Psychological Factors in Weight Management
To continue the educational series on your health and fitness lifestyle, this article is based on accredited college nutrition programs and literature based on proven science. My hope is to empower you to take responsibility for your nutrition plan. One does not have to become a fanatic and eat perfectly to be healthy!
How we think and feel about food is profoundly influenced by how food is used in our families as children. If food is used as entertainment a reward a bribe a punishment or stress relief, from sadness, anger, or other negative emotions, problems may ensue.
Often, people will eat when they are not hungry, only bored, sad, angry, upset, or lonely. When eating for these reasons, they usually eat foods high in fat, sugar, or both. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a meal, just be sure to get sufficient healthy food and limit your quantities of junk food.
People who eat for reasons other than hunger will sometimes feel guilty after they indulge. This will often lead to more overeating and more guilt. These people often become obsessed with food "cookie monster syndrome". There are support groups and counseling for people who over-eat for emotional reasons.
The flip side of food obsession is anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Anorexia nervosa is a serious condition in which the person stops or severely curtails their food intake to induce weight loss. Approximately ten percent of people who are anorexic die of their disease. People with this condition see themselves as being fat, even when extremely emaciated.
Bulimia is a condition where the patient eats food (sometimes gorging) and then vomits or takes laxatives or diuretics to avoid weight gain or induce weight loss. This can result in the loss of electrolytes and minerals essential for proper heart function and pH balance in the blood. Both these conditions are serious and require medical assistance.
Success in weight control comes by understanding the cause of your individual problem and then developing a program accordingly. Some people, who were unaware of what good nutrition consists of, only need to learn the facts about nutrition and exercise to apply what they have learned without difficulty.
Others have unconscious eating patterns such as eating while doing other activities and not paying attention to what or how much they are eating. By being aware of the problem and using techniques such as behavior modification techniques, can help the person with problems such as these.
People who have trouble changing eating habits or extreme obesity may have deep-seated emotional or psychiatric problems and may be using food to help alleviate the symptoms. Consuming large quantities of high-sugar or high-starch foods releases serotonin in the brain, which imparts a feeling of wellbeing. This can be an attempt to relieve undiagnosed clinical depression or anxiety.
Once you apply the principles of weight control for a while, it becomes part of your life style, like taking a shower or making the bed. You lose your taste for high-fat, high-sugar food and eat healthier food out of choice even when weight control isn't an issue. A blended approach including education, healthy eating habits, and exercise, along with counseling if needed, will produce permanent fat loss and weight control. A step forward in your Fitness Lifestyle.
DEBORAH is a highly respected authority in personal training for overall health and fitness, with more than 22 years of experience and success. Her credentials include...
Currently licensed Registered Nurse specializing in Rehabilitative Nursing
Medical Exercise Therapist: certified by AAHFRP, an internationally recognized physical rehabilitation certification
Maternity Specialist Pre & Post Natal certified by Maternal Fitness
Personal Fitness Specialist: certified by NASM, an internationally recognized certification
Professional Health Member, National Organization of Fitness Instructors (IDEA), a leading membership organization of health and fitness professionals
Deborah Caruana RN, AAHRFP, NASM, ACE.
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