Why Can't I Lose Weight?
The onset of warmer weather for anyone who feels a sense of loathing for their body shape, brings nothing but dread with the prospect of wearing more revealing, summer clothes.
This is a time when many people are considering going on a diet. Yet most research shows that diets have only transitory results and many people put more weight back on afterwards. A more successful approach is to make more permanent lifestyle changes to incorporate healthier eating patterns and more exercise, however for many people what gets in the way is their problematic relationship to food.
Although food might initially appear to be the problem, food for many people is actually an attempt at a solution – a solution to an emotional problem. Food is used in many ways to deal with feeling bad inside. It may be restricted to create a feeling of emotional control, or used to fill empty feelings and to provide comfort.
It can be helpful therefore, to understand your relationship with food and to understand why you over or under eat. What feelings you are trying to manage? What food means to you? What your triggers for eating are.
Our relationship to food begins right back at infancy. Food is often inextricably linked with a feeling of being loved and nurtured. Our relationship with food can be connected to our ability to take in something good. Some children are so overwhelmed by the chaotic and negative emotions of their parents, they need to create a shield that prevents them from taking anything in, even if it is good. These children will be more likely to restrict food when older. Others feel very empty and unloved inside and use food to push away bad feelings.
Families will communicate very differing messages about food. For some, family meals are times where everyone gets together to talk and be together, in others they are tense times where conflicts break out. Other families never eat together.
All this is helpful to explore. As is your own attitude towards losing weight. Although most people will express a fervent desire to be thinner, deep down being thin might be linked to fears that you might be more noticed, or be seen in a more sexual way and being over-weight might protect you from this.
It is very important not to focus on food as the problem. It is an attempt at solving an underlying problem. Psychotherapy can help you to understand what this problem is and come up with more constructive alternatives to managing it.
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