February 28, 2017

Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:18 am by kellyfdennis

I frequently get asked the question, “Why is it so hard for me to maintain a healthy weight?” While there is much debate over what is a “healthy weight”, I think what people are experiencing is the frustration over getting to a place where they feel healthy, good about their bodies, and are experiencing a healthy relationship with food, only to have it all “fall apart” within a few months.

Some of what is happening is biological. In an article titled: “Energy Intake in Weight Reduced Humans”, Rosenbaum mentions when the human body loses weight rapidly, such as when people are dieting, the body’s energy stores (fat deposits) decrease; hormones that regulate hunger tell the brain that the fat stores have fallen to a critical level; areas of the brain involved in food reward become more active while areas in the brain able to resist food become less active. All of this causes and increase in hunger cues, causing the person to want to eat more. At the same time the brain sends signals to the muscles to be more efficient using energy, so the body burns fewer calories. In addition, the body’s natural resting metabolism slows down.

For me this is evidence enough that diets just don’t work. So what does work? Becoming aware of bodily sensations and cues for hunger and satiation; increasing one’s awareness of emotional states, and understanding the meaning of food in one’s life, as well as learning how to overcome the resistance to regular exercise.Mindfulness is an effective way to begin to accomplish these goals. Mindfulness helps us become aware of “one thing at a time”, so instead of scarfing down breakfast while in the car on the way to work, being mindful of breakfast means being present while one is preparing it, really looking at what is being eaten, how it smells, how it tastes, the texture in your mouth. For most of us, being on “autopilot” prevents this level of mindfulness.

Another key component is creating a healthy relationship with one’s body. If we respect our bodies, appreciate what they do for us and reduce the amount of time spent in a negative internal (or sometimes very external) dialogue about our bodies, we may begin to actually desire to listen to what our bodies want; not only with food, but with exercise, rest and play.

So, let’s shift our focus, from frenzied, autopilot living, to slower, contented awareness. One moment at a time!

Be well and have a wonderful day!

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stefdennis

ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see

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