Many of us have lost weight at some point in our lives. But not quite so many have kept it off. So today, let’s explore one of the reasons you might be on a roller coaster. Sure, food tastes good, and thankfully, here in America, it’s plenty. We are, for the most part, genetically programmed to store fat, so that if there ever is a time when there isn’t enough food, we have reserves for survival. Which means in a time of plenty, we need to actually be careful not to eat too much.
We’re also programmed to prefer sweet foods that provide the sugar our bodies need to make energy. So those processed high carbohydrate foods like breads, crackers, cookies, chips—they taste particularly good to us. Notice that 3 of the foods I mentioned could be savory tasting, but to your body, these are easily processed into the glycogen (sugar) needed to make energy with your muscles.
But I digress. Despite all of that, assuming you have a good food plan, and you have begun exercising, you may still be struggling to take weight off and keep it off. These are the true culprits and demons that prevent you from reaching your goals. Some of these are uncomfortable, but we need to delve deeper in order to try to be healthier.
- If you have been sexually assaulted, you may have put weight on as a shield—the fat makes you less attractive (you think, deep down, perhaps without realizing it) so you can’t take the weight off, because it leaves you vulnerable. This falls under the category of fear of pain or possible repeated pain you’ve already experienced.
- People (your friends, your mate) won’t like you if you lose weight/they like you now, so it follows that if you change something drastic, they will not like you then. This falls under the category of fear of change.
- You’ll never be able to eat the foods you love again, so you just don’t even try. (both fear of change, and fear of pain)
- You’ve accepted that you’re fat, so that will never change, and you’re okay with that—except your health is failing, your knees need to be replaced, you have diabetes, you have heart disease, etc. (fear of change)
So you can see, that most of the thoughts you might encounter fall under a couple of main categories, and they are valid. People are afraid of change, especially big ones. But surgery is scary, and diabetes is frightening (I personally know a woman who had lost most of her fingers and toes, plus her eyesight, before she died), and having a heart attack is no great shakes, either.
Nevertheless, your quality of life needs to be your new focus. You will now look at every meal as an opportunity to make good choices that will nourish your body, and help you live a better quality of life, whether that’s better walking, or not needing a surgery, or better mobility.
Fear of pain is another biggie. Let’s face it, very few folks out there are looking to be actively in pain. I would warrant, though, that surgery is painful, a heart attack is painful, walking with 100 extra pounds is painful. I know that because when I weighed almost 300 pounds myself, it really hurt to start exercising! I even got a stress fracture in my foot from low impact aerobics, and that really hurt! So how do we get past it? If you were abused at any time in your life, get help sorting through this. You can’t heal in denial. If you are afraid of a recurrence of an assault that was random, first understand that it was random. Then look into boxing, self defense classes, or martial arts, all of which will help you to work on self confidence and inner strength, as well as your overall fitness. And yes, you can do this at ANY starting weight.
By Melissa Abramovich, Certified Personal Trainer at Elite Sports Club-River Glen