Why weight control?

FRANZ BROWNE

L.C.S.P. (PHYS)

If you weigh 10% more than you should it can be detrimental to your health. 20% more, and your weight becomes a serious medical complication. Yet about half of us weigh too much, and one in ten of us is severely overweight or obese.

Overweight people can die sooner and are more prone to disease of the cardio-vascular system, kidney, liver and gall bladder than their lean friends. If you are overweight, you are also more accident-prone and more likely to get diabetes and other degenerative illness, not to mention having to deal with the emotional pressure the heavy person has to cope with in our ‘lean-oriented’ society. That’s all the bad news. The good news is that all these hazards disappear when excess pounds are shed by weight control.

The habit of losing weight

The habit-forming approach to losing weight is simple; regardless of built–in tendencies to gain weight, most excess poundage is the result of bad eating habits developed over many years. Why these habits develop is a complicated subject, and the reasons vary from person to person. Forget the background for the moment. Instead, deal with the results; too much fat. We may not find it easy to understand why we want to eat three portions of chocolate cake but we can learn to control ourselves and eat something with fewer calories.

It doesn’t demand great will power, yet the habit control techniques can be effective in getting you slim and staying that way. Surprisingly, overweight people seldom have the pangs of real hunger that people of normal weight feel. They eat too much out of boredom, unconsciously nibble while watching television, or eat rapidly whatever food has been put on their plates.

This curious ‘habit-eating’ can be turned to advantage; become aware of exactly what habits are causing the trouble, and work to change bad habits to good ones. It is a question of self- education, that’s all. It may sound too simple to be true, but such techniques are now successfully used to manage all kinds of problems from smoking to drug addiction. A check chart approach provides the perfect tool for appetite control to go with any sensible weight loss diet. It is also something you can do yourself, without a lot of bolstering up. Forget ‘I can’t diet no matter how I try’. You can!

Before you begin any diet, use a weekly chart to note down when, where and how you eat (no matter how small a nibble or even a taste) and your feelings before and after each meal. It is important to be honest – this will make you aware of what habitually makes you want to eat. Perhaps you absentmindedly pick up a few nuts or a piece of fruit while you are on the telephone, especially if the bowl is too near, or every time you come into the house you automatically head for the refrigerator. These things don’t happen by chance.

Learn to know what you do, then using the basic steps listed, change your response, and if necessary your surroundings – move the fruit bowl, go into your bedroom instead of the kitchen, and so forth.

To begin with you will stop picking at bits of food surprisingly quickly. Then with new habits and better planning any good diet will work. If you need added reminders make a new check chart for yourself once a week, or once a month, to hold on your new habits and keep yourself slim and healthy.

F Step one – put everything on record. Keep track of your progress, your slip–ups, your difficulties, then you can take conscious steps to re-arrange external stimulus so you replace old negative habits with positive ones.

Decide to record your eating habits, decide to record your exercises, deicide to record your personal reactions.

F Step two – where do you eat? It matters a lot. Overweight people are stimulated to eat by outside factors, the time on the clock, the sight of food, a feeling of loneliness. Limit the number of places you eat in and you’ll limit your food intake.

Decide to eat in only one room, decide to eat in only one place in the room, decide to do nothing else while you’re eating.

F Step three – what do you eat? Everyone has special temptation foods. Eliminate temptation foods from your shopping list.

F Step four – how does your food look? Research shows that the overweight person is strongly affected by visual contact with food. Served on a small platter feel more satisfied than on a big one. When it is attractively presented it is also more satisfying.

Decide to use measured quantities of food so you know how much you are eating. Decide to make your food look as good as possible.

F Step five – how fast do you eat? Eat slowly and you will eat less and feel more full.

Decide to put your folk down after each bite, decide to chew each bite at least twenty times. Decide to take no more food into your mouth until what is already in, is chewed and swallowed.

F Step six – how do you keep your spirits up?

Many overweight people eat from boredom, fatigue or depression, making food compensate for other parts of their lives they neglect. Decide to eat regular meals with a timetable, decide to get enough sleep and relaxation, decide to increase your anticipation in activities not connected with food.

F Step seven – the exercise factor. Exercise not only burns calories, it also raises your spirits and increases metabolic efficiency.

Find an exercise or sport you enjoy and stick to it. Decide to walk briskly as much as you can every day.

I conclude with a Psalm of David. Psalm 103: 1-5. ‘Bless the lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who groweth these with loving kindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles.’ Let us praise the lord for he is our health and salvation. Amen.

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