You Gain What You Feel

January 10, 2008 at 2:18 am Leave a comment

Losing weight is basically a simple proposition: expend more calories than you take in. Whether you eat less or exercise more or both, it’s not a complicated formula, but it sure is hard for people to do. Why? Because eating and exercise are not mere bodily functions; there’s a significant emotional component to them.

Any successful diet-and-exercise lifestyle change is going to require some understanding of your emotional make-up. What drives you to eat besides hunger? Is it boredom? Anxiety? Depression? Does your perception of yourself affect how and what you eat? For example, if I feel I’ve done a poor job on a project at work, I will have a very strong urge to eat something immediately. Eating soothes me; it calms me down when I’m anxious.

A recent study shows that I am not alone. A study of more than 4,000 girls, average age 15, found that those who saw themselves as unpopular gained more weight over a two-year period than girls who felt they were popular. Girls rating themselves lower in popularity were 69% more likely to gain weight, adding about 11 pounds versus the 6 ½ pounds the “more popular” girls gained.

In reviewing the study, Clea McNeely of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said, “The reason this paper is so important is it has broader implications beyond weight gain. Subjective social status is not just an uncomfortable experience you grow out of, but can have important health consequences.”

Try this…

  • Think about where your emotions are at when you have a strong urge to eat.
  • Write the circumstances down in a journal.
  • Review the journal after several weeks to see trends and patterns.
  • Don’t worry about changing your behavior immediately; instead learn to recognize what’s going on with you.
  • As time goes by, develop other ways besides eating to cope with your emotions. (More about that in future posts.)
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I Am a Lucky Woman Personal Responsibility

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