The Diet Dilemma

vector-of-a-cartoon-walking-fat-cat-outlined-coloring-page-by-ron-leishman-19831Don’t most Americans think that they need to lose weight……..someday?

Then we get older, and someday passes.  I mean, some of us have  been fat for years! Why change now? But, we do complain about it, rather often. We would like to have good cardiac health and live forever, for starters!

But here’s a profound question:  Do we really want to lose weight in the first place?

Oh, come on! All of us want to, or we wouldn’t spend millions of bucks on Lean Cuisine, The Atkins Diet, The Paleo Diet; and more hours staring at TV, watching Kristy Alley morph from large to small and back again. Fascinating!

But maybe there’s more to it. Yes, we’d like to look like Kristy at model-thin size. But, do we really want to BE that way?

Here’s an example. I would like to be a better violinist. In order to be a very good violinist, I may have to DO a number of things. First, I would need to devote a substantial amount of time to practice.  Second, I would need to develop the proper mindset to persist in practice. And third, I would need to acquire a different expectation for myself. I would need to address the possibility of performing before larger and more discerning audiences than formerly.

There’s the real issue.  What we do and don’t do is often related to what we think and feel. Yes, we would like to have good cardiac health. But, the heart is more than a muscle, you know. It is the emotional and spiritual center of a person’s body. That is why, interestingly, the cardiac floor of a hospital has particularly attentive staff. Many patients report their most loving experience in a long time……on the cardiac floor. A number of people are on the cardiac floor because of heart issues…….related to obesity.

So which comes first, the chicken or the egg? According to Psychology Today, stress, sadness, anxiety, depression, lack of self-appreciation and other emotional factors can lead to over-eating and lack of motivation to exercise.

As older women, we understand ourselves pretty well. We know we need to manage our thought patterns and behaviors that will sabotage weight-loss efforts. But, how do we do that?

Nigel Barber, Ph.D, proposed in Psychology Today that we are not fat because we eat too much, but because we move too little. This is quite true. Subsistence societies who move constantly to acquire  food and perform activities of daily living are unlikely to be obese, with the lifestyle-linked diseases that accompany that.  Farmers know that fattening an animal for slaughter involves confining it in a small space and allowing it plenty of high-energy food. Most people who are overweight, do not, in fact, move very much at all, compared to active people. And, of course, the fatter the body, the less inclined to move.

But, what kind of movement is required to lose weight?

A lot.

Will you just wake up one morning and begin a strenuous program?

I doubt it.

The word ‘mindfulness’ is the kind of over-used buzz word that is practically meaningless any more. However, if we examine the word, it fits the scenario, here. First of all, we need to be mindful of sadness, depression. A lot of us have had serious life issues, simply because we have lived a while. Sadness can make us feel hopeless, like we don’t want to do anything at all, let alone move at a brisk pace. Strangely, there is a little reward for moving briskly for just 20 minutes. Studies show that brisk movement makes a person feel brighter and better.

Have you ever noticed that eating high-calorie, low nutrient foods simply sets up a craving for more of the same? Instead of binging on these, why not fill up…..even over-do it……on foods like nuts instead of potato chips when you feel like snacking?  Naturally, even nuts take some research. Most of the salty little bags of them aren’t very wholesome. But plenty of good, fresh nuts are available, as well as many other delicious, nutritional snacks.

Losing weight doesn’t happen over night. It involves some serious changes in expectations for yourself, not deprivation. It requires researching what foods will really nourish your body so that snacking becomes less compulsive. Through routine, the body resets itself with physical exercise. Depression becomes less debilitating.

Try it and see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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