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(Regarding The New York Times article “The Mental Strain of Making Do With Less.”)
I spoke on NBC15 news last week about persistent problems that threaten our daily intelligence – the inspiration for this segment was an article published in The New York Times, entitled “The Mental Strain of Making Do With Less.”
What happens when we have an issue, problem or condition that constantly takes up a good deal of our available “bandwidth” – the energy, attention, focus, emotionality, and thought processes that go on beneath the surface?
We actually have less capacity to handle the important things in life: Career, relationships, environment, meaningful connection, pleasurable pursuits, and personal fulfillment.
These often unexplored topics are where we feel scarcity in our lives, or where we feel ourselves lacking, like esteem, intelligence, money, weight. And what do we create when we run the energy of scarcity in our lives?
I was once fat. Many people prefer another word but I like “Fat” and, since it was mine, I figure I get to call it any name I want.
In the year 1996, I weighed 242 lbs.! That’s quite a bit of fat, no matter what you like to call it. Like most people, I wasn’t fond of my fat. I desperately wanted to change it, and I had tried for over 20 years to solve fat. My first diet was at age 10. And, when you try to solve something for 20+ years, and aren’t successful, you get pretty pessimistic about the whole damned project.
The way I saw it, Fat got in the way of finding a career I loved. It got in the way of relationships. It affected how I felt about myself.
And, by 1996, I was seeing it pretty much as UNSOLVE-ABLE!
This wasn’t just an obstacle – it was the biggest obstacle of all time in my eyes. No matter what I had tried, and I had tried every diet, intervention and exercise modality known to wo/man, the excess weight always came back.
Like a stalker!
Like it had FAT GPS!
And I thought I was the only one in the world who had this problem!
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Sending a son off to college is a challenge. I expected that.
You expect emotional impact on your “momself.” The cost is astonishing! Then, there’s the uphill climb through amazing hills of paperwork, applications for everything from residence halls to scholarships to individual study programs.
What I never expected was the guilt-evoking barrage of sales packages, all suggesting ways to spend money to alleviate the “momguilt” of sending junior from his childhood home into the big, bad world.
Get this one, which arrived today:
After a long lead-in about how lonely and bereft DS would be at the big/intimidating university, and the assurance that the big/intimidating university will be doing their part to help the student assimilate, I am reminded that most students don’t get enough encouragement from home!
However, in our foodcentric and food focused society, there is really only ONE answer!
The popular movie, The Hunger Games, is raking in the profits after capitalizing on the word-of-mouth from readers of the popular teen book and a boatload of publicity.
I wish I had come up with this name for the book I am writing. The Hunger Games – doesn’t it sound like a self-help book for pulling yourself out of food addiction?
Well, here are some REAL Hunger Games we play. Which one’s your favorite?
1. Diet/Avoid Food All Morning and Binge the Rest of the Day
This is the surest road to excess weight. I did it for years. I thought I was “saving up calories” for the rest of the day and exercising my willpower muscles, but I was creating more hunger and programming my body to store fat faster and more efficiently. I was also losing touch with what real hunger felt like and teaching my body I would not respond to its natural hunger cues.
2. Plan Days/Events/Activities Around Eating
OK, my bad on this one. It’s still my favorite example though. I used to choose an Overeaters Anonymous meeting because it was near one of my favorite restaurants. Since I was the one doing it, I can cop to it now. It’s so counter-intuitive, it’s amazing. Many of my clients tell me they hit goal weight in Weight Watchers and have already planned their “reward binge” or mapped out the directions to the nearest fast food restaurant. Yeah, it makes no sense, but it happens. A lot. It’s a sign nothing has changed.
Do you choose events or movies because you like a restaurant nearby? Does “being in the neighborhood” sound like a good excuse to hit a favorite type of food? Or do you say, “Who knows when I’ll get a chance to eat this again?” That’s not a real reason to eat, just a Hunger Game.
3. Eating as Entertainment (Food Focused or Foodcentric Lifestyle)
When you get together with friends, family or a partner, is your main focus eating? A movie is entertainment. A bike ride is activity. Eating is functional. It’s the gas station. Fuel. It can taste great and transport your taste buds, but if it’s your main source of entertainment, it’s time to branch out and see more of life.
4. Fear of Hunger
Many of my clients stash food in their cars, offices, gym lockers, computer cases and bedrooms so they will never be without a fix. What’s so scary about being hungry? Well, it’s usually not hunger we really fear, but the needs underneath. These needs, often subconscious and unexplored, are darker and usually created long ago, in childhood. However, it doesn’t matter if it’s unlikely to happen (running out of food or not being able to get to food in our society???), fear loves to run our behaviors.
5. I’ll Fix it Later
This is my favorite. We live under the illusion, reinforced by the diet industry, that choices today are unimportant because we have the ability to fix our weight later. Have that rich, fat-laden five course meal and promise to run every day next week to make up for it. Turn into the drive-thru – it’s OK because you’re going to the gym tonight.
This is simply untrue. Dieting rarely works, and reinforcing this negative belief (or LIE) of the “quick fix later” just makes it feel true. The truth is, once fat is processed, it’s more difficult to remove and resists dieting and excessive exercise. In fact, the longer you work out, the less fat you will burn every minute.
Understanding how the body works is the key to ending the Hunger Games in your life. Being consistently healthy is simpler and more effective than playing games too.
If you (or anyone you know) is ready to end the Hunger Games in life, share this post with them and check out my next enLIGHTen Your Life! class starting soon! Click here for information.
This month’s book contest features the “Just Tell Her to Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders“ , by Becky Henry.
This fascinating book offers a different perspective on eating disorders. If you have experienced disordered eating, or have children who might be susceptible, it’s a must read. Parenting a child in today’s world, which is focused on controlling food, food addictions, setting up bizarre behaviors with food, binge eating and food struggle, isn’t easy. It’s a food focused and foodcentric world. This book helps you understand the struggle for control.
Two ways to win!
1. Go to America’s Weight Loss Catalyst Facebook Page by clicking here and hitting the “Like” button. You’ll be the bonus of tips and motivation every morning from the facebook page!
2. Visit any other blog post right here on this site and post your comments, opinion or questions. We’re always happy when you share the blog posts by using the buttons at the bottom of the page too!
You get one entry for every action you take!
Share the Catalyst experience on social media and you’re automatically entered to win this month’s book: Just Tell Her To Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders by Becky Henry!
This week has seen a lot of discussion about a new diet book which targets girls ages 6-12. After the initial outbreak of criticism, the author appeared on several talk shows defending his book as “empowering.” I spoke on the news about it Thursday.
I have to admit I’ve been wrestling with conflicting feelings about this. On one hand, I want to have the guy banned from Amazon and every other bookseller. His complete ignorance of the damaging and diminishing effect of diets on young women is simply deplorable.
On the other hand, we live in a country where we enjoy freedom of speech.
And yet, we have laws and policies that protect children from harm. And this is harmful.
To complicate matters further, as a blogger, do I speak up and risk giving him more exposure, or do I remain silent?
Recently, I was looking for a journal to take to a training session and came across an old one. I had kept it while my husband was in the middle east with the air force during the Enduring Freedom campaign. I knew Tony would miss some important days while he was away from home since our son was only 8 years old at the time.
I remember the war was scary to Colt and, while his dad was away, he didn’t want to hear about war or fighting. If something came on the news about it, he would grab the remote control and change the channel. Continue reading »
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As our culture becomes more and more fixated with excess weight and dieting, we grow fatter. As weight loss methods proliferate, verging on the dangerous, we risk serious bodily harm to get thin, but never seem to get there. Unexpressed desires, hungers and needs drive this counterproductive behavior.
Through the years, my clients have shared many forms of hunger with me and with each other in my year-long weight loss class. Often, they describe a deep, endless hunger they feel in a sharp, visceral way – a deep hole that is never filled, no matter how much food, drink and drama are added to the void. That’s what I thought about when I saw this video:
The hunger we feel has nothing to do with food.
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