Dear Christine, Gaining in Garden City

I’ve gained 10 pounds in the last 6 months which now puts me 20 pounds overweight.  I keep saying I will start a diet tomorrow and I want to lose the weight by spring. The problem is, after a healthy breakfast, all I can think about is, what’s for lunch? After lunch, I start thinking about dinner. Then there’s the snacks and sweets. People I work with keep bringing junk food to work to share. I feel hungry all the time and I know I couldn’t be. I keep saying, I’ll start tomorrow. I really want to lose weight. Why can’t I find the will power? 


Gaining in Garden City

Dear Gaining,

Welcome to the crowd!  The obesity problem is a global issue, so you are far from alone in this.  There is so much that scientists and doctors do not understand about weight gain and weight loss.  It is not just a matter of will power, nor one of counting calories or dieting.  Of all the diets that people have tried, Weight Watchers is the lone program that seems to help people make the lifestyle changes and maintain them to lose weight.  But, it has worked for me 20 years ago, but currently, I do not lose anything on it. 

There are lots of factors:  Genes, lifestyle, exercise, metabolism, hormones all figure in body weight and how much we lose and gain.  Our car centered lifestyle and sedentary jobs for so many burn many fewer calories that farming two generations ago!  Another issue is lack of sleep, which can cause overeating comfort foods and lack of will power.  Also, keep in mind that our ancestors that survived famines passed along the traits of retaining every calorie you eat.  In our times of fast food, convenience carry out foods and large portions is that those calories pack on, just in case a famine is around the corner. 

What is important to focus on, according to my doctor and other health professionals, is that you focus on being healthy.  Even if you can’t drop those 20 pounds, make sure you get some cardio exercise on a regular basis.  Park the car further away from the office, or across the parking lot from the grocery store, and walk a few more steps.  Those steps do add up and help your heart!  Also, as you age, it’s important to incorporate resistance and weight training, to keep the calcium being deposited in your bones and prevent osteoporosis. 

If you don’t use your muscles, you will lose them, as well as bone.  It’s important to keep your core muscles strong as well, so you can keep flexibility and independence as you age.  Take Tai Chi to increase your balance.  Take Yoga to increase your flexibility and focus.  Meditate to reduce stress, and socialize to maintain a healthy brain.  And eat sensibly, focusing on multicolored vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, eggs and fruit.  And if you want to save the planet, cut way back on red meat, so greenhouse gasses can drop. 

Most of all, remember that every day is a new opportunity for you to care for your body, mind and spirit.  Be realistic and keep trying to be healthy, at whatever body weight you have. 

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD,
Licensed Psychologist

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888Click here to email Christine.

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