The holiday “eating frenzy” is here. I hope you don’t get “BLASTed.” That’s an acronym we use in our weight loss classes to help our patients get their eating under control. Bored. Lonely. Angry. Stressed. Tired. When you are in one of those situations you are more likely to eat “stuff” you shouldn’t be eating. Junk food. It’s all over Christmas. It’s traditional. And it’s a nightmare if you are trying to stay strong.
The most important question we teach our patients is, when they are confronted with food, they must immediately ask this question: “Why?” That one word can often be enough to stop the behavior, if accompanied by a moment of self-honesty. “Am I angry? Am I stressed or bored?” Then answer the question.
Here’s the key: you see a gooey food. That is the trigger. Next you have a thought. Thoughts are electrical only. If the thought is “played with” long enough, it can become chemical or emotional. The key is to stop it at the electrical stage and don’t let it become chemical. Once it becomes chemical or emotional, it can flood the mind and body with all sorts of hormonal changes. Then you enter “the funnel” and it’s too hard to get out: you succumb. Then you are angry with your self and the cycle repeats itself day after day.
In our classes we teach our patients how to stop at the electrical stage. For you see, so much of weight loss is in the mind. Yes, of course, inability to lose weight can be due to being hormonally out of balance. Hormones are what we deal with all day long at Utah Wellness Institute. But if the brain can be taught habits, it can overcome those bad eating behaviors permanently.
For instance, we teach overweight people to do mindful eating. One example is that between every bite of food they must put their fork or spoon down on the table and chew the bite 25 times. What does an obese person do? The average number of chews per bite is 4! Just enough to get a big hunk of food small enough to swallow. And the next bite is already at their mouth waiting.
Naturally thin people usually chew their food longer. They put the fork down.
But that would require effort. It would require change. I read just last week that only 17% of people follow the recommendations of their doctor when the doctor tells them to change something in their lives. That means 87% would rather just have the doctor just give them a magic pill that will mask the problem. That way they don’t have to change a habit or stop doing something.
A physician friend of mine treats nothing but diabetics. . . and she hates it. Why? Because the patients won’t change their eating habits. “Just give me more insulin so I can eat all the junk I want,” is their attitude.
With the new year just ahead, let’s think about what bad health habits we have formed and make a personal commitment to change even just one of them. I had a lady in my clinic two days ago that drinks two Bid Gulps of diet soda every day. I told her that if she was going to work with me and wanted to get healthy and get her hormones balanced, she would have to stop drinking the soda completely. She looked at me like I was nuts. I told her, “I’m not kidding. It’s not what you’re eating every once in a while that is killing you. It’s the bad daily habits.”
Pardon the pun, but she wants her cake and wants to eat it too. I sent her off for a blood test and told her she has a week to think about whether she really wants to be healthy. As you go into the New Year, make a change with your health. Get motivated to get healthy. No better time to start than right now. And have a Merry Christmas!
(If you want more information on the classes we teach, go to lightpointlife.com for more information.)
Dr. Robert Jones is the Clinic Director at the Utah Wellness Institute in Draper, Utah. 801 576 1155)