We have all been conditioned to think that if we’re overweight, it’s because we’re lazy and lack self-control.
If we could just stick to that diet, not be so weak in the face of cravings, and move our body more, we’d be skinny and beautiful (not to mention happy, rich, and successful!).
And then when we physically struggle to move, or we eat that food that we know isn’t good for us, we beat ourselves up and feel even more deflated than before.
It’s time for a new approach.
Because when it comes to weight gain, willpower is actually not all that powerful. And if the choice between being fat and thin was a simple, conscious decision, most of us would likely be slender, wouldn’t we?
Achieving our optimal weight involves a lot of factors, and even a representative from Harvard said at an event I was recently at: “Guys, this is really complex and difficult science to comprehend. This is somewhat abstract because we don’t totally understand metabolic pathways (yet).”
Forward Is Forward
With that in mind, I want to take a minute to remind you that progress is progress. Forward is forward.
Sometimes it's easy to forget how far you've already come, and so it's important to celebrate every win–nothing is too small.
But unfortunately, sometimes it's difficult to feel positive when you've still got such a long way to go. And I'll be honest; there's no easy answer to that.
Part of the success with weight-loss surgery isn't just on how well the surgery goes, but how well you've mentally prepared yourself.
I will say though, that choosing every single day to manage your thoughts and think positive adds up over time. So block out the judgement of others and tune into a community (like ours!) that will support every step forward you take.
Speaking of judgements, there are also five main misconceptions I come across both with clients and in the general public about being overweight that you should know about and be informed on….
5 Common Misconceptions When You’re Obese
1. I eat more than everyone else
If only it were that simple! Yes, your body is designed to hold onto every pound it gains, but obesity is a combination of the American lifestyle (which is complex in itself: think processed foods, financial pressures, time available, and the degradation of our food chain) with a genetic propensity that stores energy efficiently.
In simpler terms, your body is designed to store the calories you take in.
The other thing you should know is that everyone has a specific ‘set point’ and your body tries to maintain the same weight regardless of what you feed it, within a certain parameter. So the body has a remarkable capacity to consume and make do with what you give it within that range.
Plus some people are simply more prone to being overweight than others. Our genes determine all kinds of influences on height, weight, and metabolic rate, and these vary incredibly from person to person.
2. I’m lazier than everyone else
Nope. I know first-hand from the clients I work with that dealing with being overweight is an issue of utmost importance to you.
And I know that you have already poured countless weeks, months, and years into researching, experimenting, thinking about, Googling, signing for programs and spending your hard-earned money finding solutions. There is simply nothing lazy about that.
3. I’m less disciplined than everyone else
Being disciplined and having enough willpower has nothing to do with being successful with weight loss (or life!). Yes, you read that right. Nobody is born with more discipline than anyone else. It’s a hurtful myth that keeps us stuck when we ‘fail’ to be disciplined.
What we can change, however, are our habits, our metabolism (with surgery), our support environment, our lifestyle and our thoughts. But even that takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.
4. I’m not as educated as everyone else
I have heard many stories about fat people who have been told to read food labels, or to not have second helpings, or to not buy certain foods. The implication being that overweight people just don’t understand how food works.
But I would say that the majority of people that we work with at Central Ohio Bariatrics have already done a huge amount of research and tried countless ways to lose weight, making them some of the most educated people on the topic of weight loss going around.
5. I don’t want to change
This is completely crazy! Nobody actually wants to have a hard time getting up from the sofa, touching their toes or getting up from gardening. Nobody in their right mind would want to have a hard time breathing or have years taken off their life.
The fact that people who are overweight are endlessly researching and reading this (hello!) is evidence that making a change is at the forefront of your mind always. The proof is not always in the pudding, in other words, just because someone hasn’t made the change yet doesn’t mean they don’t want to. Positive intention speaks volumes.
What You Should Hold as True Instead
Obesity is a chronic disease process that while manageable will never be cured and this will be a daily battle for the remainder of your life.
Being overweight has NOTHING to do with laziness and self-control. Period.
To lose weight and keep it off, it will require a radical and permanent change in behavior and environment.
You will need to make specific and focused efforts to raise your metabolism on a daily basis to lose weight and keep it off. In other words, you need to exercise regularly and daily – no excuses if you want to guarantee success.
Sometimes it's difficult to feel positive when you've still got such a long way to go.
And I'll be honest, there's no easy answer to that.
Although you never wake up "tomorrow" a brand new person, you will absolutely wake up one month and one year from now the person you've always wanted to be.
And if you have a minute, I'd love to hear from those of you who are farther along in their journey and can share some tips and strategies you've used to win mentally and physically. And if you need some encouragement, I invite you to also take a moment and share what you're really thinking, how you're really feeling (you don't need to go into uncomfortable details, but if we can encourage and support you, this is a safe place to do so!)
I wake up every day grateful to be a part of this special journey of weight-loss.
Thank you for being here!