Why do you really want to lose weight?
When we first start thinking about weight loss, it’s all “I want to be thinner. I want to lose weight. I don’t want to be as fat as I am”, but do you ever stop and ask yourself this question – why do you really want to lose weight?
Why do we want to be thinner? Why do we want to lose weight? Why do we not want to stay the shape and size that we are?
I cannot tell you the amount of times that I have lost weight, always striving for thinner and lighter. I never get to my unachievable goal because that’s what it is. It’s an unachievable goal. When I get to a goal that I’ve set myself, I always want a bit more.
So that is problem number one. You will never be happy.
You'll never be happy with your weight loss
You will never be happy with that goal that you set yourself because you’re going to get there and you’re going to change your mind and want more.
Say you do get to a goal weight or a goal size, what’s going to happen when you get there? What is going to happen that will be different to how it is now? Why is that better than being in a bigger or heavier body?
Why do you really want to lose weight? Do you even have a reason?
You probably don’t. Very few people do. For most people, it’s a societal thing. It’s to fit in in some way.
When you get to that size or weight, most of the time your body won’t look the way you think it will. You have this dream of being thin and having this “beautiful”, sculpted body. But when you get there, is your body actually what you think it’s going to be?
Think back to when you have dieted before. Were you ever TRULY happy with your body when you were at your thinnest?
Why do you really want to change your body?
Why do you really want to lose weight? Is it to look good? Who are you doing that for?
Are you doing it for the people you pass in the street? Are you doing it for the people you share exercise classes, workspaces, college classes with? Are you doing it for those people so that they will be impressed?
I know that we can look in the mirror and be unhappy with what we see, and I can appreciate that you will have an element of wanting to do it for yourself, but what if you could accept and love the way you look as you are rather than changing the way you look to suit some beauty standards or to suit what other people would prefer you to look like?
Another comment that I hear quite often is “Haven’t they let themselves go?” No, they haven’t let themselves go. What they’ve done is they’ve stopped obsessing over dieting. It’s a totally different thing.
I myself have not let myself go. I have taken back the care of myself, I have gained some weight against what people remembered me to be but I am taking better care of myself now than I ever did then.
You can be well dressed, well presented, have lovely hair, have lovely nails if you want them. Wear jewellery if you want to. Wear makeup if you want to. You can still be this amazing version of yourself. You don’t have to be thin to be that.
Are you trying to lose weight for a holiday?
Is it so you look better on the beach or by the pool? Is it so you look better when you go out in the evening?
You want to lose weight or be smaller because you don’t want people to look at you in a swimming costume, in a bikini, in a nice dress and see you as a fat person or a bigger person than you would like to be. So again, you are aiming to lose weight for other people, not for yourself, for other people.
You are concerned with how people are looking at you. You are not solely concerned with how you will look for yourself.
You are not going to have a better holiday because you are thinner,
Wear the clothes, wear the bikini, wear the swimming costume. Go to the pool, go to the beach, make your memories. Anybody else sharing that location with you, your body is none of their business.
It's for my health
Lots of people will say they want to lose weight for health. There is a big perception that if you are smaller and lighter, that you are healthier. If you are in that “normal” BMI range you will be healthier, because that is what our doctors, our medics tell us. But weight loss doesn’t equal health, habits equal health.
You can lose weight in a very unhealthy way. You can starve yourself to lose weight. You can do these rubbish shakes diets to lose that weight, and all you’ve done is cut back on calories, restricted, and heavily starved your body. That’s not health inducing. That’s actually having the opposite effect.
Nutrition. That is what is health maximising. When it comes to food habits, regular eating, portions that suit your body and your appetite, food that suits your body and doesn’t make you feel unwell, eating at times that suit you because that’s when you feel like you need to eat rather than the hours that you’ve allowed yourself to eat, those are all health maximising habits.
There is so much fake health advice out there when it comes to food. Things like you should cut carbs or you should cut fats or you should cut sugars. But actually all those things are needed in a healthy diet.
You will hear me say this over and over and over again. Cutting those things out really doesn’t have a health benefit for you. Eating a mixed bag of nutrients of all your macros, so your carbs, your fats, your protein, having a good range of lots of different foods, that is health maximising.
And fitness. Exercising. Regular joyful movement. Movement in your day that makes you feel good, that is suitable for your abilities, that is health promoting. If weight loss is a byproduct of these behaviours, then so be it, but it is the behaviours themselves that will improve your health.
It’s not the dieting, it’s not being lighter, it’s not having less fat on your body.
It's a social thing
Quite often people will diet to be a part of something, because everybody else is doing it. All your mates at work are on the latest fad diet. Your mate, she’s found the “best thing” that “you should absolutely have a go at”.
Maybe you feel like if you go to these Slimming groups, you will feel like you have someone else who understands you.
I know what it’s like to be in a house with a partner who does not know dieting. He has never dieted a day in his life. He doesn’t understand my feelings around my weight and eating. I can tell him, but he doesn’t really understand, and so if you go to a Slimming club, there are lots of other people there are there that all feel the same way as you.
It can be easy to go on a diet and stay on a diet where you feel like you share something with somebody around you.
are you trying to make someone else happy?
Maybe you want to lose weight and be thinner to make the people around you happier. A lot of parents will comment on their child’s weight, comment on their teenagers weight, comment on their adult children’s weight, and they think they’re caring.
Or for your partner. Maybe you will feel like you’re more attractive. Maybe you’ll feel like your relationship all round will be better if you could just be more attractive, if you could just lose some weight, if you could just be thinner.
Or it’s because your brothers, your sisters, they’re not like you. So you feel like you should be thinner to match up to their standards.
Or you feel judged by the people in the workplace. So if you could just lose some weight, they’d be really impressed by that, and you’d feel like you were more accepted. Maybe that will be success bringing for you. A lot of people feel like they have to be looking a different way in order to get a promotion.
So maybe you just want people to stop judging you in all kinds of ways. However, again, this is weight loss for other people, because what if your parents didn’t comment? What if you knew that your partner absolutely adores the way you look? What if your partner really loves your relationship? What if your siblings wanted to look like you? What if people just didn’t judge you?
What if they weren’t judging you, then would you be so keen to lose the weight? Because up until now, you’re losing it to please those people.
Losing weight will make clothes shopping easier
It is more difficult to buy clothes that fit you if you are in a bigger body, but the onus is on the shop and the fashion industry to make things better. We need to continually highlight where the fashion industry is failing for people in bigger bodies, for people who cannot just walk into a shop and buy what they want off the rack.
These stores need to make it more inclusive. They need to make their ranges more inclusive for people in different body shapes and sizes.
There are some great companies doing some great things clothes wise for people in bigger bodies. So you do not have to change your body to fit into those ideals of the high street stores find yourself some stores that will stock the stuff that you like and in your size.
Clothes are meant to fit your body, not the other way round.
so, why do you really want to lose weight?
So did I answer the question for you already? If not, why do you REALLY want to lose weight?
All these things are really difficult to deal with. Everybody wants to be appreciated and loved and admired by other people. It is normal. It is human nature, but you have to take your health and your happiness into your own hands.
You have to stop giving a damn about what other people think about your body. Your body is none of their business. Your worth does not hinge around your weight or your shape or your size.
If anybody else is putting that on you, shame on them.
Do the work on your body image for you.
Do it so that you like how you look. Do it so that you feel better about yourself. The reality is that that lower weight, that thinner body, it is not all that it’s cracked up to be. It will not be the way you expect it to be.
I for one am here for you. I will be your cheerleader.
Replace your slimming club with a tribe of people that really do have your back, who are body positive, who are weight inclusive, who celebrate you as you are now.
Come and join my Facebook community or my group coaching sessions. They are body positive, supportive groups of people who understand you and will help you to feel good about yourself. You deserve better than the shame that you are feeling right now.
Did you want to hear this as a podcast episode? I talk about this further, plus I’m asking another question from a listener.