Losing Weight is Hard, So Take a Breath

I could have titled this post in a myriad of ways. Instead of “take a breath,” I could have said, “give yourself a break” or “celebrate success” or “don’t fear failure.”

Also, losing weight is only half the equation because keeping it off may be even harder. That’s a blog for another day.

My point is that this is a journey, not a sprint. There is no quick fix. If something promises to take off the weight with no effort, run! If someone says you can eat anything you want and get results, run! If someone offers you a pill that will be the miracle weight loss cure you’ve been looking for, run faster!

Losing weight is different for everyone. One person may have a ton of success with Weight Watchers while another may see little to no weight loss. Maybe that other person is better off with Paleo. And maybe both of them have a friend who is crushing it on the DASH diet. If we all look different on the outside, why wouldn’t be different on the inside?

And once you’ve tried something and it has worked, you must ask yourself, “Can I do this forever?” If the answer is no, there is no shame in looking for the next plan that works for you and you can sustain. Taking a breath to analyze your life and your choices is critical to your long-term success and health.

While you are evaluating things, remember that the scale can lie. Recently I tried measurements and found I was dropping inches while my weight stayed the same. Frustration at one metric, like the scale, is common. In the end, that number needs to drop but it isn’t the only way to look at whether something is working. Keep a journal that records weight, measurements, mood, sleep quality, medications you’ve shed, etc. You have to look at the entire picture to know what is happening, not just the lower left third.

I have freaked out so many times in my life when weight loss stopped. Why am I denying myself if I don’t lose weight? That’s the wrong attitude and definitely a bad question. I had to change my entire mindset before I found the right path.

The question should be, “What did I do that stopped the benefits I am looking for?” The benefits, as explained above, are much more than what shows on the scale.

When we went with the Banting/NSNG lifestyle, I didn’t understand fully what this meant. I figured this was a way that I could live, and I would get big weight loss benefits. While that has been true, it is only a part of the realized success.

I have figured out the differences between keto and fat-adapted. (We even recorded a podcast about it which you can listen to here.) This was critical for me because I don’t think I could sustain keto and prefer the fat-adapted way of life. This will allow me the flexibility I need without the guilt. It also is easy to get on track when I stumble, or when I decide to go off plan on purpose for a day or two. No guilt is key to long-term success. There is no cheating because I’m doing nothing wrong.

Another benefit is that I haven’t had a migraine in nearly 6 months after suffering from them for well over 30 years. I didn’t know that life without migraines at least 3 times a week was possible. Now, I can’t imagine going back to that kind of debilitating pain. The only thing I changed is what I eat so there is a clear correlation between my diet and migraines.

I was just talking with someone who listens to the FatMan Chronicles podcast and reached out for advice. The exchange went like this…

“I’ve lost 40 pounds in the first 4 months. I’m 10 pounds away from my goal and haven’t lost anything for 3 weeks. Help! What do I do??”

My response, “Celebrate the 40 pounds. If you don’t lose those last 10 for another year, what does it matter if you maintain the first 40 off? What do those 10 pounds mean to you that you are so desperate to lose them?”

They wrote back two days later and said, “I took some time to answer and had unsubscribed from your podcast because I thought your response was insensitive and unfair. Then I thought about it and mentioned it to my husband. He told me I looked amazing, was always happier, slept better than I had in years and I should give myself a break. He said, ‘That fat dude is right.’ So, I resubscribed and wanted to let you know what those 10 pounds mean to me…”

There it is. She took a breath and realized that the big picture mattered more than the small part where the 10 pounds lived. I cut her full answer because it was personal, and I’m honored she felt she could share with me. I can tell you though that the emotion behind those 10 pounds blew them up in her mind way more than they deserved to be.

Emotion. Most of us with weight issues can trace roots back to our emotions. (If you have a medical issue, whole different ballgame.) Once we can separate our emotions from our food choices, we are so much better off. We must remove the trigger that says stress equals a package of Oreos with a gallon of chocolate milk chaser. Owning the emotion AND the choice of how to handle it is vital to our lifelong journey to health.

You must reframe weight loss as more than a number on the scale. Take the time to really examine what defines success overall for you. Take a breath, sit down, relax, and figure out a way to chronicle your journey to have meaningful, lasting positive impact.

#bebettertoday #upgrade #grateful

1 thought on “Losing Weight is Hard, So Take a Breath”

  1. Great post. I tell people a lot of the same things. Celebrate the weight loss instead of stressing about those “last” few pounds. I really like your approach to weight and lifestyle. So many factors comprise “health”!

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