Weight Loss and Deprivation
We all know how to lose weight. We do. Really.
We all know that in order to lose weight, we need to stay away from all the comfort foods, the foods we really love:
- Hot Cocoa
- Meatball subs
- Hostess Ho-Ho's
You get the idea...all that lovely greasy food that's bad for us. All those wonderful relaxing beverages that have enough calories to sink a ship. All that comforting sweetness...
We KNOW we have to eat less, and eat regular meals, and eat lean meat, and vegetables and fruit. We KNOW between-meal snacks are forbidden if we want to lose weight. No donuts at work, not anymore, we're ON A DIET!
We KNOW we should get more exercise; a half-hour or so of walking, using the StairMaster, whatever, every day.
We know this. We whine about how fat we are and our clothes don't fit. And we fall off our diets, our healthy improved lifestyle with diet and exercise, goes out the window, within a couple of days or a couple of weeks. We stop by MacDonald's after work and grab a Big Mac Meal; we sneak a beer from the hubby fridge in the garage...we give in one morning to those donuts at work.
Depression and Overwieght
Depression and overweight often go together, especially for women. I know I gain weight naturally when I'm unhappy; I lose weight when I'm happy. It makes sense to me that they should be: food is comforting. Food is nourishment; it's care-giving, life-giving. Food comes from your mother, first; food is mothering. If you are sad, you feel you need nurturing, you feel you need nourishment, you need comfort...so often that comfort can be found in the refrigerator.
Obesity rates in the US are soaring. At the same time, the United States is undergoing an economic crisis of no mean proportions. It makes sense to me that we are all uneasy; we don't know what the future may bring. We are worried about money and jobs. And so we eat.
Are we storing up food, storing up calories, in an unconscious bid to preserve ourselves for an uncertain future?
From Psychology Today:
The link [between obesity and depression]could have to do with social factors or it could be neuroendocrine-related...
At the center of the link is biology, notably the hormonal pathway known as the HPA axis. It is the route of communication between the hypothalamus, the peanut-sized part of the brain that governs parts of the nervous system, and the pituitary and adrenal glands, which secrete a variety of hormones.
These three points of the axis work together to maintain chemical equilibrium when the body is under stress. The HPA axis is responsible for releasing cortisol, the "stress hormone". It plays a critical role in energy metabolism...cortisol prompts the body to deposit fat around the abdomen...Chronic stress also begets depression.
It's a combination of social and biological factors. There's an interaction between what's outside your body and what's inside..."
Food can also compensate for an emotional deprivation. The first person to recognize emotional deprivation as a neurosis was Dr. Anna A. Terruwe in the 1950's. She found that a person could exhibit symptoms of anxiety disorder (including obesity and overweight, chronic fatigue, and compulsive behaviors) when this wasn't the underlying cause, instead, the person had experienced a lack of unconditional love in their early life, and a lack of nuturing by their mothers.
A person could have been criticised excessively, or ignored, neglected and abused; or emotionally rejected by primary caregivers or parents in early life, resulting in the stunting of a person's emotional growth.
Sometimes I think it's a matter of degree. I don't think I'm neurotic. My weight is more or less under control for my height and age. But! I know I eat when I'm sad. I may be trying to make up for a lack of nuturing in early life, without realizing it. I fall off my diet when I'm sad, or anxious about something--I can't seem to help myself.
So I think an integral part of a successful diet is to carefully monitor your own emotions, and when the impulse comes to say, "Oh, the heck with it...I'm gonna go for it, I need something sweet (or crunchy or salty or greasy), and you're about to start out the door to run to the convenience store, because all the cupboards and refrigerator has nothing but (UGH!) DIET FOOD , and you need something good, NOW...
Check your emotional weather first.
Is it REALLY food you need?
If you discover it ISN'T food you really need, and it can't be real hunger that's driving you because you HAVE food; there's cabbage in the fridge, there's green beans, there's chicken breast...Melba toast...
You are REALLY deprived of something else..Those feelings of deprivation stem from something other than a lack of food or nutrition, and are expressed by a craving for a particular food that comforts you.
What you may REALLY need is to talk to someone. Someone that you can trust to share a bad mood or a problem with. Maybe you are feeling deprived...what exactly are you deprived OF? Warmth, comfort, nurturing? Reassurance? The best thing is the thing itself and not a substitute. Find someone to give you a hug. Find someone to talk over what's bugging you. There may be a solution to a problem, or at least a release, an expression, of thoughts and feelings that might be badly needed.
If there doesn't happen to be anyone in your life that's that close to you or if your someone may be unavailable to you at this moment, here's some other things you can do that will help get you past the impulse:
- Take a walk or find some other mild form of exercise. It releases endorphins and REALLY HELPS!
- Do some household task that you've been putting off. The movement will do you good, and also the sense of accomplishment and having one thing done and off your brain.
- Talk on the phone with a friend.
- Write in a diary, to express how you're feeling...and what you crave, and why you SHOULD NOT give in to your impulse
- Find a good movie, a great book...change the channel in your mind
- You could even get on Hub Pages, write a hub about what you want, what you need, and how your diet is going, instead of dashing out to the store or visiting your secret stash of munchies that you sandbagged from before your diet.
- Once you've mastered the quelling of that impulse to fall off your diet the first time, the second time this happens, it's easier to stay on your diet. You've found a pattern that works for you. And the third time, it's even easier yet, because you've also found a sense of accomplishment in doing this, in denying yourself the unhealthy comfort you crave, AND...
Best of all, your diet is WORKING! You've lost some weight that you wanted to lose. You know you are on the right path, and you know you can do it, you know you can reach your goal.