Monday, December 31, 2012
Most people join Spark to lose weight and/or get healthy. Most people assume that being overweight has to do with eating too much or the wrong food and/or not exercising enough. This may be true, but I think these are only the symptoms.
Disordered eating (in the widest sense of the word) can take many forms and has many contributing factors.
Some of this becomes evident when looking at all the different Spark teams there are.
Some diseases and/or disabilities make it hard to eat or properly digest certain foods that may be healthy for some people. Examples of this are insulin-resistance and diabetes, hypothyroidism, gluten-intolerance or food allergies and sensitivities. These health problems may require special, therapeutic diets to allow the body to function well.
Another, very common cause for disordered eating is sleep disturbances or lack of sleep. The problems can be as varied as chronic pain, acid reflux disease, sleep apnea, hormone imbalances, too much computer time or any number of causes.
Too much chronic stress is another factor that may affect our eating through overproduction of some hormones and underproduction of others. The cause of stress can be physical or mental/emotional. Sometimes the biggest difference lies in how we choose to respond to stressful events and how we cut out space in our lives to counteract stress.
Habits that we have had for a long time are sometimes the cause of disordered eating. It takes a lot of effort to change habits and sometimes support from others will help a lot.
More and more often financial constraints limit our ability to eat healthy food. Having to get groceries at the local food bank severely limits one's choices.
There are many other factors that may come into play, including job, children, living situation, personal issues etc.
Just like our food choices our exercise choices may be determined by many other factors, some of which we can control and some we can't.
Life is complicated and sometimes the best we can do to is take a step back and look at it all from a distance. I like to make a large poster with many of the areas in my life that are important and then draw lines between them to explore the relationships between different areas in my life. This helps me to make plans for the New Year that are realistic and puts my weight loss goals in perspective. I like to then color-code my poster to mark areas where I'm doing well, areas where I need improvement and areas where I need to ask for outside help to be successful.
There are two ways to visualize balance: The one is the idea of balancing too many things at random on one plate and the whole thing being in real danger of crashing.
The other idea of balance is to put the heaviest (most important) items in the center of the plate and then decorate all the smaller things around it.
What is it in your life that centers you?