Why Can’t I Lose Weight? [And What To Look Out For]
Why can’t I lose weight?
Has weight loss become a ‘lifelong project’ for you? Has the pursuit of weight loss become engrained in your daily activities (the same way drinking water and brushing your teeth is normalized in your routine)?! Unfortunately, today’s society deeply values external validation, especially around women’s appearance. Many people feel a level of pressure to be a certain weight, shape, and size. This leads to weight obsession and dieting that rarely works for long-term health goals.
What Is Your Deeper Desire To Lose Weight?
Quite often, beneath the surface of our desire for weight loss, are deeper wants operating. Our programs at Unlox’U begin with self-discovery around these desires. These reasons might be:
- Decreased joint pain
- Increased fitness and strength
- Ability to walk up the stairs with ease
- Fitting into certain clothes
- Increased confidence
- Going to the beach in a bikini
ACTUALLY, IT’S NOT ABOUT WEIGHT-LOSS
Importantly, when someone says ‘I want weight loss’ – this is only the surface issue. Clearly, weight loss in itself is not really exciting. However, what is exciting is what we think we will get out of it. For instance, feeling confident, alive, fit, strong, sexy, and fitting into clothes. That is the actual yearning most of the time. Thus, this should be the focus. And these deeper desires become our ‘why’.
SO…WHY DID YOU GAIN WEIGHT?
Moreover, we also must understand why people gained weight in the first place. For instance, perhaps they have an unhealthy relationship with food. Maybe they experience incessant cravings and constantly think about food. Or maybe they binge and emotionally eat. Clearly, these underlying issues need to be addressed for long-term weight loss to be successful. This is where we need to start first: ROOT CAUSE.
Be Honest – What Are You Actually Prepared To Do To Lose Weight?
Frequently, clients say to me ‘When I was at my smallest/thinnest I could do this or that’. And I always pose the question back- ‘What was required to lose weight and maintain it? Are you prepared to do that again?’ And more often than not, the answer is ‘No’. Because in order to maintain the low weight they skipped meals, exercised six days a week, were afraid of food, and hardly socialized. It’s important, to be honest with yourself about how you want your life to be and what you are prepared to do (or not do). Perhaps you now have children and a family, so this lifestyle is not possible. There are seasons to life so we need to know where the priorities are.
Why Can’t I Lose Weight? Here is an exercise to get started
Write down 30 bullet points of what you want to get out of losing weight. For example, ‘When I lose weight, I will be confident, ‘When I lose weight I will go to the gym’. Write 30 things (yes 30). Now grab a highlighter and colour the things you can do NOW. You will surprise yourself with what you can achieve now, even with your current weight. This process will demonstrate that you don’t need to wait for an ideal weight to live your life. We think we can’t do certain things, but many times we can, in fact we can do most things.
LIFE CAN HAPPEN NOW [BEFORE YOU LOSE WEIGHT]
Now, you might pose the argument ‘Well I want to lose weight because I want to be fitter, I have too much weight on my joints and I am in pain’. I am not against weight loss, but we can gain fitness before weight loss. Consider a gentle fitness activity that will build strength. For example, you can go for a swim or ride a bike. If you can go walking, go walking. Depending on your situation you can do yoga, pilates, or static bodyweight exercises (not jumping).
PREPARE TO HIKE TO THE MOUNTAIN WHEN YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT
Finally, consider this metaphor. Imagine wanting to go on a hike to the peak of a large mountain. You are not fit yet. What do you need to put in place to get there? Obviously, we need to build fitness and strength. Then, we need to organize and prepare gear and supplies (food). Clearly, there are various things we need to put in place before we even start walking. And when we have everything we need (fitness and gear), we need to start walking. The walking will get you there.
How does this relate to weight loss? Essentially, before I start a weight loss program with my clients, we first prepare all the critical things.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO PREPARE FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
– Stories and beliefs (what stories do you tell yourself about weight loss, exercise, eating?)
– Habits (what current habits are blocking your goals – download free habit tracker here)
– Emotional regulation (do you eat when you are sad and stressed?)
– Hormones and Gut
– Patterns and routines
So, Why Can’t You Lose Weight? Transformation Is Possible
Importantly, we can only consider guiding a client through a calorie deficit diet when all elements have been explored and addressed. Only when we have a healthy relationship with food, our emotions and our body, can we go on a healthy weight loss journey.
I hope this blog helps you to cultivate awareness of some of the nuanced and deeper aspects of losing weight. Please reach out if you have any questions about any of this.
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