Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Weight Loss is not the Answer...

I have had a lot on my mind lately. Especially in regards to weight loss and weight maintenance. A lot of thoughts got stirred up back in October when I did the interview with Shape and from that new thoughts and topics have come to mind. But since I really wasn't supposed to talk about the article I thought I would keep them to myself.

Then the article came out. And then, on Monday night, I taped a podcast interview where the Shape article also came up in discussion. And now my mind is just filled to the brim with all sorts of things. So I thought I would do a brain dump to get a few of them out on paper….hopefully this makes sense.

In my life, if I had believed that weight gain was the cause of my problems then logically weight loss would have been the solution. Seems logical, right? But more likely the case is that weight gain is not the problem but instead an effect from a different problem and therefore just the mere act of losing weight will not be the answer. I think (and you know I am no doctor or expert- just voicing my opinion here) that weight gain, particularly excessive weight gain, typically presents itself as an effect of a bigger problem such as disordered thinking (I hate myself, I am not deserving of happiness, I am not worthy of love), mood disorders (anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc), eating disorders, etc. I feel that in most cases the root of the weight gain stems from some bigger underlying problem that has attributed to behaviors leading to rapid or excessive weight gain.

Ok, I get that you probably already know this and hopefully you agree. But here is the thing- you can lose weight and in the process not fix the underlying problem. And unfortunately, when that happens, it seems from what I have witnessed, people are more likely to regain. Why? Because weight loss was not the solution to their problem and guess what? Being ‘skinny’ isn't the super awesome best thing in the world answer to everyone’s prayers and makes us feel good no matter what. It just isn't.

And this is the point I want to talk about.

Weight loss will not make you happy. It will not make you love your career or spouse/partner. It will not make you a better friend or parent. It will not give you peace of mind or a sense of security. Weight loss is not magic. It will not fix your problems and give you a perfect life.

I am not saying it can’t help you. Some of the side effects of weight loss like increased confidence, sense of self, self-respect, etc., could really help make your life better. But only if you let them. Only when you allow yourself to change and mend and heal will you be able to reap the benefits that can come with weight loss. Because, again, we are trying to work on a bigger problem- not our weight but ourselves as a whole. 

Over these past four years so many things have changed in my life. It has been a roller coaster. I have lost weight and gotten healthy but in the process I really had to fix a lot of my own personal shit in order to make it stick. I had to fight and change and admit failures and push towards goals and dreams and do all of this while being honest about what I needed to work on (easier said than done) and what I felt proud of. I had to find my weak spots. I had to go to some dark places. I had to hit rock bottom and then dig myself out. I had to fight every day to try and earn the life I wanted and I had to do so knowing that the changes that needed to happen were so much bigger and deeper than just my weight. I hated the person I had become so in order to heal I had to find my self-love. I was disgusted by myself so I had to find confidence and pride and strength to overcome it. I was miserable in my life so I had to make some big, tough, painful (at times), not easy choices and changes in order to be happy. 

I’m not saying all this to come across as a lecture on weight loss/maintenance. But I say all this because I want you to know that if you are struggling- that’s normal. If it is hard- that’s normal too. If you feel alone- don’t, because there are so many people (myself included) that understand your pain and will gladly lend a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. This whole process for those of us that have/had a lot to lose is not easy. And everyone’s path is different. But if you set out with only one goal in mind (to lose weight) you could be setting yourself up for failure. Or at least disappointment at the end. Instead try on setting a goal of healing, one of introspection that will help you find the underlying issues, and try to really work on fixing them. I’m not saying you can’t do both. Actually, I think you will find great success when you start to work on your health and start building good habits and routines. You will start to feel emotions you may have not felt in a while and you can take those feelings (strength, courage, confidence) and use them to help you make big changes that can help you be successful.  

And as always, know that you are worth it. You are worth every fight and challenge and you are worthy of all the love and happiness in the world!

Love and hugs,