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Obesity and stress

Written By : Sunila Karan. One of the most common findings associated with obesity is denial. You just can’t ‘look at food’ to gain weight. And it is also not
12 Jul 2008 12:00

Written By : Sunila Karan. One of the most common findings associated with obesity is denial. You just can’t ‘look at food’ to gain weight. And it is also not bad luck and bad metabolism. Obese people often deny that they are big eaters, and insist on remembering details of only the very modest lunches – the occasional piece of watermelon and a small salad that they consume during their days. It is important to remember that ‘binge eating’ even if done only once a month, must be added on to all the other calories that have been taken during the rest of the time period.
That is, it is no point in eating only 800 calories per day from Monday to Friday if, on the weekends, you get into the nuts, chips, burgers, Pizza, fried food, chocolates, a carton of beer, and put away calories in a few minutes. Denying that you ate these extra calories won’t make them disappear.
In fact your body will be steadily adding them on to your total weight.

Obesity is never the problem. It is the result of your problem. The real cause of obesity is usually hidden beneath the surface. It will probably turn out to be one of the following:
1. Boredom
2. Excessive stress
3. Lifestyle or peer pressure
4. Poor self-image (unhappiness, depression)
5. All of the above.
Are you bored? Ask yourself when you do most of your heavy eating, whether it is binges, picking, or heavy meals at certain times of the day or week.
If boredom is the factor here, then make this the time of the day that you do something to correct it.
In other words, if you are bored in the evenings and tend to do most of your eating then, this would be an ideal time for you to engage in an enjoyable sport or other activity that you find stimulating and can do on a long term.
Sports and activities that get you out of the house are a useful diversion if they get you away from the fridge, but not if you end up over-indulging in the pizza and burger queues instead.
If you are bored, examine your entire lifestyle, including asking yourself questions. Consider whether you are using your interests and skills to the best of your ability, trying to reach your potential.
If not, you may find that you can make some changes, such as taking training courses to gain some new skills.
Boredom can certainly be experienced by both sexes, and by all age groups.
The solution to boredom in children and teens is usually quite obvious to parents, namely, that some structure or discipline has to be provided each day to give the child a sense of purpose.
What we forget is that the same principles can apply to fighting boredom in adults and the elderly.
Once boredom takes over, obesity becomes a willing companion.
Certainly, if the highlights of your day is eating a few pieces of cheese cake and drinking coke, you should reassess your priorities and organize yourself to bring more happiness into your life from other sources.

1. Stress as a cause for
Obesity is an abnormal physiological response to stress.
While you are eating as a response to stress, you know it is doing you harm. You know you will feel terrible about it a few minutes after you have finished eating, and often even while eating. But you ‘just can’t’ stop yourself.
Most will admit to trying to eat quickly, as if to avoid being subconsciously ‘caught in the act’, even by their own conscious selves.
Speed, of course, only makes the stomach act as a trash can, and succeeds in packing a much greater quantity of food before the stomach finally cries ‘full’.
Food has this wonderful appeal to the sense of taste and smell, which can bring moments of pure ecstasy to the eater.
When you think about it, if you have gone through a very stressful day, the guaranteed ecstasy of a favorite food does seem enticing.
Such foods can easily be incorporated into your balanced diet.
2. Lifestyle and peer pressure as a cause for over-eating.
Your lifestyle can be one of the most damaging reasons for over-eating, as it usually begins in early childhood.
The pressure actually starts with well-meaning parents who think that a fat baby is a healthy baby; that all your food on your plate must be finished; and the reward for doing something well should be food, often a sweet. Children also imitate their parents in that; whenever company is invited, food must be made and served – usually food that if fattening.
The association of food with all of these various activities and emotions is instilled at an early age, and can cause a lifetime of bad eating habits.
The peer pressure can begin when groups of overweight children get together and find they have common interests, which basically revolve around food. Often such children also share inactivity.
They may sound active, and full of noise and energy, but they are actually burning off few calories in real exercise.
If all your friends are participating in sports and exercise, you will probably join them.
But if they are indulging in over-eating, you will probably feel pressure to join them in these inactivities.
Once you exercise, and your whole body feels the glow of its muscle stiffness, you become aware of your body and less likely absent -mindedly to over-eat. As an added bonus, the endorphin generated by exercise acts as a natural appetite suppressant.

By Sunila karan
Counsellor/Personal Development Trainer
Ph: 6727861/9996807 For stress management/counseling & communication training
Contact 6727861/9996807.

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