How to Cultivate a Sense of Perspective

There are so many challenges when it comes to losing and/or maintaining weight.

For those of us who struggle to the point where we might be considered “eating disordered” – it’s especially challenging. Whether it’s obsessive thinking about food, binge-eating, bulimia, anorexia or even orthorexia, we can all be helped by cultivating a sense of perspective. This doesn’t replace professional methods, of course, and there’s more to eating disorders than pure psychology. There is habit, there is environment, there might even be underlying genetic risk factors.

But no matter how or why you’re struggling, cultivating a  sense of perspective won’t hurt you and may even help you.

By a Sense of Perspective, I mean Three Things

  1. The understanding that you are precious, that every day is precious, and that YOU are more important than your problems.
  2. The understanding that what you’re facing is VERY common. Probably much more common than you think. The understanding that it’s not your fault and that you’re probably pre-disposed to it in some way.
  3. The understanding that your time is limited, and that there is so much for you to be doing here on this earth than wasting your time suffering.

Why Cultivate a Sense of Perspective

Because a sense of perspective puts space between you and your problems.  And space makes you powerful, because it helps you make logical decisions rather than emotional ones.

How to Cultivate a Sense of Perspective

God, if I only knew!

I’m not an expert on this, just someone who struggles with this and who seems to being doing better lately. But here is what I think.

  1. A sense of perspective tends to naturally come with age. You can’t rush this, but you can allow it to happen and surrender to it. And if you’re younger, you can understand that what seems important now (to the point of torturing you) might not seem so important later. And have faith in that.
  2. Spend time stimulating your brain! Filling your brain up with things gives it less time and energy to torture you.  This leads you to a sense of perspective. I’d recommend a hobby where you can track your progress. Something that challenges you, but is within your skill set. Even if you don’t like it at first, you might grow to like it.
  3. Travel (same reason as number two)
  4. Spend time in nature (same reason as number two).
  5. Read biographies. Learning about the struggles that many successful people faced gives you a sense of perspective. Everyone struggles. EVERYONE. And sometimes those struggles account for their greatness.

These are just a few thoughts.  There are so many others, and I’m always open to more thoughts.

When I feel like I’m going insane about anything (which I often too), I remind myself to have a sense of perspective. These problems, they are not that important – no matter how important they seem.

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Pursuing Your Weird Hobbies: Part Duex

A while back, I wrote a post called “Pursue Your Weird Hobbies.” I’ve since deleted it, but essentially it was about the importance of pursuing your weird hobbies as part of a more holistic approach to healing your sense of self, and thus taming your tendency to stuff pies of pizza down your face every time you experience an emotion.

As a primary matter, weird hobbies take time. Less time = less time to eat yummy num nums. Because essentially, you are a sinner.

Also, weird hobbies instill a sense of (potentially weird) identity. Find a weird hobby, and you are no longer self identifying as a fat-ass, but as a basket weaver, or a stamp collector, or whatever freaky hobbyist you should choose to become.

Weird hobbies can be strange, enlightening, or even disturbing. My weird hobby is making little libertarian movies, and imagining that world enjoys them (when of course my analytics tell me otherwise).

But I’ll keep pursuing my weird hobbies! And in the spirit of #election2016, here is my little contribution. Let me know what you think 🙂

 

What weird hobbies keep you mentally sane?

Thanks for watching 🙂

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Walking in Beautiful Places

I don’t know what goes on in your head, I can only (attempt to) tell you what goes on in mine.

I enjoy everything, and I feel happy. I love being young, and my entire existence feels light and silly. In the same moment, I feel profoundly isolated. I disappoint myself, and I’m disappointed by others. I ruminate and dwell on things that I could probably change but don’t. I feel uncalm, yet strangely unfazed. I’m just watching IT happen, and IT is (for the most part) awesome.

Night time shore walks bring me stillness, especially in the colder months. Usually, I’m  there alone – little Dorit versus the entire ocean and world. I’m tormented by the most intense loneliness and sadness. I’m humbled and silent and reminded of my insignificance.

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Yes, I got soaked. 

Then, suddenly, it all feels like the greatest gift. I have to let it wash over me or I’ll burst. I feel almost unbearably grateful to be living the best possible life at the best possible time. The world is great, and its begging me to make it even better. I can’t be stopped (possibly because I’m having a manic episode?). It’s beautiful and special to feel all of these feelings.

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Night time skyline walks can have a similar effect. 

Then I start to feel that I’m crazy. Then I start to feel that I’m sane. Too sane. Maybe the last sane person walking on earth.

My regular walk takes about three to four hours, during which time the ocean regularly lights a fire under my ass. I write short stories in my head (usually about murder) and I think about how the world will end. I’m never very interested in the plot. I like to play with the sentences and scenes, and I text myself the favorites. Later, I’ll adapt them to whatever context.

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Isn’t this shit special?

When I walk all alone late at night, I feel unpleasant things.

I’d love a friend to talk to, but if one came along, I have a feeling I might lie and say I have plans. I need to leave the world regularly, and go to a beautiful place and just walk. Then when I come back, I can function (most of the time). The world is filled with incredible landscapes to walk through and appreciate.  It’s the greatest gift.

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Food and Uncertainty

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Ambiguity intolerance is the tendency to perceive uncertain situations as threatening.

It makes sense – the unknown is scary. But some people have a harder time dealing with it than others.  And these people are more likely to suffer anxiety and depression, especially when faced with a particularly difficult stressor.

Uncertainty and Food

I believe that many disordered eaters suffer from ambiguity intolerance.

Have you ever turned to food to flood your brains with feel-good chemicals in order to avoid feelings of panic? Have you ever done this – even though nothing was wrong in that particular moment?

Fostering a Taste for Uncertainty

If you find yourself threatened by the unknown, fostering a healthier relationship with uncertainty might do wonders to decrease your anxiety.

Who knows, you might even develop a taste for uncertainty. This time next year you could be reading this post while wrestling a shark.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on this hour, this minute, and this day. It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed by the whole entire future. Bring yourself into the present by focusing on what you can do right now. I know this is easier said than done. But try.
  2. Do things that scare you. You have to actively do things that scare you. It sucks, but you’ll (most likely) live. Last year, I jumped out of a freaking airplane! It was the worst thing ever.
  3. Improve a skill. Some people feel anxious because they have an overall feeling of never being good enough. But everyone is good at something. Take something you’re good at and get great at it. Your feelings of pride will spill over into every day life. See my post on pursuing your weird hobbies.
  4. Achieve a behavioral goal. Set a small behavioral goal for yourself, and achieve it. Like number three above, the good feelings will spill over into your every day life making you feel less anxious in general. You’ll also see that things aren’t so hard when you take them one step at a time.  Example: I will go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday for the next two weeks.

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Five Ways to Be Like Amelia on Int’l Women’s Day

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Amelia Earhart = perhaps the most badass person who ever lived on this planet. 

There is so much we can learn from her on International Women’s Day.

1. Do what can’t be done. 

Everything that “can’t be done” actually can be done. It just hasn’t been done yet.  So don’t strive to “be cool” ; strive to “create cool”

  • Being cool means being an early adopter of things that society is already opening up to.
  • Creating cool means doing things fearlessly.

Creating cool makes you a pioneer. It might mean doing things that your friends and family deem reckless. That’s because most people can’t FATHOM living without the fear of other people’s opinions.

 

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2.  Don’t complain about getting no respect. Demand it.  

In Earhart’s day, getting married often meant the end of your identity as an individual human being.  Earhart didn’t bitch and moan about this. She simply refused to let it happen to her.

When a George Putnam wanted to put a ring on it, Amelia was down.

But Amelia was no “ride or die” chick. Because even though she truly wanted to hit it, Amelia agreed only to a trial period at first.

She would agree to a marriage ONLY if he would agree to respect her separate identity. Bitch demanded respect, and so respect was given. And they lived happily together until her disappearance.

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The original Nike spokesperson

3. Don’t hush yourself.

“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart

According to this Mental Floss article, Earhart wrote for Cosmopolitan. But not about topics that most would have found acceptable back in the 1920’s.

In total, she publish 16 published articles. The titles of which include:

  • “Shall You Let Your Daughter Fly?”; AND
  • “Why Are Women Afraid to Fly?”

4. Never Box Yourself In.  

Did you know Amelia Earhart had a fashion line?

..Just because you are a badass pilot, doesn’t mean you can’t look great.

People fear the unpredictable. If they can’t box you in, they’ll keep trying. But don’t let them box you in. And don’t box yourself in. Opportunities are everywhere.

5. Please Yourself. 

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Amelia Earhart was a completely unique human being. A pilot, a pioneer, a writer, a fashion designer, a wife – she was so multi-faceted.

Amelia had a decidedly androgynous flair for the time, and yet was entirely comfortable with her womanhood and femininity.

She didn’t feel the need to please YOU, whoever you happened to be. She felt the need to please herself. And she did it because she wanted to do it.

Wishing you a happy (and empowered) International Women’s Day!

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Finding Your Happy Chemicals

 

Was this song written about carbohydrates?
Or maybe it’s about that moment when you finally exit the gym.

God knows! I’ve got to make it on my own!

Yesterday I wrote a post about called There is No Such Thing as Emotional Eating.

Today, I want to backtrack just a little bit. Because one of the comments on my post got me thinking (yes it was yours The Farmer’s Diet!)

Eating as an Emotional Crutch

So the premise of yesterday’s post was this: when you think you are eating emotionally, you’re not. You are actually eating habitually. 

This is important because:

  • many disordered eaters believe they must address their underlying emotional issues in order to fix their disordered eating
  • I believe the opposite is true! you need to address your disordered eating first, and then your emotional issues will begin to fall away

The Emotional Crutch

I think it’s helpful to forget about emotional eating, and instead focus on habitual eating.

Even so, there are still three major ways emotions come into play:

  1. Emotions are intertwined with habits. When you do things in a highly emotional state, the behaviors you do are more likely to stick.
  2. Emotions can prevent you from ever starting! Food feels good, and it’s a wonderful crutch
  3. Once you begin to lose weight, you lose a lot of your happy chemicals. You have to learn to make them a different way.

When it comes to emotions, I don’t know how much I can help.

As far as #1, read a book about habit formation. I love “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. It might change the way you look at the world

As far as #2, you just have to be strong. That’s all I can say. Make one small step.

Where Did All the Happy Chemicals Go?

As far as #3, dear god I still struggle with this. I can’t personally deprive myself of food constantly and live a happy life.

I also don’t enjoy doing extreme exercise. I lose my weight in “spurts” and maintain for long periods in between. I find that if I lose weight relatively quickly over relatively short periods of time, it’s less taxing on my emotions.

But in general, I don’t think losing weight is “fun” for your body or mind. By definition, if you want to lose weight, you need to eat LESS than your body needs to survive. I don’t care how quickly or slowly you do that – losing fat is taxing on your body. It’s a stressor.

So your emotions might run haywire, and mine often do. It’s better not to become overweight in the first place. Because maintaining your weight can be very easy if you just eat whole foods.

I exercise by walking outdoors and hiking. These things make me feel happy and free. I don’t do exercises that make me miserable, because losing weight makes me miserable enough.

Go easy on willpower. Your willpower is limited. When you use it up, you’re more likely to slip up. And when you slip up, you’re more likely to go hard on yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself for being a freaking human being!!

We all have limited willpower. Fit people don’t keep crappy food in the house. That means they exercise their willpower less. You might even want to plan meals ahead of time. I don’t do this, but it works great for some people. Take away as many bad choices as you can. Making choices drains your willpower, and makes you unhappy.

You have to make sure you’re sleeping enough, and I think having good relationships is important also. I’m very fortunate to have two of my closest friends, Rachel and Val along with me on this journey.

Oh the loneliness! I’m self-employed, which makes things lonely. And I’m single, which makes things lonely. Carbs make lovely friends. So you have to fill up the loneliness.  I do it by getting absorbed in books, and lately by writing.

Your happy chemicals are also another reason to set tiny goals. Reaching goals boosts happiness.  Once you get a little momentum going, it get’s much easier.  Small goals changed everything for me. That’s why I wrote this post: To Lose 30 Pounds, Aim for Eight.

Set BEHAVIORAL rather then PROGRESS goals. You can’t completely control your progress, but you CAN completely control your behavior. And since your progress is a direct result of your behavior, behavioral goals are not only just as valid – they actually WORK BETTER.  They give you something to be proud of no matter what.

  • “Progress Goals” = I want to lose 2 pounds per week
  • “Behavioral Goals” = I will eat a salad every weekday for lunch

When you generally feel good about yourself, happy chemicals are easier to come by. But I won’t pretend it’s easy in the beginning.  You have to slog through it, knowing better days are coming.

In Sum

  • Don’t set insurmountable goals & take it one day at a time.
  • Eat whole foods from God’s good earth, so your body is more satisfied and less panicky.
  • Stay away from carbs or foods that addict you.
  • A small amount of carbs IS good for mental health, eat them together with fat and protein at the same meal.

And if you have any suggestions for how you deal with your emotions during weight loss, please share.

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You Don’t Need a Clean Slate

“Ok, I’m excited to do this.”

“I’m finally going to take the plunge!”

“Awesome, cool. Let’s start Monday.”

The Fresh Start Hypothesis

How many times have you made a decision NOW, but only to start Monday? How many times have you vowed to take up a skill, or to make a big change beginning on New Years Day?

These are both features of what social scientists call the “Fresh Start Hypothesis.” This hypothesis states that we have a general tendency to correlate changes in behavior with temporal triggers or changes in environment.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

If you understand more about human nature, you understand more about yourself. And if you understand more about yourself, you have greater control of your outcomes.

We can recognize the “Fresh Start Hypothesis” for what it is, and consider how we can exploit this natural tendency to our benefit. On the other hand, we can also think about how such tendencies might create psychological barriers to success.

In other words, the desire for a “clean slate” can be helpful. But it can also block you. And there is nothing more tragic than someone standing in the way of their own success.

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Know Yourself. 

There is no right or wrong answer here. Everyone is different. We all have different motivations at different times in our lives.

A “fresh start” may be just what you need!   On the other hand, if you find yourself making a “fresh start” every Monday – it might be time to recognize that this approach isn’t working for you.  You have too much emotional baggage, and it’s associated with the Fresh Start.

“But it will be different this time!” Maybe it will. Who am I to say? But maybe you are simply sabotaging yourself.

  • Example 1:  It’s December 27th and it’s a Friday. You are miserable. Kids throw jelly donuts at you, and at 5’1 you weigh 220 pounds. You have never attempted to lose weight before, and in fact your weight hasn’t really bothered you until recently. You have zero healthy habits, and you barely know where to begin.
    • Solution: If you’re going to do a major life overhaul, you can start on January 1st. But until then, see if you can substitute one meal a day with a salad.
  • Example 2: At 5’2′ you weigh 160 pounds. You aren’t happy with your weight, but you’re always dieting. Almost every Monday you find yourself vowing that this week will be different. By Thursday or Friday, you’ve usually fallen off the wagon. You feel guilty and you binge all weekend. Next Monday you know you’ll get it right!
    • Solution: Stop starting Monday. Start right now. For you, the BREAK from starting on Mondays is the REAL fresh start. Don’t be hard on yourself, either. Just make one change for the better.
    • Alternative solution: start Monday, but also start implementing one specific change right now.

The Power of Now

If you need to make a change, it’s best to start RIGHT NOW. But maybe don’t start all the way just yet..

You DON’T need:

  • a funeral procession for your last meal
  • ritual binge before your “purge.”

The more you see fitness as a “project” the more likely you are to see it as deprivation or hard labor.  It doesn’t have to be this way. It could just be simple – eat less shit.

On the other hand, the more you see your fitness journey as a “project” the more likely you are to take it seriously.

So what can we do about this contradiction?

Make a Fresh Start WITHOUT a Fresh Start

  1. Understand that most people have a tendency to correlate behavioral changes with temporal markers.
  2. Understand that our habits do not exist in isolation. They are intertwined with the concepts of time, and also with our physical environments. This will make it easier for you to change them.
  3. Understand also that an absolute NEED for a “clean slate” can be detrimental. And it’s also an illusion. You never need it, you only think you do.
  4. Use this knowledge for good! And Not for evil.

“Starting” can mean taking one small concrete action beginning right now. It could be as simple as replacing one part of dinner with veggies.

Do this PRIOR to taking a big plunge. You can still take the big plunge when you’re ready.

More Ways to Use the Fresh Start for Good

Start NOW!

But use temporal triggers and environmental changes to enhance your efforts.

Examples:

  • I’m beginning to replace one meal with a salad each day TODAY.
    • But beginning on Monday, I’ll start tracking my weight once weekly
  • I’m going to begin cut down on processed foods TODAY.
    • But once the semester starts, I will go to the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • I’m going to add more veggies in my diet beginning TODAY.
    • But starting on January 1, I’m going to begin my meal plan.
  • I’m going to try to make as many healthy choices as I can TODAY
    • But starting Monday, I’m going to do a 30 day weight loss challenge

The Struggle

I write this post because I struggled with this for a long time. I was always making a fresh start, and I was always failing.

My TRUE fresh start was when I recognized that my need for a clean slate was holding me back. It was crazy and delusional. I would NEVER have a clean slate. And I would never stick perfectly to a diet plan.

And even so, it was difficult to break the pattern. It took time. My brain kept going back to it. I had to break the pattern by reminding myself over and over again that my mind was playing tricks on me.

Remember this: the universe doesn’t have major plans for you. It’s apathetic. It doesn’t care about your clean slate. Only you do. And that’s because it’s a part of your human nature. Forgive yourself. Your slate is as clean RIGHT NOW as it will ever be.

You can use your need for a “fresh start” for good, or you can use it as an excuse to self-sabotage.

I say, if you’re not happy – then start this minute. In whatever small way you can.

Have you struggled with this?

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Craving Nature

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Hubby and our dog, Marty

 

I never understood why Professionals (Doctors and Teachers) are so quick to diagnose children with attention disorders the second they “act out” or decide not to pay attention for a split second. I can’t believe I am about to say this…. but, “when people my age were younger” and acted out, all we needed to do was be engaged in an activity.

We didn’t have time to be bored or restless. I remember riding bikes with Dorit, Val, and Co. after school till it got dark out and if I wasn’t riding bikes or running around, I was in karate lessons, dance lessons, acting classes. I didn’t get my first cell phone till the age of 17 when I started driving and now you see children who aren’t even able to walk yet playing with an iPad!

Nature is the best medicine.

I find myself getting so restless, some days more than others. It’s been raining since Sunday and will continue raining through tomorrow… these rainy days are bad but what gets me more is when the sun is shining and I am suffocating inside.

While looking up the forecast for this weekend, I came across this article  titled, “Are You Nature-Deprived?”  It begins by telling a story about a family bringing their child to the Doctor to discuss her temper tantrums. Dr.Zarr learned that the majority of their weekends were spent inside. Instead of diagnosing her with behavioral issues, he advised the family to spend time outdoors. At the follow-up visit, the family noted the tantrums had stopped.

Negative effects of nature deprivation:

  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • ADD
  • Auto-immune disorders

Interesting note taken from Richard Louv’s, “Last Child in the Woods” :

Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind.

 

The same goes for adults… People spend so much time behind a computer and phone that they forget how to socialize. We make plans via texting rather than calling, we tell stories via email or texting rather than face-to-face. It seems to be a burden to be around people.

Instead of trying to make connections with people online, why don’t you join a club or group activity? Come on my flower children, go outside, enjoy the world around you.

Positive effects of spending time outdoors:

  • Boosts mental health
  • Reduces stress
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Helps with focus and creativity
  • Burn calories (walk, run, play!)

So, my question to you is, when was the last time you were outside? Did you feel better? Parents- do you find that time spent outdoors with your children result in better behavior?

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I love my fur baby. Missing warm weather.

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The Power of a Lindt Truffle

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This is what God looks like.

“Eat dark chocolate,”  they say.
“It has health benefits,” they say.

But who are these foolbags anyway? And what do they know about my most sensual desires?

Because I DON’T WANT dark chocolate, goddamit. I want milk chocolate. Sweet, crappy, sugary, milk chocolate.

Can’t I have just a little bit? 
Must everything I ingest have health value?

Milk Chocolate for Mental Health

For the past two years, I eat at least one milk chocolate truffle every day. I believe it was my roommate (and fellow contributor) Valerie who first commented on my truffle habit. She said eating truffles was “very European” of me.

But I don’t have TIME for Europeans. That’s because I’m too busy eating all of the milk chocolates in the land. Milk chocolate makes me dance and sing. It’s what separates me from animals.

What kind of monster would try to keep me from my chocolate? Who dares deny me one tiny little godforsaken truffle? One is never too much. There’s always room for it. Stop trying to take my small happiness away.

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#bestie

 

I am not sponsored by Lindt Chocolates (if only!).
But I DO prefer Lindt Truffles for two reasons:

  1. 7/11 sells them individually, so I NEVER keep chocolate in the apartment; and
  2. They’re good. But they’re not tooooooooooo good. Translation = I can stop eating them (Unlike Twix, M&M’s, Snickers or pretty much any other candy bar.)
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alas! a terrible fate has befallen my truffle

Embrace Your Pleasures

Everyone has their guilty pleasures, and I am a strong believer in embracing mine.

Life really is short. And it sucks to deny yourself chocolate over and over again when the reality is that you could be eating some of that chocolate. EVERY DAY.

No – I don’t want to be a fatass. But if and when my time should come, I think I’ll smile at the thought of all the chocolate truffles that I allowed into my life. And then maybe, just maybe, I’ll flash my middle finger at the universe just one last time. As if to say unto the Lord himself, “Fuck you, man. I ate ALL the truffles. And I lost weight anyway.”

(I’m kidding, God. Please don’t kill me.)

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Three Pillars of Fitness: Part 1

This is part one of a four part blog post on my overarching theory of everything.

Here it goes!

There are three pillars of fitness. Each pillar is distinct, but they interact. A weakness in one can (and probably will) infect the others over time.

In this post, I will generally describe the three pillars approach. In the next three posts, I’ll go into each pillar separately.

The Three Pillars

The Psychological;
The Physical; and
The Habitual

  1. “The Psychological” refers to your existing mental framework with regards to food, movement, body image, and self-esteem in general. When you don’t identify as a member of a certain group (in this case, “fit people”), you are far less likely to take actions consistent with belonging to that group.
  2. “The Physical”  refers to forces that are generally either outside of your conscious control, or at the very least which exist at the periphery of your conscious control. These include “mechanical” or “chemical” forces that keep you heavy – anything from hormones, metabolic state, genetic predispositions, state of your microbiome, etc. For most people, physical barriers can be easily corrected. This will put you in optimal state to achieve a healthy weight.
  3. “The Habitual” refers to your automatic or “default” behaviors. This is the most important pillar of all, and also the toughest to fix. But have faith!! Science has given us proven methods to replace bad habits with more constructive behaviors. Even in the absence of willpower.

The Purpose of this Framework

There is no objective truth to this particular framework. Rather, the three pillar approach is meant as an aid – to help you identify specific problems, so that you can work specifically on those problems, rather than wasting your time on problems you don’t have.

Within each of the three pillars, you can look for research based methods to take the exact steps you need to address your particular issues.

This framework recognizes that there is NO one size fits all approach to maintaining a healthy weight. That’s because people’s pillars are not weak in the same places.

An Illustration

If you’re overweight – consider:
how did you become overweight in the first place?

  • Were you overweight as child? If so, you likely have barriers in all three pillars.
    • Psychological – It’s likely that your own mental representation of yourself does not include thinness. It just isn’t who you are. Because you don’t see yourself as a “fit person” your brain is making thousands of subconscious choices each day that are different than the choices that a person who sees themselves as fit would make.
    • Physical – You likely have physical dependencies on certain foods or feeding behaviors, which go above and beyond mere habits. These may be largely the result of metabolic syndrome, or the beginnings or it.
    • Habitual – Whatever habits that led you to become overweight at such a young age are deeply engrained. You haven’t successfully replaced your default behavior to more closely resemble that of a fit person.
  • Did you become overweight simply from bad habits? On the other hand – you might have acquired bad habits with age. In this case, you may STILL have problems in each pillar but those problems are different. Some examples include:
    • Psychological
      • Maybe your framework around food is perfectly healthy -you’ve just fallen on bad habits. In this case, addressing the habits will be sufficient to address your fitness problems. Or maybe those bad habits are beginning to affect your self-esteem. A third possibility is that you were never psychologically healthy to begin with, but only now are the results catching up with you.
      • In the second two cases, you need to deal with your mental framework in order to achieve lasting results.
    • Physical
      • Maybe you have physical dependencies on food, and maybe you don’t.
      • If you’ve been eating poorly, it’s likely that a host of changes in your body have occurred – to your hormones, in your blood, and to your gut flora. These physical changes may make it more difficult for your to lose weight.
    • Habitual
      • You could have fine psychological and physical health, and yet still become unfit over time. Poor habits tend to accumulate.
      • Luckily, this is an area rife with hacks and psychological tricks to improve your outcomes.

The Fix

Luckily, each of these pillars can be strengthened.

In terms of ease of change I’d rank them as follows (from easiest to toughest).
1.  Physical
2. Psychological
3. Habitual

You also DON’T need three PERFECT pillars to achieve results. You simply need to begin making improvements where they are most needed.  Where you make improvements will depend not only on the severity of the problem, but also on the importance of the pillar.

In terms of importance, I’d rank them as follows (from most important to least important).

  1. Habitual
  2. Physical
  3. Psychological

The cool thing is this. Just as problems in one pillar can begin to affect the integrity of the others, so can solutions for one pillar improve the health of the others.

In Part Two of this post I will discuss the Psychological Pillar, including concrete tactics you can use to create healthier mental associations with food and movement.

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