It seems as if every other article appearing in the news today is focused on weight-related concerns. Most famously, “The Biggest Loser” came under fire after new research into the current metabolic functions of its contestants was released. But plenty of other weight-related stories are also appearing right now. For example, CNN recently reported that 18% of men and 21% of women will be obese by 2025. And last month, Forbes was quick to cite sugar as a weight-inflating factor.
Clearly, weight is currently a prime topic in newsrooms (and, yes, in homes that are focused on getting “beach ready”). However, here at the Integrative Center for Wellness, we feel an important part of this dialogue on weight loss is being sorely neglected in a number of news articles. And until that topic is re-integrated into the national discussion, the state of current weight loss headlines may not change as soon as professionals would like.
The 2 W’S: “What” Vs. “Why”
To understand our discontent with the national dialogue on weight loss here at the Center for Wellness, it’s important to understand our stance as a holistic practice. As medical professionals, we 100% agree with newsmakers that it’s important to discuss sugar, and calories, and healthy sources of the calories we take in daily. But these are only part of the equation. These are the “whats” – but the why also deserves our attention!
Here’s an example of what we mean by What Vs. Why: it’s important to understand that high calorie, high sugar servings of cookies do not make for nutritious, healthy, or even satisfying meal items. What we eat has a clearly defined impact on how we feel, how our bodies operate, and how healthy we are physically.
What many fail to ask, however, is why. In other words, why do so many of us crave cookies? Why do we eat what we eat, when we know what we should eat to lose weight and be healthier in general?
The answer is ultimately simple: because of triggers in our environment. Consider for a moment your last “bad day.” These bad days are a common source of cravings for many. Deadlines at work, fights at home, poor sleep…these things and more can become reasons why we want certain foods over others. Perhaps you yourself find some foods more appealing than others in certain situations.
Why is this a problem? Because so often, when we set out to lose weight, we tell ourselves, “I’m going to diet. I’m going to lose weight.” Yet the average diet and weight loss plan only focuses on what we want to eat to lose weight. That means they do not address how to handle the why you crave what you crave – and the moment a bad day strikes, your good intentions are set to go right out the window.
Addressing The “Why” Of Weight Loss
The good news is that addressing the why we want to eat certain foods over others is not impossible – nowhere near it. Cravings are a thought-based process – a behavioral habit, even, that develops in response to certain triggers. That means that to control common cravings, we must change our way of thinking, and break our habit of responding to cravings in an unhealthy manner.
Much as we learned as children how to develop good habits to address our emotions and keep us from “acting out” inappropriately, there are ways we can learn good habits that will address and control our cravings. By doing this, we gain the ability to act holistically. We are able to truly control what we eat – and can then walk down a path to sustainable weight loss.
However, a word of caution: changing the way we think is not easy! Imagine for a moment how much training you would need to put your body through before you began running a marathon. For many of us, our bodies would have to do a “180” from their current state of health before they were prepared for a full marathon.
The same is true of our minds. Our brains and thought process is not likely to change simply because we want them to. Just as there are trainers to guide your body to a state of “marathon ready”, there are health experts who are able to help guide your mind to a state of healthier living and decision making. Psychology Today, in fact, has highlighted three crucial points to consider regarding a weight loss journey:
- Research studies suggest that dieting alone doesn’t work for long-term weight loss.
- Dieting can also have negative side-effects, including depression, anxiety, irritability, obsessive thoughts about food, binge-eating, and not feeling full, even after a binge.
- The most effective weight loss programs are those that combine diet, exercise, and psychological intervention.
That’s right: bringing in reinforcements that can not only evaluate what you’re eating, but why you’re eating it – and how that food is making you feel – is the #1 way to ensure you receive the true nutritional support you need to lose weight.
The Integrative Center For Wellness Is Here To Help
Clearly, weight loss is not an easy journey, for multiple reasons. It can be overwhelming to tackle every facet of weight loss, and, ultimately, it’s simply not worth going down the weight loss path alone.
At the Integrative Center for Wellness, Dr. Samoon Ahmad is able to guide clients through a weight loss program that is supported by medical supervision. Clients in our care receive balanced medical, dietary, and psychological support. It’s a program designed to create long-term healthy living results – rather than short-term weight loss.
We would love to discuss your own goals and concerns with you, and to introduce you to the programs we have available at the Center. To learn more, and to consult with Dr. Ahmad Samoon, please contact us and/or make an appointment to begin your weight loss journey.