Saturday, June 15, 2013

Over-Eating During Holidays: Do You Blame Yourself?

Have you ever noticed, that no matter what holiday it is, there's food associated with the celebration? Even for religious holidays where you "fast" there's an ending of the fast meal that become part of the celebration.

It's finally becoming apparent that dieting doesn't work. Sooner, rather than later, the weight you lost is regained. 95% of all dieters regain their hard fought lost weight within a couple of month to two years. And, unfortunately, most people still blame themselves for getting overweight in the first place, and secondly for failing at dieting.

If you have fallen for the belief that limiting your food intake and increasing your exercise is going to make you lose weight permanently, holidays are a even more of a challenge. Going to parties and trying to avoid eating the foods you love is stressful. If you don't resist, you get disgusted with yourself, which adds to the stress and feeling of low self-esteem.

And yet, there is so much misunderstanding about how and why people gain weight. But unfortunately, despite the facts, there is very little disagreement among health care practitioners about how you gain weight, and how to lose it. The vast majority of diet gurus insist that you have to eat less, exercise more, avoid fats, carbs, and eat rabbit food. And this has become "common wisdom" in the general population as well, despite the huge failure rate! But if you read the actual research, you learn that is not the case.

Doing the same thing repeatedly, and expecting different results is the definition of A DIET, and insanity!

The sad thing is people who are overweight, have taken on the belief that they are responsible for being overweight; that they over-ate, under-exercised, have no discipline, cheated at their diet, or did something else to "deserve" their over weight condition. They are stuck in the belief that being overweight is their fault, and they blame themselves instead of the flawed concept of dieting! This self blame is self destructive, stressful, and can actually add to their difficulty with their weight!

Perhaps worst of all, is that people who don't have weight problems will fight vehemently for their position blaming overweight people for being lazy and pigging out, causing their own problems. They even quote the Law of Thermodynamics (which doesn't apply in this situation).

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

- Mahatma Gandhi

There are circumstances that create conditions that make people overweight. Yes, over-eating can be one of the causes, but people don't typically over-eat unless there is something wrong with their body's feedback loop that tells them that they've eaten enough food! You only need to try to stuff more food in your mouth when you've had enough. You feel miserable. It's painful!

Some of the reasons that lead to overweight are:

  • Genetic inheritance

Epigenetic inheritance- (this is the newest research- the stress your parents were dealing with in THEIR lives..)

Exposure to toxins while in utero, or during your lifetime

  • Chronic or serial Stress

Stress not only changes your and slows your metabolism, but it can cause you to eat as a response to stress. Multi-tasking and being overly busy makes you eat mindlessly, unaware of your body's signals of satiation.

  • Under-eating or Dieting

Chronic dieting puts the body automatically into fat storage mode to prevent death from starvation. Your body is designed by nature to keep you at a weight set point.

  • Over-exercising

This increases your appetite automatically to prevent the body from losing too many calories, thus preventing weight loss. Your body is designed by nature to keep you at a weight set point.

So, don't diet or over-exercise to control your weight. Enjoy yourself, during holidays. This is the time to de-stress, and relax. Eat the food you love. But eat mindfully, and check in with your stomach to realize when you've eaten enough. It's when you deprive yourself of the food you love during the rest of the time that encourages binge eating!

Don't punish and blame yourself for something that is not "your fault". Self deprivation is stressful and can wreak havoc with your metabolism. When you pay attention to your body's signals of hunger and satiation, your body will keep you at your proper weight set point.