The majority of obese people are not proud of their size. In fact some hate their size and, because of it, themselves. So, let’s get one thing straight right up front—you are NOT your weight!
The challenge of weight loss
Weight loss is a doozy of a challenge. In my years of therapy practice, I have come to believe it is the single most complex issue I deal with because it has so many components, appearing on a number of levels. It certainly affects us physically. That is a given. But it affects us emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, as well. “What’s the matter with me?” the overweight person will exclaim. “Why don’t you lose the weight?” everyone around them will ask. And answers for either question do not come easily.
Losing weight is a matter of finding the root causes (notice I said causes — plural). Yes, the obese person may eat too much, eat the wrong food or eat too much of the wrong food. The question is, “Why?” Then again, they may eat a healthy diet in proper proportions and still not shed pounds. So then ask “Why do they not lose weight?
What are they feeding? Are they feeding their body or their emotions? What are they trying to “fill up” with food? What does the food represent? Comfort? Punishment? The reliving of childhood pleasure?
Are they eating more and more, thinking it will give them enough energy just to put one foot in front of the other? If so, why is their energy level so low?
Have they dieted so much, yo-yoing back and forth that their body just doesn’t know what to do about it anymore?
There are no easy answers.
Questions you need to answer about your weight
- Do you sleep well? New research has found a connection between not sleeping and weight gain. For more information see: http://www.webmd.com/diet/sleep-and-weight-loss#1
- How stressed are you generally? Stress causes the secretion of a hormone called cortisol, which results in the deposit of belly fat and weight gain. For more information see: http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/weightgain.htm.
- Why do you want to lose weight? For yourself or to please someone else? (Is it possible the person you are trying to please can’t be pleased, no matter what size you are?)
- What is your metabolic rate? Saying, “I have a slow metabolism” is thought to be a cop-out excuse for being fat. But often, it is not. I know someone whose metabolism is so slow that when she goes to the dentist, it takes two days for the anesthesia to wear off. She does not dare get her pupils dilated at the optometrist’s because she won’t see for at least a day and a half, even if they use the drops to constrict the pupil. She also has a serious weight problem.
- How is your general health? When was your last checkup? Have you had an immune system disease such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome that resulted in rapid weight gain?
- How many diets have you tried and how much weight did you lose on each? How long did it take you to gain it back?
- Do you exercise? Or do you consider searching for the remote control all the exercise you want or need?
- Do you have positive support at home?
- How much do you like yourself? How much do you love yourself?
There are many more questions. But answers to these questions may give you and your doctor, nutritionist and/or therapist a place to start. Any weight-loss program must be holistic if it is to be successful.
You are NOT your weight
In all of this, it is important to understand the concept that you are not your weight. There is a
special human being
inside your skin and it is time you discovered who he or she is, if you have not done so already.
Who are you? Sit quietly alone and ask yourself that question. Wait for answers.
Are you kind? Are you considerate? Are you sensitive to beauty? Are you sensitive to the needs of others? Do you help others who need help? Do you love animals? Are you good or even great in your job? Do you love nature? Do you care for the environment? Can you laugh?
This is just a start. Keep going. Find all the “good stuff” about yourself and ask yourself, “Doesn’t this define me better than my weight defines me?”
And the next step is to love and accept this remarkable being called you—just the way you are, pounds and all. Begin to have fun. Laugh, drop the shame and get out there where the action is. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet you on the treadmill.