Page 64

1-2-2015IHMFloridaonlineVer

4 About one-quarter of children ages adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese. (5) 5 Reports on the Internet and airwaves salty snacks as the chief culprits. These so-called junk foods hijack the brain as powerfully as heroin or cocaine, according to research (6). In an effort to bring Americans’ eating habits back in line, federal, state and local agencies keep launching programs espousing healthier food choices, mandating alterations in school lunches and banning the sale of sweetened beverages in public places. Fueling the attention about obesity are diets by the dozens promising quick weight loss, and floods of pop magazine spreads depicting beautiful people who have shed gobs of weight in mere weeks. The problem is that none of the diets or pretty pictures addresses the underlying question: What am I doing to myself? Or, put more directly: Why am I committing suicide on the installment plan? Suicide? With food? Gimme a break, you’re saying. Explain, then, based on the NIH statistics cited above, how approximately 215 million Americans are categorized as overweight, and how half of those are determined to be clinically obese. We know that heavier people are more prone to a spate of illnesses, starting with heart disease. Yet the snack food/fast food companies continue to get fat on our denial (which, in therapy-speak, stands for: Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying). Again, I ask: Why do we do this to ourselves? Because we’re habituated to numbing our-selves And because food is both an instantly avail-able Bless you healthy ones, who say: “I can take or leave a bag of cheese puffs.” “One handful of jelly beans is my limit.” ‘I don’t feel like having dessert tonight, thank you.” But what about the rest of us who long ago flunked the Lay’s Potato Chips challenge: “Bet you can’t eat just one”? The only long-term answer for this food 64 2-5, and one-third of children and cite cookies, chips, and other sugary, from the daily dramas of life, that’s why. and socially acceptable numbing agent. Innovative Health Magazine junkie, who had lost and regained the same chunk of weight repeatedly over the years, was to “get down to causes and conditions,” as we say in the recovery field, and then make permanent changes in my diet. Through self-examination, professional help and support groups, I finally became willing to look at the truth about my eating behaviors. I saw I had spent 25 years trying fruitlessly to manage my weight by: 1 Exercising to burn off the empty calories I had crammed down the previous night. 2 Fasting for two days after a period of out-of- cravings for such food grabbed me by the throat when I was emotionally starved – those times when I was feeling stressed, fearful, anxious, depressed or isolated. control bingeing, before resuming my runaway eating; and 3 Adhering to fad diets in short bursts followed by plundering the cabinets in a scene right out of Fatso. But newfound self-knowledge was only the start of the equation. I still had to solve for Why. Incrementally, and with help from therapists, nutritionists and recovering compulsive eaters, I became increasingly able to recognize times when food had owned me. Clearly, the urge for sweet, salty and crunchy “treats” had nothing to do with being physically hungry. Rather, the cravings for such food grabbed me by the throat when I was emotionally starved – those times when I was feeling stressed, fearful, anxious, depressed or isolated. Once I could get to the root of my sense of dis-ease, I then could take alternative action to shoveling “comfort food” into the hole in my soul, which only had gotten bigger the more I tried to fill it. Much of my own journey to wholeness is a result of finding healthy ways to reduce the stress I may feel, to allay the fears that paralyze me, to tamp down my anxiety, to mitigate my depression and to break through the sense of aloneness I sometimes experience even in a crowd. Each of us has to develop his or her own self-soothing techniques, but we all have the innate ability to do so, just as we all have the capability to dig up the buried reasons why we feel the way we’re feeling. At least for me, the answers were there, once I became willing to pick up the shovel. And having solved for Why, the answer really was as simple as a-b-c. I first needed to gain awareness of what I was feeling, then develop the belief I could work through the unearthed emotion without bingeing to rebury it, then make a change in my response to the upsetting incident. Amazingly, the awareness/ belief/change model not only restored emotional balance, it reduced the number on my scale by 25 pounds and has kept it there for nearly three decades. Try it, you’ll like it and start loving yourself more, too. Next time, I’ll write specifically about kinds of questions to ask yourself about your eating habits and behaviors. I’ll discuss the types of foods I do and do not eat and how I arrived at a food plan that works for me. References 1. Mind/Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships (5th Edition) by Keith J. Karren Ph.D. (Author), Lee Smith (Author), Kathryn J. Gordon (Author), Kathryn J. Frandsen (Author), 2013. 2. Minding the Body, Mending the Mind – Revised and Updated, by Joan Borysenko, 2007. 3. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders -- www.anad.org/ get-information/about-eating-disorders/ eating-disorders-statistics/. 4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 5. National Institute for Health -- http://www.niddk.nih. gov/health-information/health-statistics/ Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx. 6. The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, Michael Moss, The New York Times Magazine, Feb. 20, 2013. ‘‘ ‘‘


1-2-2015IHMFloridaonlineVer
To see the actual publication please follow the link above