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Want to Loose Weight? Eat Right, Exercise and Face the Emotions that Drive Your Eating Habits!

Aug 17, 2007
So many of us have tried diets (lots of them!) and started exercise programs... we know losing those extra pounds is good for us... we want to be healthier... we want to succeed... and contrary to popular belief we DO have willpower. So what's the problem?

According to Dr. Matthew Anderson, a counselor, organizational consultant, columnist for eDiets.com and author of The Prayer Diet, a spiritually based weight loss program diets fail for the most part because they address the externals of loosing weight, rather than the emotional issues behind our eating habits. Why? These changes are not the quick, easy fixes we've been taught to expect when it comes to weight loss... which is why they don't get more attention from many diet gurus. Fixing the emotional stuff is hard.

Dr. Anderson suggests that there are five internal issues that can block your success when it comes to losing weight and improving your health:

1. Inadequate Mothering - Most overweight people use food to "mother" themselves, and this may well be because they didn't get enough nurturing when they were young. Comfort food becomes a solution that provides all the sweetness, care, love, attention, affirmation, acceptance and validation that their own mother was unable to give.

2. Avoiding Strong Emotions - Far from pleasant, intense feelings like anger, fear, hurt or guilt are often so hard to face... hard to deal with... and easier to bury, to avoid altogether. Food provides much needed comfort and distraction until these terrible, troubling feelings pass.

3. Deprivation of Spiritual Needs - Spirituality is a basic human need (not a choice). These days this part of life is often tossed aside in the hustle and bustle of jobs, kids and other obligations. The harder we push soul needs aside, the more intense they become... driving many of us to food for comfort.

4. Inadequate Stress Management Skills - Life these days is hectic and hurried... and growing tougher and more challenging all the time. Anyone who doesn't have solid coping skills is much more likely to turn to food for comfort. Digging into a bag of chips or munching a delicious doughnut is a much more pleasant way of handling the constant stress and challenges of a fast-paced life.

5. Childhood Traumas - If you're more than 70 pounds overweight, according to Dr. Anderson, there is a significant possibility that your weight is related to unresolved childhood pain. Early on you learned that food offered comfort and solace from the pain, and this behavior pattern, once established, has been brought forward into your life today.

According to Dr. Anderson, long-term, lasting weight loss comes only after we identify the emotional triggers to our eating, and learn to manage them. This is not a quick or easy fix. It takes time, effort and a good deal of soul-searching to identify what's driving your behavior and keeping you on the path to unhealthy eating.

And in case you're wondering Dr. Anderson practices what he preaches. By facing up to the emotional reasons for his own overeating, he lost 65 pounds, and has kept 55 of it off for the last 5 years.

So while the emotions behind our eating may be the reason diets and exercise programs continue to fail us; dealing with these troublesome problems may be our ticket off the diet merry-go-round.
About the Author
Valerie Slaughter, a veteran marathoner herself, runs a beginner marathon website and is the author of "You Want to Do What!?" For articles, tips and more information about how to stay fit, healthy and lose weight, visit: http://healthandfitnessnut.wordpress.com
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