Diet With An Attitude

An approach to weight control that delves into attitudes about weight, shape, appearance, and health. It requires a re-alignment of America's infatuation with food and painless dieting.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Psychology Of Dieting Part 2

This is another in a series of articles I wrote for a magazine. It was rather long so I have split it into distinct parts. This is part two. I hope you like it.

Body versus Mind dominance.

We all wage a lifelong internal battle between our body and our mind. Each is dominant at different stages of development. As infants, we are little more than a collection of sensations. We explore the exciting new world around us through touching everything within reach, tasting everything we can put into our mouths, watching the movements of everything around us, and listening to all the sounds we hear until we eventually learn to imitate them.

As we move into our early school years, we start to concentrate on our minds. We voraciously devour immense amounts of information. We learn to read and our world expands its boundaries by a thousand percent. We learn to use the Internet and a limitless universe is at our fingertips.

Then we move into puberty and, overnight, our appearance becomes the dominating factor in our everyday lives. We navigate the pitfalls and pleasures of adolescence where popularity and being cool are so much more vital than mere learning or mental development. We spend an inordinate amount of time on our bodies. We try new clothes, new hairstyles, and new makeup. We have body parts pierced and undergo the pain of a tattoo because it will make us stand out. We primp, and groom, and force ourselves into the styles our peers have judged as “in.”

As we mature, we seek to balance our mental and physical selves. While our bodies reign supreme in the attract-a-mate environment, we need to exercise our minds to advance our careers and to develop deep relationships that move far beyond mere physical attraction.

It is when we settle down, and start to build the good life we want, that our efforts and energies turn towards things outside ourselves: children, significant others, friends, family, and work pursuits. We have so much happening around us and so much to do that we lose touch with both our bodies and our minds. We slip into our own comfort zone where so many of our needs are fulfilled by food. It eases our anxiety, relieves our frequent frustrations, and makes periodic bouts of the blues bearable. It oils our social interactions. It becomes a vital cog in how we demonstrate affection for those we love. We continue to see ourselves as we have always been and ignore the love handles and pockets of fat that attach themselves to parts of our body we resolutely ignore. Our bodies, and our internal image of our bodies, become more and more discordant.


I'll continue with the rest of the article later. See you then!

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