When I started dieting in seventh grade, I wasn’t fat. Twiggy was the model of the year. Compared to her, we were all fat. This is where my relationship with dieting, fatness and nurse's health began.
Weight loss is a $65 billion industry with projected growth of $40 billion during the next few years. In spite of these costly efforts against fatness, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said, "We've seen virtually a doubling in the number of obese persons over the past two decades.” More than half of U.S. consumers are trying to lose weight, yet, studies show that dieting results in weight gain.
It’s true. I focused on weight and dieting since the age of twelve and eventually expanded to more than 300 pounds. I repeatedly lost weight and gained more back. This cyclic eating – deprivation process, made me an expert on how it works.
There are two principles that drive this process. One is the Law of Attraction. Briefly stated, ‘What you focus on E-X-P-A-N-D-S’. Focus on weight and weight expands. I call this the new car phenomenon. Did you ever buy a new car? As soon as you leave the showroom, what do you see – your car everywhere.
The other principle is the Law of Resistance. What you resist persists. What you push against pushes back. Waging war on drugs, poverty, and obesity is netting more not less.
Focusing on a diet expands attraction to food and eating. The more we resist certain foods, the more we crave them. What a dilemma.
Want a way out? Here are some tips.
Focus on health rather than pounds. Dr. Kelly Brownell, director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders reports that heavy people who are fit have lower risk of disease than thin people who are unfit. Research at www.obesitymyths.com
Focus on gratitude for your body rather than criticism. When you shower or bathe, take time to appreciate how every part of your body supports your life. Appreciate your strength, energy, stamina, mobility. If you give the qualities that are good and wonderful about your body attention, they will expand. Stop resisting and start accepting yourself.
Focus on eating well and regularly rather than skimping or skipping meals. When you go for long periods without eating or restrict your calories, you gain weight. The body attempts to prevent starvation by retaining fat and lowering metabolism.
Focus on quality rather than quantity. Eating foods with high nutritional value, fresh, organic, raw or lightly cooked reduces hunger. When I started using high quality foods and supplements, persistent hunger disappeared. Empty calories in junk, processed or microwaved foods do not nourish cells, so you are always hungry.
Focus on realistic ease rather than rigid shoulds. What kind of healthy eating fits your lifestyle? When I’m hungry I need things that are quick to grab, and I love hors d’oeuvres. Raw veggie rollups, hummus and pita wedges, fruit chunks, almond butter on celery, veggie juices, smoothies, protein bars, and snack packs (nuts, raisins, seeds on the run) work great because they’re easy, tasty, energizing and satisfying for me.
What is your preferred eating pattern? What healthy, tasty, satisfying foods do you like? How can you make healthier choices that fit your life, so healthy eating is not a separate focus, like on and off dieting?
To live a long, healthy life, nurses should focus on what they want to expand – health, mobility, energy - rather than what they don’t want to expand – fat, weight, size. Focus on eating as a way to support and sustain the healthy lifestyle you want to enjoy, rather than a battle to attain some model of perfection.