Why You Aren’t Losing Weight
Written by: Amber Alexander
Sometimes, you do all the right things. You eat right… you exercise. And your weight still doesn’t budge.
This can be really frustrating!
This often happen because, despite your best efforts to lose weight and be healthier, you neglect to recognize that it is about more than what you eat and how you move your body. It is very much a mental game.
So, if you are trying to shed some pounds, consider the following when making a plan:
1. Your reason for trying to lose weight may not be good enough.
And “good enough” can mean many different things. It can be, “because it will help with my diabetes and heart troubles,” but it could also be, “because I want to be able to run around with my kids without getting winded so easily or having so many body aches due to my weight.”
So, what makes a reason good enough? The emotions it evokes inside of you. Your reasons for wanting to lose weight should not be out of fear or because of the lecture your doctor gave you. Yes, fear and shame CAN be motivating, but they can also lead to a lot of mental blocks when trying to reach weight goals.
Try this: Write down all of your reasons for losing weight in a journal. Include successes along your path and reasons you feel good about yourself. On days where your goal feels impossible, look back and read your “WHY” and read your recent successes.
2. You think losing weight has to be painful, boring, treacherous and difficult.
I am not saying that it is never some of those things, but our overall attitude towards weight loss definitely affects our successes or setbacks. If you think it is miserable to exercise, guess what? It’s going to be. If you enter into something with a mindset that it will be painful – that you have to deprive yourself of certain things in order to reach your goal, or that it isn’t enjoyable – you are setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, focus on what you like about it. Instead of dwelling or guilt tripping yourself about what you shouldn’t eat, focus on ways to enjoy adding in what you should be eating. Be creative with fitness and experiment until you find things that you enjoy.
I got bored lifting weights, but I knew I really needed to fit some strength training into my life, so I tried out a few group classes. Even though I never pictured myself enjoying something like that, I found that, not only was I not bored, I was having fun AND gaining strength and muscle more than ever before.
3. Even though you may change your diet and exercise habits, you neglect to change how you react to stress or you let too much stress into your life.
Stress will seriously mess with your weight loss vibe. Not only do we, as creatures of habit, tend to revert back to old habits when presented with stressful or challenging situations (especially when we have already stepped pretty far outside of our comfort zones), but stress literally makes it so our bodies won’t let go of those few extra pounds. And not just because we tend to reach for donuts instead of carrots when we stress-eat.
Stress causes the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Over time, cortisol slows down testosterone production, which slows down muscle building, which means you are burning fewer calories when you exercise. Cortisol also encourages fat storage in the body.
So, how do you reverse this? Stress relieving methods such as yoga, meditation, walks out in nature at a relaxed pace, bubble baths, or any number of other activities that help your nervous system slow down and relax.
4. You treat yourself as if you aren’t worthy of liking yourself or being happy until you lose weight.
Which, ironically, will get in the way of actually losing the weight. Listen to the chatter inside your head. How often do you react to something you’ve done with a “you can’t do this” remark, or thought, “gosh, I would love to do that, after I lose 20 pounds.” You are placing all your worth on your physical appearance. And the sad thing is that this is a downward spiral. The more you have negative thoughts about yourself, the less likely you are to succeed in your goals, which then leads to more negative thinking about yourself.
How do you break free of this? Get comfortable with celebrating yourself! You don’t have to do it loudly or publicly. Write down in your journal what you like about yourself. Take note of the moments throughout your day where you did something really well, something that you were proud of. Every night before bed, take a moment to write about at least one thing you did that day that was awesome.
They don’t have to be big, grandiose successes either. They can be the patience you maintained through a really frustrating conversation at work; the outfit you chose to wear that made you feel comfortable; that you smiled at people; that you cooked a great dinner; that you remembered to start the laundry. Anything. Make a habit of recognizing the good in yourself.
5. You are trying to do this all by yourself.
I am not saying that doing this by yourself is impossible, but it definitely makes it more challenging. On the days where you hit a snag or eat something you feel bad about, it is a lot harder to keep your eye on the good, or to start a new day with a fresh mind and renewed dedication when you are the only one actively cheering yourself on.
Build a tribe around you. Hire a health coach. Talk to your friends and family about your goals and ways they could support you that you feel comfortable with. Assemble your cheerleaders and let them cheer you on!
Whether you are just embarking on a weight loss journey or you’re already somewhere along the path, taking some or all of the above to heart will really help you work towards sustainable health. They are also things that can carry over into the rest of your life to help create and cultivate more health, more joy and more happiness wherever you are on your path.
When I am working with clients one-on-one, in addition to getting enough sleep and drinking enough water, the mental game is the most important aspect of any goal a person sets his/her sights on. I’ve seen this time and time again and I encourage you to focus on improving this aspect as you move forward in your amazing transformation towards living your best life.
As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Amber Alexander follows her passion for vibrant wellness by supporting others in cultivating greater health and joy, specializing in family nutrition and individuals recently diagnosed with autoimmune diseases and/or food sensitivities.
When not working to make the world a healthier place one person at a time, she can be found on her yoga mat breathing deeply, in her kitchen cooking up nourishing deliciousness for her family and loved ones, or out dancing in the woods. She strives everyday to do at least one thing that infuses her whole being with radiance, joy and strength and believes that a hug can solve almost any quandary.
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