If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you may have seen the commiserate post I did on trying to get healthy. And you may be asking yourself, why are you doing one on how to lose weight now, isn’t that basically the same thing?
Oh, you sweet naive bastard. No, no it is not.
You can weigh 130 lbs and spend your days eating flaming hot Cheetos. Then, one day, decide you want to be healthier.
But when you get to the point where your only option is to cover your bottom half with leggings because everything else cuts into your protruding stomach, or you decide to calculate your BMI only to realize you’re technically obese, you just entered a whole new ballgame.
Unfortunately, the above is a true story for me by the way. Although I’ve lost just enough to be considered overweight instead of technically obese…so there’s that.
Anyway, let’s just say I have experience in this area.
Let’s get commiserating!
You’ve been overeating for a while now, and you try to convince yourself that it’s ok. People have bounced back from worse, so who says you can’t bounce back from this?
All you have to do is be really strict with what and when you eat. You’ll be shedding the pounds in no time!
You know that you can’t really trust your hunger signals right now, it’s used to too many calories and it will object to all of your efforts by giving you CRAVINGS.
So in response, you get scarily good at ignoring your hunger.
As long as you keep eating complex carbs, you should be good right? But you start feeling weak and tired all the time. Maybe you’re just not sleeping enough, or maybe your body is just getting used to the new way of eating?
Eventually it gets so bad that you decide to calculate the calories for your typical meals.
315 calories for breakfast, 368 calories for lunch, and 510 calories for dinner. A total of 1,193 calories. That’s definitely below your target.
Just for fun, you look up how many calories would be considered starvation.
You know you shouldn’t step on the scale more than once a week, but there’s nothing stopping you from thinking about it everyday.
Between weigh-ins you watch “what I eat in a day” and “my weightloss story” videos every chance you get.
You learn about different kinds of fasts, ways to increase your metabolism, supplements, and fads. You listen to well reasoned arguments about trying to eat a variety of whole foods, as well as a ton of quackery about soup diets, the magic of cayenne pepper, and raw till 4.
You don’t know why you watch things you know are bologna, but you just can’t stop.
If thinking and planning feels like making progress on your goals, then obsessing feels like achieving them.
But obsessing also causes stress, stress raises cortisol, and cortisol increases can make it harder to lose weight.
Now you’re obsessing about obsessing.
There’s no end.
Not Seeing Immediate Results
You’ve been working out and eating right consistently for a whole two weeks now.
The rational part of your brain knows that results will be slow, and that slow results mean you will have an easier time maintaining your weight once you hit your goal.
But the screaming toddler part of your brain wants to know why you don’t look like Daisy Ridley yet! It shouts that if you can’t have the results you want in the time you want them, you should just give up and eat a whole cake.
“What is life without joy,” it tempts you.
And your motivation begins to waiver.
The Cheater’s Brain
Life without joy is nothing, you appeal to the rational part of your brain.
A few sessions at the gym can be rewarded with a chocolate bar. Fair enough.
But things start to slip.
You already had your treat for the day, but that’s only because you forgot there was a party tonight. You’ve got to eat some cake and drink a little. I mean, how boring do you want to be?
But the justifications are endless. Pretty soon, the number of ‘cheats’ you allow yourself grows until there are so many that they take over your healthy decisions. You may have just cheated yourself back into your old eating habits.
Damn it brain, you wily trickster. How did you pull off that David Blaine-level wizardry???
That’s it, you’re getting back on the wagon, big time!
The All or Nothing Brain
There will be no more mistakes. This time you’re either on or your off.
No cake, no chocolate, no cheese, no pasta, no, no, no.
But someone brought cookies to work today. You circle them a few times and take in their tempting aroma, but your willpower wins out.
The next day someone brings squares. What the hell! Do you work with the freakin Keebler elves all of the sudden? What’s with this sudden interest in baking?
By the end of the next week, someone comes over and directly offers you a little dessert. Not taking it would be rude, and you really, REALLY want it anyway.
You take a piece — choking it down whole like a snake and immediately hate yourself. You were doing so well, how did screw up AGAIN.
You go home, order a pizza, and eat the entire thing. This is your punishment for being such an enormous failure.
The motivation has switched off, the dream is over.
Enjoy your food fatty.
Can you relate to any of these? Have you ever tried to lose weight? Have you found something that works? I’d love to chat about it in the comments!