Despite your best efforts, you may feel stuck at a certain weight.
First – let’s chat about how weight loss happens.
The actual process of ‘weight loss’ will look different for everyone, but in most cases, if it ends up feeling more like a ‘health gain‘ effort… you will see some sustainable change.
There will be some habit change involved. Maybe a lot of it. It might look like some of these things (your list will be unique to you, however).
- Swapping out refined carbs for veggies.
- Walking your kids to school everyday.
- Going to bed earlier.
- Laughing more often.
- Swapping out some wine with fancy non-alcoholic or fermented drinks.
- Doing 5 pushups every time you walk through your living room.
- Eating green leafy veggies at every meal.
- Sitting on the floor more often.
- Walking to work – or holding walking meetings at work.
- Weaning yourself of shoes that don’t allow your feet to move.
- Maybe you’ll need to add more food. Really.
- Maybe you’ll need to eliminate some foods – see what that does.
- Finding a new hobby.
- Getting more sun.
- Defining joy for yourself, and pursuing it.
- Leaving work earlier.
- Maybe even deciding to change careers – because your current one is sucking your soul.
Re: food. Food is a major way that our body receives information. Like, a giant way. There’s no doubt that your routine food choices shape your health. And there’s also no doubt that some people who eat the ‘cleanest’ diet can have crappiest health… particularly if they are fixated on food above all other aspects of human health.
My personal approach to food is through an ancestral lens. I can see that we’ve never – in the history of human life – had more choice about what to eat than we have today (just go to your grocery store and stare down the aisle in awe). I can also see that despite the abundance out there – we’re literally eating the same 4 ingredients every day (wheat, corn, soy, sugar – in various combinations).
My tip? Aim for diversity. And the closer to nature – the better chance that your body will recognize it and be able to put it to good use. Aim for pleasure and adventure in food – aim to only allow the most quality things into your body.
[aside: I’m a chocoholic. I require – for my own happiness – chocolate everyday. Maybe you can relate. Once upon a time, I was wooed by ANY chocolate. In fact, I was a sucker for Mound’s Pet Supplies – just so I could get the free Mounds candy bar at the checkout. My health journey has brought me to a place where I no longer see those candy bars as a treat. If I’m going to eat chocolate daily – it’s going to be the best damn experience ever.]
Sure you can ‘low-carb’ or ‘low-fat’ or ‘vegan’ your way to a different size… but I would argue – from an ancestral perspective – that those approaches are unnatural. Ancestral humans weren’t limiting their foods by macronutrient ratio or to strictly plants (this is pretty well established).
Ahhh… but they also weren’t sitting at desks all day or watching Netflix into the night. 😉 The force is strong, I know.
But I digress again.
Needless to say, your body could be missing something pretty important if you restrict your diet too much.
One way to gain health (and lose weight) is to chip away at habits enabled by our ‘modern conveniences’ and our ‘social norms’: packaged foods (choose whole foods more often), transportation (choose to walk), electricity (turn off the light and go to bed), furniture (sit on the floor – and get up off of the floor more often), shoes (use your bare-feet – or minimalist shoes to strengthen your foundation), adulthood (we are too serious… have more fun 😉 ).
Another quick interjection here: There could be a medical reason that your body is holding on to weight. If you are satisfied with your efforts to lose weight – and still can’t believe that nothing is changing – I would highly recommend seeing a functional medicine doc who will help you get to the root of your metabolic issue.
Because we all have a unique starting point, and unique environmental pressures… I can’t offer you only one solution. Life is a series of habits strung together… and small daily changes – changes that may not seem important at the time – really and truly add up over time.
That said – I feel compelled to say a few words about your ‘why’ here. Not because your reason for wanting to lose weight isn’t important, but because often there is more than just the size of your body at play here.
Weight is a measure of your relationship with gravity. Sure, this measure is correlated with various other health issues… but taken on it’s own, it’s less than meaningful.
To many, their weight is more than a number on a scale. It’s a symbol of something else in their life. It could mean any of the following:
- I’ve failed.
- I’m embarrassed.
- I’m not good enough.
- I’m unhappy.
- I’m not working hard enough.
- I’m unattractive.
- I’m stressed.
- I’m frustrated.
- I wish I looked like someone else.
- People are judging me by my appearance.
For me personally, I felt like I was letting myself down and I felt judged by others by being overweight.
Overweight? What? And who says?
You are exactly your weight. You are not over it, not under it. Let’s start there. Let’s compare you to… yourself.
Own your weight. Just like you own your height. Like you own your passion and your strength.
It’s part of you, friend. All of the space that you take up… it’s part of you. But you are not simply your weight, or your shape, or your size… you are all of it… all of the bits and parts and thoughts and actions and emotions and values…
One aspect of you is that you weigh ‘X’.
This number will change throughout your life as a result of how you relate to your environment.
So with all of this in mind, consider your own unique situation. Maybe you’ve got a goal of losing weight – and you’re doing all sorts of things in an attempt to make that happen – but in the end – the scale isn’t moving and you’re frustrated. Is it possible that all of the things that you’re doing for the purposes of losing weight – are actually addressing the wrong goal? Is it possible that your goal of weight loss would be achieved if you re-focus your efforts on a bigger picture issue?
Perhaps a new goal is necessary. A new goal that is more fun and satisfying to work toward… to which your size and shape will shift… toward a size and shape that represents a satisfied, happier, connected, healthier, confident you.
Change will be required, but why make change dependent on restrictive behaviors for which the goal is for there to be less of you when you can make change be dependent on creating a happier, more energetic, [insert the way you want to feel here] you.
My bet is that if you work on gaining a few things, on learning what it is about your current environment (stressors, foods, relationships, careers, fitness, sleep habits, joy, love, presence) and your current thoughts that have you focusing on your size, that you will will be happier. What is it about your current environment and thoughts that has literally shaped you. What is it that your body is telling you? Are you curious?
I am not making light of your pain here. If anything, I hope that I’m encouraging you to dig a bit deeper to see what else there is to it. Maybe there’s not much else… maybe you have a goal of losing 10 pounds – and you’re a perfectly happy human today – and you’ll be a perfectly happy human when you meet your goal. That could be the case.
But my intuition (and personal experience) tells me that there’s more to it.
The question that I have is this: What will be different when you reach your weight loss goal? This is important – because if your focus on weight loss today – is because you actually want to fix something else in your life – then you need to make sure you address that other thing… see where I’m going?
In other words. If you think that losing weight will make you happier, then have a serious think about why you aren’t happy today. Because – you may be successful in losing weight – but unsuccessful in making yourself happier.
OK. I’ve done some coaching. (And I can work on this with you more if you’d like).
Your turn. Do you have any new ideas about why and how you might go about ‘losing weight’?