Summer is coming! Time to panic!!!
It’s time to feel bad about not having lost that 5 pounds yet…am I right?
But, hey, wait a minute, didn’t you want to lose 5 pounds last summer?
And the summer before that?
Oh, and last spring?
I have a sneaky suspicion that you, like me, may have a lot more going on behind the phrase “I gotta lose 5 pounds”, and that there’s much more to it than that. I bet that if you could write a letter to that “5 pounds”, it would go a little something like this:
Dear 5 pounds,
I see you’re still here although I’ve asked you to leave.
Why won’t you just leave, when I’ve tried and tried again to get rid of you?
You make me feel so crappy about myself.
You remind me of all the things I don’t like about myself.
I don’t want you any more.
I won’t feel good about myself until you are gone.
Sound waaaaay too familiar?
I really want to talk about this because it is a recognized story for so many of us, women in particular. I want to point out a few things that you may or may not have thought about yet when it comes to that darn 5 pounds we always seem to want to lose.
- It is not about the 5 pounds. It is NEVER about that 5 pounds, or 10, or 20, or any number on the scale for that matter.
- It is not ONLY about food. Food is only one aspect when it comes to losing weight and when we get stuck, it is vital to look at the entire picture.
- There is zero benefit to beating yourself up over 5 pounds, ZERO. Allowing yourself to feel badly about what you haven’t yet achieved is a sure fire way to make yourself feel awful. Is that really what you’re after?
- By choosing to ignore the root of the issue, we are standing in our own way of achieving a goal.
- Addressing ANY issues with the body has to begin with a willingness to be honest with yourself about why you feel as though you need to lose weight in order to feel better about who you are.
So, if it’s not really about that 5 pounds….then, what’s really going on?
Firstly, I need to be clear that for each and every individual person, it is inherently different. So, something that works, or is at the root, for one person, may not necessarily work/be at the root for another. However, there are a few common emotional issues that are strongly connected to difficulties with weight and body image, and it’s worth bringing them to your attention.
5 Possible Reasons You Struggle With Your Weight/Body Image
- Stress/Trauma: Persistent stress is extremely detrimental to the body, the mind, and the being. When we are hanging out in our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), we are demanding extreme output from the body in every way and our bodies deteriorate because of it. Persistent stress contributes to the development of disease, inflammation, chronic pain, cardiovascular strain, and difficulty losing weight, to name just a few. Meditation, yoga, exercise, counselling, retreats, and alternative healing techniques are only some of the many ways to move through trauma and reduce stress.
- Emotional Holding: Emotions can be really freaking uncomfortable. You know it; I know it. “Holding” emotions without allowing them to move through us, be filtered, acknowledged, and allowed to leave, ensures that they remain with us; weighing us down, so to speak. As the mind and body connect and intertwine, our bodies will hold as well. Oftentimes, this will evidence itself in stubborn weight that is difficult, if not impossible to lose.
- Toxic Relationships: We all have someone in our lives who is stuck in a really bad relationship that is neither nurturing nor supporting them. A toxic relationship has the power to completely alter a person, snuffing out their passions and spark, handcuffing them to a life they are not happy to lead. These kinds of relationships can take a toll on the body, creating a state of chronic stress and anxiety, and contributing to the development of disease, depression, and added weight.
- Shame: A truly complicated, and deeply rooted emotion, shame can keep us from growing into our true and honest selves. If we are ruled by shame, it will stand in the way of achieving what we inherently know we are capable of achieving. The first step to dealing with shame, is to acknowledge that it is there: start by journaling, reading supportive books (Brene Brown), or talking it through with a professional.
- Perfectionism: Perfectionism seems to be a societal addiction in North America. We strive for something unattainable, time and time again, and the perpetual effort is killing us. Perfectionism with food and body creates constant stress, rigidity, restriction, and chronic dissatisfaction. This tendency can create problems that contribute to incessant negative thought patterns and feelings of not ever being good enough. Tune in to your perfectionistic tendencies, notice them, ask yourself if they are serving you, and begin to invite in flexibility, pleasure, peace, and relaxation.
It is not until we agree to be here, on earth, in our bodies, in our souls, and as a sum of all of our experiences: good and bad, that we can make progress towards healing and thriving health.
Dig deeper. Pay attention. Be kind.