Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Psychologists Say That Emotions Affect Weight: Millions of Women Say, Duh!!

So, the other day I was browsing health headlines, as I do—because in my other life I am a struggling freelance health and medical writer—and I came across this: Poll of Psychologists Cites Emotions As Top Obstacle to Weight Loss.

 Well, let me just put down my pint of Ben and Jerry’s. You mean millions of us, while sad, mad, listening to Adele, or even celebrating, may over indulge?

C’est vrais. (translation: “it is true”—I like to pretend I am fluent in French).

 This survey of psychologists who work with weight loss issues says that "understanding and managing the behaviors and emotions related to weight management," are essential to long term dieting success.

 We know, we know! But does it really help? Case in point:

This past summer, spurred by a flea/dust mite crisis, I did a massive housecleaning. I'm not a hoarder (really!), I just have a lot of clutter. Who knew I had so much stuff (and dust)? I hefted boxes and bags up and down the stairs, out to the trash, etc. And I started to lose a significant amount of weight. Great! I needed to lose, in order to get back to a healthy BMI, but also because I am vain.

However, this healthy move was offset by an incredible craving for sweets. I tried to keep them out of the house, but to my embarrassment, despite my years of ranting about high-fructose corn syrup, I became a regular at the McDonald’s drive-thru.

 So do I know what emotions may have been playing a role in this sugar crisis? Um, yeah. I think it went a bit like this:

[Sob,sob.] Damn it, my dog is dead, but these fricking fleas (I always gave Houdini flea prevention-these were super fleas) are still here! [ragged breath]

And-now-they’re-attacking-me-and-my-dust-mites-are-making-me-feel-like Miss Havisham-and-I’m-not, I’m-not, and-also-I-don’t-have-any-money-so-I-can’t-fix-my-house-up, including-my-crazy-ass-slightly-crooked-and-cracking-front-walk-and-I-just-know-that-the-neighbors-and-passersby-are-pointing-and-judging. [sniffle, deep breath in]

Or something like that….

 Psychologists say that treatment with techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help (Therapy! But I’m already in therapy.)

 Seriously, though. There are some truly traumatic experiences—such
as being abused or a survivor of violent crime—that can lead to overeating. Body image, stress, depression or just life can also get in the way. So therapy is nothing to scoff at.

 It’s good to hear the message that’s it’s not just about self-control. But I’d like to hear a little bit more about societal factors that contribute to poor body image and self-punishing overeating. Like the omnipresent messages that tell women they should all look like this:


  To quote a friend of mine: “I’m just sayin’”

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Love it -- funny when the obvious is presented as something just discovered.