Your Enemies: The Big Three Challenges to Weight Mastery
There are three enemies to lifelong weight mastery: adverse circumstances, harmful emotions, and destructive habits.
Enemy #1: Adverse Circumstances
Adverse circumstances encompass an array of everyday life challenges. Often these are events, big or small, that are out of our control: pressures at work, the demands of rearing children, the inherent stress of maintaining a relationship, illness, financial strain, and so on. It’s important for you to know that it is never circumstances that bring us to our knees (or to the pantry), it’s our interpretation of these circumstances that does. While you can’t always prevent bad things from happening, you can control how you react to them.
Enemy #2: Emotions & Moods
There’s no doubt that emotions play a major role in destructive eating. Anxiety, panic, boredom, moodiness, depression, irritability, stress, and so on, can create emotional chaos that compels us to seek the calming, distractive, anesthetizing qualities inherent in our go-to comfort foods. Food can have a dramatic and profound effect on our moods by affecting the brain chemicals responsible for pleasure and feeling good. When it comes to emotional first aid, there’s no question that comfort food becomes a form of self-medication. Like alcohol, nicotine or cannabis, food can have a powerful, sedating effect on tense emotions.
Enemy #3: Habits and Patterns
Although habits like touch typing, driving a car, or even the overlooked intricate dexterity involved in buttoning your blouse or shirt, are undeniably helpful (you’d be hard pressed for time if every day you had to relearn to do these tasks), other habits like lethargy (especially becoming a “couch potato”), worrying and ruminating (yes, these are habits), or the habits associated with destructive eating, can hold you and your life hostage. Being able to recognize the habitual nature of what you do, when you do it, and why you do it, is pivotal in the re-formation of destructive patterns into positive habits.
In order not to be victimized by impulses, cravings, misperceptions, or mindless destructive patterns, it’s imperative that you know and appreciate your enemies. Adverse circumstances, harmful emotions, and destructive habits will typically co-mingled, i.e., a setback at work (circumstance) may cause intense panic (harmful emotions), leaving you reaching for the solace of an old friend, that pint of ice cream (destructive habits). These are the three enemies of moderation and healthful eating and they represent the challenges that you must neutralize in order to be in the best possible position to live according to your intentions, rather than your impulses.