Weight loss is a sensitive issue for people. Many adolescent and adult women are unhappy with their appearance and the primary reason is weight. The desire to look better is the driving force behind the commercial side of the weight loss industry.
Though some people focus on feeling better and improving health, diet and weight loss products target consumers based on a desire to look better. People who rely on commercial products or the latest fads to solve weight problems are gaining only short-term success.
Many of these weight loss solutions offer short-term results. Though simple math is sometimes enough to achieve weight loss, the emotional issues involved in a weight loss program need to be addressed. When a person burns more calories than she consumes, she loses weight.
However, long-term success requires a dedication and commitment. To achieve effective weight loss, an overweight person must address several issues. Setting a short-term diet goal and adhering to strict eating rules results in only temporary success and the weight is likely to return.
Obesity is a physical condition, but it has emotional components. An overweight person needs to change their diet and exercise to lose weight. These actions are necessary, but only treat the physical issue of obesity. There are few people for whom physical solutions alone solve the problem. If weight loss were as simple as reducing calories, crash dieters would never relapse.
Emotional issues leading to obesity vary from minor to severe. Childhood trauma is sometimes an indication of whether a person will struggle with weight during adolescence and adulthood. Studies have shown childhood sexual abuse is a contributing factor to adulthood obesity.
Researchers believe self-esteem issues triggered by the sexual abuse lead to overeating. Many abused victims struggle to respect their bodies and care for their health. Victims of abuse must include emotional healing in a weight loss plan, as well as the decrease in calories and increase in exercise.
Weight loss struggles are sometimes caused by a lack of motivation. When motivation is external, it might lead to temporary weight loss.
For instance, a person who is mocked for being obese might be shamed into losing weight. Temporarily, this shame motivates her to exercise and restrict food. As the emotional pain heals and she forgets the shame, the desire to lose weight fades.
Internal motivation has the opposite effect. When the desire to lose weight comes from within and is coupled with a desire to improve personal health, motivation is long-term.
Sometimes lack of motivation is linked to a fear of failure. Many people worry about trying something new and failing. If a person never begins a project, she is never able to fail. By ignoring weight issues and making excuses about starting a weight loss program, she never has to face failure.
Past failures also play a role in motivation. The more times a person is unsuccessful, the better the odds of continued failure. Each failure creates a new obstacle to overcome on a person’s weight loss journey.
Motivation should come from within, but even someone with strong internal motivations faces external challenges. One of the biggest is coping with people who are not supportive of weight loss goals.
In most cases, an obese person did not develop her condition on her own. Those around her enabled her overeating and in some cases sabotaged her efforts to improve her health. This does not mean she is surrounded by unloving, uncaring people. She might come from a family who celebrates special occasions with food.
Her parent’s might have struggled with weight and not understood healthy eating. Some people are in a relationship in which their significant other is dealing with emotional issues, too.
If a person’s significant other fears abandonment, he might encourage his obese spouse to overeat and neglect fitness. This is because he is afraid a person who looks and feels her best will not want to be in a relationship with him. Together, this couple creates a partnership supportive of each person’s unhealthy behavior.
Obese people surrounded by others who overeat are challenged twice as much. Not only is the desire to overeat coming from inside, she is also facing external temptation.
Overcoming her own weight loss demons will not be adequate; she must structure her life in a way that avoids temptation as much as possible and builds the strength to overcome unavoidable situations. As part of a healthy weight loss plan, a person must prepare for social gatherings. Knowing what to expect and how to react reduces the likelihood of overeating.
Tools For Success
Successful, long-term weight loss requires a well-rounded effort.
An obese person must:
- Gain nutrition education
- Commit to fitness
- Manage weight-related diseases
- And heal emotional wounds
Each of these components must also be multi-faceted. For instance, a fitness plan should include cardiovascular exercise, as well as muscle building and flexibility training.
Components of a weight loss program might overlap, making the challenge easier. Including yoga in your fitness program encourages spiritual healing, as well as physical flexibility. Long walks are great for cardio and give you time to reflect on your feelings about life.
Journaling has no direct effect on what a person eats or how many calories she burns, but it is one of the most effective tools in a weight loss program.
Recording foods eaten each day sheds light on eating patterns. In addition to tracking food, journaling should include notes about emotions, events, interactions with others and feelings after eating.
Not only does this allow people to see what triggers eating, it helps people realize the connection between food and its effect on the body. Some people do not realize they feel sick or tired after eating a large, high-fat meal until they see it on paper.
Weight gain and obesity are caused by a variety of different reasons. Sometimes professional counseling is needed to heal wounds that have led to a person’s weight problem. Healthy change requires a lifelong commitment to weight loss, healthy eating, fitness and self-care.