Weightloss topic seems to be raising a lot of mixed feelings. For years we have been forced to believe that only looks that matter. Yes, it is important but to be honest, if people were trying to lose weight only for looks, most of them would never got it back. Somehow, however, after many attempts, the weight comes back for a lot of us. Why is that? Why we give up and go back to what we had and even more? There are numerous articles written on weight loss and people are very quick to point out what is scientifically proven and what not -eg. counting calories. However, I do not want to address losing weight as such but what happens during the process and after we lose it. This is definitely not an attempt to generalise but acknowledge a massive variety of approaches with one common denomination.
This is based on a true story and amalgamation of different experiences from my clients and patients. The name is fictional.
Let’s assume we meet Anna. She is 45 and for years she has been putting and losing weight at the same time. Currently, she weighs 227 lbs (so around 103kg). She has a lot of books on nutrition and probably can write a PhD on the number of diets she had in the past. She feels lonely and lost as she meets people who are quite quick to judge – how on earth it is possible that you can neglect yourself like that and allow putting on weight. But Anna does not know that she is doing it to herself. She is confused about nutrition and what is right for her. She has been focusing on quick fixes or following current trends but none of them has been in alignment with her lifestyle. She is surrounded by the pictures of ideal bodies and she throws herself into brutal exercise with the hope to lose weight quickly. She follows keto for a moment but the restrictive nature of the diet is not for her nor is plant-based or vegan. She thinks: there must be a simpler way to do it, if I only do it long enough I succeed. Over the course of a few months, she loses quite a bit. She is proud but cannot sustain regular exercise and preparing all the food is also taking the toll especially that her family does not understand her and eats totally something different. She feels tired and demanding a job does not allow her to take her health as a priority most of the time. She says to herself – when I lose these final pounds I will be the happiest person on earth.
2 Months In
After 2 months her weight plateaus. She still exercises (maybe less) eats predominantly well so she does not understand why she cannot lose more. She begins to doubt herself. She goes to parties and social events and slowly allows herself more and more food she has been keeping off for the last few months. She thinks that her body craves chocolate and sweet treats, she feels tired with hormonal issues. Long hours at work and stress force her to comfort eat when she does not have time to prepare food. I will never lose weight, this is impossible – she says.
3 Months in
In the third month, she turns into a support group. They ask her to weigh herself and count calories. She has never been very good at it but if it helps she does it. At work when she does not have time she reaches for a pack of crisps and sees 250 kcl. She says: this is too much I can’t have it, but I want it, oh well I will start counting tomorrow. The next day she feels bad about herself, the scale shows the number she does not want to see. Today I will be good, no breakfast, some soup for lunch with no bread, and exercise in the evening, and light supper only. Her family sees her giving in so tells her, we told you, you will never make it, so let’s have some pizza. Anna is not sure but she thinks that this one time it will be ok. Again, The next day Anna feels bad about herself, she had pizza and she is on a diet. Her calories are out of the window so is a belief in herself. She says: I knew that I would not make it.
For the first time, she tunes in with her feelings. The overwhelming feeling of disappointment is with her but also hope. Something she has never felt before. I have so much plan for myself -she thinks. I want to achieve a lot in my life but why I cannot manage my weight consistently? I feel tired and lethargic. I feel confused and lost, I am not sure what I can do next. I know so much about this, all my friends did it (although Joan put it back recently) so I am sure I can do this too.
Does Anna’s story resonate with you? The next part will be released shortly. What do you think Anna will do next? Or maybe you have ideas? Let me know on Instagram @wellbeingseekers hashtag #whatannadoesnext.
Do you think there is another way to lose weight not really focusing on it? I believe there is.