Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How to focus on your health but not obsess, is this possible?

People are getting bigger and less fit and lifestyle accounts for many of today’s ailments. We know it is important to focus on your health. But health advisers suggest not obsessing over your health as too much focus on diet and weight may propel you to a binge or other eating disorder. If you focus on food all the time you may be hungry all the time too if you get hungry when you think about food.

What is the balance between focusing on health, and not obsessing over food? It seems to be a very fine line, which is why health professionals suggest making small lifestyle changes in the long term instead of short-term diets.  Do what ever you used to do but eat a little less or skip a snack (if blood sugar is balanced), eat lots of vegetables and some fruit, eat dessert only on the weekends or special occasions etc.  If you try to do all the suggestions all at once you risk failing and that failure and the obsession may make you less likely to want to try changes in the future.

In Stop the Insanity Susan Powter says that the obsession over food is the reason for the obesity and that if we stop forbidding foods that we can go back to our natural hunger pattern and be content with our shape and body.

Is it possible to calorie count and not obsess? I am not so sure. If you have to count calories then you are slightly preoccupied with your diet and it focuses on the calories you can’t eat.

In Scarcity:Why Having Too Little Means So Much, Eldar Shafir goes in to depth about how restriction focuses on the loss in a negative way. It claims that the best way to lose weight is to increase the frequency of meals to allow the feeling of abundance. How cans this work with initiating a weight loss? I have yet to find out but it is worth examining given that most diets fail over the long term.

Perhaps the focus could be on stopping binge dieting and emotional eating? I.e. we won’t abuse our bodies when we feel bad and eat too much ice cream. We won’t give in to a binge when we have overeaten a little, i.e. “throw the baby out with the bath water” just because we slipped up a little.  There are lots of resources out there for binge eating and overeating addiction, including overeater’s anonymous, online forums and more.

Of course we all know we should move more and often. Perhaps we could focus more on fitness, since fitness addictions are more rare than eating disorders. But yes there is a small minority that will overdo fitness too. 


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