I know, I know: you’ve probably been trying to lose weight for awhile. You’ve done all the diets, and maybe you’ve even found some success. But inevitably, your old habits creep in and you end up gaining weight, giving in to food, struggling against cravings that feel overwhelming. People are challenged by different obstacles when it comes to finding long term weight loss success. Let’s get a sense of where you are in terms of your willingness to engage in the process of losing weight for good— right now. Maybe have some pencil and paper and write your answers in a journal.
Why do you want to lose weight?
Consider that there’s a part of you who wants to lose weight. And, there is a part of you who does not want to lose weight. WHATT??? I can imagine you reading that in disbelief that part of you in fact does NOT WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT, and it’s because of this part that you continue to struggle in your long term change efforts. Think about it: if *all of you* were on board in wanting to lose weight and maintain that loss over the long term, you’d have done it by now. The fact that you have not been able to do so is because a part of you does not want to. In general, do you continue to do things you don’t want to do? Probably not. Losing weight is no different.
Find out why this part of you does not want to lose weight. Another way of framing this question is to look at the behaviors that underlie your weight loss process and develop an understanding of how you benefit from engaging in certain behaviors and/or refraining from others. ‘Weight loss’ is a complex process comprised of many, many micro-behaviors. Elements of being overweight, and being overweight in and of itself, may be rooted in your sense of identity, who you fundamentally take yourself to be. This is another reason it can be helpful to think in terms of parts of yourself. You contain multitudes and are not defined by any one part of yourself.
I probably don’t know you, but I’m pretty sure you have a general sense of the things you need to do to lose weight and the habits you engage in that prevent you from losing weight.
Take a few moments to consider what advantages being overweight has for you, how it might be helpful for you. Maybe take on the perspective of the part of you that doesn’t want to lose weight, and try to understand your struggles with weight loss from its perspective. Some reasons include:
- Being overweight is just part of your identity
- You get to eat what you want, when you want
- Overeating/eating what you want helps you avoid difficult feelings
- Overeating/eating what you want helps you reduce stress
- Overeating/eating what you want is familiar
- Overeating/eating what you want feels comforting
- Your current way of eating soothes you
- You don’t have to deal with resistance to changing food patterns from people you live with
- The results of changing to a new way of eating are uncertain
- You current eating patterns help you escape from negative thoughts
- You have disempowering beliefs about your ability to manage a new way of eating, and sticking with your current way of eating allows you to avoid that uncertainty and discomfort
- You’re tired and having a craving, which feels uncomfortable, and you’ve had a stressful day. Overeating/eating what you crave allows you to escape these uncomfortable sensations, thoughts, and feelings
- You’d rather do other activities instead of prep and plan healthy meals
Of course, you also have many reasons you want to change. It can be helpful to think of this as another part of yourself. When you are doing well with the changes you want to make, this is the part of yourself who is present. And when you give in to old habits and self-sabotage, the other part of yourself is present. To succeed at losing weight, you must honor and acknowledge the part of yourself who does not want to lose weight, with full awareness that being overweight offers you some advantages.
You get to ultimately decide if it’s worth it to you to change. In changing, you can learn new skills and new ways of coping and being that can contribute to your long term success, finally. This can be considered a different part of yourself that you will be developing.
Interested in working with me in one on one consulting to FINALLY reach your weight loss goals? Reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org