It’s the question that seems to be weighing on the mind of most women - how can I lose weight? While there’s no shortage of information circulating around telling us how we can buff up, drop 2 dress sizes in a week or get a Kim Kardashian butt, we’re still no closer to our own personal nirvana. There are more personal trainers, health coaches and gyms in the world than every before, so why - with all this information and support at our fingertips - are we still finding it so hard?
The answer is this: because weight is how the body protects itself. And deep down - we're scared of what will happen if we let that weight go.
The truth is that if you are trying to lose weight but that’s not happening, then somewhere deep down you believe that it’s not safe to lose that weight. As big as your desire to shed the extra kilograms might be, there’s a stronger desire telling you that you might lose something even more important to you if you manage to lose those extra kgs.
One of the most mind blowing concepts I learned when I was studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition is this:
“Your body is always working for you - not against you.”
That can be a really hard statement to hear, especially if you’ve spent your life blaming your body for not being slimmer or ‘letting’ you lose weight, but know this: your body doesn’t make mistakes. Our body is always doing it’s best to protect us and keep us safe.
Sometimes it can be kind of obvious why your body is holding onto weight. If you massively reduce calories on a rigid diet then your body will believe there’s a famine going down, and it’s going to be your best friend in the whole world and hold onto that extra fat for you so that you don’t starve to death by the end of next week. Similarly, environment, diet or self abuse may have thrown your body's hormones and systems out of whack and they are struggling to regroup. On the other hand, I would say that most of the reasons the weight isn’t shifting is that we have a competing desire that wants us to keep it on. We say we want to lose weight, but a little voice inside says “Nuh, uh, lady, that is not safe.” It’s this little voice that will lead you to sabotage every effort to get to the gym or to eat healthily, because deep down it really does believe that you’ll be worse off if you lose weight.
You might think that sounds bat shit crazy. After all, why would anyone not want to trim down and look and feel fabulous? Well, here are a couple of reasons why. I have heard all of these from friends and clients over the years:
Pretty big stuff, huh? I want to add that most people aren’t aware that they even have these thoughts, which is why we’re stuck in this eternal weight struggle for years, decades and for some people - life.
It’s my deepest desire that you are able to live a life where nothing holds you back from reaching your dreams, and in order to do that you have to be willing to get brutally honest with yourself. Clarity equals power, so if you’re feeling powerless in your struggle to lose weight it’s only because there is a piece of information you haven’t tapped into yet or aren’t listening to.
Ask yourself, “What am I worried would happen if I lost all the weight?” “How might this extra weight actually be serving my interests / keeping me safe?” or “What would life be like if I was skinny?”
As women we desperately want to belong and, generally speaking, no one wants to be the tall poppy at the expense of not feeling like they are one of the tribe. While we want a fabulous lifestyle, we believe that we’d be ostracised and rejected for having it.
There’s no chance of a great life when you are staying small though and Marianne Williamson said it best:
“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?…There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
So really ask yourself, “What am I afraid will happen if I succeed in this goal?” Once you have that clarity, you can begin to break down those walls and lose what's really weighing you down.
If you need some help in this area, check out my coaching package called "Love Your Body" over at the Health + Life Coaching page.