It is often said that getting to the root cause of a problem is much more effective than simply treating the symptoms. That’s why we seek to cure an infection rather than just eating cough drops, or we undergo an appendectomy rather than taking Tylenol to manage the pain (that would be dangerous!)
And yet, many of us don’t see our weight problem in the same light. We just try to lose weight over and over, without addressing the reasons that we’re overweight in the first place.
For some people, the root cause of a weight problem is an underlying medical issue – and that’s why you should visit our office for testing and treatment, before trying yet another weight loss plan. For many others however, the root cause of their weight is a dysfunctional relationship… with food!
You wouldn’t stay with a dysfunctional partner, and you would seek help if you had a troublesome relationship with your children. So why not address your problematic relationship with food?
Stop shaming yourself. This might sound counter-intuitive, but labeling foods as “off limits” can actually impair some people’s ability to lose weight. Those off-limits foods begin to look more attractive, because they are forbidden. Eventually your willpower snaps, and you devour a carton of cookies. Then the spiral of shame and self-blame begins. Instead of labeling foods as “good” and “bad”, which allows them to have power over you, identify the foods that support your health and the ones that do not. You should be able to indulge in a small treat here and there, while keeping your priorities in check and avoiding the blame game.
Learn to identify your triggers. Often we turn to food for comfort, without even realizing what we’re doing. Keep a journal of your eating habits, but make a notation about your emotions at the bottom of each day. Soon you will notice that a lack of sleep, stress, or some other trigger is prompting you to overeat. As you become more mindful of the link between your emotions and your dietary choices, find other ways to deal with those emotions when you first begin to feel them.
Ask for help. As we already mentioned, you would seek professional help if you were engaged in a dysfunctional relationship with another person. Your own needs, and relationship with yourself, is just as important. If you have a hard time developing a healthier relationship with food, it’s okay to ask for help. Contact a professional mental health counselor or even the National Eating Disorders Association. You aren’t the only one struggling with this problem, and you can change your relationship with food.
Questions? Give us a call or schedule an appointment. We’re happy to assist you.