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Can't Resist Food

Q. I have been on one diet or another all of my life. I am intelligent and successful. I can conquer most anything in the business world. Why can't I conquer food?!?!?!?!

I hate the way I look. I don't look forward to the nice whether and skimpy clothes. I get worn out easily and I know it's not healthy. So what's my problem?

Why can I sit down and read a book on good nutrition and eat potato chips at the same time? PLEASE help me.

A.. It's interesting how there can be such a disconnect between being intelligent and successful, and the use of food that can be out of control.

Many people use rationalizing and compartmentalizing to allow themselves to continue behaviors that are sabotaging their health and well being. Basically, overdoing junk food (eating a large amount of high-carb foods) and a pattern of lifetime dieting indicates that the eating behavior is serving a purpose other than nutrition; it may be a way of giving you a temporary "high" or good feelings, a way to avoid difficult emotions, a way to sabotage yourself due to low self-esteem.

"Fad" diets won't work over time, and the best approach appears to be moderate changes in food intake and physical activity, while addressing emotional aspects of eating. Has your doctor confirmed that you are overweight and helped you identify a target weight range?

There are programs through some hospitals that combine a dietician's and exercise physiologist's expertise (i.e. Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights); if you believe your key problem is emotional, Food Addicts Anonymous or Overeaters Anonymous would certainly be helpful.

There are also mental health professionals who specialize in eating disorders who can help you identify your key issues and can make recommendations for treatment. Ask your doctor or health insurance plan staff for recommendations.

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Anne Cook Finnegan

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