But I Really Want to Lose Weight...
When we're caught up in the cycle of yoyo dieting and weight-cycling, we feel that there are only 2 options--it's either A) "succeed" and lose a bunch of weight, or B) keep trying diet after diet looking for the one that will finally work. We don't often hear about Option C) Accept yourself, take good care of yourself, and focus on ways to improve your health that don't have anything to do with weight loss.
When we believe that weight loss is the only path to success, it becomes a road block to actual progress. You don't have to look far to see people who have struggled with their weight for years, believing that weight-loss is the first step to improving their life or health. As long as they continue to chase that dream and repeatedly fail, they are distracted from doing anything else that would actually improve their lives.
Just imagine for a minute that you just got the news that your body is unable to lose weight. Pretend you have some mysterious disease that makes weight-loss literally impossible for you. How do you react? What do you do with the rest of your life? Do you sit around and wish that you could lose weight or bemoan your unsatisfactory body? Or do you decide to stop caring about that thing which you absolutely cannot control, and move on to something else? Maybe you decide to enjoy the best health you possibly can, regardless of the size of your body. Maybe you choose to enjoy all the activities available to you, and celebrate the wonderful ways your body still serves you. Can you see how that news would liberate you to really live your life, finally?
Maybe what you really want is to not have to worry about it anymore, and you feel like losing weight is the only way to do that.
One time when I was about halfway through my Binge Eating Disorder treatment, I was relaying a story to my therapist about someone in my life who was frustrating to me. This particular person is absolutely obsessed with weight and truly believes that no one can be happy or have good health unless they are thin. I had a particularly annoying conversation with this person and was venting to my therapist, and these words came out of my mouth: "Why can't [Lynn] just accept her body and live her life, and forget about losing weight?! Imagine how much time she has wasted, and she's still fat! What if she had accepted that from the beginning and just enjoyed her time here on earth?!"
It was literally as if lightbulbs went off in my head--and not just regular lightbulbs, but the really bright kind that blink rapidly and cause seizures. What a huge revelation--we can all just accept our bodies and live our lives and be happy. This was a major turning point for me in my understanding and acceptance of myself.
Abandoning the pursuit of weight loss does not mean that you are giving up; it simply means that you are removing obstacles to your progress. Pretend you are walking along your life path, and you run into this big rock. Instead of trying to move it, or jackhammer through it, or stand and complain about how big and unmovable it is, or worry about all the things you're missing out on that are beyond the rock, you can simply go around it.
It's not realistic to suddenly abandon the desire to lose weight--and few people are able to really accomplish that. All you need to do is put that desire to the side for a while, and see what else you can focus on. There are countless ways to improve your life and health that have nothing to do with weight loss, so don't let it derail you from actual progress.
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