100 lb. Club - Do we have to figure out why we are overweight to get to Goal Weight?




VickieLou
01-15-2010, 10:57 PM
Do we have to figure out why we are overweight to get to Goal Weight?
Sometimes you hear people talk about it. But how do you figure it out?


BellaLucia
01-15-2010, 11:08 PM
This is a very good question. I'm an emotional eater. I am also working on the issues that made me overweight. Unstable family life really affected me but I take full responsibility for the mess I got myself into. I am on a good lifestyle plan that's helped me. Journaling my thoughts has also helped me. The easy answer would have been, I stuffed myself, like duh, lol but I gave ur question the respect it deserved.

CLCSC145
01-15-2010, 11:09 PM
Just my opinion, but it certainly can't hurt to examine how we let ourselves get like that in order to fix the underlying issues so it doesn't happen again. For some, those underlying issues are emotionally based. For others it was just bad habits that they chose to ignore with no emotional ties other than they love food. It could be a mix of the two or, heck, something altogether different.

That quote about those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it is applicable to this too. Personally, I'm an emotional eater and binger. Therapy has helped me to understand why I ate like I ate. Sure, the impulses are still there, but I can recognize them for what they are now and I have new tools to help me find other ways to meet my needs other than abusing food. My hope is understanding how my thought processes work will help me avoid falling into that trap again.


Sskar
01-15-2010, 11:13 PM
My knee jerk response - yes. And here is why I believe that to be true.

Relapse from your eating plan is the norm - although many people do manage to get to goal and stay there, it usually takes many serious tries. (This is based on research and my own experience.) To prevent and/or deal with relapse, it's important to understand what leads each individual person to eat, i.e., what are your triggers? I'm an emotional eater with little stimulus control, so I've really worked hard on how to deal with stress (good and bad) and how to keep me away from temptation, get away from it, or deal with it when I have to face or even choose to eat off plan - such as a special occasions for work or family.

You don't have to do undergo years of psychotherapy searching for deep seated meanings to being overweight. You do need to have some awareness about what makes you grab for those unhealthy foods. The easiest way to do it is by writing down when you are tempted to go off your eating plan or when you do go off plan - What was going on? How were you feeling? Who was around? Were you aware you had eaten the entire box of Oreos before you even felt full? Were you hungry? (Was I?)

Many people do this as part of their daily calorie counting - just a suggestion.

I'll be interested to read what others have to say.

PeanutsMom704
01-15-2010, 11:17 PM
I agree to some extent, but I also think that there is something to be said for "fake it 'til you make it" meaning that you can still work on eating like a healthy fit person, while you work on figuring out the other issues. I know for me, just being large and not very active contributed to my feeling bad about myself and just the act of taking control of my food and my activity makes me feel better. so that's been a good headstart on resolving some of the things that make me make the bad choices - it doesn't completely resolve them but it does stop me from thinking I'm not worth the effort of making the good choices for food and activity.

Gracie789
01-15-2010, 11:32 PM
For me, definitely. For most people, probably. I was an emotional eater and had (still do to some extent) a whole lot of food issues. When I started I did not try to 'examine' why I was overweight (the thought to look inward didn't really occur to me, lol). But, as I've continued on my journey towards a healthy lifestyle those past issues have popped up here & there. I try to tackle each issue as it arises, but mostly it's about being aware of myself so I can avoid/prevent any self-destructive behaviors.

salsa chip
01-16-2010, 12:07 AM
I agree to some extent, but I also think that there is something to be said for "fake it 'til you make it" meaning that you can still work on eating like a healthy fit person, while you work on figuring out the other issues. I know for me, just being large and not very active contributed to my feeling bad about myself and just the act of taking control of my food and my activity makes me feel better. so that's been a good headstart on resolving some of the things that make me make the bad choices - it doesn't completely resolve them but it does stop me from thinking I'm not worth the effort of making the good choices for food and activity.

Yes, I think this is the case for me too. Pretty much word for word :)

Thighs Be Gone
01-16-2010, 02:00 AM
Yep--pretty well exactly the way I feel too...

catherinef
01-16-2010, 03:42 AM
I can see how it can be valuable for a lot of people, but honestly, I spent most of my life thinking about why I was so fat. The obvious reason being that I ate too much and didn't move enough, but why I did those things...well, I spent years thinking obsessively about that, and there is absolutely nothing special about my reasons; they're probably the basic laundry list. Thinking about it as long as I did may very well have helped, but I only started to really, seriously lose weight when I just decided to quit agonizing over it and get on with it. I spent too much time waiting for the great EUREKA! moment when I should've been changing my habits.

Obviously, mileage varies. :)

giselley
01-16-2010, 04:32 AM
Knowledge is power. I quit smoking by figuring out how to "JUSTIFY" quitting in my own personal economics. Eating behavior is similar. I must change the entire "fishtank" I live in: my eating environment. This means methodically studying the captive animal (me that is). My environment is killing me. I must change my environment. It is all about the management of resources. I am the zookeeper and the zoo animal. I need to figure out how to have a healthy zoo animal-- no overweight, optimum living conditions. I have to see what is being spent on what. I really need to study myself to see the side of me that I ignore, or am blind to.

Bellsybells
01-16-2010, 06:01 AM
It sounds dumb, but figuring out that the reason I'm large is because I eat too much and move too little was a really big step. I had a whole narrative (inherited from my parents, big like me) that 'I don't know what it is, I eat really healthy stuff' - that narrative of denial has been in my head for so long that getting over it was a real struggle. I'm sure a therapist could come up with deeper issues (****, who doesn't have deeper issues?!), but once I faced up to the fact that no, a healthy person doesn't need those kinds of portions, something clicked in my head. Of course, that was 8 years ago and now I have to figure out why I lost that mindset and fell back into the old one...

SNMomof1
01-16-2010, 06:57 AM
I agree with the consensus that it's definitely beneficial to figure out why. It could be a simple answer or a complex one, but when you determine what triggers you to make poor choices you can ultimately change your path.

CJZee
01-16-2010, 07:04 AM
I don't believe you have to understand psychologically why we are overweight, but I do believe we must understand and consciously change the behaviors and habits that led us to obesity.

Don't get me wrong, it would be really great to understand the underlying psychology of obesity and I am certainly not against it, but that probably would involve years of psychotherapy for most of us and even then -- if we finally understood -- we still would have to do the "action" part.

marigrace
01-16-2010, 08:25 AM
Interesting topic! My feeling is that there are many parts to the problem...physiological (hormones, glycemic response), emotional (happy, sad, lonely), coping mechanism, socialization, plain old habit, and probably a few more I'm forgetting..
Hard to understand, but when I slip,I try to ask the when and how and where and why of it. How can I want something so badly, and then sabotage my own efforts ?
I think this does help. It gives me the feelingI can do better next time.

Windchime
01-16-2010, 10:30 AM
I don't believe you have to understand psychologically why we are overweight, but I do believe we must understand and consciously change the behaviors and habits that led us to obesity.

Don't get me wrong, it would be really great to understand the underlying psychology of obesity and I am certainly not against it, but that probably would involve years of psychotherapy for most of us and even then -- if we finally understood -- we still would have to do the "action" part.

I totally agree. I am a very analytical person by nature and I can navel-gaze an issue to death. And honestly, I don't think the reasons I have been overweight are due to any big, deep, psychological reasons. Once I quit trying to find some deep, underlying reason and just accepted that I was lazy in my eating habits and was acting like an undisciplined child, I was able to turn things around. Obviously this is what is true for ME and not necessarily for anyone else, but I don't think that further analysis would have changed the fact that I needed to quit eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted in unlimited quantities. Because THAT is the true reason why I was fat.

lovemyboy
01-16-2010, 10:53 AM
I think it is an important component to the process. Someone mentioned that it takes many tries before it sticks. For me I had to analyze each failure to figure out why it didn't work and then modify my plan accordingly. For the first time ever I feel I've learned enough and tweaked my plan enough to find one that would work and that i could stick to.

Each "failure" was actually part of becoming successful. If you don't know all of your "triggers" or "whys" don't feel like you will fail. If you keep lifting weights regularly you will get stronger muscles regardless of whether or not you understand the mechanics behind it. That said, figuring out what hinders you from lifting regularly will help you modify your plan to better ensure your continuing on. Likewise, Change your food plan as you learn more about yourself.

kaplods
01-16-2010, 11:10 AM
Having a masters degree and bachelor's degree in psychology, you'd think I would say yes, wouldnt' you?

But I learned that I didn't have nearly the psychological problems that I thought I did (I think I went into the field mostly in order to understand my "compulsive eating").

What I learned (took decades) was that I wasn't nearly as "crazy" as I was taught to think I was.


What deep, psychological breakthrought caused me to almost immediately and dramatically stop binging?

None - I stopped crash dieting, and the binges stopped - just stopped, except for a few days around TOM, and those stopped too with the right birth control.

If I control carbs, I also control my appetite. Control the carbs enough and I lose weight "effortlessly."

So is a low-carb diet (that isn't too low in calorie) a cure for insanity, or were carbs causing all my problems?


The book "The End to Overeating," (among many others) illustrates very clearly that you don't have to be crazy to gain weight - even lots of weight.

Did I have to figure out why I'm overweight? Well, sort of - because I can't eat many high-carb foods without feeling ravenously hungry. It's physiological for me, not psychological (if I'm crazy, food has nothing to do with it).

S.A.S.H
01-16-2010, 11:44 AM
I don't believe you have to understand psychologically why we are overweight, but I do believe we must understand and consciously change the behaviors and habits that led us to obesity.

Don't get me wrong, it would be really great to understand the underlying psychology of obesity and I am certainly not against it, but that probably would involve years of psychotherapy for most of us and even then -- if we finally understood -- we still would have to do the "action" part.

Bingo!

There was a reason I put it all on. I don't have to completely understand every single iota of it, but I need to acknowledge the basic issues so I can take action. I am not going through all this hard work to let the weight come back on! If I know what triggers me to go back on the path that led me here, then I can stop it before it starts.

Thighs Be Gone
01-16-2010, 12:00 PM
Not to go all psycho-babble on you or anything BUT--

I really think for many years there was an element within me that felt I didn't deserve to be attractive or that it didn't matter. I was very, VERY much brought up to NOT bring attention to myself--never a birthday party, never a Christmas or Easter dress, never any "tadoo" made about me whatsoever no matter what I did or didn't do. The goal was NOT to glorify myself or allow others to. Guess what? IT WORKED. I became wallpaper and I felt like wallpaper physically. I made my life and all my actions about everyone else. I GAVE the parties and celebrations for others--they weren't for me. I made my kids attractive and fit--not myself. My house was more important than me. My husband was more important than me. The Christmas meal was more important than me. The school was more important than me. Basically everyone and everything had a higher calling than ME.

I have really changed all of that now and feel more balanced. I don't feel I have to hide anything anymore and I am not pretending. I don't say things I don't mean anymore. I don't do things that aren't important to me--at all. I only have so much energy and only so much time and I refuse to waste either of it on things and people that ultimately matter not. I am constantly challenging myself to put MYSELF in the forefront. I am learning that sometimes it's okay to be an attention ho.

Okay, getting down off the psychological box now.

caryesings
01-16-2010, 12:30 PM
For me, an emphatic NO. I spent way too many years trying to figure out/get an emotional handle on binge eating, etc. Finally at age 49 I just decided to concentrate on the behaviors I need to do to take off the weight. Create a plan that would work for me and follow it, disregarding all feelings including motivation. Just do what I need to do. It's working for me.

And the side benefit is even though I have been through a horrendously emotional 2 months, it has not sidelined me at all.

lovemyboy
01-16-2010, 02:00 PM
Kaplods this is my experience exactly!!! It took me several attempts to "get" it but my problem is physiological too not psychological. It is important to note that even if one understand the why it doesn't solve the problem. Doing something solves the problem. I'm not saying psychological issues don't affect others' weight loss, just not mine.

Having a masters degree and bachelor's degree in psychology, you'd think I would say yes, wouldnt' you?

But I learned that I didn't have nearly the psychological problems that I thought I did (I think I went into the field mostly in order to understand my "compulsive eating").

What I learned (took decades) was that I wasn't nearly as "crazy" as I was taught to think I was.


What deep, psychological breakthrought caused me to almost immediately and dramatically stop binging?

None - I stopped crash dieting, and the binges stopped - just stopped, except for a few days around TOM, and those stopped too with the right birth control.

If I control carbs, I also control my appetite. Control the carbs enough and I lose weight "effortlessly."

So is a low-carb diet (that isn't too low in calorie) a cure for insanity, or were carbs causing all my problems?


The book "The End to Overeating," (among many others) illustrates very clearly that you don't have to be crazy to gain weight - even lots of weight.

Did I have to figure out why I'm overweight? Well, sort of - because I can't eat many high-carb foods without feeling ravenously hungry. It's physiological for me, not psychological (if I'm crazy, food has nothing to do with it).

Eliana
01-16-2010, 04:15 PM
It sounds dumb, but figuring out that the reason I'm large is because I eat too much and move too little was a really big step.
Not "dumb" at all unless mine's dumb too. ;) Similarly, I had to figure out that I was eating too many calories. I honest to goodness did not know that. I think my metabolism is slower than the average woman and I know darn well I'm insulin resistant. I never ate a lot, but I definitely ate a normal amount of the wrong thing. And my portions were way too large. I didn't know a portion of chicken was 1/2 a breast or that a serving of bread was one piece, not two.


I don't think a person needs to know why they are overweight to get started though. I think it's a learning process.

Hello Nurse
01-16-2010, 09:02 PM
What a great question and discussion! IMO, you might not need to figure out why you are overweight to get to goal weight, but in order to MAINTAIN that weight you just might want to put some thought into it.

Lyn2007
01-16-2010, 09:30 PM
Every person is different. The answers are as varied as the reasons why we gained weight. Some people just need to learn how and what to eat, and then they lose the weight. Others just need support. Some people DO have deep seated fears of being thin, or have issues using food for comfort, or whatever. I personally believe that IF a person has a psychological/emotional reason for being obese, it needs to be dealt with somehow to avoid regaining the weight later.

For me, I have lost weight, regained some, relost, regained, stagnated. I know how to lose weight, but the whole mental game mess that I have played with myself for decades has to be changed. So I do a lot of mental work, writing, thinking, and CHANGING. Understanding your issues is worthless if you don't use that information to take action.

So far it is working for me. Not as quickly as some, but I have kept most of the weight off for a year and a half and I think I am ready to lose more weight and reach my goals and STAY there.

ubergirl
01-16-2010, 09:53 PM
This is such an interesting discussion.

For me, there were definitely psychological issues that led to me have body image issues as a teen. I had a certain body type, but I wanted and my parents wanted me to have a different type of body. My parents controlled my food too much, and I started binge eating in secret.

Maybe, probably, if someone had intervened back then, early on, I could have dealt with those issues, gotten a handle on them, and moved past them before they ever led me down the path to morbid obesity.

But, years later, I was a grown up, married, and the reasons that made me start no longer existed. Only the behavior remained....

And like others have mentioned, I spent tons of times analyzing myself, when what I really needed to do was just STOP DOING IT!

For me, it was not really more like an OCD type behavior, and when all was said and done, it was surprisingly easy to stop.

ToriLeigh
01-16-2010, 10:22 PM
I think it depends on the person. For me, I just need to work on healthier habits. But some people do better if they delve into the why. And I do think problems like depression need to be addressed as a part of becoming an overall healthier person, but as for weight loss, I think establishing healthier habits is 9/10ths of the battle.

katkitten
01-16-2010, 11:17 PM
i think it is more that you've got to figure it out in order to STAY at goal weight

Moxie574
01-16-2010, 11:57 PM
I totally agree, I know I am an emotional eater and I feel more accountable for my behavior now that I can acknowledge that fact.

catherinef
01-17-2010, 03:36 AM
This is such an interesting discussion.

For me, there were definitely psychological issues that led to me have body image issues as a teen. I had a certain body type, but I wanted and my parents wanted me to have a different type of body. My parents controlled my food too much, and I started binge eating in secret.

Maybe, probably, if someone had intervened back then, early on, I could have dealt with those issues, gotten a handle on them, and moved past them before they ever led me down the path to morbid obesity.

But, years later, I was a grown up, married, and the reasons that made me start no longer existed. Only the behavior remained....

I could've written exactly those words myself. In the end, it was just the behaviours that were keeping me fat. I finally had to tell myself, look, you can eat as much as you want as often as you want. You're in charge here, you can eat yourself sick, you can eat entire boxes of donuts if you want, nobody else is ever going to control your food intake again. Now knock it off and act like a big girl, quit living in the past and obsessively thinking about it, and lose the weight.

It's a pretty harsh thing to say to yourself, but for me, it was exactly the right thing to do.