We can all agree that losing weight is the most common New Year’s Resolution and can we also all agree that we are SICK of hearing about it everywhere??
Why has our world become so obsessed with losing weight?
My first guess is because the diet culture has been SO successful at feeding into our insecurities. The insecurities that they have fostered and benefited from. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying losing weight is bad. The obsession with it is. The obsession doesn’t teach you how to be happy, how to be a good person, how to be beautiful, how to be healthy and how to have a healthy relationship with food, body and your mental health.
For a lot of us, when we gain weight over a period of time or even suddenly, crazy things can happen to our thoughts and self-talk. Our inner voice can get nasty, mean, obsessive and sad. This can be due to how you were raised, it can come from a society that is fat phobic, it can be from the numerous industries that make billions of money from keeping us feeling insecure and never enough the way we are. It can also come from being bombarded with images in the media that are not a true representation of normal bodies. So for a lot of people when they gain weight, their inner voice starts to say some nasty things to them or they feel shame, disappointment and guilt. Yes, it can be frustrating when the clothes we invested in no longer fit and are snug. Trust me I get it. I have had two kids and I have been a size 6 to a 12. So yes, you can BE frustrated, but knowing WHY you are frustrated is the difference and the KEY to unlocking what you should do or not do when you’ve gained weight.
The first thing you SHOULD do is get your MINDSET in the right place. Our brains were not designed to make us happy, they are there to help us survive, so we have to actively find ways to find happiness. It begins INTERNALLY first, because your never ending search of losing weight in order to feel happier with yourself will be a never ending goal. If you want to feel happier, then you need to start with with your thoughts FIRST.
Mindset is our attitude behind everything we do. So that means if we want positive change in our lives, then our thoughts need to be positive too.
Let me put it in the context of the topic on weight gain and the mindset when it happens. If we feel shame or frustration due to weight gain, the most common reaction is to start a diet, maybe restrict food, start to intensify workouts and for some, an obsession with a number of some sort. The # on a scale, the number of calories, the number on your clothes. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight or to work on your physical health, but the reason WHY you do it and your mindset behind it matters. If you ACTUALLY want to love your body more...then losing weight isn’t going to magically make that happen. You need to learn to love yourself exactly where you are right now in order to be happier with your body.
I have heard SO many women who have lost 20, 50, 80 lbs and they still hate themselves just as much as they did before because they didn’t actually learn to change their mindset. I had seen many women looking back on pictures when they were younger thinner and say “I wish I had been happier with my body then, I thought I was fat then, but I would give anything to be that size again.” They thought that something exterior, like the size of their body would make them love themselves more. They ended up learning they were wrong.
I am not saying that all people who make their goal of losing weight will always be unhappy. The reason WHY you are losing weight will be the determinant of your happiness. Work on your health from a place of love, respect and grace. Trust me, if you start to learn to accept and love yourself no matter what you look like, the transformation is magical. I have never loved myself or my body more than I have at the age of 39. It is not because I am the fittest or thinnest I have ever been (which I am not). So many think that when they get the MOST fit or reach their goal weight, that all of a sudden they will love their body and themselves.
Nope. Loving yourself more comes from your mindset and your intention. Once I started to embrace me and my body in any shape or form, I learned to love it MORE than ever. I embraced my crooked front tooth that I used to hide in pictures when I smiled, my grey hairs EVERYWHERE (I mean everywhere), my upper lip and chin hairs that grow in the millions, my giant birthmark on my leg, my jiggly bum and the way my tummy gently rests on thighs when I sit. I embraced it ALL and it is so freaking freeing.
So, if you are trying to lose weight or work on your health, you need to put your mindset as your #1 goal first. Always question WHY you are doing something, is it coming from a place of love or hate? Are you punishing yourself? Is your “why” influenced by the opinion of others (like an idiot family member, social media or the diet industry) or are you doing it because it is what what you truly want deep down?
Last month I went on vacation and ate all the yummy food. Then I got sick and didn't move my body for a month. Then Christmas came with all the yummy treats and I ate them. I am sure you can guess that this lead to some weight gain and made a lot of my pants snug. Yes, I felt frustrated. But NOT because I gained weight...it was only because I couldn’t wear my favourite jeans. There is a difference between those 2 reasons.
Self-talk when you’re frustrated about weight gain - “ugh, I’m fat, gross and can’t look at myself in a mirror”. “I am so mad at myself for eating that food, I am never eating carbs or sugar again”.
Self-talk when you’re frustrated about snug jeans - “These are uncomfortable, I wonder if I have a stretchier pair of jeans or pants in my closet”. “I will get new jeans”.
It took hard work this past year in changing my mindset, as it did not happen overnight. In the past, when I gained weight, I would feel dread and would obsess over my belly. Now I don’t dread it at all. I am not trying to come across that this shift in mindset is easy, because it isn’t. We have to work on years of unlearning and examining our thought process and combating outside influences that can affect our mindset.