Do you remember the e-mail I got from Joey in which she told us she suffered from obsessive health behavior and fear of gaining weight? In this article I get back to her e-mail with useful tips to help her break her unhealthy behavior. Additionally, I share tips from readers who recognized themselves in the story of Joey.
Read part 1 of this article.
- Be realistic
Will you really gain weight if you exercise less, or are these just your thoughts? Have you ever tried to exercise less? Be aware that women can fluctuate significantly with their weight. This is mainly due to their fluid balance under the influence of hormones. With an unchanged eating and exercise patterns you can easily fluctuate as much as 10 lbs around your normal weight. Take a little step back, be more flexible with food and exercising. Go to the gym 1 day lessand dare to reduce your workouts into half the days you normally work out. Do you suffer from binge eating, then the chances are great that they willdisappear.
- Don’t stress
In line with point 1: don’t stress about slight weight gain. It’s probably not fat, but just a changed fluid balance. This can particularly occur during menstruation. After menstruation, you are often lighter again, as your fluid balance will have changed back to normal again. Stress and being rigid about nutrition and exercise habits aren’t good for your body anyway: the hormone cortisol is released, that can actually cause storage of fat tissue.
- Take rest
Stress (for example because of your weight, eating and exercise habits) causes release of cortisol, but exercise can also have the same effect. This happens when don’t take enough rest in between workouts. There will thus be too much stress on your body. You can recognize this if you find yourself being tired, but not being able to sleep well. This way, too much exercise can also actually cause fat storage.
- Throw away the scale
Do you step on the scale twice a day? What impact does this have on you? Do you allow yourself something extra if you’ve lost weight and are you harder on yourself if you gained? If you continue this behavior, you’llmaintain the yoyo-effect as you constantly have to ‘fix’ what your weight gain. So let it go.
- Allow yourself something extra
No, a pizza, an ice cream, cake, or [fill in the blank] once in a while will not make you gain weight. You can calculate here how much you need to eat extra to gain 5 lbs. That’s quite a lot, right? Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight.
- Get rid of MyFitnessPal
Firstly because this calculator isn’t accurate. Secondly, because it will sustain your obsessive if you keep making calculations and adjusting your exercise and eating behavior to it. Get rid of the app if you are done with your obsessive behavior. Cold turkey, yes.
- Turn to professional help
Turn to a psychologist. That sounds much heavier than it is, but is actually not a big deal and it is certainly not something to be ashamed of. If there is something wrong with your car, you bring it to the garage. Why not do the same if there is something you need help with? A psychologist helps you reflect on your own behavior, which can be very enlightening. In addition, it might actually be nice to be guided by someone else. Your doctor can help you find the right psychologist for you (but you may also e-mail me for tips, help or support).
Finally, here’s a number of tips from readers who recognized themselves in Joey’s story and/or felt involved with her:
Anouk (expert by experience and owner of Groentje Gezond): “My tip for the writer would be to talk about it with a professional. If she’s really suffering and developing a bad relationship with exercise and food, this seems sensible to me.”
Anne: “Self care is knowing your own specific needs and nourishing your body ,mind and soul with the things that makes you happy and healthy in our own way.Besides over training and restricting is exhausting so no wonder it is not a sustainable lifestyle ,the body will scream for food an rest and the valleys could just be a natural consequence of a physical burnout which of course feels terrible also mentally and emotionally.”
Tilleke Meppelink (employee PsyQ Eating Disorders and expert by experience): “Seek help in time. It takes 5 to 7 years before people seek help, because they feel that they have to solve it by their own, while it is often too hard to do without specialized help. “
I have contacted Joey for feedback. We will stay in touch, so I can see if she needs further guidance. Let’s hope I can inform you about her progression in half a year!
Do you have additional tips for Joey?
(c) image: Evelina Zacharlou/Flickr CC