Why People Find it Difficult to Lose Weight

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I see so many people trying to lose weight and either not succeeding, or losing some weight but not as much as they wanted to, or losing a lot of weight, but then spending all their time worrying it will come back and struggling to keep it off. If we are meant to be thin and fit, why does it appear to be such an onerous task for a lot of people?
Well I think that it has a lot to do with the initial motivation and focus we have for wanting to lose the weight in the first place. When examined more deeply and honestly, most people's true motivation for losing weight is usually a negative reason, such as:

  • "So that I don't get ill,"
  • "Because I feel unattractive as an overweight person,"
  • "Because I need to look good for my holiday/wedding," etc.

Can you see how these reasons and others like them, have a negative air about them? It may really feel to you at the time that the intention is positive, and that losing weight would make you happier, but as long as you are using a negative to try and get somewhere more positive, it is always going to feel like a struggle, and not properly fulfill you even if you reach your original goal.

How else could we approach the problem?
To answer this question, it is helpful to look at what lies behind the feelings that are making us unhappy with our current weight in the first place, and these will usually take the form of a fear of some kind. In the examples above for instance, the fear's would be of:

  • Becoming ill
  • Being alone/not finding a partner
  • Not being appreciated/accepted by others

Fears are what drive all of our negative thoughts and emotions, so finding them and facing and accepting them is a vital step to bringing about any sort of lasting change in ourselves and our lives. It isn't necessary to always find the fear behind the negative reason or emotion (but can be helpful if you do see it), just becoming aware of the negative part of you that is driving your motivation to lose weight is sufficient to start to get rid of it and begin to focus on a more positive reason for losing weight, that will make the whole thing a lot easier to achieve and sustain.

Becoming aware of the negative thoughts and feelings is the first step in this process. This may be difficult for some of you, especially if you are not used to analysing or yourself in this way, so practices like meditation and mindfulness can be helpful for calming the mind and increasing our self-awareness at a mental and emotional level. Then, using this awareness to "catch" ourselves when the negative thoughts and emotions come up in everyday life around our weight and weight loss strategy/practice.
When you do catch these thoughts/emotions, start to ask yourself what the true motivation behind them is and see if it is really helpful or not in achieving your goal of losing weight.

Once the fear/negative thoughts or emotions are identified, we must first accept that we have them, and try to not push them away or pretend they aren't there. It is the persistence of these parts of ourselves, that keeps us stuck in the position we are, and prevents us from getting to that happier, more joyful, peaceful place that we thought losing weight would get us to.

Once we have accepted that being overweight may mean for example, that we have a higher risk of becoming ill, or that generally people are more attracted to slimmer people, then we are no longer being controlled by those fears and negativity, as we have already accepted them it is a possibility.

It is the lack of acceptance that we currently have that is keeping us at the mercy of the fear, and this is why a lot of people still struggle when they have lost weight to keep it off, because they still have these fears and negative thoughts/emotions eating away at them and preventing them from enjoying the benefits and opportunities that their weight loss has given them.

This is why the acceptance and allowing of the fears and negative feelings is so important, as it is the resistance and "believing" the message of the fear that keeps it in place. Once you have accepted the possibility of it being true however, it is no longer a "scary" prospect anymore, so doesn't have as much of a hold over you, and therefore won't shape your life choices anymore as it once did.

The acceptance and allowing therefore gives us freedom. Freedom to focus on what we really want, rather than what the fear was telling us, we should be doing.
This new positive focus can still be losing weight, but without the fear, the motivation and impetus can be a whole lot more positive, which will make the goal a hell of a lot easier and more fun to reach. For example:

  • Aspiring to lots of energy to pursue all of the things that I wanted to do in the past, but didn't do as I felt held back by my weight
  • Exploring and experimenting with all of the different foods that we have available to us and seeing which ones are the tastiest and give me the most energy and are easiest to digest
  • Enjoying the benefits of deeper and more restorative sleep
  • Noticing you get ill less as your body becomes healthier

Do you see the difference in the vibe and tone of these reasons compared to the initial motivation and how this would make things a lot easier? You can see this trend in anybody who has overcome any serious challenge in life, as they have been able to identify and accept their initial negative reasoning and made that key change in motivation from the negative to a positive, more uplifting, exciting one.

I don't want to put you under any false pretenses so will say that it is easier said than done to find and face your fears as I have described here, but from personal experience, is totally possible and in my opinion, the only way to permanently overcome any negative aspect of life. Then giving us the space, peace and freedom to get in touch with ourselves at a deep level and follow and create in life, what really excites and interests us.

So if you have resonated with any of this, I encourage you to:

  • Become aware of and ask yourself what your motivation is? and whether that motivation is really coming from a positive or negative place.
  • See if you can identify any fears behind your motivation
  • Begin to accept those fears and allow the negative thoughts and emotions associated with them to pass naturally, without resisting or analysing.
  • Ask yourself what would really excite you about losing weight, and what opportunities would this bring to your life?
  • Start focusing on those things and putting it into practice, and most importantly of all, enjoy the journey. It will become effortless then

Best Wishes to You

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About the author

Jack Stokes

I like to share my views and experience on personal growth and health with a logical/left brained approach that I found helpful on my own journey. You can find me here