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Do You Know Why You Can't Lose Those Last Few Pounds?

You may be suffering from "Eating Amnesia"

Can’t lose those last few pounds? Does your weight fluctuate? Do you behave as if you are that person who can eat anything you want but really can’t, but do it anyway? You might be suffering from what I call “Eating Amnesia”—when what you've eaten does not register. It usually happens to people who are very organized and highly driven but struggle with that one area of “imperfection” so to speak—they don't "control" their eating. This behavior seems to occur among people who are driven by so many things in their lives such as highly demanding work, overwhelming personal obligations, intense schedules, disciplined personalities. Somehow they need one area where they can just do what they want—choose and eat anything knowing that many foods are either not healthy or will surely cause weight gain but choose and eat them anyway.

Examples of “Eating Amnesia” are when you reach over and eat your friend’s desert and don't count that as having eaten desert because you didn't order it or when you eat a dish of pasta that can feed a family of four but tell yourself it’s a “little pasta” and behave as if you’ve just eaten “ a bit.” Or when you’ve eaten an entire large bag of chips and insist that most of it was air and behave as if you’ve just had “a few.” It can occur as a matter of habit or it can occur on occasion. The result is the same—weight gain and weight fluctuation. So what do you do?

Well the single most important thing you can do is to become aware of your thinking. If you consciously behave as if you can eat anything you want and not gain weight, a reality check is in order. You can't—sorry but no, you can’t eat anything you want. You are not that person that can eat just anything and not gain weight. Calories count and you need to be mindful and conscious about what exactly you are eating. I call it “sober eating” --being honest and forthright with yourself about food, particularly quantities.

What seems to work best to address this is to write down everything you eat--learn to count calories and nutritional measures such as fat grams and eventually being able to do a running account of what you’ve eaten in your head. It’s a reality that you have to embrace and own in order to attempt to stop that weight fluctuation and it's this-- you just can’t eat just anything and not gain weight.

It sounds simple but it's an awareness of behavior that many who struggle with their weight totally disregard whether by denial or by omission. Knowledge is power. So the next time you eat an entire sleeve of cookies and swear it was only three or four cookies pay more attention to your thinking before you blame the dog.

More from Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
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More from Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
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