What if it isn't Diet and Exercise
Thursday, June 18, 2015
This entry is for a specific group of people of which I am a member. I am not talking to people who have found a way of eating, lost the weight and are happily in maintenance. I am happy for you and congratulations on your progress. I am also not talking to new people looking for your way. I wish you luck from the bottom of my heart. I am talking to people who have counted so many calories we can recite calories for every food known to man, or can list the weight watchers points from memory. We have tried every diet and succeeded at most of them. The weight always comes back though and we always ask why. We have leaned all the buzz words and 5 1/2 days a week we put it into practice, but there always seems to be that day or day and a half that no matter how dedicated we are, no matter how many affirmations we recite we just can't avoid the doughnut or the pint of ice cream.
We go home feeling like a failure and ashamed, we beat ourselves up, we ask ourselves continually why can't I stop? The reason is for us it is an addiction. Science is still testing to find out if sugar is physically addictive but addiction as a psychological phenomena is real and can apply to anything that we use to redirect ourselves away from a feeling of helplessness. This is where people turn to shopping, to internet, and yes to food.
What I have gathered for myself from reading many books about addiction ( I have found the books of Dr. Lance Dodes particularly helpful) is that for that select group of people I am talking to, until we treat the addiction no meaningful weight loss will occur more than temporarily.
The reason we turn to food is individual but it is always a comfort mechanism for helplessness. Examining what causes the helplessness in your own experience is the first step. Dr. Dodes points out that the relief in a binge whether on drugs alcohol or Krispy Kreme comes not from the substance but at the moment that we decide to indulge. At that moment we feel control in a situation that has been uncontrollable to that point.
I personally am a work in progress but over the years I have read so many message board posts and blog posts that sound so much like me that I need to give my perspective so that it might help someone else. I now still try to eat healthy and I do exercise regularly (I need the dopamine more than the calories it burns) but I examine my mind now when I feel that urge more than the foods I have eaten. For anyone who struggles like I have examine your life for those reason that you feel helpless and find ways to relieve that helplessness without the substance. I still binge but it is improving now that I know the causes.