#Dietetics – a « ping-pong » effect rather than « yo-yo » dieting

Let’s approach the body/mind system rather than the weight/mind system: Weight is a complex and insufficient measure giving only a partial – not to say inaccurate – information on the functioning of the body. A single example: in a situation of obesity, it is not rare to note a state of protein-energy malnutrition while the indicated weight is excessive. An analysis focusing on the weight only will not allow an understanding of the functioning of the body.

This is the major mistake frequently made by countless people. The body, this machine, is rooted into a « living system » interacting with a mind. It is necessary to visualise it in this unpredictable dynamic, in the sense that reactions can vary in spite of identical food intakes. For a fair amount of years, we’ve been hearing about diets and quite recently about emotions that have a yo-yo effect on the weight. This little toy, of which over 30s – who probably have fiddled with it – will remember as attached to the body (by the finger) with a string. They are therefore not separated but linked. That’s why I propose considering things in a different way with the idea of « the ping-pong effect », exposing the interaction body/mind rather than weight/mind.

By this, I want to express that there is a back-and-forth motion between the body (organic matter) and the mind. Regarding the body, traditional medicine, understanding its functioning, is able to repair it, and sometimes even to improve it. Regarding the mind, psychology can ease the suffering from the history of the subject. One does not go without the other, and it would even be dangerous to look at the system from only one side of the ping-pong table.

Indeed, when facing a difficult life situation, my eating habits can be disturbed. In both cases, the body will bear the impact of this new eating pattern. For those who tend to eat less, the body enters a state of malnourishment, resulting in sleeping issues, exhaustion, transit disorder, a tendency towards depression, brittle nails, hair loss and even sometimes cravings caused by hypoglycaemia. For those who tend to eat more, the body will also bear the effects of overeating, mainly including weight gain, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux, sleeping issues, and other symptoms.

So we can observe the effects of psychological suffering on dietary habits, which, in return, generates for the body a specific way of functioning. This will have an impact on the food intake. We are then facing a « ping-pong effect » that sometimes originates in the functioning of the body and some other times in the suffering. Regarding the topic of weight loss, the ping-pong system is identical. According to the popular belief, in order to lose 1kg, the energy reduction must be of 300kCal (if not more), without taking the consumed food level into account. This reduction occasions a functioning of the body triggering an increase in thoughts about food. For those who add a physical activity, the energy deficiency can reach 500kCal, generating sugar cravings in addition to the food fixation. To conclude,(read the explanation in the book to be published) both aspects must be addressed jointly to limit this « ping-pong » phenomenon and isolate the organic cause or the psychological cause in order to treat the issue the best way possible.


trad. E. G.

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