While it's nearly impossible to know the reasons why you need to eat a particular food at a particular time, it's very important to be in touch with that desire. You can't understand all the ways in which chemicals work, but you must listen when they talk to you. Most dieters have not learned to do this.
The urge to eat is a need that must be filled.
If we don't respond to that urge, the need-to-eat feelingscall them hunger, appetite, or anything elsewill get the upper hand. And here's the irony: As a result of trying not to respond to the need to eat, there's a good chance that you won't be able to lose weight or maintain weight loss.
Beyond Good and Bad
Most dieters have built-in defenses. A statement as simple as "I'm hungry!" is unacceptable. Before acknowledging something that simple, dieters are already worrying about how that hungry feeling can lead them into going astray, going out of control, or messing up. People who have been on diets tell me that they constantly feel either good or bad, in control or out of control.
But you can't repress a feeling that says, quite simply, "I want to eat that." You might try to keep that chemically driven impulse in check, but it's sure to get the upper hand.
Overweight individuals typically have so much anxiety about the urge to eat that their bodies operate defensively. They don't even allow the hunger to come to consciousness. They find all kinds of rationalizations.
A person may come home from the supermarket with a cake. She says, "I bought it to serve to company." But lying just below the surface of that statement is the real reason, which is simply the desire to eat cake. The chemicals are talking. But what happens when we don't allow the chemicals to be heard?
What I'm telling you is something that you may have always suspected if you've struggled repeatedly with your weight. That struggle is caused by something other than lack of determination. It's not being caused by a deficit in willpower. By identifying the chemicals that play a role in your hunger, we're beginning to get to the real causes. Soon we should have the information that proves your suspicions are true: Gaining and losing weight are not matters of self-control, determination, or other intangible factors.
In the meantime, that doesn't mean that your only choice is to throw up your hands and say, "Well, it's fate. I was born to be overweight." That is definitely not the case. You can reshape (literally) your destinyor at least you can achieve a more modest goal of just taking a few pounds off.
I like to think of a person's underlying body chemistry as a kind of metabolic hand of cards that he is dealt at birth. Maybe, when it comes to weight issues, you weren't dealt the genetic equivalent of four aces, but I can tell you that if you play your cards right, you can still come up a winner.
Reprinted from Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program for Permanent Weight Loss by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro, Copyright 2000. Permission granted by Rodale, Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800)848-4735 or visit Rodale's website at www.rodalestore.com.
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