"I can't deal with my weight until I get my emotional life together!"
Ron Brown, weight management expert and author of The Body Fat Guide has heard this many times. He says, "People are often quick to link their body fat problems to emotional issues. It's true that emotional stability plays an important part in successfully managing life's tasks. But, it is still possible to manage your weight even when your emotions sometimes seem uncontrollable."
Brown points out that eating is normally an emotionally-charged experience. "Eating naturally brings us pleasure and comfort, and that's good. In addition to eating for physiological needs, we are motivated to eat for all kinds of social and psychological reasons, which is normal and okay as long as we don't overdo it. It's really a question of reducing the role emotions play in controlling how we manage our weight."
Brown explains, "Most people attempt to manage their weight entirely by feel. As long as they feel good, they are motivated to stick to their weight management plans. But, when their feelings change, suddenly all of their weight management plans go out the window!"
Brown emphasizes that feelings are important. "But, don't put them in charge of your weight management program. If you pit your feelings up against the scale, you will lose every time because the scale has no feelings!"
So how do you stay in control of your weight through all of life's emotional ups and downs?
"By relying on objective feedback in the form of body
composition and energy balance measurements instead of your feelings
to guide your diet and activity modifications," replies Brown. "In other
words, rather than balancing how much you eat and exercise by feel, use the
numbers in my program. You can't manage what you don't measure! Your feelings alone are not a substitute for
measuring and modifying your energy balance numbers. If an emotional crisis throws your
eating schedule off track, using the numbers provides a way to quickly climb
back on track."