Are life difficulties blocking your fat loss?Apr 06, 2022
Difficulties in life are inevitable and they are always going to make fat loss or even weight maintenance more difficult. For most of us difficulties in life and weight gain go hand in hand.
But this doesn’t HAVE to be the case.
I'm not going to lecture anyone or give black and white advice here. Pain is relative and individual; as is resilience. Some people are able to shoulder a larger burden, and find deeper reserves of resilience. Some people process difficulties, find solutions and generally feel better faster than others.
There is no one size fits all approach. BUT there are tactics we can use to move along the scale and become more resilient versions of ourselves.
If you are reading this and are struggling with something currently then you have my deepest sympathy and well wishes for the best possible outcome as soon as possible. If you feel like you are at your wits end and can’t possibly do any more then that's absolutely fine and I would recommend focussing on this until it passes and you are able to shoulder more.
If however, you feel that you can do more, that you could be coping better and would like to learn more, then here is my advice:
1 - Accept the pain
Pain is inevitable and if you try to fight it, distract yourself from it or move on from this too soon then it will almost certainly bite you back harder, further down the line. There is no free pass, you must pay the piper. In my experience, with myself and clients, these things are better processed NOW rather than waiting for them to pass, or rushing them only to inevitably reappear out of the blue.
How do you do this? Sit WITH your feelings. Talk about how you feel. Write or journal about them. Talk about why you are sad, angry, lonely, bored, tired or whatever else is going on in your life. Resist the urge to run and truly feel and process what is going on.
Without this you will likely use an ineffective or damaging coping mechanism (e.g. food and or drink).
To quote a friend of mine, (grief coach, Rachel Fowler) you must let these things pass through you and not be bottled up.
I love the analogy that your thoughts are like a river. If you let them flow, then the water is clear and safe. If you block them up in your head the pressure increases, the water becomes stagnant, dank and poisonous.
2 - Focus on what you can control
The annoying advice your parent / guardian / friend passed on that I love to hate... but it’s so true. What CAN you control right now? You can control your food, exercise, where you channel your emotions and where you focus at least some of your time.
Regardless of how busy you are, there are at least tiny pockets where you could be reading or listening to a book, looking for healthy meals to cook or buy (healthy takeaways count) journaling, talking to friends, family, loved ones, professionals, going for a walk or any number of healthier coping mechanisms.
You can try writing a list of ALL your concerns. Then cross out what is beyond your control, (namely the thoughts and actions of others or circumstances) and look for areas you can control, (namely your actions, reactions, use of time and some of your thoughts).
3 - Find healthy coping strategies
The struggles we undergo are often beyond our control. But it is still your responsibility to work on this.
If you buy a second hand car and the engine is broken it is still your car. You have 2 choices here. To stand at the side of the road, kick the tyre and say how unfair this is OR find a solution. You can call a mechanic, find someone who knows more than you do, learn the skills yourself or start walking.
There is ALWAYS something you can control and do.
This will NOT be the easiest or most satisfying option but it WILL be the one that moves you forward the fastest.
The sad truth is you cannot have both. You can’t have the progress and the ease and pleasure of the most accessible option.
The most satisfying coping strategies are the ones that make you fat, ill, weak or disconnected. Going for a walk is never going to have the same POP that chocolate or alcohol does, but it is going to have positive knock on effects after the event.
4 - Challenge the inner voice
This applies to everyone here. Whether you are at your lowest point or whether you feel you are on the rise. Try and do a little bit more.
Even if you feel there is NOTHING you can do. If a relative is on death's door or it feels like you have no more emotional bandwidth. Set a timer for 5 minutes before you go to the shop to buy chocolate or wine. Buy a healthier takeaway option or have slimline tonic with your gin.
There is a way you can step forward. It might not have the biggest, (or any) visible impact, but the act of stepping forward is what you need.
“Success is the sum of small efforts - repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier