UNDERSTANDING YOUR “WEIGHT-ITUDE”
You’ve slowly eased into a healthier lifestyle—cutting out the salt, giving up on soda, and now you’re ready for something more serious. You’ll discover a diet isn’t just a physical battle. It requires commitment, sacrifice, discipline, self-control, and a healthy self-esteem that tells you that your health and well-being is worth all the work. To find out what subconscious beliefs may be preventing you from succeeding on your diet, answer the following questions:
Do you usually cave in to the pressure of eating like everyone else? Peer pressure is a powerful thing, and the fact is that it’s hard to stay on a diet when your environment provides plenty of temptation. You meet up with friends for dinner, and they order pasta. You open the refrigerator, and there sits the brownies your daughter brought home from school. Going on a diet may mean that you’ll be doing things differently from those who aren’t willing to share your menu. Are you comfortable with that?
As a child, was food used as a punishment or a reward? Remember when you did something wrong, and your mother sent you to your room without any dinner? This could be the reason why diets make you feel worthless or depressed. You feel deprived, and to some extent, “punished” for being “fat”. If you were “thin, sexy, and beautiful” you could have that chocolate cheesecake—but because you’re not, you’re stuck with lima beans. This kind of thinking eats at your self-esteem, and puts you at risk for cheating on the diet as a way of rebelling.
Were you taught to finish everything on your plate? Many diets will tell you to eat only until you’re full, or at least keep your servings small. This could run contrary to rules you grew up with, where it was mandatory to “eat everything” lest you “waste” the food.
Is eating a way of showing someone your love? In some households, food is a way of lavishing affection—they slave over a dish, serve it, and you in turn affirm their efforts by asking for third or even fourth helpings.
Do you savor your food? Many of us are rather distracted as we eat. We eat while working on our desk, watching TV, or simply wolf down everything before running off to the next task.
Do you get depressed about your eating habits and your weight? This emotion signals that this is no longer just about what you weigh, but what your weight symbolizes to you. Maybe the extra pounds make you feel like you’re a failure, because you don’t have control over your appetite. Maybe you’ve been fighting obesity for several years, and you feel helpless and angry because nothing you try seems to work.