Your Body Revival Excerpt: Obesity & the Emotions
The link between obesity and the emotions is tight, yet frequently undefined. I’ve reviewed several books that speak intelligently to the issues of rejection, fear, anger, depression, stress, loneliness and other emotional disturbances and their ties to overeating. The details of each relationship were different, but the themes were similar. The feelings of distress, whether new or chronic, would reach a point where eating was a suitable and temporary relief from their pain; eating and its preparation provided the troubled person with a distraction, a reward, gratification, comfort or a sense of being loved.
Food indulgence was a reaction both automatic and habitual. The subjects ate and ate uncontrollably as life confronted them with its daily dose of conflict. Time passed and the weight mounted slowly but surely. The wild thing is that these disorders are common and often invisible to the afflicted overeater.
Recommendations by counselors were made to the over-consumers to observe their eating patterns and note those occasions when eating was excessive. Questions were asked. Is it legitimate hunger or do you just plainly and simply eat too much? The exercise often fixed an eat-eat situation by interrupting the activity on the spot or prompted the elimination of the unnecessary eating episodes by the diligent breakdown of a bad habit. Were there abnormal emotions present that triggered the wave of overindulgence?
What transpired in the early impressionable years might in part determine eating behavior today. Recognizing and assessing irregular emotional surges can facilitate their dismantling.
The research was broad and deep, and therapy often disclosed the source of overeating. It did not, however, always fix the problem. Work and discipline are still needed to bring about changes.
We are all a little off-balance in that we are not perfect. And not all that appears to be misbehavior is misbehavior or needs analysis — Nothing work, planning, discipline and healthy pride can’t fix.
My approach to the overweight problem, if it stems directly from excessive eating, is to stop it by establishing an orderly and defined eating plan that feeds one healthfully and often so hunger is not a haunting problem. It is backed by sufficient exercise to raise the metabolism as muscles grow, calories burn and fat diminishes. The addition of vigorous activity to a physically dormant schedule improves heart and lung power as it fills the mind with purpose, enthusiasm and clear thinking. The combination of eating and exercise is fundamental, and it consistently corrects a bewildered hormonal system.
Exercise, furthermore, redirects and diminishes stress, fills wasted time with the wisdom of physical investment, burns calories as it replaces cravings and relieves the overwhelming guilt of abuse, neglect and domination by food.
Eating and the emotions can be interwoven, and the doctors studying eating disorders and treating suffering patients have their hands full. I believe you are at least aware that these complex conditions exist, if not what to do to combat them. What can we do, here and now, if these subtle conditions afflict you?
I know you have fantastic potential. You can do extraordinary things with the information and conversation you’re getting in on the website. You’ve already started by confronting yourself with the challenges I’ve put forth. You’re considering what I say and its validity and appeal. What about muscle building and my references to weight training, protein and the inevitable loss of fat through an honest and admirable way of life? It works. This I know for sure.
Treat what I say less like cold, hard facts that are onerous in the thought and ponderous in the doing. Is that how you prepared for your very first baby steps when your proud parents gawked at you with anticipation day after day many years ago? If you could recall, you’d remember you were giggling, reaching and bouncing around with excited eyes like a lovable little nutso. Enthusiasm unbriddled by doubt was your only reference. Think as eagerly and positively about the year to come as you modestly add another to the numbers. Resistance is stressful and fatiguing. Ease into the active lifestyle, unbound and fearless, with that same bright smile and those innocent sparkling eyes. It can happen all over again, over time.
Do you have any hang-ups? Aren’t they a drag? Should you dare fight convention and put order into your life, eat right and lift weights, they will grow faint, as surely as the early morning sun replaces the dark of night. It’s true, almost poetic.
It’s not uncommon in the world of the overweight for the dwellers to think unkindly of themselves, casting a reproving eye on their movements and the space they occupy. Get over it. This is your lot, the boundaries of your life, and here you will remain unless you befriend yourself, pardon yourself of past stumblings and refrain from inflicting further undeserved punishment. Twisted self-affliction damages the goods further, like taking a hammer to the toes of the feet that lost the race. The race is never lost as long as you continue to take another step forward.
I love this old world in spite of the violence, disease and politics. Take care of your own backyard and give your kind neighbor a hand when he needs it. Appreciate yourself with due humility for your strengths and be grateful, for as long as you apply your talent and integrity, you are making progress.
Remember this, ye walking, talking, thinking and feeling miracle: Progress is not only measured in inches and pounds, but also in what is not seen in the external physical structure. Don’t fail to calculate the improved health of the internal system, the organs, hormones, enzymes and their interplay, and the subjective models of character in the mind — patience, determination and perseverance. A flood of improvement of far more value than the loss of a pound rushes on beneath the skin.
Don’t forget the delight of fulfillment and the thrill of success.
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