Letting go of anything – old habits, a relationship, that favorite pair of blue jeans – is uncomfortable, even if it’s for our own good.
And the same goes for letting go of excess fat weight. In fact, this process of dropping weight is a perpetual process of letting go. Not only are we saying good riddance to the excess fat weight that has made us sick, tired and, for a lot of us, downright depressed, we are also letting go of the stories, the defenses and the identities that this excess weight has created and reiterated.
For most of us, letting go of this weight also means facing, processing and ultimately letting go of the emotions that are beneath these stories, which have been our truths for many years, and for some of us, our whole lives. Even though these stories are not useful and are no longer serving us, they are still our stories. Therefore, this exciting “letting go” adventure, for most of us, usually involves a grieving process that is normal. Sometimes uncomfortable, yes, but normal nonetheless.
During the weight loss process, our stories or defenses, which may exist only in the unconscious or subconscious, can potentially rear their clever heads presenting as weight loss blocks, “plateaus” or resistance to change. Again, this is normal. Let’s expect it, but also meet it as an indication and opportunity to examine and transcend a worn-out belief, story or paradigm.
That’s why I always say that the process of dropping weight is 80% mental. The mind-body connection is a powerful one, as every thought and belief intrinsically contains intelligence that can facilitate a faster “letting-go” process or a slower one. To honor the letting-go process – to cultivate one that promotes self-examination and healing – I recommend we maximize these resources to assist letting go in an intentional, healthy and supportive way, such as:
Modify your behavior. Dropping weight isn’t just about what and when you eat. That’s definitely a component of it (and oftentimes a complicated one), but how you think and feel about what you’re doing is just as important. Be aware that your habits and behaviors, those mental and emotional aspects tied to why you eat, are a large part of the process.Practice self-care, such as prayer/intention setting, meditation, journaling or practicing gratitude – a combination would be best.Try breath exercises and self-compassion. Take a deep breath and give yourself compassion. If you beat yourself up about the numbers on the scale, your weight loss will stop. It’s a fact, and I see this all the time. When self-compassion is practiced, weight loss and maintenance success happen with ease.Your energy goes where your focus flows. If you focus on a plateau or relapse, it’s likely to manifest. Instead, focus your attention on how easy and simple it is to drop weight and maintain it.If you find yourself with cravings or hunger, eat more dietary fat. More healthy fats are the ticket to satiety and bouncing you back into nutrition success. Restricting calories or even eating everything in moderation, for a lot of us, results in a constant battle of dropping weight only to regain it, and/or unabating cravings and hunger.Let go of the shame and guilt. Remember that weight gain isn’t your fault. It has nothing to do with willpower, discipline or personality. If you struggle with your weight, it is not because of a flaw in personality, yet is a dysfunctional metabolic situation you’ve been given for one reason or another. Recognize a relapse and move forward. The process of dropping weight, for many of us, is a similar process to that of addiction recovery. The truth is that a weight-gain relapse is not the end of the world and only needs to be a brief set-back. Weight regain is nothing to be ashamed of, simply part of the learning and adjustment process. Find the support and accountability you need to move forward from a relapse. A relapse must be looked upon as a learning process and if learning is taking place, then weight-gain relapses will diminish in frequency and duration over a period of time.Lean on a support team. The vast majority of us struggle with dropping weight and maintaining it on our own. Statistics show that 95% of diets we do on our own flat out fail. Expecting yourself to make significant and complicated changes on your own, is unfair. Instead, seek a support system, accountability partner or anyone you can count on to always have your back, guiding you in the direction you want to go.If you are ready to make a change, recognize that it’s then also time for you to let go. Let go and let live. You deserve it and can do it if you really want to.
Ashley Lucas holds a Ph.D. in sports nutrition and chronic disease and is a licensed, registered dietitian. She is the founder and owner of Ph.D. Weight Loss and Nutrition, offering in-office and at-home/virtual weight management and wellness services in the Four Corners. To contact her, visit www.myphdweightloss.com or call 764-4133.