Choosing To Live A Healthier Life

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Choosing To Live A Healthier Life

A few years ago, I realized that I needed to get healthy for my kids. I weighed around three hundred pounds, and it was really difficult for me to get around comfortably. I was even having problems with things like sleeping and driving, which is why I shifted my focus to a healthier lifestyle. I started eating right and exercising daily, and I quickly realized that my life was improving day after day. One day, after losing about a hundred pounds, I realized that I could run faster than I had ever been able to before. This blog is all about choosing to live a healthier life and doing it with style.

Is Counseling The Key To Weight Loss? 2 Signs That Counseling May Be Your Best Diet Companion

It can be a struggle to lose weight if you are overweight or obese and cannot stick to a healthy eating plan. Some people have trouble sticking to a diet because they love eating out with friends or feel hungry all the time, which are two common problems. However, many people have trouble sticking to portion or calorie-restricted diets not because of hunger, but because of disordered eating habits. While your doctor or dietitian can give you a personal eating plan designed to help you lose weight, a counselor is another professional necessary to help you lose weight in a healthy way if you experience one of the following signs of disordered eating. 

1. You Follow Your Diet Until It is Interrupted by an Uncontrollable Binge

Many people following weight-loss diets slip up occasionally and have an extra cookie or two here and there or an extra piece of cake at a birthday party. Eating occasional extra treats while dieting is normal and occasional "cheat days" can actually be a built-in part of a healthy weight-loss plan. 

However, binge eating disorder is a problem when binges are triggered by negative emotions instead of happy ones. Binges often consist of thousands of calories worth of food, and you may continue eating long after your stomach feels full.

Other signs that you have a binge-eating disorder include:

  • An out-of-control feeling while eating. You feel like you cannot stop eating and you cannot think rationally during your binges. 
  • Depression after binges. Your binge brings you a temporary "high" while eating but is followed by an extreme "low" once you realize how much you have consumed. 
  • Secret Eating. You eat in secrecy as an escape from the real world, and you may even withdraw from friends and family just to get away to eat. 

If you are a binge eater, then a counselor may use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to teach you how to recognize the signs that you may be nearing a binge episode and suggest ways to channel your anger, stress, or anxiety into a healthier outlet. He or she may advise you to keep a journal and write down how you are feeling right before a binge and how you feel after. 

Your counselor may also recommend a prescription medication approved to treat binge eating disorder. This medication can help reduce your anxiety and depression episodes that trigger your binging. 

2. You Eat Too Much of Only a Tiny List of "Safe" Foods

Many people who want to lose weight cut unhealthy foods out of their diets, like cookies and candy, and that is normal. However, some become obsessed with eating healthy and develop a disorder called orthorexia. You may have orthorexia if you have an obsession with eating only specific foods and never stray from your "safe" food list. You may not have lost any weight eating these foods or you may have even gained weight eating them, but you experience extreme negative emotions at the thought of eating other foods.

Orthorexia can take a toll on your body by limiting the daily nutrients you consume to only those on your personal safe food list, and the physical effects of this disorder vary depending on exactly what you eat. 

However, the toll orthorexia takes on your mental health can  be huge, as you may obsess all day about the food you eat and skip social and family events because you fear you will be tempted by unsafe or "impure" foods present. Many experts believe orthorexia is linked to OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Signs that you may have orthorexia include:

  • The thought of eating foods outside of your "safe list" leads to extreme anxiety. 
  • Your eating habits and thoughts interfere with living a normal daily life. You may refuse dinners out with friends or even call off work so you can stay home and eat a "safe food" instead. 
  • Your physical health is declining due to a lack of specific nutrients and possible weight gain, but you still refuse to eat the foods you need to for the valuable nutrients they provide. 

Treatment of orthorexia consists of treating the underlying causes of your fixation on certain foods. Your counselor will find out when you started eating this way and whether a specific life event triggered it, such as a death in the family or another traumatic event. He or she will then help you work through the underlying cause of your disorder so you can finally lose weight by eating a variety of healthy foods that help you meet your daily nutritional goals. 

Losing weight is difficult, and it can be even more difficult when an eating disorder is the cause your weight gain or your inability to lose weight. If you have signs of disordered eating, then before visiting a dietitian for a weight-loss menu, it is best to visit a counselor for more information on treating an eating disorder that is interfering with your life.