It is exposure to shows like The Biggest Loser that further corrupt your relationship with food and fitness. Being blasted with examples of unrealistic weight loss makes everyone lose. And by lose, I don't mean weight.
This show takes some very nice people and puts them in a bubble. Their only job is to lose weight in this artificial setting. And they do lose weight. And you feel hopeful--if they can lose weight, maybe I could too...
Let's explore what happens when these very nice people return home.
What follows extreme weight loss? Extreme weight gain. It is like Newtons other law: What goes down must come up. These people haven't had one shred of attention paid to what really caused their weight loss, and how to deal with those causes. Do you think they became overweight because of a lack of information? In our society? We are bombarded with 'diet' talk everywhere! It just makes things worse.
There is more information on exercise and eating right than ever before, and yet our population is more overweight than ever. I have worked with thousands of clients--none of them lacked exposure to diet and fitness information. My clients have tried countless diets over the years, and they have lost and gained hundreds of pounds. But diet and fitness advice does nothing for the underlying issues with weight. In fact, it just makes things worse.
Healthy weight loss can be achieved, but you have to understand what is really going on first. People eat for reasons other than hunger. And it is not just because food tastes good.
The majority of people I've seen do struggle with compulsive overeating or binging. And these behaviors are directly related to self-soothing. There are some very powerful chemicals released when we consume certain foods, and they make us feel much better. These chemicals are the same ones released from taking prozac or even heroin.
Finding more a effective way to a) identify our feelings, and b) cope with our feelings, is the most crucial step to normalizing the relationship with food. I used to believe it was as simple as eating right and exercising, but this is the Biggest Lie.
The reason people do not do this more internal work (if they are even aware of the need for it in the first place) is because it is uncomfortable and takes some effort. But I would argue that a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and hating your body takes a lot more effort and is even more uncomfortable.
Contact us with any questions about eating and mental health issues. You or someone you know may be in need of outpatient eating disorder treatment.
Jennifer Pereira LPC, RD - Counselor & Dietitian
1. Do you worry that you have lost control over how much you eat?
2. Do you make yourself sick (or use laxatives/exercise) if you feel uncomfortably full?
3. Do you currently suffer with or suffered in the past with eating issues?
4. Do you ever eat in secret?
5. Does your weight affect how you feel about yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you are not satisfied with your current eating patterns, contact us for more information.