What Do You Need for Weight Loss Support?

I wrote a blog called “Can Weight Loss Can Be Depressing?

I experienced moments of frustration and disappointment. I was confused sometimes about why when I did very well adhering to the food plan, I gained instead of lost.

I was never what could be described as “depressed” because so far my life has been depression-free. That’s not to say it’s been without sadness, but I don’t think it’s the same as depression.

This may be a depressing sight but it doesn't have to send us into depression!

This may be a depressing sight but it doesn’t have to send us into depression!

I explained that stepping on the scale and not being rewarded with weight loss progress can be depressing. My weigh-in was just before the start of my Weight Watchers meetings and any depression I felt was replaced with the  humor and motivation that was part of every meeting.

In fairness, I don’t think that the person who wrote the following comment read the blog. I think it was a knee-jerk reaction to the title and perhaps the tease that displays the first few sentences. That would explain why I was told to change the title and went on to display moralistic and judgmental views on people who struggle with obesity.

Change the topic of this article to ones inability to moderate their behavior of the following: Alcohol, Drugs, Weight Gain, Cheating, Lack of Exercise, etc. They are all Mental Health issues and excuses, which will continue if you don’t strengthen an individuals mind and behavior. Failing at something which is within our grasp to accomplish should not be compared to failure to overcome obstacles by which we are physically unable to succeed. No matter how dedicated, and how hard they train, a persons chances of playing professional sports are miniscule. If you don’t want to be fat then stop eating the foods that you do and exercise as tolerated. It’s that easy, anyone can accomplish it. If you are unable, then you must take a Holistic Approach.

I read that comment and it struck me as judgmental and moralistic.

I did struggle with my weight because I used excuses. I became aware that I used excuses to make me feel better about not doing things I didn’t want to do or to help me feel better when I did something I regretted. I made this discovery by choosing to reinforce my weight loss efforts in an environment of group support.

Yes, I made excuses and no, I did not suffer with “mental health issues.” In addition to that false accusation, there’s an admonition that “you can’t work hard to achieve your dream.”

To some people losing weight is like training and becoming a professional athlete. It physically is a challenge that big to them!
"Stop with the excuses already! It's easy and if you can't do it you have mental health issues!"

“Stop with the excuses already! It’s easy and if you can’t do it you have mental health issues!”

This “butt-kicking, stop your whiny excuses” approach tells us “If you don’t want to be fat then stop eating the foods that you do and exercise as tolerated. It’s that easy, anyone can accomplish it. If you are unable, then you must take a Holistic Approach.

Don’t eat the foods you eat?

Really? Don’t eat the foods I eat? What do you know about the foods I eat? Sounds like you’re judging me without having the facts. I eat all of the wrong foods? Do I have to change everything about what I eat? What do I eat instead? What if I don’t like those foods? What if they leave me feeling hungry and unsatisfied? Does that matter? Do I have “mental issues” if this new way of eating is unsustainable?

Exercise as tolerated?

What does that mean? No pain, no gain? Are you saying “as tolerated” to insinuate that I won’t work hard enough? How often should I do tolerable exercise? How long? What about intensity? Does it mean exercise until you collapse? That would certainly be the point at which exercise becomes intolerable.

“If you are unable, then you must take a holistic approach.”

Finally! Good advice. Weight management does take a holistic approach.

It’s a mind and body project and it takes a 3-pronged approach.
1) Self-monitoring.

Tracking food and exercise is an important step to managing behavior and establishing new healthier routines. We now are aware that we have a hunger hormone called ghrelin and and an eating satisfaction hormone called leptin. It’s possible that some overweight and obese people are overstimulated to eat because of too much ghrelin or are leptin resistant, meaning they don’t recognize when they’re full. If you can’t rely on accurate cues to eat and to stop eating, self-monitoring and tracking are key elements in weight management.

2) Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)dreamstime_s_16481210

“Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the science of modelling the patterns of human behavior. NLP explores the inner workings of the human mind: how we think, how we develop our desires, goals and fears and how we motivate ourselves, make connections, and give meaning to our experiences.”

NLP is a tool that we can use to allow out minds to stay in charge when our bodies are sending signals for us to act in ways that undermine our weight loss goals. We can understand what’s going on with our bodies and use our minds to employ strategies to to quiet the urge to eat, or not stop eating, or remain inactive. NLP relies heavily, but not solely, on meditation in the form of mental imaging.

Mentally rehearsing responses to urges to eat helps to ensure when we are truly in the physical moment, our actions will be the ones that support our goals. We visualize the thinner, more active person we want to be. NLP helps us invent our “at goal identity” and see ourselves eating a healthful diet with balance and moderation and engaging in regular physical activity.

3) Positive messages about food and eatingScreen Shot 2014-07-16 at 9.22.08 AM

How and what we eat doesn’t reveal our moral character. Using positive messages about food and eating takes practice. Many of us have been conditioned to feel guilty about our food choices. It seems counterintuitive that eating foods that make us feel bad leads to more of the same behavior.

Feeling bad reinforces more of the same behavior more often than it is a catalyst for change. To be able to reinforce positive eating behaviors we need to recondition our beliefs about food and eating.

Food is both a source of fuel and pleasure. What we eat should taste good and do good things for our body. This should not be applied to each individual food choice, but rather how you eat over a matter of time.

Losing weight is hard – harder for some people than it is for others.

We don’t need to be judged and we don’t lectures by moralistic prigs who tell us, “it’s that easy.”

dreamstime_s_24322678We need to surround ourselves with people who encourage us and help us discover our power to win a fight that might be the biggest, toughest battle of our lives!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.