There was an interesting article in TIME that cited a study from Health Psychology titled: You Exercise Less When You Think Life Isn’t Fair http://time.com/3595856/obesity-overweight-exercise/ . The 'why try' effect gets in the way of weight loss! Whether you struggle with weight yourself or you are critical of other people’s weight, you can choose to be part of the problem (by continuing to criticize and judge) or you can become part of the solution (by developing empathy and compassion for people’s struggles) and stop sitting in judgment of others. As I often tell clients when they come in for help with their weight, “No matter how many times, no matter how many ways you have tried to lose weight, you are not a failure! It takes a great deal of persistence, determination and resiliency to try again. The problem isn’t you – it’s that the typical weight loss diets don’t work!” Weight loss diets treat the symptoms (i.e. the weight) and don’t treat the underlying causes (how eating or the weight is helping you, what purpose or purposes does it serve in your life?)! Eating is often a coping mechanism. In the 32 years I have been a Registered Dietitian and the thousands of people I have worked with, I have NEVER met a person who didn’t know that food had calories, that activity burns more calories, that gaining weight is caused by consuming more calories than are being burned! So it’s NOT a lack of knowledge that is causing the weight problems! It’s that, in the moment when I choose to eat, I am either not thinking about that (mindless eating) or I am responding to a need that feels more important than that. That’s human behavior that is reflecting how we feel about ourselves and our world. When people feel bad about themselves then they are less likely to be able to take better care of themselves. As I often tell my clients, "If you think you are a piece of crap then you will treat yourself like a piece of crap!" Maybe you are not “a piece of crap” or “a failure” or “lazy” or any of the other critical comments you have heard or that you even tell yourself! Maybe we are just human with our own struggles and have just done the best we could do at that time. Changing our weight starts with changing our own thinking (through cognitive behavioral therapy).
Changing Your Head and Healing Your Heart!
Putting the Pieces Together (So We Make Sense of Ourselves, Others and Our World)
Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD
Family Therapy Ventura, California
©2014 Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD