Some say weight loss is just about your relationship to food. Some say it’s about your relationship to other people and yourself. Some say it’s none of that and just about habit. The misunderstood psychology of weight loss is pervasive in mainstream media, which in turn can make people quite confused when it comes to starting a weight loss program.
Weight loss psychology is about more than just your relationship to food because you can’t break-up with food or disown it. Focusing on the dynamics of your relationship to food is more likely to cause feelings of guilt and blame rather than changing the relationship. The important aspect is to simplify the relationship: not give it more attention than your long-term lifestyle goals.
If you improve your relationships with other people, will weight loss happen all by itself? Of course not. Stressors, life changes, and circumstances will always occur, just as your relationships with others will fluctuate. While bad aspects of a relationship may increase the likelihood of engaging in bad eating habits, healthy lifestyles don’t fall to the wind when relationship stress occurs.
Will losing weight really improve your self-esteem, or does that thinking simply reinforce the idea that self-esteem depends on food? We all need food to live, and trying to pick out the strands of psychology lurking in our eating patterns is like trying to label grains of salt.
Sure, having a healthy psyche can certainly lead or correspond to healthy eating patterns, but having a healthy psyche isn’t just about food. Healthy psyches become unhealthy through a variety of factors, including stress, sleeping patterns, exposure to household chemicals, circumstances, and hundreds of little things that make up who you are and how you experience life. Healthy psyches stay healthy when they positively navigate all of life’s daily decisions and choices. Lifestyle goals and values guide us through the myriad of life experiences, from eating to socializing and sleeping.
Bad food choices, however, affect physical and psychological well-being over time. From MSG to propylene glycol, the chemicals found in most packaged foods are chock-full of addictive, obese-causing, disease-inducing, health deteriorating chemicals, and toxins that affect basic mental functioning and physical health on a daily basis. Even when you are well-informed about the chemicals and additives in foods, it’s sometimes challenging to find convenient foods to eat that don’t contain chemicals.
When you make the best decisions that you can about food, you in turn detoxify your body from these chemicals and become truly healthy over time. Regardless of the fat and calorie content you may think you need to focus on when engaging in a lifestyle change for better health and weight loss, you probably already knew that barbeque-ranch flavored chips aren’t good for you whether you want to lose weight or not. In other words, even after you reach your weight loss goals, you will want to continue making healthy food choices.
Is chocolate good for you? If it’s made with natural ingredients and consumed moderately, then sure, if it’s cocoa with a host of flavorings and chemicals, not so much. The less you consume food loaded with chemicals, the less you make bad food choices. It’s that simple.
And here’s the heart of psychology that most people miss when they pick out certain pieces of it. Psychologically speaking, your world view and your lifestyle is the only psychology you really need to worry about when losing weight.
Healthy isn’t about anything artificial. It’s about eating as naturally and as balanced as possible without stuffing yourself, and that takes a good dose of self-discipline along with a healthy world view.
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