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Is losing weight mostly psychological?

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Replies

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    Well, yes. Put someone in a situation where they have no personal agency, and individual psychology will be less of a factor. Outside of those settings there are clearly psychological factors at work, including those behind making the decision to lose weight in the first place.

    It might be worth mentioning that psychological molding of recruits is part of the point of boot camp too.
    Okay, but are we saying that people in countries that have an obesity issue are psychologically "weaker" than other countries who have the same availability of food, but don't have an obesity issue?

    I very much doubt that's a useful way to frame the issue, and I'm not sure why someone would choose to. Eating habits are absorbed from the surrounding culture at least as much as from any other source, and it takes more mental effort to move against the prevailing cultural pressure than to follow a course of action that goes along with it.
    I can agree with this to a point. As children, we're usually going to have a set of habits around eating based on environment. However, those habits can be changed over time dependent on environment. But if habitual behavior is really strong in one, I believe that environment won't affect them that much. Maybe when it comes down to lack of choices (food availability from one place to another), may one move to a different behavior.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • MNMsMonique
    MNMsMonique Posts: 15 Member
    Yes!!! I'm actually writing a book about it!
  • jeepinshawn
    jeepinshawn Posts: 642 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    Well, yes. Put someone in a situation where they have no personal agency, and individual psychology will be less of a factor. Outside of those settings there are clearly psychological factors at work, including those behind making the decision to lose weight in the first place.

    It might be worth mentioning that psychological molding of recruits is part of the point of boot camp too.
    Okay, but are we saying that people in countries that have an obesity issue are psychologically "weaker" than other countries who have the same availability of food, but don't have an obesity issue?

    I very much doubt that's a useful way to frame the issue, and I'm not sure why someone would choose to. Eating habits are absorbed from the surrounding culture at least as much as from any other source, and it takes more mental effort to move against the prevailing cultural pressure than to follow a course of action that goes along with it.
    I can agree with this to a point. As children, we're usually going to have a set of habits around eating based on environment. However, those habits can be changed over time dependent on environment. But if habitual behavior is really strong in one, I believe that environment won't affect them that much. Maybe when it comes down to lack of choices (food availability from one place to another), may one move to a different behavior.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png


    Habits are a mental process, at least mostly. We get in the habit of eating to much, mfp is a tool that we can use to break old habits and help us hopefully establish new habits. Our old habits are taken from the culture we are surrounded by as children. That's why people often revert back, they don't Change there community and it makes it that much easier to go back to the old habits. Just like with drug addiction if you quit you are likely to use again if you stay with active users.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,411 Member
    This is probably my favourite obesity image ever: http://www.shiftn.com/obesity/Full-Map.html?

    Obesity is ridiculously complex, multi-faceted, and determined by a huge number of factors: evolutionary, biological, social, cultural, environmental, and psychological. To say that obesity (and weight loss) is a matter of psychology is a gross over-simplification of an exceptionally complex issue.

    I just got home from a behavioural medicine conference that involved over 2000 leading researchers in health and disease - including a large obesity/weight loss contingent. I didn't see a single poster or presentation that claimed weight loss was all in your head.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/why-willpower-isn-t-enough-to-keep-the-pounds-off-1.3907411

    Short answer: no, it's not just psychology.

    With respect to the link, specifically: Sounds like the answer is "give up" (and don't shame others).

    Did you learn anything helpful you can share with us, at the behavioural medicine conference, especially things that might suggest alternatives to giving up?
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    This is probably my favourite obesity image ever: http://www.shiftn.com/obesity/Full-Map.html?

    Obesity is ridiculously complex, multi-faceted, and determined by a huge number of factors: evolutionary, biological, social, cultural, environmental, and psychological. To say that obesity (and weight loss) is a matter of psychology is a gross over-simplification of an exceptionally complex issue.

    I just got home from a behavioural medicine conference that involved over 2000 leading researchers in health and disease - including a large obesity/weight loss contingent. I didn't see a single poster or presentation that claimed weight loss was all in your head.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/why-willpower-isn-t-enough-to-keep-the-pounds-off-1.3907411

    Short answer: no, it's not just psychology.

    With respect to the link, specifically: Sounds like the answer is "give up" (and don't shame others).

    Did you learn anything helpful you can share with us, at the behavioural medicine conference, especially things that might suggest alternatives to giving up?

    I will also note that the vast majority of things in the map relate to psychology in some way.

    I do agree that it's multi-faceted, of course, but humans have not changed biologically. What has changed -- if one doesn't want to just admit defeat -- is our food environment, so we have to come up with a way (given our existing biology) of succeeding within that food environment.
  • catgerm
    catgerm Posts: 44 Member
    I can see how that could be very frustrating.

    Something that was helpful for me to change my state of mind is making the decision to change the way I eat. It helped for me to feel back in control of what I put in my body...

    Good luck!
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,257 Member
    I look at this in a more general manner - similar how one would identify in a "The 10 Traits of Successful People". Weight management is no different that success in any other endeavor - maintaining a budget, climbing the corporate ladder, academic success... Weight has become a personal matter as it is tightly connected to body image and how we view ourselves. This is not something we can hide like a failing grade on a test. It is real and exposed to everyone.

    This stresses the need to go back to basics and identify the core behaviors that lead to obesity - by managing a caloric budget, identifying individual eating habits, removing bad habits and replacing these with habits that promote health.

    So yes - it is primarily psychological; however like anything if you don't develop habits creating a positive feedback loop and reinforce your psyche, your chances of failure increase as you become solely reliant on willpower.
  • GaleHawkins
    GaleHawkins Posts: 8,160 Member
    Starting in Oct 2014 the understanding finally came to my mind after all of these years to just take 'weight loss' off of the table and to just forget about it.

    Very few become obese prior to physical/mental health decline due to endless causes.

    When my focus went from the size of my pants to learning how to possibly live to be 110 and walking and talking the entire way is what turned me around both mentally and physically.

    My way of eating and moving is being modified by just the results of one $30 test that can be ordered online (at least in most of the USA).

    lifeextension.com/magazine/2014/5/testing-for-c-reactive-protein-may-save-your-life/page-01

    The actual test.
    lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/itemLC120766/C-Reactive-Protein-CRP-Cardiac-Blood-Test

    All testing options.
    lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/Blood-Tests/Blood-Tests

    While it is over $400 on sale the next time I plan to go for the Male Elite Panel so I have a private base line battery of tests for a reference point as my physical and mental health improves today.

    Weight loss AND successful weight maintenance I now think is not going to happen when my CRP test results are elevated much above ZERO.

    Food, exercise and supplement choices that may increase my CRP test scores are being removed for my life as they are identified.

    Yes calories are a concern but not in the top 10 concerns that I have today macros are in my top ten list but my macro is adjusted based on my CRP scores going forward since I just started tracking CRP results 4 months ago.

    A year by year decline in my CRP scores is Job #1 to make it to 110 walking and talking the entire way as I see it today.

    Best of success to everyone has you each learn the way forward that works best for your mind and your body.

  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    Very few become obese prior to physical/mental health decline due to endless causes.

    I don't believe this is true, and have never seen any credible evidence presented that supports it.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,411 Member
    edited April 2017
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Very few become obese prior to physical/mental health decline due to endless causes.

    I don't believe this is true, and have never seen any credible evidence presented that supports it.

    My n = family points in another direction, too: Mother = obese, maternal grandmother = obese, several paternal aunts = obese.

    And before you decide they're too recent and are obviously part of the putative "physical/mental health decline". My mother would've been 105 this year. The rest were similar or older.

    (ETA: Oh, and: All lived into their 80s, no assisted living residents in the bunch, so I think physical health was otherwise OK; and all of good mental health, except one aunt who was a tad eccentric but not to the point of interfering with daily life. ;) ).
  • ccsernica
    ccsernica Posts: 1,040 Member
    edited April 2017
    This argument is, perhaps by design, at cross-purposes on either side.

    Is losing weight mostly psychological in terms of biochemistry? That is, is losing weight a situation of mind over matter, where if you just "think thin" you'll be thin? Obviously not. The thermodynamics of the situation govern everything about it. Paying attention to CICO is the only thing that accomplishes it.

    Is the process of modifying our behavior in order to accomplish weight loss mostly psychological? For anyone likely to have access to this app/website, that's a clear yes. Unless we find ourselves in an environment of actual scarcity so that access to a surplus of food is no longer possible, which is rare in developed nations, or we are placed into a situation where we have no personal agency or autonomy, we must force our habits and behavior to change on our own, and our brains are the only things capable of that.
  • HazyEyes93
    HazyEyes93 Posts: 89 Member
    I think it really depends on the person. Not everyone who is overweight necessarily has an eating problem, but are perhaps just misinformed about nutrition and how it all works. I know that education on these matter in homes and school is lacking, to say the least. Speaking for myself, as someone who has very serious issues with food and body image. . . It is 100% psychological. I often find myself in a binge-restrict cycle. Breaking that cycle has been fundamental to my weight loss. I'm the kind of person that will find themselves legitimately crying and shaking trying to stop herself from eating another family sized bag of chips. Or someone who has to be convinced to eat after not eating for days as a form of punishment. So, yeah, it's definitely in my head.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    I think it really depends on the person. Not everyone who is overweight necessarily has an eating problem

    By "is it psychological?" I am not reading "do people overeat due to an eating problem." Some seem to be reading that in.
  • youngmomtaz
    youngmomtaz Posts: 1,075 Member
    For me, yes! All in my head. I am a binge eater. It takes a lot of self control for me to keep this in check. If I falter, the whole bag of Oreos, a brick of cheese, half a jar of nut butter, handfuls of chocolate chips and more get eaten. I was the kid who ate sugar behind the pantry door with a spoon or who would devour a bag of flaked coconut just because. I can feel physically ill and I keep eating. There is no "one bite" or "just a taste" for me. I have to avoid some foods completely. Total head game on an emotional or very tired or stressed day. 35yo and improving though!
  • rhiawiz57
    rhiawiz57 Posts: 906 Member
    edited April 2017
    there are more binge eaters out there than people realize, i think! it's been enlightening and comforting to know that i'm not the only one who might eat past being full...and then eat some more...when home alone. i wish it was as easy as saying "you don't feel good, you don't look good, so stop binging" but it IS mental and there's so much to have to unravel....and baby steps have to count for something too!
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    Well, yes. Put someone in a situation where they have no personal agency, and individual psychology will be less of a factor. Outside of those settings there are clearly psychological factors at work, including those behind making the decision to lose weight in the first place.

    It might be worth mentioning that psychological molding of recruits is part of the point of boot camp too.
    Okay, but are we saying that people in countries that have an obesity issue are psychologically "weaker" than other countries who have the same availability of food, but don't have an obesity issue?

    I very much doubt that's a useful way to frame the issue, and I'm not sure why someone would choose to. Eating habits are absorbed from the surrounding culture at least as much as from any other source, and it takes more mental effort to move against the prevailing cultural pressure than to follow a course of action that goes along with it.
    I can agree with this to a point. As children, we're usually going to have a set of habits around eating based on environment. However, those habits can be changed over time dependent on environment. But if habitual behavior is really strong in one, I believe that environment won't affect them that much. Maybe when it comes down to lack of choices (food availability from one place to another), may one move to a different behavior.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png


    Habits are a mental process, at least mostly. We get in the habit of eating to much, mfp is a tool that we can use to break old habits and help us hopefully establish new habits. Our old habits are taken from the culture we are surrounded by as children. That's why people often revert back, they don't Change there community and it makes it that much easier to go back to the old habits. Just like with drug addiction if you quit you are likely to use again if you stay with active users.
    I don't think habits have to necessarily be a mental process. People drive all the time without actually focusing completely on their driving. Getting ready in the morning and brushing one's teeth and combing their hair doesn't take much mental ability.
    Regimen on a consistent basis is what helps to create a habit.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png


    The entire point of boot camp is to tear down all habits and rebuild strong habits of personal success, unit cohesion, and the core values of the respective organization. These programs are developed around the psychological impact - the physical element serves as a great mental conditioner. Weight loss is a output of these core elements.
    It's to create discipline within that person. But let me ask you, if they were allowed to eat as much as they wanted, do you think they would lose weight? Every boot camp I've seen restricts the amount of food recruits can eat and increase in physical activity which by in itself is the cause of weight loss. Same with the prison system and they aren't looking to build up core values. They are just looking to do their time with the least problems amongst the population.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    I look at this in a more general manner - similar how one would identify in a "The 10 Traits of Successful People". Weight management is no different that success in any other endeavor - maintaining a budget, climbing the corporate ladder, academic success... Weight has become a personal matter as it is tightly connected to body image and how we view ourselves. This is not something we can hide like a failing grade on a test. It is real and exposed to everyone.

    This stresses the need to go back to basics and identify the core behaviors that lead to obesity - by managing a caloric budget, identifying individual eating habits, removing bad habits and replacing these with habits that promote health.

    So yes - it is primarily psychological; however like anything if you don't develop habits creating a positive feedback loop and reinforce your psyche, your chances of failure increase as you become solely reliant on willpower.
    Let me just say that I've had two clients that weren't mentally able to make it on their own. Their parents wanted me to help with teaching basic exercises (and make it somewhat fun) and teach them (the parents) on how to moderate food intake for them. These clients concerns weren't about identifying core behaviors, managing calorie budgets etc. So mentally, they didn't have to be set for it. We just had to apply PHYSICALLY what we had to do to ensure it.
    I get that people have to be strong in mind to overcome temptation, etc., but weight loss is more physical than psychological IMO. Habits again come from repetition. There are lots and lots of people who go to the gym everyday out of habit, like clockwork, but don't change because they physically haven't changed the way they eat. If they got into a regimen that was systematic (say eating the same way every day), then they'd more than likely see results.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • lucypstacy
    lucypstacy Posts: 178 Member
    For me, it has been very much a mental struggle.

    I've been obese for a long time. Looking back, I know it was all due to my eating habits, but I just made excuses at the time. I would say I didn't know why I had gained why, deny I had really gained 'that much,' and search for excuses. I thought I just had to have some deep underlying issues that doctors just couldn't find. I was that rare exception to everything.

    Of course, I was wrong about that.

    The first time I really tried to lose the weight, I was horrible to myself. I ate far too little, and I had bought into all the taboos of good and bad foods. I pushed myself beyond my limits. While I lost weight initially, I couldn't keep up with it. This was because I was in the wrong mindset. I didn't want to see results tomorrow - I wanted to see them last week! Plus, I was still in major denial. I was so convinced that I hadn't been eating all that much before, I thought I had to starve myself to lose, and you just can't continue on like that. I finally broke in, gave up, and resigned myself to just being the fattest person in the room.

    This time I'm coming at things with a whole new attitude. I don't see food and calories as the enemy, nor have I completely blacklisted anything. I've become determined to teach myself better habits, and so far it's working. When I walk into a gas station, I'll grab a bottle of water instead of usual Dr Pepper. I'm losing weight, and I'm not miserable. My attitude's improved, and I'm actually noticing much better results. Just yesterday, the pair of pants I had bought last December fell off. I'm comfortably down a pant size.

    So, it's been a mental struggle. I'm not saying that the physical hasn't played a roll. I have a plethora of medical issues that have hindered me. There was a time that simply wanting to get up and move was something that I could barely do, and it was physical. Of course, this played into the mental. I can't get rid of all my conditions. I will always have an immune disease as well as a ligament and connective tissue disorder. Yes, those do play into weight, but it's also how I approach them that makes a difference.