You're Not You When You Feel Fat
Before you go freak out on me about using that term, listen up.
Have you ever felt like you’re fat?
It is, quite possibly, one of the most ANNOYING feelings in the world.
I don’t care how much positive talking you provide to yourself, when your clothes are tight, when you get out of breath going up a flight of stairs, when you’re frustrated, it sucks!
You know what’s more annoying? Is that you don’t really feel like yourself when you feel fat. It has a way to rob you of your mental fortitude. If you let it.
In the last few years, I’ve gained weight to balance hormones, allow my body to heal, and prevent disease (if you want to watch a video on it, click here).
While that’s not everyone’s path to disease prevention, it was mine. After years of not having an ovulatory cycle, becoming a caregiver for my father, dealing with two of the most stressful years of my life, and ultimately being diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea, healing equaled gaining weight, managing stress, and balancing hormones (about 20 pounds for me).
And can I just tell you, at times, it sucks. It does!
Clothes are tight. Cool!! Cardio is more challenging. Cool!! Overcoming negative thoughts when you look in the mirror. Cool!!
So we get it, gaining weight sucks. Have you been there? Are you there?
If you answered yes, you might benefit from hearing what has helped me overcome that mental hurdle. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what it is. Your physical success is preceded by your mentality.
1. Having a fat loss goal your entire life will increase your risk for disease.
Pardon?! Isn’t obesity on the rise? Don’t you need to prevent disease by maintaining a healthy weight?
Yes, yes, and yes.
BUT, how long have you been trying to lose weight? Weeks? Months? Years? Decades??
If you answered yes to anything over a few months, I have a message for you from your hypothalamus:
“For the love, please stop!”
Your hypothalamus reacts to stress. And shuts down proper bodily functions when stress becomes chronic. (Sex hormones, fertility, thyroid function, and many more.)
My body did!
If you weren’t aware, chronic stress leads to chronic, low grade inflammation which is the precursor to most health and wellness issues, including metabolic syndrome. (Check out my blog post here.)
In order to accomplish fat loss, you either need to eat less calories or burn more calories via movement (both of which are a source of stress).
So by stressing (always dieting or over-exercising) for YEARS on end about losing “just ten more pounds” you’re increasing your risk for disease.
Speaking of, if you’ve been trying to lose weight for years, how’s the rest of your health? Any physical or mental concerns? Bet so. It’s related.
2. Nature has seasons, and so do we.
One of the greatest mentality lies is to think that we are supposed to be constant.
We are not.
Nature has seasons, and times of sowing, and times of harvest. Times for the land to lay fallow, and time for new growth to occur.
We are not meant to always be in a season of harvest. Nor are we supposed to always be in a season of rest.
Things change. And so do we.
Your fat loss goal is no different.
We can’t, or shouldn’t, always be striving to lose fat. The funny thing is, just like letting the land lay fallow can increase the quality and quantity of the harvest, so can taking a break from fat loss.
Constantly living on low calories causes your body to adapt and slow things down.
What most people aren’t willing to do, is to enter a season of maintenance.
A season of eating enough nutrient dense calories in order to allow the body to re-vitalize. Sleep improves, energy improves, healing happens.
We don’t heal when we are running from a bear (or in a stressed out state like a low-calorie diet), we heal when we are in our rest and digest nervous system state. When stress is low, and the body senses security.
When was the last time you considered eating enough nutrient dense food consistently, rather than eating less to hit your goals?
3. You are the captain, now. Act like it.
You feel sorry for yourself because you’ve gained weight? Because you have to take a break from trying to manipulate your body to fit your definition of health? Welcome!
Again, I’m not saying gaining weight like I’ve had to do is what you need to do, but taking a break from trying to manipulate your body might be just what you do need.
The cool thing I’ve realized and you can, too?
You’re in the driver’s seat of how you perceive things.
One way I realized this was when I was frustrated with how my body has changed, but I saw gym influencers posting how they’ve “grown their glutes” as a huge success. “Gained 20 pounds to grow that peach.” … Never in my life have I wanted larger hips or glutes, I naturally carry most of my weight there.
However, I have repeatedly put myself down for weight gain, when in reality I could share some major before and after pics that some people would frame as an amazing success!
Whatever you believe, however you frame your lot in life, you’re right.
Want to be sad and believe you’re a failure? You’re right. And you won’t take action necessary to change things.
Want to see it as a huge success and celebrate the other awesome things you’re doing in your life? You’re right. And you WILL take more action necessary to improve your life.
You are in the driver’s seat of your mentality.
You get to choose if what you are doing is a failure, or if it is a season. If it is a failure, or if it is feedback.
If you are willing to do what’s necessary to prevent disease and age well, you will be able to move past your weight and realize the millions of other aspects to wellness you can control.
For me, I’m avoiding the risk of not having ovulatory cycles during my fertile years. I’m getting a hefty dose of progesterone every cycle. I’m lowering my risk for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer, and cognitive decline in the future. And I’m so proud of myself and my amazing body.
At the end of the day, we all have seasons of weight gain!
And if you don’t, then honestly, you’re missing out.
Real life isn’t what you see on social media. Real life is not constant before and after success stories. Real life is understanding there will be challenges. There will be setbacks. There will be seasons where you give more to others than you can give to yourself.
Whatever season you’re in, know that your weight is the least important. Your ability to take action to prevent disease will always prevail.
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