Many of us have tried it or something like it to lose weight. Some succeeded. But most of us hung up our gym bag and put away our diet books and went back to overworking, overeating and whatever habits we had before.
With literally billions of dollars on the line, the diet industry tells us we need to go on this diet, eat this food, but not that food. The exercise industry sells us gadgets, programs, and memberships telling us we need to start Zumba or Pilates or indoor cycling set to throbbing music.
This has been going on for decades.
As consumers, we’re not getting the whole picture on how to actually achieve our weight loss goals. We have the exercise industry in one ear, and the diet industry in the other trumpeting their messages. But there is something missing.
Exercise Does Not Lead to Significant Weight Loss
While being the single best thing, other than quitting smoking, you can do for your overall health, 60 studies have shown that exercise has been increasingly shown to have little impact on losing weight.
There are many factors. Simply put the caloric benefits of exercise are often negated by added caloric intake. If you add that one extra candy bar that you’ve “earned”, you’ve immediately wasted the hour on the elliptical machine. You will be healthier, but the stubborn weight you’ve got around your belly will stay.
Simply Eating Less is the Path to Lose Weight So Why Do We Gain it Back?
The only real way to lose weight is to restrict what you eat. However, if you’re like millions of Americans who have lost weight only to put it back on, you know this is not the full answer.
If you’re one of these people, the good thing is you know how to lose weight. You’ve already done it. But perhaps you’ve found yourself gaining even more weight back. You lose 20, or 30, 100 pounds. Then in six months, you’re right back to where you started.
Behavior Change is Nearly impossible Without Emotional Change
Lost in this advertising cacophony is the critical third component. The real reason people lose weight, get healthy and keep it off over the long term is because they have made an emotional decision.
Some people do it by sheer force of will. We’ve all seen the before-and-after pictures of stunning non-surgical weight loss. “The Biggest Loser” television show is an example with contestants that lost hundreds of pounds in several months. The problem is most of them have gained it back. Television shows like this have brought about an intense study on resting metabolism and the effects of quick drastic weight loss on the human body.
What has not been studied are the unconscious drivers, unique to each person, that people starting a weight loss journey have long since forgotten are at the root of their behavior good or bad.
The reasons for unhealthy and unwanted lifestyles are as varied as the people on the planet. In our work we’ve helped clients quickly surface unconscious motivations they had completely forgotten about:
For Sheryl it was protection. Raised on a naval base Sheryl gained weight to protect herself from the advances of older men.
Connie overate and became obese to stand out in a crowd. For her, the negative attention was better than no attention.
Gilbert felt he needed to be a big and imposing man to protect his family.
For Aiden, stress eating half-asleep at 3 am was a way to cope with the shock of losing his job of 15 years.
The Three Way Path
When you start your weight-loss journey understand three fundamental things:
- Exercise, while excellent for personal health, is not a tool for weight loss in and of itself. If your goal is weight loss, focus on your eating first. Integrate exercise gradually.
- Caloric restriction will cause weight loss but is best done slowly. Dramatic shifts in weight can result in a yo-yo of weight loss and gain over a lifetime.
- Behaviour change is emotional change. Understanding the unconscious emotional reasons you have gained weight is the single best place to start and continue your health journey.
If you want your path to be easier and easier to maintain remember the words of famous psychologist Carl Jung, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Now you know it is not your fate to be overweight.