Weight loss is all about your relationship with food

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Sabrina Almeida

It’s only the middle of March and many of us have already abandoned our weight loss resolutions.

Having let many family gym memberships go to naught over the years, I am familiar with the challenge of staying the course.

It’s a daily battle and when you start to look for reasons to skip exercise or indulge in unhealthy treats… its over for you!

More than one trainer told us that the first 15 days are the hardest, suggesting it will be smooth sailing after that. Not true! Just like with a substance abuse problem, the slip can occur at any time.

With a broken track that’s almost impossible to fix, how do you get back on? I’ve realized that expecting their formula to work like magic (and without the will to follow through) served the gym’s coffers more than my fitness goals.

A radio commercial suggests that professional intervention is the only way to the slimmer you. I agree! Not by joining a weight loss clinic, as the commercial suggests, but by remedying a one’s destructive relationship with food… and fitness.

It is my observation many overweight individuals are obsessed with food. If you’re Indian or South Asian, it’s almost like being born with a predisposition to overeating. As my uncle in England observed, food dominates our thoughts. We go from one meal to the next all day.

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The adage stating that the way to man’s heart is through his stomach could have Indian origins. We follow it religiously.

Such thinking is ingrained right from infancy where plumpness is considered a sign of health. (That’s why most teenagers of Indian origin want to burn their childhood photographs.) Therein begins our unhealthy and obsessive affair with food.

Any attempt to adopt a healthier lifestyle is doomed to fail if one is not honest about this… and willing to change, I might add. Not acknowledge it with pride!!!

A family physician told me that being overweight is less about genetic disposition (as many adults like to claim) and more to do with the food habits inculcated by one’s parents. “You inherit the bad eating habits not the weight, he said.

According to the Obesity Society, overweight or obese preschoolers are 5 times more likely than normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults. A study of Finnish adults confirmed that people who became obese as adults tended to already be heavier than their peers by the age of 6.

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It’s a bitter truth most of us are not willing to accept.

Stop to consider the type of food you eat. If you have not made a major lifestyle change yet, chances are it’s what you ate during your childhood.

In many Indian Christian families, the menu was synonymous with status. Meat, deep fried foods as well as snacks and desserts were associated with an affluent lifestyle. Pulses and lentils now considered essential to health were looked down upon as foods that menials ate. People prided themselves on “eating well”. While some continue in this vein, others who feel they were deprived of “good food” tend to overcompensate.

Look around you! Families that do not attach much importance to food rarely struggle with weight. They also have quality of life because they eat less and healthier and don’t spend all their time stressing or preparing it.

Even fitness habits are learned. Active parents typically have active kids.

Many of us have also been taught never to waste food. This is a good habit so long as you are not overeating to prevent wastage. Most of us moms are guilty of this. We eat what our children leave in addition to our own meals.

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I’ve done it for years. Looking back, it was a situation I created. With a child who was a small eater and almost never took a second serving, I believed that a generous portion might encourage him to eat more. It didn’t work and neither did the lectures on not wasting food. It was me that ate more!

A friend shared that she eats well when she is sick as this helps her get better faster. While this seems like an unusual remedy, it is indicative of her dependence on food. Another admitted he binges when stressed, implying food is a source of comfort. A third has not got over the near-starvation at boarding school 30 years ago.

Avoidance and dependence are both indicative of a troubled relationship with food. As Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat says, “Food has become our focus instead of being the fuel for a full life.”

We must change our mantra and eat to live, not live to eat! – CINEWS

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