Psychological Self-Help

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articles and books about dieting; yet, it is simply eating more than we
burn up. 
Considering cigarettes, over 45 million Americans still smoke
cigarettes although about as many have stopped smoking (mostly on
their own). 80% of smokers would like to quit, 35% try each year but
only 2-3% succeed. Nicotine is highly addictive, so there are many
relapses. It usually takes several tries before the habit can kicked
(Curry, 1993). We smoke in spite of proven health hazards to
ourselves and others, including cancer, heart disease and 6-8 fewer
years to live. 
Now, adding in alcohol and drugs, about 1/2 of all Americans have
had experience with an alcohol problem in the family; 17 million of us
are severely dependent on alcohol and millions more young people are
"preparing for the role." There are 3 to 7 times as many "problem
drinkers" as "serious alcoholics." Even moderate alcohol intake may
hurt our health, our job performance, our driving record, and our
relationships. Alcohol is involved in 30%-45% of all suicides, in 50% of
all emergency room admissions, and in 50% of all physical assaults on
others. More than half of all Americans have used illegal drugs or
prescription drugs sometime in their lives for pleasure, 15% during the
last year and 2% are addicted to drugs. And, drug use is increasing--
over 40% of all high school seniors used some illegal drugs just during
the last year. Still more millions of us are "hooked" on coffee, soft
drinks, sugar, salt, sweets, fat-laden red meat, junk food, and on and
on. In summary, we, the "haves," put an incredible amount of
unnecessary--even harmful and costly--things in our mouths, while
1,500,000,000 people on earth are hungry. Think about the 42,000
malnourished children who die every day
These eating, smoking, and drinking habits have usually developed
over a period of years, often when we were young and unaware. But,
we now want to change the habits instantly and quickly lose the
accumulations of the old habits, such as fat. Sorry, it can't be done. It
is easy to gain seven pounds a year by doing 20 minutes less light
work or play per day. It takes 3500 calories to make one small pound;
that's starving for two days if you are on a 1700-calorie a day diet!
Don't think you can easily work it off either: you have to jog for 6
hours at 5 1/2 miles per hour to lose 1 pound! This is no piece of cake,
you must persist. The behavioral methods help you persevere and
make it as easy as possible. 
It used to be thought that over-weight people didn't eat any more
than a thin person (that's what fat people tell us) but it isn't true. They
"forget" or underestimate how much they eat. Also, they tend to be
binge eaters and don't exercise (Brownell & Wadden, 1992). It is true
that weight distribution and number of fat cells may be inherited, but
the fat has to go into the body before it accumulates under our skin.
Dieting may be risky, e.g. some claim repeated dieting--yo-yo dieting-
-causes problems and increases the chances of relapse. This hasn't
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