Recently I visited family and friends in Switzerland and Italy. It was a true vacation: great company, great food, great weather, and great scenery. I returned to Baltimore with new energy and 4 more pounds of–no, not luggage–body weight. This did dampen my spirit a little considering the already annoying extra pounds that have piled up around my waist after andropause.
Therefore I decided to lose weight.
Overweight and obesity are the most serious health problem in the USA. They are also the easiest to diagnose: even a child can make the diagnosis! Even a child knows the treatment: eat less!
For a more professional diagnosis the Center for Disease Control defines overweight and obesity as follows:
For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.
- An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
- An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Although the exact diagnosis only requires an accurate scale and a chart http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ the treatment is a totally different story!
For most people losing weight is a roller coaster between hopes and despair, good intentions and disgust. For many it is the most difficult thing in the world. Why is this? There are many reasons. I mention only a few: We are addicted to food. At the same time we need to eat. It’s the only addiction we cannot avoid. We celebrate with food. Food connects people. Food is easily accessible.
There are countless weightloss programs. Google weightloss and you get over 13 million hits! So why are we losing the battle with obesity? Because this problem needs to be addressed like any addiction. The USA ranks #1 in the world obesity chart. The average U.S. adult weighs 24+ pounds more now than in the early ’60s.
Here is what I have experienced in the 2 months that I am with the “program” and lost 6 lbs:
Yes, it is frustrating because there were days that I thought I was doing really well regarding my food intake but did not lose a single ounce – some days I even gained weight back!
However, overall this has been an up-lifting experience: first, I did lose weight. Second this has been (and still is) a freeing and empowering process. I decided to cut out all flower, sugar, and alcohol and watch portions. No other rules or exceptions. No days of fasting, juicing, punishments, rewards, or “give myself a break” days. No supplements to burn calories. I made weightloss my #1 priority in life. An addiction by definition runs one’s life. Therefore I had to counter my addiction with a mantra that is equal in power and superior in status. Once I made these decisions food became a non-issue. It freed my brain from making decisions regarding food and it gave me power over my bodily desires.
This is what I learned:
- Create a support system: Tell your friends or join a 12 step program http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/ or www.foodaddicts.org or http://www.oa.org/
- Make weightloss the number one priority in your life
- Make is as simple as possible. I recommend Dr. Gott’s book No Flour, No Sugar
- Personalize your diet: while you are at it and add the one food or drink that is a real issue for you to the “NO-list.”
- Befriend you hunger: it’s ok to have nagging feeling of “I want more” in your stomach. This is the positive feed back that you are doing things right. This is different from the feeling of starvation where the metabolism slows down to preserve energy.
- Limit the time rather than set yourself a desired weight. A good time frame is three months. Within three months you will feel the benefits and get a hang of it.
Satisfaction from food (or from any other addiction) is short-lived. It lasts as long as you taste food in your mouth. Satisfaction from losing weight lasts a lifetime.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Peter Hinderberger, M.D., Ph.D., DIHom practices at Ruscombe. The mission of his practice is to promote optimal wellbeing by providing health care through an integrated approach, combining conventional and complementary therapies, which include Anthroposophic medicine, homeopathy, and salutogenesis.