Okay, so you’re fat – maybe a little, maybe a lot. You’ve tried every diet under the sun; Atkins, keto, paleo, vegan, Whole 30, gluten free, Mediterranean, low carb, low fat, WW, IF, Noom, DASH, for your blood type, for your hormones, South Beach, raw, carb cycling, nutrisystem, JC… and yet here you are, the same weight… if not higher… than when you started.
The fault is obviously yours. I mean, seriously? Every one of these diets have testimonials of successful weight loss. If they can do it, then the fault is obviously yours.
You’re not disciplined enough, you can’t commit, you have no will power – whatever the problem is, it’s you.
I guarantee the problem IS you.
- It’s how you’re viewing your body.
- It’s how you’re letting what other people think about you run your life.
- It’s how you PRECEIVE what people say about you.
- It’s how you’ve been treated as a child (learned behavior)
- It’s your relationship with food and exercise.
- It’s your limiting belief that you’re not enough.
There’s a lot of baggage to unload when it comes to weightloss – or your perceived requirement to lose weight.
Okay, first thing first; I am not a healthcare professional. If your doctor, who does not have weight stigma and blames your weight on every ache, advises you to lose weight, I suggest listening to them. As long as they take your health concerns seriously, runs routine tests and blood work, and can objectively give you advice, that is good. If you go in complaining about abdominal pain, or extremely painful menstruation, and their response for everything is “lose weight”, get a new doctor.
But that’s not what this is about.
What this is about is your preceived requirement that you have to lose weight. Yes, your PRECEIVED requirement to lose weight.
The biggest thing about wanting to lose weight is to address why you gained it to begin with; most of the time, if there’s rapid/unusual weight gain, there’s typically an underlying reason it was gained to begin with. THAT needs to be addressed before the desire to lose weight can be addressed because losing the weight won’t fix the reason why it was gained and won’t make you love yourself more.
So let’s unload some of the reasons weight is gained and some actions that can be taken to reverse that behaviour….
Unaligned relationships: if you want to go for a hike on the weekends but your friends want to go shopping or drinking and dancing, you may want to expand your social circle. Drinking and dancing every now and then is fun… but every weekend? If you’re wanting to lose weight, you can easily drink several hundred calories – and if it includes pre-dancing appys, possibly into a thousand. Dancing will burn some of those calories, but not enough if that’s what you do every single weekend!
Depression/stress/anxiety. These particular emotions are brutal on our bodies. Absolutely brutal. I have lived with all of them for a good portion of my life, but especially in the last decade or so. I do go through phases but I am currently in a stress cycle. You may not think you’re suffering from these – or you’re managing it – but your body might be telling you a different story because of what is happening within your body that you are unaware of.
When you get in a stressful situation, your body will release adrenaline to deal with the stress. Unfortunately, our hunter/gatherer life is far, far in the past by thousands of years, so that adrenaline which would be used in a “fight or flight” situation is just sitting in our bloodstream with nothing to do. When your body realizes it’s not threatened, it will release cortisol to suppress the “fight or flight” response. And, unfortunately, if you remain in a stress cycle, you will end up with a build up of cortisol in your system and that can become detrimental to your health. It causes inflammation and tiredness and weight gain – especially if there’s no outlet to burn off these hormones – and the longer you’re there, additional issues.
Medication/health. MANY medications out there cause weight gain as does some health issues. This is why it irritates the fuck out of me when doctors tell someone to lose weight when they go in complaining about pain – especially in the GI tract. Endometriosis, IBS, Crohnes, ulcers, appendicitis, kidney stones, diverticulitis, PID, cancer…. as well, it could be thyroid issues, or for women, hormones. If your doctor isn’t willing to run tests and brushes off your concerns, get a new doctor.
Happiness. Yes, people can gain weight when they are happy! Say you’re used to going to the gym and you get into a new relationship. It is very easy to stop going to the gym during the “honeymoon phase”. Instead of going to the gym after work, it might be replaced with popcorn and Netflix date night. This is not a bad thing – you deserve to be happy, but you also need balance.
Massive life upheaval: Moving across the country, to a new city, or even house/apartment, marriage, divorce, pregnancy, death in the family, new job, illness/injury (COVID!)… the list goes on!
When I was dealing with the health declination and death of my dad, I gained weight. I was out of town pretty much living with my mom; I had no gym access, and even though I didn’t drink during that time (my parents weren’t drinkers) I had easy access to sugar and candy. My mom lost weight during this time because the stress and grief caused her to stop eating, whereas I turned to candy.
Don’t know where to start. There is SO MUCH information out there about diet, exercise, weight loss, etc, it can be VERY confusing!!! Hell, even with my background, I get confused!!! And sometimes, when things are overwhelming, it’s easier to do nothing.
Diet ads on TV/Magazines. These are out there to instill dissatisfaction with yourself. They prey on those who think something is wrong with their body. Here’s the thing; the “before” and “after” shots are easily falsified and frequently stolen. I’ve followed several people who have had their images stolen for promotion of various diet products that they have nothing to do with. They are garbage. There is no quick fix or magic pill. Do the work; it might take longer but it’ll be more realistic to maintain.
Social media. Social media can be a huge source of inspiration… but it can also be a trap for comparison and dissatisfaction in your life. Of course people want you to see the best parts of their life. And with editing software, it is hard to tell whether images have been edited. If you find yourself comparing your life or your body to someone else, unfollow them. Fill your feed with people who are positive, body diverse, and authentic.
Another “danger” of social media is the armchair warriors and bullies. I hate to say it, but I you’re putting yourself out there, at some point, people will verbally attack you. So you have a choice: engage or ignore/block. I typically don’t engage but automatically block. It’s not worth the energy.
Seasonal. Yes, I’m including weather – mostly because I live in an area where we get actual winters and I’m most definitely a fair weather exerciser – but to my defense, it can get down to -30° and at warmer temperatures, there’s ice and snow to worry about. So even though I go to the gym, the weather does impact whether we actually go…. cause, let’s face it, when it’s the weekend and it’s -25° without windchill, you just want to stay in bed!!! It’s just so much easier to be active in the warmer months… or cooler months if you’re in an area that’s insanely warm.
Beliefs. This is probably the most important thing about losing/gaining weight. If you believe something is wrong with your body, you will never be happy in your body. No matter how much weight you lose, it will never be enough. You need to BELIEVE that you deserve to be happy and respected. You deserve happiness just as you are, no matter how you envision your life being or your body looking like.
Once you can address some of the “why’s”, you can start looking at some of the “how’s”.
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