Living to Eat or Eating to Live

There’s a TV show in the United States called, My 600 lb Life. It shows the journeys of morbidly obese people who seek a solution to their dangerous obesity. They go to Houston, Texas to seek the help of Dr. Nowzardian, a weight loss surgery specialist, one of the few who operates on such large bodies.

The first thing says is that they have to show him their desire by losing 50 lbs in a month, before surgery. Then surgery is done. At first their eating habits are in control, then they start ballooning again. At this point he sends them to a therapist, saying that unless they handle their emotional problems, weight loss surgery won’t work. Some of them resume their weight loss after therapy, others never do. In fact, the success rate of morbidly obese patients is about 5%.

Why and how, after reducing the physical size of the stomach, do people continue to eat? Their main challenge is that food had always been the answer to their anxieties, fears or any other kind of stress. “If I’m feeling sad, I eat. If I’m feeling scared, I eat. If I have things I want to say, but can’t, I eat. “After the surgery, this outlet is removed from their lives and they don’t know where or how to alleviate their deepest concerns.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” The meaning behind this is that every food you ingest affects your body, mind and future. But mindful eating is just the opposite of emotional eating. When you feel stressed and grab a bag of Doritos are you thinking of what the fat, salt and chemicals will do to your body? Hardly. Something inside says, “I need a bag of Doritos,”  and, without thinking, the body obeys. This is emotional eating.

Emotional hunger comes on suddenly and usually calls for specific comfort foods. Once we gorge on chips or cookies, not only do most of us feel bad from the effects of the ingredients, we may feel guilty for eating them – usually mindlessly. And emotional eating seldom satisfies the hunger once your stomach is full, because the desire wasn’t located in the stomach, but in the brain – a hunger for something to fill up some kind of void or relieve some kind of stress.

This is not a treatise on how to lose weight, control all cravings or rid yourself of eating binges, but a way that may help head them off. As you monitor your stress levels, you can notice when they are low, high or moving up. You can…

…Stop….Sit in a comfortable chair, in a quiet room

….Breathe deeply for a minute or two…….Listen to a calming guided meditation

The WellBe bracelet is a great technology that can alert you when stress is beginning to take hold. Moreover, you’ll find that the WellBe bracelet and app comes with a fitness center locator, which means you can always find the best place to workout, wherever you may be.

How would you feel if you could stop the cycle of unnecessary or too much food and consequent guilt? Would you feel better about yourself? What if one of the side effects was to feel stronger, healthier and happier? Wouldn’t the five to ten minutes be worth it? No doubt. Begin to monitor your stress levels today and watch what happens.

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