Why losing weight is not a matter of willpower, diet or exercise

Depression, Losing Weight, Mind-Body Connection

If you have done everything right….exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, but still cannot shed off those pounds, let’s examine 2 underlying issues that could be sabotaging your efforts to lose weight:

Lack of: self love and self acceptance. 

Do you notice that you tend to pump in all sorts of ‘comfort foods’ when you are feeling stressed, sad, unworthy or….sometimes even you are happy and just want to eat?

Eating can be a way for us to numb some inner pain because everything in the world can let us down… but not food- in which we can buy with money. But the more we eat, the more empty we tend to feel. After a binge, we would feel even more rotten about ourselves than before. Sure, we can go on a diet and go work it out in the gym….and some people do get away with that cycle. But life would be miserable if we have to ‘suffer’ so much after eating.

The overeating (at social functions, gatherings, etc), followed by days of dieting and exercise will work fine if everything in your life is ‘under control’. Once something unexpected happens, like a relationship breakup, excessive stress at work, the kids are screaming at home and the husband does not care, grief, failure in something or any form of depression, the overeating will happen but not the patch up cycle of reducing food intake and exercising. When we are down, our spirit’s down too- so it’s tough to find energy to exercise. When life’s rough, we would find the need to eat, eat and eat to fill up that emptiness.

A lot of diet books and article talks about willpower. Some even go on and talk about how food combinations like simple carbs with high Glycaemic index like pastries, biscuits, white bread, sweets, carbonated drinks causes havoc in our blood sugar levels- making them rise and then fall rapidly. I still believe that it happens- that hypoglycemic attacks or sudden shivering hunger happens due to constant intake of such food.

But, our hormonal reactions are very much triggered and driven by our state of mind. When there are parts of our body that we loathe and feel disgusted about, it robs us of energy- we feel very tired and wrong intake of food can easily wreck havoc, even easily triggering allergies reaction.

When we lose touch with our inner self, we have to apply other principles of food combining (like using Glycaemic Index method) so that the overall medium GI does not spike our blood levels. If we overeat, we feel inclined to ‘punish’ our bodies in the gym to keep working out to burn off all those fat. We don’t want to, but we force ourselves to.

Just learn to love and accept yourself for who you are…. honestly. It works better in the long run.

Simple meditation exercise

Just take about 5 or 10 minutes a day when you wake up each morning and meditate. Just start by observing your in and out breath to calm your mind, then let your attention travel through your entire body (with eyes closed). Tell each part of your body that “I love you…thank you for being there for me through all this years….I am sorry that I’ve not appreciated you. I love you and accept you just the way you are…the good and the bad.” 

You have to say them with your heart when you are mentally saying it. Not just superficially. Think of this, that your body has been your only and constant companion from your birth and it will remain stuck to you through this life. People come and go… parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouse, children (they leave college), friends,…..but your body sticks to you through thick or thin. Most of the time our attention are focused outward our our ‘weak points’ that we never learned to appreciate what we have.

Each one of us is unique. We have a lot of capabilities and strength hidden beneath all that layers of self-doubt and low self confidence. As you grow to accept yourself- at 300, 220 pounds- your body does not feel it is rejected. Gradually, you will feel you have more energy, and do not need to eat all the time to ‘fill up that emptiness inside’. The simple meditation exercise that you are doing will also help you develop better self awareness of your own feelings and you can learn to be more in tune with your body.

As time goes by, you will be conscious of how junk food wreck your body…and you will want to put less of them inside and replace with more life giving food such as enjoying the crunchiness of an apple instead of eating fried crunchy junk food. Gym or exercise sessions become less of a torture because you find that you have more energy to exercise- try it…when you love yourself more, your body would be naturally more energetic.

Then, one day, your friend may comment that you seemed to have lose weight and you looked happier. As your weight goes down, you develop even more self confidence and that motivates you to continue.

Ask anyone who have lost weight and kept it off naturally- just via the old fashioned way of eating sensibly and exercise- and you will find that together with the weight loss, the person is never who he/she was before. They have more self-confidence, faith and start accomplishing other goals in their lives.

It all begins with self love and acceptance. And with that, you can scale to unimaginable heights.

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