Why do we have so much trouble losing weight? Once we do loose weight why do we seem to gain more weight after we have achieved our weight loss goals. For most people dieting just does not seem to work in the long term and individuals continue to pack on the pounds that they have worked so hard to lose. There has to be an easier way!
When I was in graduate school learning to become a family therapist I was introduced to the concept of “homeostasis”. This concept means that we tend to return to a level of comfort with which we have become accustomed. For families when there is a level of dysfunction there may be some individuals within the family who would like to change the way they relate or move the family to function in a more effective manner. There is usually resistance to making changes and the tendency is for the individual or family to return to its previous state of functioning.
The concept is the same as a thermostat that returns to the setting of 70 degrees once it is set by the homeowner. It doesn't really matter if we are talking about an organization, a family, or an individual; we all tend to return to this place of comfort. The paradox is that the comfort that we experience is not always one that we desire and it is often difficult for us to make changes.
Dr. Martin Seligman talks about a set point for happiness and defines the possibilities on a scale of one through ten. Ten would represent being happier and zero being less happy. If an individuals happiness set point is established at a five they are likely to return to that level of comfort unless there are specific changes that take place regarding their thought processes and emotional experiences.
We may pursue pleasurable activities such as going out for dinner, spending money, gambling, eating decadent deserts etc, all of which may stimulate pleasure but do not necessarily change our level of happiness unless they are consistent with taking better care of ourselves generally. Our self defeating behaviors our likely to continue until we change the underlying thought patterns that will impact our ability to change our set point.
Another example might be that of individuals who have won the lottery. It is my understanding that individuals who hit the lottery will often return to their previous financial status within a few years. It also appears to be true that individuals who are financially successfully tend to return to being financially comfortable after having financial crises.
For this article I want to focus on what we can do to help us achieve our weight loss goals and reduce resistance to continuing to gain weight. It is my belief that the more we understand about ourselves the better able we are to make changes to achieve our goals related to weight loss.
We are frequently unaware of the forces both internal and external which have an impact on thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Often we can make changes without too much help from others. If we find it difficult and we become stuck we may need to seek counseling to help us achieve our weight lose or weight related goals.
By Donald Recupido