Every year, I resolve to diet & exercise regularly, and no matter how hard I work, I still can't get a handle on my weight. Friends are telling me that weight gain is just part of getting older and I'm almost ready to give up. I really want to lose 20 lbs, but the frustrating cycle is making me crazy (and hungry). Help!
Risha London Nathan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Holistic Health Counselor
While it's great to set goals, if you’re constantly in a cycle of making unkept promises to yourself, you’re not going to get very far. I like to encourage people to change one small thing and build on that; rather than setting an unrealistic change-my-whole-life-in-five-days type of goal, try small changes that are challenging but manageable, like committing to drinking enough water (half your weight in ounces!) each day. Think more about adding things to your life than taking them away. That kind of mindset only leaves you wanting, which will lead you right to the fridge for a comfort binge.
Dr. Sara Lassig, PhD in Family Social Science, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
I absolutely agree. There have been several studies that show that lasting and permanent weight loss happens gradually, so feeling like you’ve failed after just a couple of weeks is totally counter-productive. Shame is an ineffective form of motivation that will not only have a negative effect on your physical health, but will also do a number on your emotional health. You want to feel comfortable in your skin, not bothered by it. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time accepting your new shape, but try not to think of it as something separate from you that you have to tolerate.
THIS. Try not to disconnect from your body. Feeling connected and aligned will make you more likely to do more healthy things for yourself than any diet rules ever could. Your body wants to move, your body wants vitamins and vegetables, and your body wants to be smoking hot — so don’t stress! The stress you’re describing actually makes it harder to lose weight because your body goes into survival mode and holds onto fat in case you need it to get through a tough time. Eating loads of sugar, caffeine, and starchy or processed foods can also increase stress. So, fill your life and your body with things that feel healthy and positive, keep your body moving, and distract yourself with dancing and dates instead of TV and tuna melts. After all, you’re not even halfway to cougar town so don’t let a few extra pounds keep you from living your life.
Definitely avoid being overly critical of yourself. I think it’s great that you don’t want your age to dictate how you feel or look, so don’t take the easy way out and give up! Instead of a resolution to never try again, resolve to never quit again. It’s all a matter of perspective. If you want to be a little bit healthier, make a promise that you’ll do what it takes and not take any short cuts to get there. If it’s important to you, you’ll do it the right way: Move more, eat less, drink tons of water, and be patient. Be hungry for change and you’ll get it.