The Weight Loss Puzzle
There are many situations that cause us stress and each person deals with stress differently. One simple explanation for stress might be the desire to get away from a difficult situation or a need to confront a situation which presents a challenge for us. We are wired to attack or run away when we are fearful or angry. When we are unable to remove the source of stress or remove ourselves from the stressful situation, we will create for ourselves some type of coping mechanism. The adaptive response may be done without our conscious awareness and the coping mechanism may not always be the healthiest solution. It is no surprise that many people eat excessively when they are facing emotional challenges or dealing with emotional conflicts. Frequently we may not succeed at achieving weight related goals because we do not effectively deal with the stress that underlies our poor eating choices.
Quite often my clients discuss challenges with family, friends, and work relationships. Personal boundaries issues and poor communication skills may often play a role regarding our personal stress which contributes to poor eating habits. In addition, an inability to assert oneself or communicate our needs to others effectively may also play a role in our mal-adaptive behaviors. We may feel at times that we are not able to assert some level of control in our personal relationships or in our home environment.
Addictive Impact of Food
Another factor relates to the addictive impact of the foods that we frequently eat. For this piece we might want to ask a different question. How do people effectively deal with addiction related impulses and behaviors? The more we eat addictive foods the more we want to eat them. This is the part that likely requires some level of will power and self-control.
Information regarding nutrition and exercise
Too often we are not well informed and do not understand what we need to do to take better care of our bodies physically. An effective exercise program includes aerobic activity, stretching, and weight training. We may become overwhelmed when they think about all of the things we need to do to keep ourselves healthier. Taking just a few minutes each day to become better informed will likely be very helpful. We don’t always need to overwhelm ourselves.
Expectations and Self-Criticism
Our relationship with ourselves and the expectations we have for ourselves are important components of the weight-loss puzzle. Not only do we have expectations of ourselves, but we are often anxious due to the expectations that others have of us. Being realistic regarding expectations and reducing self-criticism are likely to be extremely helpful. Can we develop more tolerance for ourselves, self-understanding, and compassion?
The various parts of this puzzle seem to operate together and impact our personal choices related to both weight loss and exercise. One piece seems to impact and have influence on the other. As we develop a better understanding of each part of the puzzle we are in a better position to assert some control in our lives and make improved choices regarding our health. Sometimes we can just use shear will power and stop doing what we don’t want to do. At other times we need to understand what is going on inside of us that keep us doing the things we want or don’t want to do.
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