15 years ago someone asked me what was the single most important tip for longevity? My answer was the same then as it is now. They had laughed at my answer then but after they had been diagnosed with cancer years later they made a huge turnaround in lifestyle and had really committed to the one thing I had suggested way back. I’m sure that conversation had long lapsed in bygone memories but I found myself wondering what can we do differently to get people on track with healthy living goals BEFORE they have a major health crisis. READ ON to learn what ONE thing you can do to help you have a healthier life and why we unconsciously self-sabotage ourselves….
I read a nice catchy headline last week that simply said this “new drug reduced dementia in nearly 50% of the cases” and some people who had more of this drug did even better. When you read the study, the drug was simply daily exercise to the tune of at least 9000 steps a day. More steps = better outcomes. This drug also fed into the fact that people who walked that many steps a day had a tendency to be leaner which feeds into the ONE thing you need to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT. Studies show those with increased waist circumference relative to half your height have been linked to future diabetes even before the numbers start to change. Studies also show improved weight helps decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancer and dementia. Now, before you start arguing that you know plenty of skinny people with major health issues, I will simply agree with you. I do too. This is not saying that skinny people don’t have health problems. It’s just the odds of having significant health issues exponentially increases if you have a weight problem. Many people don’t even realize that those “few extra pounds” really do make a HUGE difference. Plug your height and weight into any BMI (body mass index) calculator and if your BMI is greater than 30 you are considered obese. That word is shocking and is a very negative word. Obese does not imply you are a bad person. It does not imply you haven’t tried or you don’t care. All it means is for your height you simply have too much weight. Weighing itself can create very negative emotions so keep in mind your goal is not really a number but a healthier you!
Weight loss is HARD! Even when you do all the right things, some people still have a hard time losing weight. The fact is there are many culprits sabotaging your goals. While hormones, insulin resistance, thyroid etc are keys we forget that sheer determination, motivation and consistency are also paramount. How many times have you started a program only to get discouraged after 3 weeks because you have no progress and you stop all the healthy changes you have made? How many times have you been doing something that you have self-sabotaged by having some extra “cheats” on your meals or drinks or not exercising as much as needed?
If this is you, I want you to not beat yourself up and think you are a bad person because you can’t lose weight. Set all those negative emotions aside because this is a form of self-sabotage also! So many of my patients come into our clinic just exhausted from “trying” to lose weight. They are discouraged and feel like failures. All of these negative emotions only add to the sabotage and serve no purpose. I would love to simply say STOP beating yourself up however, it’s not that easy. If you are in this situation, I bet you already know that and probably have daily self-conversations to that tune. The really hard work is not going to be starting a diet or starting an exercise program but believing in yourself that you can make a long-lasting lifestyle change and actually doing it. Also, keep in mind many times I find setting aside the goal of losing weight and focusing on just feeling better and improving fatigue helps people get back on track in a way they have never been able to before. Let’s take a look at self-sabotage though.
There are many reasons that we subconsciously self-sabotage our goals…
- *We really don’t see any reason to make a change but are doing it because someone else wants it for us and we know on some level it is good for us. With this we are just going thru the motions and not really committing for ourselves.
- *We are scared of failing again.
- *We are subconsciously hiding behind our weight because this allows us to excuse ourselves for a multitude of things that make us nervous.
- *Food and what food represents are our comfort, our happy place especially with family memories and making changes threatens those emotions of “happy”.
If you are struggling to lose weight, rather than rushing out and trying the next fad take a moment to really evaluate your struggle.
- 1. Have you logged your foods for several weeks and looked at calories as well as the macronutrients and really focused on making changes?
- 2. Have you committed to these changes for at least 6 months to give the program time to work? (3 weeks is way too short of a time for lasting changes)
- 3. Are you doing a lifestyle change or is it a fad, quick fix diet that doesn’t teach you how to transition back into health eating?
- 4. Have you committed to exercising/moving regularly?
If you have done all of these then the maybe the most important question is…
- 5. Have you worked with a counselor to do a deep dive into the emotional aspects of your weight? ***I cannot stress how important this is.
You have to start somewhere and starting with your own personal truth is always the best place! If at the end of the day you can honestly say you have exhausted ALL these avenues and you are still very overweight then explore some of the weight loss surgery options. Having weight loss surgery does not mean you have failed. If this is something that is necessary due to your weight creating health risks then it should be considered. Just keep in mind that you truly do need to learn how to eat healthy to sustain these results! If you don’t make lasting changes then it will come right back.
Do a mini self-evaluation today and figure out what area or areas you need to work on and make one simple action plan to start in that direction. Maybe the most important step is working on the negative self-talk. Don’t waver when things get hard. Keep going and with a little grit and determination I KNOW you will make it!
To your health,