obesity – overeating – weight loss diets – other weight issues…

 

Weight loss diets that work? Let’s see … “I can’t stand women who can’t get back to their original figure after having children.” That seemed like a ridiculous thing to say but somehow this throw-away comment fell onto fertile ground. Six months later – a starvation diet. It was easy enough. A week later, and 10 pounds were gone.

Then, a few years later, another innocuous remark, by another person. Another man, to be precise – quite likely, that’s important: “125 pounds? Well, you don’t need to weigh more.” It was probably forgotten the moment he turned back to his newspaper. And so it went, for years and years. Weight gain, weight loss, diets, exercising – a decade-long spiral.

Moments of emotional upheaval suggested food (and weight gain) just as those male voices suggested weight loss. And the food tasted good, the fullness in the stomach was reassuring, the slightly drugged feeling was a wonderful escape, the heaviness gave the feeling of groundedness that seemed otherwise so elusive. Then there were the occasional fantastic weight loss experiences!

But the spiral went up and up. This is what happens with yoyo dieting. Lose 10 pounds, gain 15. Lose 20 pounds, gain 30. Lose 30 pounds … you get the picture. It’s not just about losing weight but how to lose weight and keep it off.

When we analyze this little story, we see a number of things. Of course, they are not the only elements, and many of these elements are intricately intertwined. At any rate, looking at these elements can help untangle the web of obesity.

Expectations. Our culture is obsessed with weight and how much a person “should” weigh. Here’s a question. If you are reasonably healthy and fit, how much does your weight matter? There is a saying, “scales are for fish”. Let’s not let the scales dictate how we feel about our bodies.

Self esteem / self worth. So much of our self worth is tied up in what other people say about us (or worse yet, what we imagine they say about us). Even unimportant little comments can throw us for a loop if we already feel insecure in a certain area. For example, if I already feel insecure in my feminity or sexuality, a comment about my body shape by an important man in my life can inflict a wound that may fester for a long time.

Dieting. Weight loss diets don’t work for yoyo dieters. Dieting certainly works for some people, for example for the person who overdoes it a bit on Christmas and then goes on a diet to lose five pounds – and those five pounds stay off. Diets don’t work for most people with chronic weight problems. They need a lifestyle change.

Emotional eating. Being angry or lonely can trigger the desire to eat. Sadness, excitement, boredom, fear, resentments add to the list of triggers. Literally any feeling at all can be the reason to grab those chips, a couple of donuts, the bag of cookies, a chocolate bar, or bring on yet another trip to the fridge. Eating can simply be a response to emotions – a sort of companion – or it can be used to mask those feelings. Food can be a drug, a form of self medication.

The physical experience of eating. What can I say – food just tastes and feels good, and if something tastes and feels good, it’s natural to want more of it. Pretty much everyone knows the experience of eating more than necessary. But for the overeater, it just doesn’t stop. There is often an actual inability – learned or “wired in the brain” – to understand and react to the cues of hunger and fullness. It’s like a car alarm that never goes off, or one that can’t be turned off.

The weight. The experience of being a “weighty person” is more reassuring than most people would think. One feels like a “person of substance”, someone who can’t be pushed around. The weight feels like insulation – it’s harder to get hurt when there is an armour for protection.

So …. if you recognize yourself in any of this and you want a change in your life, what are some of your options?

Another weight loss diet. There is a slim possibility that you haven’t tried the right diet yet. If you need to try that again, make sure you use one that you can see yourself following for a long time. The more variety that diet has, the greater the chance it’ll work. Says diet expert M.L. Dansiger, “The key to success is finding a diet plan that you can stick to”.

Psychotherapy / counselling. As mentioned above, overeating may be connected to psychological issues such as low self esteem. Many people with weight problems have suffered abuse as children. A good counsellor can help sort out these problems. Just having someone listen to some things that have been kept hidden for a long time can be the beginning of weight release. If you feel that counselling might help, get in touch with me and we’ll see what we can do. You can also go to the American Psychological Association for more information.

Overeaters Anonymous. Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, these are support groups of peers who “have been there, done that, got the t-shirt”. You can find people there who have struggled with their weight and successfully kept it off for many years. Many people find that underneath their eating problem is a “living problem”. While by no means religious, Overeaters Anonymous is a spiritual approach.

… and, last not least: men and weight issues. We seem to think that women are the only ones who struggle with weight. There are lots of men who have weight issues, too. Because of cultural factors, these tend to be hidden – with the result that usually, men are very isolated around their weight issues. First of all, there are probably more women who are overweight, and second, men find it much, much harder to come together for support around such problems. Stay tuned for a section on men and weight issues.

120 thoughts on “obesity – overeating – weight loss diets – other weight issues…

  1. thanks for your comments!

    “sanity” – that’s a crucial word!

    and of course there is no question that eating natural foods and regular cardio and weights are ideal.

    these are all great solutions. the question is: how do you GET to the solution, and STAY there?

  2. thanks for your comments!

    “sanity” – that’s a crucial word!

    and of course there is no question that eating natural foods and regular cardio and weights are ideal.

    these are all great solutions. the question is: how do you GET to the solution, and STAY there?

  3. Thanks for sharing. It is so true that when you are confident in yourself you are less likely to be hurt by other people’s comments. There are so many thoughtless people who always say things to hurt others some on purpose and some unknowingly. You’ll find they themselves do not look that great anyway!

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Epilobium As Alternative Medicine

  4. Thanks for sharing. It is so true that when you are confident in yourself you are less likely to be hurt by other people’s comments. There are so many thoughtless people who always say things to hurt others some on purpose and some unknowingly. You’ll find they themselves do not look that great anyway!

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Epilobium As Alternative Medicine

  5. I too think people are considering dieting a temporary period in their life when in fact diets=healthy eating should represent a way of life. Maybe ,in the beggining, the diet should be more drastic but, once the desired weight is achieved, the life style during the diet shouldn’t be change too much.

  6. I too think people are considering dieting a temporary period in their life when in fact diets=healthy eating should represent a way of life. Maybe ,in the beggining, the diet should be more drastic but, once the desired weight is achieved, the life style during the diet shouldn’t be change too much.

  7. Now that I just stick to eating foods that are not loaded with fat or sugar and plenty of fruits and vegetables I do not consider myself on a diet at all. My eating choices become second nature and I do not binge. It’s hard to believe that I was actually fat before! Go natural I say!

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Dong Quai As Alternative Medicine

  8. Now that I just stick to eating foods that are not loaded with fat or sugar and plenty of fruits and vegetables I do not consider myself on a diet at all. My eating choices become second nature and I do not binge. It’s hard to believe that I was actually fat before! Go natural I say!

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Dong Quai As Alternative Medicine

  9. Very interesting page. I very much believe in the idea of linking weight gain to emotional issues rather than just talking about calories-in and calories out. (somewhat unfortunate that some comments have links to pages that may only perpetuate the yo-yo dieting madness)

  10. Very interesting page. I very much believe in the idea of linking weight gain to emotional issues rather than just talking about calories-in and calories out. (somewhat unfortunate that some comments have links to pages that may only perpetuate the yo-yo dieting madness)

  11. It is just a hassle trying to count calories. I don’t think anyone like to go thro’ life keeping track of every thing that goes into one’s mouth. It’s so much easier to stay with fresh healthy food choices! This has worked for me – no sugary, fried or fatty foods but plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean meat! And of course plenty of water!

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Myrrh As Alternative Medicine

  12. It is just a hassle trying to count calories. I don’t think anyone like to go thro’ life keeping track of every thing that goes into one’s mouth. It’s so much easier to stay with fresh healthy food choices! This has worked for me – no sugary, fried or fatty foods but plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean meat! And of course plenty of water!

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Myrrh As Alternative Medicine

  13. Paulina, yes, I agree with your approach… but you will laugh… I get toooo skinny when I stick to that plan and then that becomes a problem… either too much or not enough weight, it’s more about emotional and physical balance for me. If you have some hints on how to attain this let me know!

  14. Paulina, yes, I agree with your approach… but you will laugh… I get toooo skinny when I stick to that plan and then that becomes a problem… either too much or not enough weight, it’s more about emotional and physical balance for me. If you have some hints on how to attain this let me know!

  15. Being too skinny is as bad as being too fat, psychologically anyway. It’s just the flip side of the same negative emotions so I don’t encourage anyone to go there. I am not joking; that bad feeling you have when you know you are heavier than you should be, or that you are bingeing or eating to fill an emontional need, you feel AS BAD when you are underweight and have such an incredible control over everything that passes your lips that you start thinking food is a negative thing. I don’t think it’s about being over- or under-weight, I think it’s about about finding emotional and psychological health or balance so that you only make healthy decisions for yourself. I have been 47kg, and I have been 67 Kg… all I know is that I am happiest and healthiest somewhere in between.

  16. Being too skinny is as bad as being too fat, psychologically anyway. It’s just the flip side of the same negative emotions so I don’t encourage anyone to go there. I am not joking; that bad feeling you have when you know you are heavier than you should be, or that you are bingeing or eating to fill an emontional need, you feel AS BAD when you are underweight and have such an incredible control over everything that passes your lips that you start thinking food is a negative thing. I don’t think it’s about being over- or under-weight, I think it’s about about finding emotional and psychological health or balance so that you only make healthy decisions for yourself. I have been 47kg, and I have been 67 Kg… all I know is that I am happiest and healthiest somewhere in between.

  17. HC, thanks for stopping by.

    re the link to sites that seem to perpetuate the madness. i have to be honest, i struggle every time i see such a link and have actually indirectly referred to that in this post. however, dialogue and different points of view are important on this blog so if someone has something worthwhile to say, i welcome it here.

    i cannot tell you how much i agree with you regarding the physical and emotional balance. and they influence each other so much! i have to confess that right now, i’m in one of my (thankfully never too long-lasting) phases where i don’t move enough. that packs on the pounds for me like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s not good for my emotional health.

  18. HC, thanks for stopping by.

    re the link to sites that seem to perpetuate the madness. i have to be honest, i struggle every time i see such a link and have actually indirectly referred to that in this post. however, dialogue and different points of view are important on this blog so if someone has something worthwhile to say, i welcome it here.

    i cannot tell you how much i agree with you regarding the physical and emotional balance. and they influence each other so much! i have to confess that right now, i’m in one of my (thankfully never too long-lasting) phases where i don’t move enough. that packs on the pounds for me like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s not good for my emotional health.

  19. There are many well thought out truths in this article. Weightloss and weightgain is a serious issue. Sustained weight loss as everybody knows and almost nobody follows can only be obatined by controlling the appetite, and exercising to burn up the calories in your “fatbank”

  20. There are many well thought out truths in this article. Weightloss and weightgain is a serious issue. Sustained weight loss as everybody knows and almost nobody follows can only be obatined by controlling the appetite, and exercising to burn up the calories in your “fatbank”

  21. @keith – from my reading of the research, i don’t think it’s ENTIRELY clear that calories in / calories out is the ONLY factor in weight loss but one would be foolish, of course, to ignore it and i’m sure for most people it’s the biggest factor.

    another factor is metabolism. we all know people who are rail thin, it lots of food, and never gain an ounce. indeed, one of the reasons why exercise is so good is because it increases metabolism.

    @paulina stress is definitely a factor. again, to what degree it is an indirect factor as you mention – eating to deal with stress – and to what degree it is a direct factor, where it slows down the metabolism, is not entirely clear. my suspicion is that since everyone’s body chemistry is a bit different and hence metabolism is different, that stress has a varying effect on metabolism, as well.

    i have great hopes that the fields of nutrigenomics and metabolomics will do much to enlighten this in the years to come.

  22. @keith – from my reading of the research, i don’t think it’s ENTIRELY clear that calories in / calories out is the ONLY factor in weight loss but one would be foolish, of course, to ignore it and i’m sure for most people it’s the biggest factor.

    another factor is metabolism. we all know people who are rail thin, it lots of food, and never gain an ounce. indeed, one of the reasons why exercise is so good is because it increases metabolism.

    @paulina stress is definitely a factor. again, to what degree it is an indirect factor as you mention – eating to deal with stress – and to what degree it is a direct factor, where it slows down the metabolism, is not entirely clear. my suspicion is that since everyone’s body chemistry is a bit different and hence metabolism is different, that stress has a varying effect on metabolism, as well.

    i have great hopes that the fields of nutrigenomics and metabolomics will do much to enlighten this in the years to come.

  23. Exercise certainly helps to boost your metabolic rate. I believe everything in moderation is the way to go. If you are too strict with your diet you can go too far. I for one can vouch that exercise has played a big part in helping me to maintain my weight.

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Cleavers As Alternative Medicine

  24. Exercise certainly helps to boost your metabolic rate. I believe everything in moderation is the way to go. If you are too strict with your diet you can go too far. I for one can vouch that exercise has played a big part in helping me to maintain my weight.

    Paulina Jenkins’s last blog post..Cleavers As Alternative Medicine

  25. Hector, this portion is a transdermal all natural weight loss patch, one with 5hp – a seritonin leveler, that you just put on for 24 hours. There is a diet and personal help with it, if you would like, but some cannot do that until the energy boost it gives many, kick in. I tried to answer you – but eeach time I click it goes to another spot. Since this is the case, the best bet, before clicking back and writing, check out a weekly call that is recorded live every monday, and on 24/7 that is kept updated Tuesday to Tuesday. Listen to #1, and # 2- this is by an author on dieting and nutrition and this patch is recomended by her also. It tells why. Would love to hear from you and take more time to help. there are so many things to help your diet too. Baked foods, dill pickles, and yes, even frenches mustard!

  26. oops! the Number! ( mine is on my site ) that I spoke of above and will also send you what is recomended with individual goals or situations if you request… 512-703-8008.

    Thank You

  27. An additional comment on excersize and dieting and overweight. It can be yo-yo, it can be dangerous. I not only had the problem but used to sell insurance and the horror stories connected to fads and desparatness were overwhelming. Had my doctor not put me on this, I would not have tried it. It works by thermogenisis which is what excersize does, and what most diets erase. This is done by an ingredient combination which includes forslean which has its own site. It preserves the lean muscle that diets take away, that excersize enhances and permits it to work as though you were in excersise mode were in effect, that is, it enhances motabolism, with chromemate which curbs the cravings , control appitite and is backed by clinical studies. It burns fat. I will be happy to send a before and after picture and any more you would like to see, yet seems to be no way to upload it here, or attach. I not only lost 43 pounds, but went from size 12 to 6 in a very healthy way. Because it is so helpful to those and myself that I used to talk to and were too great of a risk to insure, I now find great reward in helping others in this way.

  28. Writing again. Studied a bit more too, to explain. first, do want to say that growing up I was overweight, then even went later into anorexia, before they knew the term. Depression in and out, being called lard bucket was no fun!Ha!
    I am using quotes for the most part, concerning the fatloss patch, or what they would like to rename the will power patch. although many use it to just stay young and active, most are drawn to it because diets don’t work… for long. that is why it’s called a battle. i call it the fat wrestler that fights for you! It is a complexity of things, like depression. The similarites of what was asked of me much earlier, of experinceing medicine and therapy etc., and what is related to it all is as depression, can be is an hormonal imballance, stress, follow through, and this just very much helps. It’s not as simple as calories in are calories on, or visa versa. metabolic rate which occurs with exersise and the patch as if; keeps the lean muscle while getting rid of the fat storage places like the hormone insulin, and Leptibn. Thyroid, estrogen also hormones out of ballance can cause a mirad of meladies. This occures in depression. Insulin blockage due to stress, or white foods, greasy foods, estrogen with elderly and teenagers.. whow, in phychiatry begins to play with your whole person. It is nice to know there is something out there that helps line these up and gives you the sence of self accomplishment and therapy, all go along with it if needed. it doesn’t effect that, improves the chances in my experience and others. Food can self medicate too. This can go after some of the problems instead of the results of years of what we can do to ourselves by not eating right, or having the time to eat and excersize right. It actually helps you want to and lose those cravings. It helps even the fats stored in the liver which can cause a less youthfull apearance -premature aging. it is all coincinding with a ballance of chemistry and hormones, eating better and Lifestyle. If you ate more protien for breakfast, you actually increase by 25% your chances? Drop ketchup and microwaved foods, and aspertame and sodas. Leptin actually tells you when your body has had enough. When we can’t listen to that, thyroid and insulin intollerance from overload shuts the door until we help with reopening it for weight loss to occur safely. Whew! It really helped me, and that is something I wanted to tell others about. I don’t “know how electricity works, I flip a switch and the light goes on, I don’t know the routes it took to get there, the speed, the genius, I just flipped the switch and electricity worked” I didn’t know the patch was out there. It is and it worked for me. wishing you wellness-

  29. Great article! The key is being healthy… not looking a certain way or weighing a certain amount. IF the diet you are on makes you unhealthy, then it’s not a good diet. Plain and simple!

  30. Thanks Chris, being, getting healty is right on- and even when you don’t FEEL that way, it’s more tough. Attitude, you can think yourself thin or fat and get depressed, or choose to picture what you were or want to be, not comparing, but aiming and it helps you get there, doesn’t it!! You almost have to say,a nd know: this is where I am right now. It’s okay, because that doesn’t have to be what I will always be, you think?

  31. Thank you for this article. I want be healthy and realize that I had bad diet. I must change it very fast. You help very very much with this stuff. I am very grateful.

  32. Therma and Chris, thank you for your kind words. This is good therapy, isn’t it? Don’t pressure yourself. Being active in this and realizing change is needed is already stepping out and moving on your goals. you can pat yourself on the back for that. I needed what you both said too. Thank You very much.

  33. “Self esteem / self worth. So much of our self worth is tied up in what other people say about us (or worse yet, what we imagine they say about us)” How very true. I do however believe there’s a “not so bad part” to this, because most people may end up doing sports this way which will greatly benefit their health. Just my opinion 🙂

  34. This is a great post. One of the things I totally agree with the the emotional toll over eating can take, and the damage that yoyo dieting can have on a person. One of the biggest struggles I deal with is where all the BIG food has come from! 1/2 pound burgers and oversize Starbucks muffins! Just makes it harder on all

    sharon’s last blog post..6 Great Relationship Advice Pointers

  35. Weight loss and gain with or without depression does have a cyclic angle when you listen to others and your self talk. It’s odd how one or the other can save your life sometimes or be slow punishing yourself. some may even want you heavy so they feel better of themselves or thin so they feel better about themselves. Both can harm physically or help. As an old insurance agent, it is amazing what some will do for others or against themselves for acceptance etc., including desperateness. There are things that can work on both, and comunicating here is a positive EXERSIZE! The patch worked, that my doctor put me on, for me for more control, less cravinings and inches lost and now that is what I do to help people, and that seems to be a therapy also. Now that I am thinner, the patch is helping my lean mussel to define, get stronger and I feel better to myself. I have learned “you” must take charge of “you” and and or paying some sort of penalty for everything like sugar diabetes for sweets, pains from extra weight carrying, loss of energy. Sometimes it shows when older. Remember those high heals? Nice but your feet now! Yikes!

  36. I agree with Isaac, when I am down I lose a lot more weight than when I am up. I guess the term “fat and happy” really rings true with me.

    Great article, I appreciate it.

  37. Dieting is not that effective. It has it’s limited. I suggest that you do not depend on dieting alone. You shouldn’t go on a diet to a point where you are starving to death almost everyday. You should control how much to eat and what to eat but not to a very low extend. You should also spend some time in exercising. Even if you have no time or little time, 30 minutes or more of good work out would be enough. Examples, bicycle sit up for the abs, push ups for the arms and the jumping jacks for the legs are some of the effective work out that don’t require any work out tools or going out of the home. Hope this helps.

    herbalife’s last blog post..Weight Loss Programs and the Importance of Calories

  38. I am definitely one of those yo yo dieters, and it is all because I do not portion my food good, plenty of exercising just poor food choice. Excellent post it was really well written out 🙂

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