Switch to Accessible Site
NY & NJ Counseling for Individuals,

Groups, Couples, and Families

 

 

 

Couple Therapy Session

Weight Loss/Weight Control

Perhaps you find yourself on a constant diet, or you are one of the lucky few who only tries to lose five or ten pounds when the seasons change, particularly winter into spring or summer. However, studies show that more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, and another 32.5% of American adults are overweight. And approximately one in six children between the ages of two and 19 are obese.

This is disturbing since people who are overweight or obese are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, and excess weight is linked to many cancers. However, the daily struggle of keeping one's food, weight, and exercise under control can feel like a cancer of its own. We often start the day with the best of intentions, with many people skipping breakfast or even fasting. While this may be well-intentioned, it typically backfires since numerous studies show that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and a well-balanced, high-protein breakfast can center the mind and body, and increase brain functioning for children and adults. It can also decrease the amount people eat in the evenings, which is especially important since eating after 7 pm is the most dangerous time in terms of weight gain.

Losing weight has become an obsession for many people. This is often more common among women, but many men have come to share this obsessive disorder. Food is the cheapest, most available-and publicly condoned-drug, form of social entertainment, antidepressant, and antianxiety agent, which makes successfully achieving and maintaining a reasonable weight much easier said than done. It involves incorporating some form of movement into our life most days, yet most dieters have come to associate exercise with drudgery. A key to successful weight loss if finding a form of movement (or two-three different kinds) we like, because we know that diversifying our exercise is essential to working on different muscles, and-maybe even more importantly-to avoid boredom so that we don't give up. We need to choose a form of movement we enjoy-whether it is jogging, playing tennis, riding a Peloton, or swimming. We often underestimate the value of simply walking, yet many of us have discovered that the number of steps we do in our daily activity actually makes a great difference in our weight. It is important that the movement you choose brings you pleasure, or overeaters may actually overeat after the exercise due to resentment for having felt punished by doing exercise they dislike.

Although you may be confused about what is the best diet to follow, there is one rule that cannot be emphasized enough-we are meant to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full. Many people are unsure of when they are hungry. As Geneen Roth says, "Being hungry is like being in love: if you don't know, you're probably not." However, fullness is even harder for people. If we do not begin eating when we are hungry, we have no idea when to stop. The key to stopping at fullness is that you stop when you are full and can walk away from the table still feeling light. Don't worry about not having eaten enough. If you haven't eaten enough, you will know in twenty minutes-your brain will signal to your body that it needs more food, which you should give it.

Weight Control is a complex formula of balancing "calories in" with "calories out." To lose one pound a week, our bodies need 3,500 less calories per week than we are currently taking in. This means we need to find ways to move all year round, and eat healthier, lower fat, higher fiber foods with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it is important for many people to include what they have often considered "treats" into their meal plan, whether that is occasionally, weekly, or daily, since, for many people, the more they diet, the more they feel deprived which leads to more binging. However, for those who have identified certain foods they feel physically addicted to, abstaining from those specific foods may be beneficial. You can still have a healthy, satisfying meal, without eating your trigger foods. To understand weight control, we must understand that food was meant to be fuel for our body and not to do all the other jobs we give it, such as managing our moods, entertaining us, or helping us socialize with less anxiety.

Finding serenity with your weight, food, and body frees you up to lead a more gratifying, meaningful, and happy life.