As someone who has been battling their weight for nearly 30 years, I have never thought of weight loss as something that was easy. To me, it always seemed like a personal war. I know that is a familiar feeling for lots people and many of my clients have confirmed these types of thoughts and emotions when discussing weight challenges.
If you’ve never had a weight issue, you might be inclined to say, “Just eat less and exercise more.” Any one of us with any kind of weight or body difficulty could tell you right away, that it doesn’t quite work that way. Although, we probably wish it did because it would make our lives a whole lot easier (and probably weight loss faster!)
In thinking about this question over the last few months now, I think I have come to a few conclusions… Not only is weight NOT a mathematical equation (Biggest Loser has proved that to us on national television again and again), but there are many other non-food and non-exercise components that factor into our weight, one huge component being our minds. Yes, sleep, stress and a lot of other aspects are important, but in my opinion, our minds can determine our success or our failure.
Our brain is more powerful than we sometimes give it credit for.
And yes, there has been much talk about mindset and weight loss, even the heavy hitters of the weight loss world are tapping into it (finally). However, what I have seen in myself and in my clients is that many times we create these invisible barriers to our own success. You might be thinking, “…that just sounds crazy! ‘I’ don’t do that.”
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
- “I’ll start again on Monday.”
- “Well, I already blew it today, I might as well enjoy myself.”
- “We were just too busy today and I didn’t have time to make anything.”
- “My job is so crazy right now, I will focus on my health when things calm down.”
- “I still have a week left, if I hardly eat anything, I can drop 10 pounds before the party.”
- “Can you just take the picture from the neck up?”
- “I walked a mile today, I can have that chocolate fudge sundae”
- “I didn’t choose this life, this life just happened.”
- “Everyone in my family is heavy, it’s just my genetics.”
- “That xyz diet doesn’t work and it’s expensive.”
- “I’ll just start doing that program that my friend ____ is doing next month, that worked for her.”
- “I’ve got three kids, I can’t focus on myself right now.”
- “I just want it (food) and I’m an adult, I can make my own decisions.”
- “I’m not THAT overweight, I can still _____.”
- “I won’t ever be thin anyways, I might as well enjoy myself.”
- “The doctor told me these meds would make me gain weight, I won’t ever be able to lose.”
- “I have been trying forever, it’s never going to happen…”
- “Can’t you just give me a pill for that?”
- “I’ve tried it before, nothing works.”
I have seen through my own experience, and the experiences of my clients, that your body LISTENS to everything YOU tell it! It is an excellent listener and believes every word you say. If you think you are going to fail, you will probably fail. If you think you can overcome something, you probably can. I think the hardest thing about realizing that we are building our own walls to success, is recognizing them. How do we KNOW we are doing what we are doing? Mindfulness, awareness and honesty.
We have to be mindful of our thoughts. What are we saying to ourselves? Are we criticizing ourselves at every turn? Is every other thought a negative one? Are we blaming ourselves for things we do? For things others do? Do we shame ourselves? Are we doing it often? Where is it all stemming from? How do we feel about ourselves? Do we have a good self-esteem? What is our self-worth like? Do we rely on the words or praise of others to feel fulfilled or enough? What do we think of ourselves? What is our self-perception? There are so many questions that come to mind when we are looking at mindfulness and awareness. If you aren’t sure where you are, then becoming aware of what your thoughts ARE might be a good first step for you.
Now…the hard part. Are we being honest with ourselves?
Is what we tell ourselves even true? Do our thoughts contradict the opinions of every other person? Do our thoughts conflict with what we actually see in the mirror? Do we even look in the mirror or are we afraid to see who is really looking back at us? Being in integrity with yourself is hard, especially if you have been hiding from it for years. If we have figured out what we are thinking, are being honest, then it’s time to look at the story we tell ourselves.
What is the story we are telling ourselves (and others) about us? Do we say we will never lose weight? We will always be the fat girl? That we are just stupid or ugly? What is our story? Holding on tightly to our own story, we might not be honest with ourselves because it would mean that our story would have to change in some way. And, sometimes, within those stories, buried are our identities. Changing a story could potentially mean changing an identity. If we have always been the fat girl, what would life be like if we were no longer that girl? Where would we fit in the world?
What is the story that you tell yourself? Is your story connected to your identity or vice versa? Is your story true?
For many years, I told myself “It’s so hard to lose weight.” It was only until I had a coach of my own that I realized I was living this story. I was making it very difficult to lose even an ounce of weight, it seemed like all I could do was gain. Once my coach helped me to understand what my story was, I was able to be honest with what was happening. I ditched the “It’s so hard to lose weight” story, the scale started to move. Hallelujah! It moved DOWN, not up! I was ecstatic, weight loss never happened that easily for me. (And by easy I mean not so strikingly difficult). What I was telling myself is that it is so tough and essentially, that I was never going to get there.
My mind told the story but my body followed the orders. I am still amazed each and every day about how powerful our brains are. I have to be mindful of my thoughts each day and that is something I will always work on. I realize now, that the thoughts we have can either create a barrier to success or tear it down.
So if you have been struggling with your weight and feel like you have tried everything…take a look at all of the questions listed in this blog. What could you identify with? What were the challenging questions for you? Ultimately, it will come down to the following…
What is the story you are telling yourself? Is it constructing a barrier or destroying a barrier to your success? How can you change your thoughts to create the life you had always imagined? I would love to hear from you, please comment below.
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