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Why We Sabotage Our Own Fat Loss

About 10 years back, a plane took off from Miami loaded with a group of friends bound for the Bahamas to celebrate a 50th birthday in style. They rented a big house though it turned out not to be big enough when one of the friends decided to bring along her personal trainer. The only fit person was the one who invited her trainer and well, the trainer. The rest of the crowd had just been enjoying their lives, eating and drinking as they pleased with nary a thought or concern about health or fitness, and for them-it was all good. Until the day they decided to island hop on a hired boat and saw the personal trainer in her bikini. A member of the group piped up and declared "If I had a body like that, I'd rule the world!" The (drunken) party quickly dissolved into a cat-fight, with all the women ganging up on Ms. Only-Sober-Soul-in-the-Group-Hot-Body trainer who, upon returning to the rented digs, promptly packed her belongings, took the 45-minute boat shuttle back to the airport, changed her departure time and got the hell out of Dodge.

Yes, I was the trainer. Now, I know this woman was just paying me a compliment. I didn't know any of these people other than my friend who invited me along. I was completely flabbergasted at how the rest of the women responded to her comment. I was just hanging with the group being my usual affable self, not prancing around the deck flashing my wares, so to speak, or any other such shenanigans. But what really chapped my hide was that even my friend gave me grief-accusing me of always being the best (and for 7 years I thought that's why she trained with me!)-and all over a comment I didn't solicit and found absolutely ludicrous. Which brings me to the point of this blog: how we get in our own way when dieting to lose weight.

It's easy to say we want to lose weight, get fit, eat better, become healthy. However, there are emotional consequences to these lofty aspirations that we may not even realize we harbor and some of them are also why we secretly, or not so secretly as evidenced in the above scenario, resent those who are successful in reaching these goals. Facts:

  • We don't understand what a realistic time frame is for accomplishing these goals and so we become frustrated when it doesn't happen fast enough and we give up. Deprivation sucks and most people don't know what to eat and how much they can eat for success and after a couple weeks with no results, the frustration drives us over the edge of the diet plate and right back into the fast-food lane. Too bad, because it usually takes about 2 weeks to start seeing results!

  • We don't change our relationship with food and the very act of eating, which many people view as entertainment, something to do out of boredom, and also conditioned response. Think Pavlov's dog...

  • We don't know how to create a healthy, pleasing, satisfying diet that will help us keep our lean bodies when we get them. Instead, we forage based on what will taste good and until we learn about new foods that taste even better than the junk food we're used to, we again sense deprivation in dieting, equating it to bland and boring.

  • Our expectations of what our lives will be like when we lose the weight are skewed. This is why I found the statement "If I had a body like that, I'd rule the world" preposterous. Do you think you will be magically transported to super-model status, where the world falls at your feet when you walk by? Like the song 'The Girl From Ipanema'...When she passes, each one she passes goes "ah"? You will enjoy the attention your new body gets you, but it may also make you uncomfortable. You may have stayed overweight for many years as a way to be invisible. You may get irritated that people seem to now view you as a physicality without a brain, like just another pretty face. And, there will be haters-mostly women. This is such a shame.

  • We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to see a diet through but without the proper time frame, expectations, actions and food that we enjoy and can eat for the rest of our lives, to make lasting changes we can stick with, we will fail. We know this. That's why we always ask others who are successful "What did you eat?" It could have been Nutri-System - which some may choose, others wouldn't consider - but what happens when you go off the System? What will you eat to keep your new physique? If you don't do the proper work-learning about nutrition, practice mindful eating, work on changing dietary habits and then staying on track with your new program so that it becomes the habit-you're going to end up spinning your wheels while staying in place. Which is to say, getting no where.

  • We continue to fall prey to the latest diet fad or craze-don't you get tired of being inundated with the same BS lines that promise to deliver miracle results yet just line someone's pocket with your money? And you know by now diets don't work. It's about lifestyle change-pure and simple.

  • We may have been carrying extra LBS. for years and somehow still think we can lose it in a week/month/insert your own unrealistic time frame. Your body has developed a set-point and you will have to work HARD to change that. Yes, it can be done. How bad do you want it? Be prepared to work that hard.

  • This one is not entirely your fault. The food industry puts a lot of nasty little ingredients in processed food to get you addicted to it. I have long felt that they are actually very clever because how long do we expect this overburdened planet to produce high-quality, fresh, healthy food? Get you addicted to crap early on and you'll never even want to eat a single healthy thing! You probably already know a lot of these people-maybe you're one of them! But getting past the cravings these processed foods cause can be worse than experiencing the DT's, considering you still must find something to eat, though one certainly doesn't need alcohol to survive.

You probably understand that your life won't become something movies are made of when you reach your goals and maybe this sad realization, considering all the effort it takes, causes you to wonder what the point is. I'm hearing 'We want to have our cake and eat it too' and this is just the part of us that resists change, even when it is for the best. Food is a drug and acts upon your body and mind as such. Think of becoming the best, healthiest version of yourself, starting with what you put in your mouth. Start questioning labels. Understand what those ingredients are and how they affect your body and health. You've heard the saying 'We always have at least 84 problems we're dealing with in our lives at any given moment.' Just means that when we start to think along the lines of "...If/when I can move to a bigger house/get a better job/get married/fill in the blank, my life will be better/perfect because...", we need to realize that nothing is ever perfect in life and even when we get into a place where we thought we would find our own Nirvana, we discover Nirvana comes with its own set of issues. When one issue is resolved, another one will take its place to always keep the count at 84! But, I can tell you that whatever the number of issues you have on your plate, not having to deal with constantly dieting is extremely liberating. Ridding yourself of food obsession will allow you to deal more effectively with life and whatever it throws at you. And finally-how you look is certainly not the most important aspect of losing weight and becoming healthy, so don't pass judgement on others-whether they be fat or thin!

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