to many people’s problem with weight gain. There are probably as many “diet plans” available as there are obese people, but really, what so many of us need is a way to work through our emotional problems first so we can then just be able to eat more sensibly. We need programs, books, and buddies and trainers who are going to help support us through the emotional parts, rather than just give us tips about what diets or exercises can spur our weight loss.
- Developing that further, we don’t need platitudes or trainers who don’t “get it” when it comes to the emotional aspect. A family member told me that a friend of hers has a trainer who just told her client, “you need to think of food simply as fuel.” OK, definitely true. And that may be an a-ha moment for some people. It may very well start them on their journey just fine and give them just what they need. But others of us know that. It’s a “duh” statement. We need some specific, concrete tips and support that will help us to change our deeply rooted habits and mindsets to be able to get to that point. But just saying that and thinking that it’s “that simple” could be completely unhelpful. Me, I have a bit of a distrust toward the trainers who are so devoted to their physical health and upkeep that they’ve either never had a problem with seeing food as something other than fuel or that they’ve forgotten what it felt like to use it as reward or friend. I don’t want to feel condescended to or insulted somehow. I do need someone in my corner who really “gets” how hard the changeover is and can be a real support emotionally as well as physically.
- I think I’ll end up going into more detail about this later, but even as emotional eating and food addiction are closely related, they are distinctly different. There are emotional triggers that make us eat to soothe and reward ourselves, and then there are physiological triggers that make our body want more of sugary and fatty foods. Some of us may have more problems with one than the other, or equally with both. Any successful weight loss will need to focus on whichever issue (or both) that we find most challenging.
- Losing weight effectively and for the long term is work. It requires our attention emotionally as well as physically. But it’s ridiculously easy to be attracted to quick fixes and crazy diets. For example, this week I ran across a book that addresses emotional eating but within the framework of the hCG diet. I read through a sample and honestly found myself drawn to it for a little while. Sure, I thought, I can still do the hard work here and focus on the issues I have, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to give myself a kick start with the hCG plan and lose some easy weight? It was born out of sheer desperation. But for one, there still aren’t many studies supporting the plan, and too many of those who sell the plan or the hCG are not doctors; they’re just people out there wanting to make a quick buck. Two, it can be expensive, and three, it could very well be dangerous.
So there’s what I’ve been thinking about these past few days. I’ve been trying to watch what I eat a bit, but I’m not trying to jump into weight loss right now. I’m gathering information and support for what will need to be a long haul that will take serious emotional and physical work. (I’m also waiting until my kids are back in school in about six weeks so I can devote more time to it and have less stress in my life keeping me from being able to turn away from my emotional-eating habits. Having kids at home for a summer can be pretty stressful, especially when they’re whiny and fussing at each other and asking me for stuff nonstop. But that’s another topic and another post…)