PUTTING YOUR MIND IN CHARGE OF EATING PROBLEMS
Modern life makes it easy to take in more calories than we burn, and the result is weight problems. To complicate matters, our bodies work against losing weight. In earlier, harsher times, when food was scarcer and we spent more physical energy to get it, the human body developed a survival technique to avoid starvation. With less food, the body’s metabolism slows down, saving energy. Less fat is burned. Since dieting is really a kind of controlled starvation, we must look to our minds for the will and long-term planning to overcome the reluctance of our body to burn its energy reserves of fat. Furthermore, gradual weight loss is healthiest and most lasting, and that requires even more patience and mental discipline.
DECIDE, if you feel wishy-washy about losing weight, it won’t work.
SET REALISTIC GOALS. After you reach your desired weight, you have the rest of your life to maintain it, so there is no sense in trying to shed pounds at aheroic pace or aiming for a weight that’s unnaturally low.
RESPECT CALORIES. Calorie-counting doesn’t work for everyone, but the fact remains that 3,500 calories add up to a pound of fat.
RETHINK EATING. Snacking between meals erodes willpower and adds calories. Also, food eaten near bedtime is more likely to turn to fat. At meals, remember that feeling full lags about 15 minutes behind what you swallow. Finally, many dieters find a small, tasty meal mores satisfying than a large, bland one.
WEIGH IN REGULARLY. Daily weight fluctuations may have nothing to do with how much you eat, so checking the scales too often can be misleading. But weigh yourself at least once a week, at the same time of day.
AVOID FAT DIETS. Over 90 percent of people who lose weight on fad diets gain it back, one reason being that the pounds losts in the first week or two are mainly waterr. Also, such diets are often nutritionally unsound.
GET SOME EXERCISE. Brisk, 10 minute walks reduce tension and elevate mood. Strangely, exercise both burns up calories and makes you less hungry. And it need not be painful: moderate, regular exercise like walking can be as helpful as the more vigorous kind.
LEARN TO LOVE WATER. Drinking six to eight glasses a day reduces your appetite and cleanses your system.
REWARD YOURSELF. Sticking to a diet for a few days can bring new self-esteem and the fortitude to coninue. If you need more tangible rewards, as in the conditioning techniques, used to train animals, you can treat yourself every so often to something special (other than food) for persevering.
For many people, eating means more than satisfying hunger. They may eat when what they really crave is approval. They may regard food as a reward, especially if it was used as such by their parents or if food was withheld as a punishment for misbehavior. In extreme cases, such feelings can lead to serious eating disorders.