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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
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Before I go into specifics, I just want to make sure that

Resolved Question:

For Steve Olsen... Before I go into specifics, I just want to make sure that Steve Olsen will be able to assist me with my concern. I have a question about weight gain and the psychological affects behind my weight gain/weight loss. Thank you

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 4 years ago.
Nice to hear from you again! I am tied up for a few hours. If you can wait a little bit longer I would be happy to answer your question.You are welcome to detail the question now and I will answer as soon as my schedule frees up. Steven
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for grabbing this question... Well to make it as brief as possible, I have been on a 6-month journey of trying to lose weight. I have lost quite a bit of weight, which I am grateful for but have 30 more pounds to go. I have been stuck at this spot for several months. I break through the number I'm stuck on and lose a few more pounds, and then have a little break on the weekend and enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant. The next day (where I usually get back on track to keep up the progress), I can't get back on track and continue eating WHATEVER. And sometimes I can't (have no will power) get back on track for a week. Then after I'm done with that stupid phase, I find my way and get back to my healthy diet and maintain my weight where I was before. I realize that a lot of this weight loss business is all a mind game. I've always heard that over-eating (or anorexia for that matter) is a way of coping with other problems in life. I enjoy food (learning about food, trying new recipes for my family, trying new restaurants, finding healthy versions of my favorite dishes)... I love both junk and healthy food. I know that the psychological background behind over-eating is real but when I tried thinking about it (to perhaps think of why I can't get to my goal), I couldn't think of what my possible underlying reason was... Is it possible that I just love food (without an underlying reason for over-eating)? It's of course me that is sabotaging my weight loss and not being able to break through this stagnant spot I'm at and can't break through to the next set of lower numbers on the scale. During this journey, as I see the numbers come down on the scale, usually that gives me a huge boost/motivation and I can carry on the next days/weeks. Even when I'm really strict, I always treat myself at least once a week to something I like. But once in a while, as I mentioned before, the little treat lasts days and I "fall off the wagon"... When I do treat myself, it's almost like... "Where has this cookie been all my life?"... Then starts the junk food frenzy. Is this just a typical set back for a normal person trying to lose weight and going through normal withdrawals or is there something bigger and that's why I'm sabotaging my diet? Thanks!
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 4 years ago.

Ah, this is discouraging, that is for certain.

Many people (especially counselors) tend to see weight loss as a purely psychological and willpower based effort. That is far from the truth.

If you discover that you are not able to lose and keep off the desired weight, especially if you plateau and then find yourself in an overeating pattern, that pattern tends to be a little more than just emotional/willpower. Many times it is related to what is sometimes called a preservation cycle. That is where the efforts of weight loss cause a momentary spike in serotonin, and you feel great. However, as the weight loss effort becomes more long term the serotonin levels reduce, causing discouragement and a lack of will. The body cuts metabolism and increases food desire. Interestingly the loss of this valuable neurotransmitter (serotonin) can cause the body to attempt a serotonin rescue...which is where any type of food becomes a focus of desire.

How do you beat this? I will outline a plan for you here. But I would also like you to ask your family doctor if you can take 400mg of B-2 and 400mg of Magnesium Oxide each day.This is the same supplement pattern that is used for migraines, but it also helps prevent plunges in serotonin levels. You will also want to eat, a banana each day. It has a similar effect. (No kidding.) This sounds too simple, but it does help, a lot.

Now part #2:

Here is the plan to beat your body's preservation of weight after your weight loss plateaus:

For one week I want you to do nothing about weight loss. Nothing. Instead, I want you to go to bed one hour earlier for seven days. Eat as you wish, but reasonably. Day #8 I would like you to start your diet, assuming you are also doing B-2 and Magnesium the week prior. Make sure you continue to go to bed an hour early this week as well as continuing the magnesium and B-2.

What happens is your body's self preservation cycle (glucose related) begins to stabilize. The stress reaction that you have been battling will be defused by the extra sleep and the weight will come off. (Your body thinks you are starving it and spikes a food craving to help with the loss of energy. By sleeping just an hour more this cycle does not activate and your mood and weight will remain up, and drop, respectively.)

Try this...I think you will find that it is your body, not just your mind that you have been battling. Always a pleasure. Steven

Steven Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Interesting and I want to try it. Thanks!