I was going to write another Weekly Weigh In post for this morning. Most Mondays this year, I’ve published a post where I’ve written about my diet and exercise for the week, my weight and measurements, and whether I’ve lost or gained weight.
I seem to go through the same cycle over and over again: I’ll get really into my weight loss mission, begin eating properly, even exercise a bit. A few pounds will come off, and I’ll begin to think, yeah, I’m really doing this! I may even buy a new top in a smaller size or something.
And then I stop.
I start eating chocolate for every meal and spending all my time slouched on the sofa. My sports bra becomes lost under piles of junk, and my motivation follows it.
Why is that? Why can’t I get past a certain point? It’s not that I’m not physically capable; it must be a mental block.
This week, as I was faced with yet another week of “yep, not done much exercise… not really eaten well… I’ve put an inch on here, a pound on there…” I stopped and thought about why that might be.
Here’s what I came up with.
For my entire life, I have felt like I was fat. Looking back at photos of myself through my childhood, teen years and twenties, I find that actually, I wasn’t fat. Actually, in many of the photos where I can vividly recall feeling self conscious and fat and ugly, I look positively skinny and even a bit beautiful.
Through all these years, I’ve always thought to myself, if I were skinny, I would be happy. Also: if I were skinny, I would feel confident.
I feel like the size of my belly is directly related to how comfortable I feel as a person. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy now, but I would say that my sense of entitlement to be happy is tied into the size of my waist. My confidence in any given situation is tied to whether I feel like my belly looks big.
And so, as I begin to exercise and eat well and lose weight, I am faced with this subconscious panic:
What if I lose weight and I’m skinny… but I’m still not happy, and I’m still not confident?
And then my subconscious takes me by the hand and marches me to the nearest bakery – because I am afraid to admit that actually, my physical appearance is not what has caused me to be unhappy in my life, and it is not what has caused my lack of confidence.
Both of those things come from elsewhere; something far more complicated than eating less cake and moving around a bit more.
Since having S my happiness and confidence have grown a lot, but both still need a lot of work. I have spent a large part of the last couple of weeks slumped on my sofa, depressed over I’m-not-quite-sure-what and completely uninspired to write or workout or basically do anything above the bare minimum. And yes, I have probably put on weight and/or inches. I don’t know; I didn’t weigh myself when it came to weigh in this week.
I wasn’t going to bother writing a weigh-in post that would basically have been “yep, I’ve not worked out and I’ve eaten badly and I feel fat and horrible.” But when I stopped and thought about it, I realised that this is a weird form of self sabotage; a hangover from my previous life where I really did think I would be happy if I didn’t have that muffin top, and that I really would have a perfect life if I had a thigh gap.
I probably need therapy or something. In the meantime though, I’m being kind to myself, not expecting too much, and plodding. Maybe even with a spot of exercise and a salad leaf.
Daniel KRONENBERG · 16/11/2015 at 10:27
That’s such an honest and deeply truthful blog Vicky. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – for some people weight management is not simply about what you eat or how much you exercise. If your subconscious mind is working against your goals then it may be time to go deeper. I see many people in my hypnotherapy practice for weight management and the vast majority have been on and off diets for many years. The weight loss industry tends to focus on food and exercise and then we become convinced that if only we sign up for the right diet or exercise regime all will be well. Beware those who claim to have the correct combination. The answer often lies within.
Vicky Charles · 16/11/2015 at 20:38
Thanks Daniel. I think you’re right; the answer is always inside of us – but the fitness industry would collapse if people began to realise that!
Michelle Twin Mum · 17/11/2015 at 22:16
Well done for writin this, acknowledgin it is a big step and I completely relate. I too am afradi to ose weight. Mich x
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