Although many people focus on diet and exercise programs to achieve weight loss, I believe that the most important and often overlooked factor is mindset.
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At the start of my nutritionist career I soon realized that losing weight and becoming healthy is not primarily about food, exercise or other lifestyle habits. Don’t get me wrong, what you put in your mouth and how you move your body matters.
However, it is clear to me that having a huge appetite, craving unhealthy foods, and experiencing blood sugar swings, low energy and laziness, are just manifestations of some deep and real causes. It is these causes that I’m going to discuss in this post.
My own success at losing over 40 lbs. of fat, as well as my experience working with hundreds of women, have shown me that there’s always a deeper underlying reason for your body to hold onto excess weight. And as long as your body thinks that having excess fat is beneficial for you, it will make sure that you remain heavy.
That’s why in order to shed pounds, I had to address my mindset: to figure out and examine the underlying reasons for my body stubbornly wanting to hold on to those excess pounds, and then to refute those reasons.
It worked, because as soon as I’d shown that there was no real need for my body to stay heavy, I found myself finding more energy to exercise, craving healthy foods and being passionately motivated to improve myself. As a result – the weight melted.
So here are the 6 main underlying needs for your body to hold onto excess weight. As you read them, ask yourself which ones apply to you.
Fat works as protection. We’re building a shield of fat in an attempt to protect ourselves from alleged threats. Many of us have different fears, for example fear of not being loved and accepted, fear of being broke, or a feeling of financial lack, fear of being alone, and so on. Sometimes fat is also a manifestation of shame.
Fat may also serve as a means to hide, \make yourself invisible and not shine your true light.
A lot of people don’t accept themselves, feel guilt and shame, and try to punish themselves with unhealthy lifestyle choices. These choices lead to excess fat.
4. Emotional Trauma
If you have unhealed emotional traumas or some resentment about your past, or haven’t forgiven yourself and others for some past situation, then the trauma might be “stored” as fat somewhere in your body.
5. Disbelief / Unworthiness
Lots of people feel that they’re not good enough and not worthy to have the best things in the world, including a fit slim healthy body. They don’t belief in themselves. That’s why they often subconsciously sabotage themselves with unhealthy choices
Sometimes people feel unfulfilled in some areas of their lives. Perhaps they sense that they’re not following their life purpose, maybe they are not happy with their relationships or do not feel a spiritual connection. They subconsciously try to fill that inner void with food.
How I Lost 40 lbs. By Addressing My Mindset
I lost 40 lbs. in about three years but the weight loss wasn’t gradual. It happened in two phases: my first 22 lbs. (in 2010) fell off pretty easily as I made a decision in my mind to live according to my values. The motivation came from within and I was very excited about eating well, and researching healthy lifestyles, raw food diet and self-development.
Then my weight plateaued. My health issues, including chronic back pains, dermatitis on my hands, infections and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, were gone. I felt light and energized and could effortlessly maintain my newly achieved weight of 143 lbs.
But after a couple of years I felt the desire to lose some more weight. Although I’d made some changes in my diet and exercised from time to time, I could not lose any more weight. It felt like my body was resisting becoming lighter.
After digging deep into my psyche, I realized that there were subconscious beliefs and other reasons why my body wanted to hold onto excess weight. One of them was that I didn’t believe I was worthy of having a stunning fit and slim body.
I was also afraid to fully express myself and show off my personality, so I was hiding under a layer of fat. I was also ashamed of my body, which paradoxically made me eat even more and gain additional pounds. I was also holding resentment about my past which was literally weighing me down.
As I started working on my mindset in 2013, to release these blocks, I felt inspired to take on a health challenge: to eat 100% raw food, exercise regularly and meditate. As a result, I lost about 18 lbs. and became really fit for the first time in my life! Then in the next two years I lost a few more pounds. Now I exercise regularly and eat a plant-based diet, high in raw fruits and vegetables.
I am currently not only at a healthy weight and full of energy, but I have also removed a lot of blocks that were holding me back and could have potentially harmed me in the future. I’m not saying that I’m perfect now and there’s nothing to work on, because there will always be room for improvement.
I’m now very grateful that I had all these health challenges, because they worked as a motivation for me to truly understand myself. I found the resolve to get real and honest with myself, to open up emotionally, and start following my life purpose.
So if you’re struggling and failing to stick to a diet and exercise routine without addressing your mindset, you’re swimming against the stream. The moment you run out of willpower, and fall back into bad habits, all the lost weight comes back, often with an interest. The only way to achieve permanent results is to get to the root cause, and resolve whatever issues you have at the mind level.