If your New Year's resolution this year is to drop a few pounds, you might want to consider focusing your efforts on your mind before rushing toward the gym.
According to a recent national survey of more than one thousand people, only one in 10 people consider psychological well-being (our emotional attachment to food) to be a factor in weight-loss. Instead, people tend to focus on the physical aspects, with 31 percent of respondents saying that lack of exercise is the biggest barrier, and 26 percent finding what you eat to be the biggest hindrance.
The danger of ignoring this emotional connection? It could be sabotaging weight-loss success.
"In order to lose weight and keep it off long term, we need to do more than just think about what we eat, we also need to understand why we're eating," Diane Robinson, program director of Integrative Medicine at Orlando Health, said in a statement. "...If we're aware of it or not, we are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but for comfort."
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, Robinson says—in fact, it’s healthy to emotionally eat once in a while. But previous studies have shown that stress related to work, relationships, and finances are associated with weight gain, and that problems arise when food becomes a reward. Success may lie, therefore, in viewing food as nourishment instead.
"When we're focused on the physical aspects of weight loss, many of us have no problem joining a gym or hiring a trainer," said Robinson. "How about joining a support group or hiring a psychologist?"
Worried about keeping your resolutions this year? Here are seven small health changes you can totally stick to.