Like all great endeavors, struggling with your weight can be miserable and depressing. That’s one of the reasons why successful weight-loss, for the chronically overweight individual, is so inspiring to us all.
Like quitting smoking, weight-loss can prove itself to be very challenging and leave one feeling frustrated (i.e. angry). As with failed stop-smoking attempts, failed weight-loss attempts can lead one to conclude that it’s just not possible. In other words: Success is just not for me, maybe for others, but not for me’.
At one time or another, haven’t we all been hopeless? Eventually hope is so dead that we all but stop entertaining the possibility of success. The formula for hopelessness is a truly earnest, if not admirable, attempt to succeed, combined with unrealistic expectations of success, followed by (inevitable) set-back, and that guaranteed, automatic conclusion (belief) we make.
Comparing ourselves to others, we expect success we’ve seen in others, but how much do we really know about what caused another’s success? Some of us can’t even articulate what leads to our own success! One thing is certain: Personality and luck play a huge part. Top this off with variable genetic and metabolic backgrounds. Unfortunately, failed weight-loss attempts can be devastating to our psyche and future.
Let’s say our battle with the bulge begins when we are away at college, eating that delicious (sarcasm) college cafeteria food. We are 19 and about to make our first serious weight-loss attempt. Let’s say we follow the formula of our favorite celebrity TV doctor and dedicate ourselves to 5 days per week strenuous workouts, manipulate the timing and composition of our food groups, and take that ‘mysterious’ new weight-loss supplement which is being promoted. Unfortunately, despite what seems to be the best of plans and following it with animalistic tenacity, the program makes our mind fuzzy, so fuzzy that we can’t concentrate in school. And our food cravings seem all but impossible to control.
Tripped up by a foggy mind and insane cravings, the foundation for a conclusion which may plague us for the rest of our lives begins to take form: Weight-loss success may be for others, but it’s just not for me. Sadness and anger associated with failure can feel so ‘real’. And our conclusion feels equally real. Follow this by subsequent failed weight-loss attempts and/or healthy weight-maintenance and we may become imprisoned by hopelessness.
Having witnessed countless individuals in this journey, I believe that success is both closer and farther than many believe. For some it will take a lot of trust to put a nail in that coffin of hopelessness. Not trust in our ones own feelings, but trust and collaboration with ones weight-loss coach / physician long enough to see and be transformed by success.
As with smoking, it may take multiple ‘attempts’ (with smoking some studies say it takes 7 attempts to quit for good). Or maybe just one serious attempt and then lifelong success. Who knows? What’s for sure is that we shouldn’t allow our pride or pessimism to getting in the way of asking for help in what for many is truly a very difficult struggle.