That’s the million dollar question.
That’s the question that MUST be answered to end your struggle with weight.
The idea that being overweight has to do with laziness or gluttony has permeated our society for so long, that many of us have come to believe it about ourselves. That somehow we struggle with weight and eating because we lack willpower or are just too lazy to go to the gym. Think for a minute if those are the reasons you give yourself. When you start a diet and “cheat” do you beat yourself up emotionally, telling yourself that you failed and what’s wrong with you? That has to stop now!
When someone is overweight, or has struggled with eating and weight for long periods, it is a complex issue and has little to do with willpower or ambition. If weight were just about food and exercise then the weight-loss industry would not be as big as it is. If it is just about food and exercise then you would not be sitting here reading this. The scientific answer to weight loss is already out there. There are multiple books on proper nutrition and thousands of gyms with trainers waiting to show you how to exercise. Calories in has to be less than calories out; burn off more than you eat. That’s the scientific answer! Stick to that and the weight will fall off. Guaranteed! There is no magic diet or miracle exercise machine that has yet to be invented. Nevertheless, as a culture we wait and gobble up any new program, pill, surgery that comes along that promises to be the answer to our weight problem. Why? Because ultimately we want to believe that it’s about the food. Food is simple. It is something outside of ourselves that we can point to and blame. It is easier to tell ourselves that it is our fault for not being strong enough to resist the food and get to the gym. The “Why” is the complicated part because it involves digging through our lives and maybe examining things we would rather not have to face.
This is not, and should not be, a simple answer. If you can come up with it in five minutes, then it’s probably not the whole story. This is a question that you will answer over time. Shrek said, “an ogre is like an onion, it has many layers”. Well, so is a human. (Yes, I did just quote a cartoon. You never know where the great messages of life will come from!) As you begin to peel away the layers, you will discover new things about yourself and your answer to this question will probably evolve. As you begin to pay more attention to what you’re thinking, what you say to yourself, and the times when you do turn to food or turn to staying on the couch instead of walking or going to the gym, you will begin to understand the real driving force behind your weight.
A starting place to help you answer this question:
- Think about when you first started struggling with weight or food. What was going on at that time? Can you remember the first time you turned to food to comfort yourself?
- What were the messages you were given about your weight and food growing up? Do you repeat those same messages to yourself now?
- What are you saying to yourself about your weight/body? Have you embraced the negative statements that you heard growing up, and now tell yourself the same things?
- Do you constantly put yourself last behind your family, your job, your everyday responsibilities?
Always remember to be kind to yourself. You are wonderful and valuable no matter what you weigh!