Forget ‘weight loss’
Dr Aditya Rattan introspects on why it is difficult to lose weight and comes up with an answer which is holistic in nature
She was looking depressed that day, sitting in my consultation chamber, losing her stream of thoughts repeatedly. She had visited me for the control of her blood pressure around a month back. Apart from her medicines, I had advised her a holistic lifestyle modification approach that included activity, diet, weight control, and other techniques. Little did I know that the solution to her problems will become an issue in itself for her. She had just made it to the list of depressed cases of unsuccessful weight loss programmes.
How to lose weight?
As she left my chamber, I looked for the answers to questions which often haunted me: “Why is it so difficult to achieve success in weight loss programmes?” Why do people tend to regain their weight even after initial success? Why is shedding a few kilos akin to climbing Mount Everest in the minds of many, even though they are aware of the immense benefits? Why do people who lose their weight by prolonged fasting regain it very fast on resuming their regular schedule?
The human brain is a very complex organ capable of initiating thoughts and impulses and organising and managing the actions of almost every cell of the body. If the brain perceives any disharmony in the signals of the body, it acts intelligently by putting up defence systems in active mode. Any effort to reduce the weight is sensed by these counter-regulatory hormones which maintain a sense of equilibrium, and we end up gaining weight.
Brain is intelligent
Metaphorically, we often say, “The brain is very clever; it won’t let you lose a battle easily.” We lose half of the battle if we concentrate on ‘loss’ of weight. The brain cannot interpret the word ‘loss’ of any kind to our body. It will always send balancing forces in action. Any sense of loss in the body is just not acceptable to our intelligent brain. It will promote our appetite, give hunger pangs, slow down the metabolism and do many things to make sure you don’t lose a pound of fat. It is difficult to trick your brain into accepting weight loss.
Fear of failure
To this fight against the natural instincts of the body and brain, we add that of mental struggle too. Any effort towards weight reduction is looked upon as a huge challenge by the individual. We take any unsuccessful attempt as an overall failure on the individual’s part and not just as just an unfinished task. The fear of failure and rejection or ridicule make them go into depression if they cannot get the desired results. They lose belief in themselves and become convinced that they cannot achieve weight loss, sometimes even resulting in an eating disorder and further weight gain.
Does that mean we can’t win over the situation? Is there no way to reduce weight by dieting? Are all successful results followed by a rebound phenomenon of weight gain? How can we trick our brain to help us achieve a healthy weight?
Acceptance is the key
The spiritual science applies to all the body parts and the brain is no exception. If we hate or reject our body shape and weight, we are bound to go on a downward spiral. We should see body weight as just a number. Each person’s muscle mass, bone mass, water content, and fat content is different. We should not try to chase a fancy number for our body weight. What others think of our body shape should not be a matter of concern for us. If our fitness level, our metabolism, and all our body functions are in perfect rhythm, we should happily accept the synchrony of our body.
Change your outlook
However, if we want to achieve a desired weight, our focus should shift from ‘loss of weight’ to ‘gaining a healthy body.’ Try to achieve a healthy body and a healthy mind. The shift of frequency from loss to gain is healthily accepted by the brain and the mind is not subjected to unnecessary stress; rather, it is more enthusiastic and peaceful. All the systems of the body act in a buoyant manner by these psychological vibrations to gain a healthy body.
The deadline set for achieving a desired weight may help in building the momentum but, on the other hand, produces stress hormones which negate the very idea of a healthy body and mind. Accepting the results at each stage while continuing the efforts of achieving a healthy body does not create stress ripples in the frequency of brain signals.
Tricking the brain
Small frequent meals can help in tricking the brain to believe that the body is not trying to break the equilibrium. The brain is thus not alerted to activate the hormonal system. The harmony of the body and mind is not disturbed and a big task is achieved slowly and steadily this way.
The science and spirituality of the body systems act synergistically. The understanding of the two is important to achieve a perfect and healthy body.
As I rose from my seat after this mental marathon, I smiled and thanked the lady for helping me dig out answers from within myself. I was better equipped now to manage my overweight patients with the combination of science and spirituality.
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