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The EMOTIONAL and BEHAVIORAL aspects of weight loss

We all have triggers that prompt us to eat. Sometimes they come from true physical hunger (remember “that” time... it was one morning in 1980... hope you can laugh with me.) but most of the time we are responding to social cues (“others are eating”) and emotional cues (feeling lonely, angry and tired (which could be from high or low blood sugars as well as feeling states).

As we learn to be “mindful” of our emotional states... we can pause and reflect rather than responsively eat. It requires retraining to slow down and break automatic habits. THINK BEFORE YOU EAT. Can you work with that as a new slogan? Food only temporarily “soothes” us; eating too much is quickly followed by guilt, worry, anxiety, resentment and high blood sugars. There are coping mechanisms to learn to deal “pre-emptively”... before the food!

Learn Behavior Modification principles for food (and of course they are the same principles happily followed for emotions and exercise):

  • Monitoring or Mindfulness
    knowing your patterns by creating a diary; enjoying happily your portion controlled life
  • Stimulus control
    Program your stimulation and cues mindfully, consciously with pleasant anticipation (for example, leave exercise clothes visible or in your car as a cue; respond to food commercials on TV by dancing rather than going to the refrigerator)
  • Contingency management
    Plan ahead to have non-food rewards for changing behavior (for example, the sensuous bath, permission to read trash, idling lazily by the TV, requesting a back rub... a little guilt, if you must go negative but only a small amount to prod you into new thinking and strategies.)
  • Cognitive behavioral strategies
    (learn to talk to yourself and think differently- visualize yourself smiling and sweating after exercise… and with normal blood sugars… or talking yourself into exercising for 15 minutes-rather than not at all. Think about the pleasures of a small amount of food: sweet pure joy; no guilt; no raised blood sugar; no broadened hips, just luscious pleasure).
  • Stress management
    SHI* happens. Know this and plan for your healthy responses. Know that you bring an apple with you for the ride home after a long day. Have a salad before going out to dinner so you are not anxious or starving.
  • Get support
    Spend time talking to friends, family, therapist so you can feel loved and not use food as a substitute.
  • Getting more…of less
    Do girls really need the safety net of control in thinking they are not being rejected but mutually using? I can’t help but think girl power, saying no, might just give us more true personal clout, and not make us subservient to the masculine model.

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