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Could Gratitude Be the Key to Weight Loss?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/14/2011 10:00 AM   :  73 comments   :  14,934 Views

Did you ever stop to think how "More" centered the world is getting. It's getting pretty selfish. They say in addiction studies that when your brain says "I want more___," that is usually your addict talking. Think about it really. If food were a drug, and some do compare it to one, that would explain why we cannot stop eating MORE until something is gone. Personally, I listen to that voice, the "more" voice. If I hear it, I say "You're the addict! You WANT me to eat more." I then get away from the food as if it is toxic. Eating less becomes easier from that standpoint. I'm not here to argue food addiction with anyone. I'm just telling you a little trick that helps me.
 
More of everything is available and we seem to want it all.  I love this line from a Sheryl Crow song: "Happiness isn't getting what you want; it's wanting what you've got." 

I think if we were grateful for the blessing we do have in our lives, we would be more fulfilled and less "hungry."  We crave newer and better things and experiences, and there is nothing wrong with that sometimes.  It's when we can't have it and placate our boredom with food that we get in trouble.
 
Instead of feeding ourselves in times of boredom or in a fit or MOREdom, why don't we share or give?  Surely there is someone who would be delighted to have a dress from your closet or a pair of nice shoes that no longer fit well.  What about loading up the local food pantry with some of your more tempting snacks and getting them out of the house?  Those snacks could feed the hungry and take inches off your waist at the same time that way.  Do you have a friend going through a hard time?  Maybe giving her a small present or card would make her day.  The act of giving is very nurturing and gives us a good, warm feeling inside.  So if you were searching for that feeling with food, try a good deed instead.
 
The simple act of being grateful and in the moment helps many people with their wellness program.  Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised, and this moment is all we really have.  Live in it fully.  Don't fret about the cake you might encounter on Saturday or the restaurant you plan to go to on Friday until then.  Planning is good for some, while for others, it causes undue stress and binging.  The thought process being: "Well, I'm going to blow it all Friday and Saturday anyway, so I might as well…"  If that person lived in the moment, they would save themselves days of overeating.  Christmas and Thanksgiving would be one-day events, not an excuse to eat for a month and a half.
 
An attitude of gratitude and giving brings so much more to life.  There is a joy that you can feel no other way than when you make another person happy.  Even something as simple as a smile is a gift.  You never know who may have really needed it that day.  As you smile and think of ways to please others, your heart will grow lighter and I suspect your weight will too. 
 
A positive attitude of giving and gratitude has really helped me to lose weight, 151 pounds now.  If I try to give, the better I feel and the less I want to eat.  It is only when I get greedy and hear the "More" voice that I know I'm in trouble and to back off from whatever it is that I'm doing.   That's my red alert.   
 
Gratitude has led to a cause for me.  I feel that SparkPeople saved my life.  If you read my page, you will know why.  I want to prove now that second chances do happen with SparkPeople and that nobody should have to live in their bedroom because of super morbid obesity and chronic pain.  The more rallies I have, blogs I write, people I call, the more joy I find.  I have all of you out there in Sparkland to thank for the wonderful thoughts you send my way.
 
What do you do when you feel grateful or want to spread joy?
 


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Comments

  • KEGAN36604
    73
    Great analogy with the "addict" comparison. That one sort of climbed into my head. Thanks for sharing. and BTW, I agree with your showing graditude idea as well. That can release as many endorphins as a fast 5K. - 11/8/2011   8:01:11 AM
  • 72
    Beth, once again, you have proven yourself to be...the bomb! =) Thanks for this blog! It's wonderful! - 10/24/2011   1:33:35 PM
  • 71
    Thanks! - 10/24/2011   10:09:56 AM
  • 70
    Thanks for the encouragement. I will take this advice into the holidays and use it to get me through those excuse times. - 10/20/2011   12:08:35 PM
  • RYLEE84
    69
    Very great article! Gratitude is the answer to alot of problems! Thanks for sharing! - 10/20/2011   10:27:55 AM
  • 68
    This is very inspiring and I am going to begin my attitude of gratitude by saying THANK You for writing this ..God Bless - 10/20/2011   8:45:10 AM
  • 67
    THANKS FOR THE WORDS!
    YES, GRATITUDE IS AMAZINGLY,
    AND A POWERFUL TOOL!
    THANK YOU!
    MARY. - 10/19/2011   6:57:12 PM
  • 66
    I am grateful that, should there be a food crisis, my body type will come out ahead ... - 10/18/2011   1:57:21 PM
  • 65
    Yes, giving, showing gratitude, appreciating what we have is the key. Wanting what we have because we look at it from a different perspective makes a world of difference. Thank you for verbalizing the obvious. - 10/18/2011   1:48:19 PM
  • 64
    Great blog, Beth. Another one to save for that bad day. Thanks! - 10/17/2011   7:57:31 PM
  • MEGERT
    63
    The lyric is from "Soak Up the Sun" and it's actually, "It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you got." Still, good article, and the song does fit the theme. "Every time I turn around, I'm looking up, you're looking down..." - 10/17/2011   4:41:37 PM
  • CHICKENGRRL
    62
    Awesome! I love the idea of talking back to that voice telling us to eat more. Thanks for sharing this!!! - 10/17/2011   4:16:15 PM
  • GSISSON8
    61
    I mentioned to someone just this morning that I don't really want to eat until after I've eaten breakfast and then I don't want to stop eating. If I could just pout off breakfast for a few hours, I would eat a lot less. - 10/17/2011   2:56:35 PM
  • 60
    Your writing is so inspirational. You continue to write about the important things in life. - 10/17/2011   12:02:21 PM
  • 59
    Very nice blog. Good of you to point out we all have things to be grateful for.
    I always try to give back as I have been on the receiving end at times myself.
    And now that i have lost over 192 lbs and really have my life back, I want to try in every way possible to help others.
    Sometime just the smallest acknowledgement is very important to someone.
    I have given my constantly changing clothes sizes to others who are in need.
    It's also a nice thought to look out for the elderly in your neighborhood. Maybe you live in an apartment, check if they need something. Offer to go to the store for them. There are so many things one can do.
    Now that I am not obese, helpless, able to get around I am available to reach out to all. And it feels so good.
    I too have Spark to thank in my over all quest for health and fitness. I did the work, but Spark was there, and some wonderful friends to encourage me and offer support.
    We can always do more.
    Tisha - 10/17/2011   9:32:29 AM
  • 58
    This was a wonderful blog, very inspirational. I have been in a funk lately and this helped me think more positively. Thank you - 10/17/2011   8:31:17 AM
  • JBROWN48
    57
    Yes I really like this, and it is so true. Everyday instead of wanting more I thank God for what I have. Every couple of months I go through my stuff and my childrens stuff and what we dont use anymore. I give away. I am blessed for all that I have. - 10/17/2011   8:18:57 AM
  • HAPPYLOSER46
    56
    I love this blog and added it to my favorites! Thanks for sharing! - 10/17/2011   1:54:04 AM
  • 55
    I listen to Og Mandino clips on YouTube and have lots of things to be grateful for. He was a great man. - 10/16/2011   11:49:11 PM
  • 54
    Brilliantly put, Beth. I am a firm believer in being grateful and also in expressing my gratitude to those who make my life brighter, usually by saying "Thank you". Something that makes me very happy is hearing my children say "Thank you so much," to the people who help THEM.
    I also like to give compliments - looking for something positive to comment on easily becomes an ingrained habit and it just makes life that much more pleasant.

    I think you are exactly on target that when we are in that feeling-place of gratitude we are much less likely to turn to food. We give from a place of fullness, so it stands to reason we need food less to fill an emptiness inside. By focusing on gratitude and giving, we are already full.

    Oceans of blessings, dear one. - 10/16/2011   11:18:35 PM
  • MATIA7
    53
    Thank you for your wonderful insight, it offers me inspiration. Congrats on your weight loss! - 10/16/2011   11:03:55 PM
  • 52
    I help out with the chores or house projects. We never run out! - 10/16/2011   6:53:51 PM
  • MSZSNULIFE
    51
    So often it's easy to get consumed with all of the things we don't have - thank you for reminding us to be grateful and remember what we do have. Before today, I did not connect it to my issues with food - very insightful - THANK YOU! - 10/16/2011   3:18:27 PM
  • 50
    Excellent, thought provoking, insightful.........just an all around great blog. I love " Happiness isn't getting what you want; it's wanting what you've got." It is SO true.
    I am going to try pushing my "inner addict" away the next time I feel the need to finish it all. Thank you! - 10/16/2011   1:37:04 PM
  • 49
    Wow, I really needed this today. Thank you and congrats on your weight loss. - 10/16/2011   11:42:31 AM
  • 48
    Thought-provoking insight here, thank you. Gratitude=Contentment. - 10/16/2011   8:17:39 AM
  • 47
    There is a lot of food for thought. I never thought of being grateful and weight loss going together. It makes sense because then we aren't focusing on ourselves. Thanks for sharing! - 10/16/2011   2:22:56 AM
  • 46
    As always, insightful and thought-provoking! I will tune into the "inner" voice more often instead of just "oh, well, I blew it already". Thanks! - 10/16/2011   12:32:08 AM
  • 45
    Awesome blog! And once again food for thought. - 10/15/2011   11:20:11 PM
  • LONESTARBORN
    44
    Great post! I am a Christian & always try to live with an attitude of gratitude. I started tracking on SP almost 2 months & 20lbs ago. Before that I had already lost another 20+lbs but took a lot longer. SP has made this journey so much easier. They say tracking on SP helps you loose 2X as fast & I'm proof! I have an older sister also trying to loose weight. She is heavier than me. I pass forward to her my clothes that no longer fit. I am very relieved when I have another batch to give her. I see her wearing them & am reminded of my progress. She sees another batch & it keeps her motivated! She donates to goodwill when they get too big for her. It is very gratifying & I am so blessed. - 10/15/2011   6:13:38 PM
  • 43
    Helping others is always more rewarding than focusing on just myself. This reminder is so well timed!
    I especially liked making Thanksgiving and Christmas one day events and not an excuse to eat for a month and a half. If you include Halloween and New Years, its 3 months straight. Sadly, I have done this in the past. No more. Awesome blog, Beth. Thanks. - 10/15/2011   1:52:25 PM
  • CYPATAYLOR2
    42
    I loved your blog and your Spark page. Your sayings are inspiring. Congratulations on your weight loss and good luck on reaching your goal!!!! - 10/15/2011   1:00:21 PM
  • 41
    Awesome! Once again, you put it all so well. Your touching on addiction is right on the money. Having seen so much it is usually using some other means to excess to fill another need. We do live in a society of more. So many, forget what they have and where they have been as they look at all the new things to get. Being grateful and enjoying the only moment we have is often lost. (This is something I am working on) I definitely agree that reaching out is one of the best ways to nurture ourselves and better our world.
    Regretfully, I do not subscribe to twitter or facebook. I feel I miss a great deal.
    The timing of your excellent blog was at exactly the right moment for me. - 10/15/2011   12:16:38 PM
  • 40
    The very best way to express gratitude is to do something for someone who cannot do anything for you in return. There's nothing like it! - 10/15/2011   12:00:12 PM
  • 39

    i am very grateful to God for all my blessings. I try to give back to others by helping them find the things I have found that encourage an attitude of Gratitude. God, of course, leads the way but small things too like Sparkpeople and their support, the miracle of hot showers, and since I live in New Mexico where growing things is tough looking for small flowers and trees growing out of rocks! - 10/15/2011   11:57:15 AM
  • 38
    Once again, a wonderful blog; I enjoy your insight. It is a great reminder, to be grateful for that which we have. And yes, if we spent less time feeding ourselves and more time 'feeding' others, we would lose more weight. You are right on! - 10/15/2011   11:47:08 AM
  • 37
    I love it when good writers post about things that I've been feeling but haven't articulated to myself - great blog, thanks!!! - 10/15/2011   11:29:49 AM
  • 36
    what a fantastic blog! I know when I started losing weight and had to do SOMETHING with those clothes in my closet that didn't fit, all I could think of was either repurposing some or donating them. THAT'S IT my brain shouted . . . DONATE. And donate I did (and continue to do! Great feeling. Best in the worl.d I have had periods in my life wheere I've had to admit I needed help and took it. My next task then was always figuring out a way to "pay it forward".

    And looking @ food for me and dealing with it definitely IS like an alcoholic dealing with alcohol. There are just certain foods I will not have in my house because they are not good for me and make my brain (that ADDICT part you speak of) shout FEED ME when the body doesn't need it.

    Sorry this is so long. Appreciate your blog. - 10/15/2011   11:11:25 AM
  • 35
    This is really a very good point. If we could all appreciate what we have it would solve more than just overeating. - 10/15/2011   10:50:37 AM
  • 34
    Good blog, Beth. Spark gave you the opportunity & outlet; YOU did the work. It's important to be grateful to/for yourself, as well as for your family, friends, pets, co-workers, (problem acquaintances)--and Spark! - 10/15/2011   9:02:50 AM
  • CIRANDELLA
    33
    Beth, you are Spark's original "wisdom figure"! And the cool thing about practicing gratitude - often, and plenty of it - is that not only does it get easier and more natural, but more things for which to be grateful will just start popping into view - amazing! - 10/15/2011   7:38:00 AM
  • 32
    nice blog, can really use these words at this time, as I am completely off the wagon and rolling around in that feeling of helplessness and self pity. Will try to carry this with me today.. - 10/15/2011   7:37:49 AM
  • 31
    You're always an inspiration and this was no exception. I do want to make one observation though. Spark People, while being a tremendous resource for support and weight loss, did not save you. YOU saved you. You made the decision to do something about your life and followed through with that decision. You then made conscious decisions every day from then on to continue the work necessary to accomplish your dreams, and we both know what grueling work that can be at times. I know you owe Spark People for the catalyst it provided to begin you on your journey and help keep you anchored in rough seas, but don't forget the most necessary ingredient of all. BETH and her single minded determination is responsible for the person she has become and is continuing to become. - 10/15/2011   7:35:33 AM
  • LAKES232
    30
    I really thank you for your beautiful words. These came at the exact time I needed to hear them. This is my second day and already I feel like I can do this!! And I will let go of the "More!!" Thank you again. Have a bountiful life and know that your words were a lifeline. - 10/15/2011   6:41:18 AM
  • 29
    Yes, gratitude....accepting and being happy with what you have......wonderful peace of mind. - 10/15/2011   3:49:48 AM
  • 28
    I needed to hear this thank you so much for sharring. - 10/15/2011   2:38:35 AM
  • 27
    I have learned that taking a few moments of each day to be grateful keeps me centered and appreciative of all I have. My friends and family bring me great joy, and focusing on the good makes it so much easier to be happy even when my day's not perfect.

    Thank you for sharing this! - 10/15/2011   2:05:48 AM
  • SBNORMAL
    26
    I am grateful for today and that I discovered sparkpeople several weeks ago. Thank you for allowing me into the sparkpeople program. - 10/15/2011   12:35:09 AM
  • 25
    I agree totally with what you are saying. Bless you for sharing your thoughts with us as a reminder of how we should live our lives daily.
    - 10/15/2011   12:32:49 AM
  • 24
    "Could gratitude be the key to weight loss?" Nah! - 10/14/2011   10:56:04 PM

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