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Muncher’s Paradox: The Dieter’s Dilemma

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Weight loss presents a fascinating paradox: overcome obsessive intake via greater focus on the hazard. One only loses weight by being more mindful of the hazard causing the problem. All changes to behavior are difficult, habitual activities are rituals to comfort and peace. The more we enjoy something the more we indulge in it. Its very simple: things that give us pleasure become components of our existence and, via this relationship, closely linked to how we identify ourselves. What begins as quick relief, the dish of ice cream, the hot bowl of soup, becomes an essential device to daily life.

Whereas behaviors like smoking and gambling can be avoided or replaced by other activities, dieting demands deeper obsession with the habit.

Imagine the perils if this requirement existed for drug addiction: focus more thinking on drugs or make them an even greater source of obsession in your day. The repercussions could only be disastrous. Dieting presents a unique moment of behavior wherein the individual dieting must invest greater focus on the item he or she needs to avoid. It seems backwards that in trying to lose weight we must make it a greater part of our thinking. One loses weight not simply by avoiding its presence in our existence. Instead, due to its requirement in our life and constant presence in our day, we must pay more attention to the foods we eat. Is this inability to simply “look away” as one can do with other undesirable habits the reason why dieting so often fails?




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