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Are you trying to lose weight and thinking, “this is so hard”, “I can’t do this”, “I need more willpower”, “I shouldn’t have to work so hard at this,” or the big one I hear is “I don’t want to live like this forever”
These are the stories that our Brain is telling us. Our primitive Brain is doing its job, and we choose to believe what it is telling us. The primitive Brain’s job is to keep us safe and comfortable. So when we are trying to change how we are eating, or how to deal with a situation when it comes to choosing what to eat our Brain is saying all those things to try to pull us back to giving up, so we stay with your old way of doing things. The old way is safe and comfortable, even though we may not like it.
Yes, losing weight can be one of the hardest things we ever do, and that is because it is not about the food. If it were just all about the food, that diet would tell us exactly how much and what to eat and it would be working for us.
It is about us having to work on making the changes needed and not listen to our primitive Brain trying to keep us in our safe little spot. That spot is, how we have been doing things for a very long time and so no matter what we are staying there.
This is about learning to be in charge of our primitive Brain to create the results we are wanting. Think of your primitive Brain as a child in a candy store, would you give in to your child when they have their temper tantrum trying to get what they want? What would you do, would you say hey you want it so here you go or would you let them have their cry. So why would we let our primitive Brain hold us back from making the changes needed to lose the weight when it has its temper tantrum.
There are two tools you can use when you feel weight loss is hard.
The first one is to stop resisting the difficulty that you are feeling and to stop thinking that it should be easier than it is. When you resist or get upset with it being difficult, you only make it more uncomfortable and harder to lose the weight.
Think about holding a ball underwater. Imagine all the strength you have to use to hold it down; it takes a lot of energy. By using so much force and energy holding the ball down, you don’t have any energy or focus left to deal with anything else. How long can you hold that ball down before you finally give up and it shoots up to the surface? You resisting the difficulty you may feel is just like you holding that ball down. When we don’t resist, then we have the ability to put the focus and energy on what we can do.
By thinking all those thoughts about how difficult it is to lose weight only makes it harder for you to sustain what you need to do. One way you can approach this is to be willing to be uncomfortable and say yes to the hard parts.
When I was in Nursing School, in the beginning, the first few classes were not very hard, but as I went along, they became more difficult. I didn’t go into those classes thinking I would breeze right through or say, “Why is this so hard?”. Of course, I had the expectation that it would be hard because I was learning something new, and that was ok. I knew that I had to work hard to get good grades and be an amazing Nurse. Putting the time and effort into focusing and studying so that I could graduate.
What if you approached your weight loss as though when things got hard that there was nothing wrong, it is supposed to be that way. Can you go into the class of dealing with your urges as I am going to master this? Or go into the class of figuring out where you are on the hunger scale as I am going to tune into where I am at? Can you go into all the classes in weight loss as thinking I am going to follow the instructions that are given, I am going to do my best and if that doesn’t work to learn from what I did so that I figure out what will work so that I will achieve my weight loss goal.
The thing is we don’t like hard work, so we look for the magic diet out there to find the easiest way of losing weight. That magic diet is like you getting the test questions from your best friend ahead of time. You memorize the answers so when you get to that test, all you have to do is write the answers down. You don’t study so you don’t learn for yourself the reason for those answers. You have them in your head, but they are not integrated into your life. So when you walk away from that test, there isn’t anything that stays with you. Just like a fad diet, they give you what to eat or how much but they don’t have you learned why it is you are eating in the first place and what to do about it. By studying for the test, absorbing it all and then building on that knowledge that is what sticks long term. So you have to say yes to the hard work if you want permanent weight loss.
If you want to graduate from weight loss school, you have to be willing to say yes to the easy and as well to the hard. Saying yes to the days when the scale goes down and yes to the days it goes up to the days when your cravings are mild and the days when they are strong.
I think about how proud I was that I graduated even though there were many days it was hard. If I would not have said yes to all that I had to do and dropped out, then I would have had to start all over again one day. Coming back at a different time would not have made it any easier, so saying yes to it all the easy and hard is what will get us to our goal. Just think of how amazing it feels when we do reach our goal.
So what do you do when it is hard? This is where the second tool comes in when it feels hard, and that is you taking it one day at a time. Doing this takes away the overwhelm because if you are like me when I thought about having to lose 100 pounds, I didn’t even know where or how to start to lose it permanently. This was when I looked at what can I eat right now, just for today that is just that little better than I did yesterday, and that was the focus. I didn’t focus on changing everything right off the bat because that was how all the diets I tried to follow were like, and they never worked. If in that day I had a big craving for ice cream I so desperately wanted I told myself, “For today I won’t have it, but if I want it tomorrow I can.” Guess what tomorrow came, the cravings weren’t there, so I had no desire to have it. So when you are saying to yourself, “This is so hard, I don’t think I can do this anymore,” that is when you stop. You stop and think one day at a time and what can I do right now, at this moment today and then you do that the next day and the next day. And then tomorrow never comes!
So how can you apply this to trying to lose weight this summer, because it is here. I used to think that there was no way I could ever lose weight in the summer because of all the socializing that goes on. That it was going to be too much of a challenge or the big one for me was “It’s not fair that they can eat that and I can’t.” So what I did was I went to that BBQ and decided that I could eat what they were eating, that I could eat whatever I wanted but just for today I was going to follow my plan. Doing this, I felt a sense of relief knowing that not eating what was on the table today didn’t mean I could never have it. The choice was mine to make and how powerful that was. The thing was the next BBQ I went to I had no desire to eat what others were having because I felt so proud that I stuck to what I had planned the last time, so I had the confidence to do it again.
Not every day will perfect in what you choose to eat, and that is ok. So instead of focusing on your long term weight loss goal, which for me was 100 pounds, saying yes to following your plan just for today. By focusing on the long term goal that can feel so big and overwhelming, so when you focus on one day at a time that becomes a lot more manageable. This will give take away the resistance to what is coming up for you.
All you have to do is say YES to the whole process. This is huge stuff. I want you to get going on this so that you will be successful in losing the weight you want so if you find yourself needing help with it all with implementing this, please reach out to me here and we can have a mini-session to help you get to where you want to go.
Have a wonderful week, Hugs