Fundamentally, food is fuel. The only other reasons we eat is for socializing and for emotional reasons. This probably ruffles feathers, but I am basically saying that all eating is emotional, especially overeating and unhealthy eating.
It is also nearly impossible to separate the emotional aspect from eating and make it simply a re-fueling process. If it was, we’d all eat nutritionally perfect foods and be perfectly happy with it. Getting to a healthy level of body comp and staying there requires wrapping your head around the FACT that the reason you reach for the bag of Doritos, or the cheesecake, or the Hershey’s bar is emotional eating.
I don’t think we ever completely get past the emotional aspects of eating. But the people who are most successful at attaining a healthy body comp are the ones who get past it, and learn to look at food purely as fuel.
Decadent foods like pizza or ice cream become special occasions, kind of like the rest of the world might treat an expensive bottle of champagne. They are things to be savored and enjoyed rarely, not as a staple.
Think about this: a person who indulges in booze every day is called an alcoholic. Someone who indulges in junk food every day is called… your average North American. OUCH!
IS YOUR BRAIN GETTING IN THE WAY?
This will tick some of you off, but fat loss is actually pretty easy. It’s way, WAY easier than muscle gain. It’s not always pleasant and it’s pretty much always socially awkward, and it forces you to go against the choices of your friends, coworkers and family. But when we break it down to a pure physiological process, fat loss is easy.
It’s all the mental stuff tied up in eating that make it pretty much impossible for most of us. It’s the emotions around eating, the addiction to the taste and the feeling of food, the bonding that comes from sharing food with others, and the sense of belonging that comes from “going with the flow”. Most people fail not because they don’t have the right diet plan, not because they don’t have access to the right food, and not because they don’t know or understand exactly what they need to do. All the physiological elements are in place, and they work. Most people fail because they don’t consider the psychological aspect of the diet.
Food, particularly sugar and refined carbohydrates, is addictive. The cravings can be emotionally devastating. Hunger is a feeling completely foreign to us and we can’t handle it; it breaks us down like we were physically beaten.
“There is a profound sense of alienation that comes from doing something “different”. Once food and shelter are taken care of, our number one need as human beings is to feel like we belong. When a person starts a diet they isolate themselves form the norm. And the single most social thing we do, as a species, is share food and drink.
Many people will abandon a diet because it feels like they’re excluded, and for a heavy person already feeling badly about their self-image and their sense of belonging, that’s just too high a price to pay. They’d rather be obese than alone.
I’m not trying to be all Mr. Personal Trainer BOY, let me be the first to admit I’m an emotional eater. I get a profound sense of happiness from sweets. It’s such a satisfying feeling eating a bowl of ice cream (Cookies and Cream to be honest). But now I can control the psychological aspects of eating, and for long periods I can treat food purely as fuel.
Going into the mental aspect of eating is almost mandatory when deciding to change your lifestyle. This is a daily battle that needs to be a One day at a time approach.Taking something from each day to build upon for the next…. Even though the quote is overused it is very fitting to leave on….
"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." -Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School British politician (1874 - 1965).