If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What makes us eat?

I am a fan of The Biggest Loser. This season one of the episodes featured Jillian's mother, a psychologist, who interviewed Jillian's team members. The emphasis was on resolving the emotional problems that caused the overeating and binging. Just today I received an email message from Daily Net, entitled, What makes you eat?

Most overweight people do eat as a reaction to stress or emotional problems. Been there, done that. Food becomes the drug of choice.

I am all for resolving our emotional difficulties. Emotional health is just as important as physical health and spiritual health.

However, what if the emotional difficulties take years to resolve, as they did in my case? Or, some may never be resolved, as also in my case. The sad fact of the matter is, resolving our emotional difficulties most often requires the cooperation of at least one other person, and that person or persons may not be very cooperative at all.

Are we stuck with obesity in the meantime? Is there nothing we can do on our own?

Yes, there is much we can do on our own. We can change the way we respond to the stress and emotional struggles.

No one else can interfere with the changes we make in ourselves. We can train ourselves to react differently when those "emotional buttons" are pushed. We do not have to turn to food. We can maintain a normal weight and be healthy and fit.

When we are faced with an emotional crisis, we can turn to exercise or a fun activity instead of to food. We can turn to doing good deeds and kindnesses for others instead of to food. We can turn to God instead of to food. The choices are numerous.

If emotional troubles are the reason we started overeating and binging, they don't have to be the reason we continue.

To break the cycle, to establish a new pattern, we must first admit some things:

1. I am in control of how I react to emotional stress
2. Overeating is self-destructive
3. Overeating is drug abuse
4. I alone am responsible for my overweight

If we pay attention to when we binge or overeat, we can identify the "triggers." Then we can actively prepare ourselves to react differently to those triggers.

Mental imaging is a very powerful tool. Once you've identified an appropriate response to an "emotional button," imagine it happening and you reacting in the appropriate way. It's like rehearsing a role in a play or movie. You keep going over it and over it until it becomes a natural response. If you slip up, start the imaging all over again.