Looking beneath the surface

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Have you ever sat down and really answered any of the following questions: why do I eat? Why am I overweight? Why do I hate exercise? Why do I continue to give up?

These are difficult questions to answer but there is an answer. The problem is, the answer is often very complex.

Most people think they eat because they are hungry, bored or just love food. It’s not human nature to eat food other than to survive. Observe an infant; they will refuse food when they are full and eat when they are hungry. We as adults, as society, slowly teach our children to ignore these cues of hunger and use food as a way to celebrate, as a way to occupy, as a way to soothe. Food becomes anything but about hunger as we grow older – insert food issues here. Think back to your upbringing, how was food used in your household? Do you use food in that same way? Food is nutrition and nothing more. It cannot replace anything else other than hunger. Your void for boredom or affection must be filled by actions and by people.

We all know that being overweight is usually linked to a poor diet and lack of exercise... Are you overweight because you always were and don’t really know anything else? Or are you overweight because of a life event? Pregnancies, stress, divorce, these types of major events can cause one to gain weight. When the event takes over our everyday lives, it can change the way we take care of ourselves. We must learn to put ourselves back on our list of priorities and focus on the changes that will make us feel whole. Being overweight your entire life does not mean that’s how your story will end. It’s just going to take some TLC to work on building new chapters.

Hatred of exercise is usually one of those things that develop in childhood. If you sat on the bench more than you played, if you were the last kid chosen for the team, if you were teased, the list can go on and on. Exercise does not have to be resented. Most of us fear exercise because it quickly puts us out of our comfort zone. It also can cause a lot of fear; am I being looked at, what if I do it wrong, etc. We put so much thought into the mere idea of exercise that we psych ourselves out before we even get our sneakers on. Exercise can be enjoyable; you just have to find something that makes you happy. Exercise does not have to be a chore if you approach it with the right attitude.

Failure – been there done that, bought the T-shirt. Repeating the same patterns and expecting different results is a recipe for failure. Just because you failed in the past does not mean that you will continue to fail in your efforts. Success must be approached differently. You must wake up each morning and know that the slate is wiped clean. Wake up each morning and know that you can make it through the next 24 hours. Know that you can take the steps needed to be healthy. Consistency is imperative to your outcome. 


Lori Atta is a personal trainer at the Pictou County YMCA. She also has a page on Facebook about health, fitness and weight loss called Face the Mirror. After struggling with obesity for 25+ years, Lori changed her focus and lost over 100 pounds and has been committed to promoting health.

Organizations: Pictou County YMCA

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Recent comments

  • Micky Clark
    May 14, 2014 - 07:29

    Great article Lori Atta....you are a good example, a great inspiration. Everything you said is true. People don't pay no attention to what they eat. The food industry here does not help a lot either. Bad food is expensive, good food has it's prize, that some people just can not afford. Keep up the good work...