Why Weight Loss Is So Hard
The first step to eating healthier and losing weight is to understand how your mind is controlling your choices about food. Once you pull back the curtain and see how subtle and not-so-subtle patterns of thinking control your preferences, you can begin to make changes that will, over time, help you develop the healthy habits you desire. Because losing weight isn’t about changing your life for right now. It’s about changing your life for good. Here’s why that tends to be harder than we’d like.
Your Choices and Habits Say a Lot About Your Needs
If you want to understand your real emotions and preferences when it comes to food, then you need to start by examining your patterns and behaviors. To really understand why eating, dieting, and body images are such issues for you, you have to get into the details of what and how you eat. It is here that you will discover what you need to know about what really needs to change in your life.
Any time that you are finding happiness, nurturing, peace, or some other emotion from eating, then it is necessary to examine why you aren’t getting those emotions from other, non-food experiences in your life. If eating chocolate helps you relax and feel in control, then you have identified a need that you are filling using food that could be filled in other ways. If you tend to overeat at night, are you feeling lonely? Or bored? Or anxious?
Try this exercise. Think of one of the most favorite things you enjoy eating. Think about the experience of eating it, of enjoying it. What feelings come to mind as you think about eating this food? What images pop into your head? Pay attention to all the things that bubble up in your mind as you sit and think about eating this food.
Now, what can you learn from this? What emotional needs are you getting from eating this food, and is it possible you could get the same emotional benefits from other, healthier sources in your life? What other ways of living could you embrace that allow you to experience the same positive emotions while also making healthier choices for yourself?
Dieting Won’t Make Your Inner Critic Go Away
Most people get to a point where they want to lose weight because they wish they felt better about themselves. They are tired of listening to the inner critic that is always telling them of their failings and poor choices. But what most of us don’t realize is this.
That inner critic, that voice that’s always telling you what you did wrong or how you messed up? It doesn’t have to talk about food or your weight. The root of that voice runs way deeper than your size or what you eat.
The inner critical voice you are hearing is the symptom of a fundamental critical attitude you have about yourself. Even if you lose all the weight you want to lose, that voice will resurface with a new focus. If you're going to win the battle of the bulge for good, then what you really need to do is silence that inner critic and learn to love yourself for exactly who you are.
Start by listening carefully to that inner critic. What things is it criticizing you for? How long has this voice been around, and where do you think it comes from? When was the first time you criticized yourself? How would you like to treat yourself instead? What can you say to this inner critic to explain how it is making you feel?
Next, make a commitment to stop shaming yourself for setbacks in your behaviors. Have it out with that critical inner voice. It’s time to embrace more self-love and personal power and say “no” to this voice that is controlling your life. Start by looking in the mirror and saying the words out loud that this inner voice is saying in your head. Voicing these words makes it clear just how wounding they are. How do these words make you feel? Then, fight back.
Respond to that inner voice with all the reasons why you are still worthy of happiness and love, regardless of your size. Embrace your personal power to love and accept yourself and show that little voice who’s boss. Look deeply at all the ways that voice is guiding you to make poor choices or unhealthy decisions in your life.
It’s About Your Relationship With Yourself
Most of the time, weight loss efforts are challenged when our bodies don’t match our desired sense of self. But this is actually the opposite of how you should be thinking. Instead of changing your weight or size, it’s necessary to change how you feel about yourself.
Once you learn more self-love and less self-loathing, you’ll be able to develop new, healthier habits for the right reasons, which is because you want to be happy and enjoy a long, healthy life.
Learning to love yourself is hard work. But with it comes a genuine acceptance of yourself for all your strengths and weaknesses and a knowledge that, any changes you make are to build your strengths, not to change who you are or overcome your faults.
Self-love is vital to true and lasting weight loss because, when you love yourself, you are making decisions and developing new habits for the right reasons.
It’s Not About The Diet Plan
Most people who are attempting to lose weight have tried to diet before. And even if you were successful at losing weight in the past, the odds say that you have likely gained back some or all (or more) of what you lost before. This is especially true if you have used any type of “diet” program to lose weight. Diets, quite simply, don’t work.
You didn’t get fat overnight. You got there for years of everyday, unhealthy choices. You got there by habit. If you want to get “un-fat,” you need to do it the same way — years of everyday, healthy choices, of better practices.
And yet, we spend billions of dollars every year chasing the next diet fad guaranteed to help you lost ten pounds fast. But the second you start eating in your old ways again, it is no surprise that the weight comes right back. Because you didn’t change your habits. You changed your diet for a short time.
Instead of thinking about dieting, think about health. Instead of thinking about what you can’t eat, think about what fuel your body needs. Instead of looking at eating as an emotional experience, look at it as a functional one.
Think about someone you know who has successfully quit a bad habit (like smoking). What did they have to do? And do they still have to work at it every day? Losing weight for good requires a commitment to healthy choices every day. For the rest of your life. Not for the next 30-day challenge. Not until you shed those extra pounds. Every day. Forever.