How Overthinking Is Keeping You Fat
Warning: Adult language
Please do not read any further if you are offended by adult language. There are F-Bombs ahead.
Losing weight isn't complicated. Is it easy? Hell no! It takes diligence and persistence and it most certainly can be frustrating at times. But it's not complicated. There's not a secret formula you have to figure out. It's not a mystery you have to solve.
We tend to overthink everything. We search high and low for answers, we second guess our hunches, we doubt our abilities, we are quick to blame ourselves for everything, and we analyze the fuck out of every blessed tiny aspect of our lives.
WE NEED TO STOP!
Losing weight isn't rocket science. There are hundreds of sound weight loss programs out there. And guess what? They all work if you stick with them. All of them. Wanna know why they all work? Because they all follow the basic rules:
Move your ass.
Get your rest.
That's it. That's the big secret we've all been searching for. Bummer right? I know, I thought the magic pill was out there too. I searched for that shit for over a decade. I wanted so badly to find a treasure chest with an instant and painless cure. Somewhere there just had to be a quick fix to this, right? It wasn't until I pulled my head out of my ass and accepted the ugly truth that I was then able to start making some real progress.
There are so many drug companies that are spitting out weight loss pills and supplements. They feed off of the fact that we're all searching for the fat cure. They all claim to have found the best way to lose weight, that their particular pill or shake is the answer. They know that we've all been searching for this magic formula. So they sell it to us... and we beg them to take our money.
You’re not going to find a solution in a pill. You’re going to have to decide on a weight loss plan and actually follow it. Whether if it’s simply calorie counting, a low carb/high protein diet, the keto diet, Weight Watchers, noom, Nutrisystem, South Beach, Jenny Craig, or whatever the hell else, they will ALL work… if you don’t quit. You just need to pick what will work best for you based on what you can stick to the longest.
The truth is you need to change the way you eat, forever. The truth is you need to give your body the daily movement that it so desperately needs and wants, forever. The truth is you need to put your damn phone down, turn off the lights, and get more sleep each night, forever.
You can’t lose the weight and then just go back to living the same lifestyle that got you fat in the first place. You don’t have to continue with the same exact diet that you followed to lose the weight for the rest of your life, but you DO have to continue a healthy lifestyle. For example, let’s say you use Nutrisystem to lose weight. You don’t have to do Nutrisystem for the rest of your life. In fact, unless you’d want to end up spending a gazillion dollars, you would definitely want to move onto something else to maintain your weight loss. Perhaps simply calorie counting or mindful and intuitive eating while staying active. The point is, you have to be prepared to make healthy choices forever. If you’re not willing to do that, there’s not really a point in putting in all that hard work for it to just be slowly (or quickly) reversed.
Is this easy? Of course it isn't. Far from it. I've maintained my 120 pound weight loss for 7 years now and I still struggle with my food addiction, like a lot. I still get into lazy ruts where I don't workout and I still have a bad habit of staying up late sometimes. I have bouts where I gain some weight and then have to get back on track. We’re all human. But one of the greatest gifts I received after completing my weight loss journey was a new set of healthy skills. A whole new lifestyle that I can fall back on, one that has healthy and productive ways for me to deal with obstacles.
My old life was filled with unhealthy ways to deal with my problems. The first thing I ran to when I was upset was food. That was natural for me. Now I have a new way of dealing with my struggles, a whole new tool chest to dig through when I need help. That is the true beauty of a journey. We emerge from it with the confidence to face whatever comes our way and the knowledge and power that we need to keep kicking ass.
Do I still have difficult times? HELL TO THE YES. I get knocked on my ass just like anyone else. But now I'm equipped to deal with my problems in a much healthier way because I learned some new tricks. Do I still sometimes want to eat a pan of brownies because I'm super stressed out? Yes I do... but I don't. Why? Because I have enough experience under my belt now to pick a better way.
The journey never truly ends. The weight loss part of it does, but your journey has many chapters. You have to keep on trying to improve and grow. You have to keep reminding yourself that you are worth being taken care of. Your body, mind, and soul deserve your attention. They deserve kindness. There is no better way to love and care for yourself than to live a mindful and healthy life.
Stop making everything a fucking science lab. You don't have to put everything under a microscope. Free yourself from the preposterous notion that you have to have everything figured out and that there must be some secret password or key to what you wish for. YOU are the key to getting what you want. YOU. Nobody else.
If what you want is to lose weight, you need to stop thinking so hard about it. You don't have to eat a specific amount of calories or eat a specific type of food. There's not just one way of exercising that is right for you. It doesn't work that way. You simply have to start making healthy choices. Every damn day.
It took a long time to settle into this unhealthy lifestyle of yours, it will take a long time to adopt a new one. That's just facts. It's hard to hear, but you need to accept it. It took me two years to lose my weight. Does two years sound like a long time? Yes, but it isn't. It went quick. Whether we want it to or not, time flies by. Stop putting a date on your goals.
Stop putting a sense of urgency to getting healthy.
If you stay the course, you will get there. It's a 100% certainty. The only way you won't reach your goal is if you quit. The most common reason we end up quitting is because we don't feel we're seeing enough progress in a short enough time. Let me say it again. Stop putting a sense of urgency to getting healthy. If you put in the work, it will happen as it's supposed to. Quit driving yourself bat-shit crazy with time frames and deadlines. It's not fair to yourself and it'll only set you up for failure, inching you closer and closer to that moment where you say 'Fuck it, I'm done.'
Work hard moving towards your goals and however long it takes between now and then... live your damn life. You can't enjoy your life if all you ever do is cry and obsess about being overweight. Trust me on this, I tried. It doesn't work. The only thing it's good for is robbing you of your joy and your moments.
I'm going to propose something to you and I really want you to think about it and be honest with yourself. If I had a magic wand that could make you lose all of your weight right this minute, I want you to realize that it would be an almost certainty that you'd gain all of that weight back again. The ONLY way weight loss is maintained is by continuing the healthy lifestyle that you adopted in order to lose the fat in the first place. So if you don't take the time to adopt that healthy lifestyle, the magic wand results will vanish right quick. Oh, you'd have fun for a little while eating whatever you wanted and living the same way you've been used to with a tight little bod... but not for too long. Without putting in the work yourself and learning how to be healthy, that ass of yours will find a way to grow back.
We get fat because of our brains, not because of food.
We develop patterns of coping and we begin to self-medicate ourselves by eating. That problem is in our brains, not in our pantries. If you could make all of your extra weight just vanish into thin air but you don't ever change anything in that noggin of yours, you don't have the tools nor the experience to keep that weight off. You only know one lifestyle, the lifestyle that got you fat... and that's exactly what you'll go back to. We fall back on familiarity. We gravitate to what we know and what we're comfortable with. It doesn't matter that those things may be harmful to us. It's what we're used to and it's all we know. This is human nature. We keep repeating harmful habits, even when we know they're harmful, because they offer us some kind of respite. If we didn't get something out of it, we wouldn't do it. It's as simple as that.
So as much as I know you'd still grab up the chance to get zapped with my skinny wand and believe me, I don't blame you. I would've taken that offer quicker than shit too. But it won't stick. I know what you'd say, "No Gabby, if I could just be skinny now then I'll be good and I'll do everything right. I won't gain it back. I'll do what I'm supposed to from now on." I know you'd try your hardest to sell that shit to me. Hell, you might even wholeheartedly believe it... but it's still total bullshit.
You can't just all of a sudden change your lifestyle on a dime. You have to trudge through the trenches to learn it. You have to come up against obstacles and find ways to overcome them. You need time for your mind to catch up to your new body. You need to develop new coping mechanisms and learn to love taking care of yourself. This shit doesn't happen overnight. These are lessons you need to learn. These are milestones and breakthroughs you must experience.
To people who don't need to lose weight, a weight loss journey just sounds like a really fucking long diet. But it's so much more than that.
A weight loss journey is more than losing weight. A weight loss journey gives you time to learn a NEW familiarity, time to get comfortable living a healthy lifestyle. It's precious time that we put into ourselves. Time where we learn how to live the right way. Time where we heal. Weight loss journeys allow our minds to have enough time to forge new pathways to deal with our emotions and struggles. We find healthy ways to cope. We discover how amazing we are and truly learn to love our uniqueness. We uncover the strength and power we had all along. We learn to enjoy life again and become vibrant. We finally have the energy to do the things that we've always dreamt of. These things cannot happen without the precious time that a journey gives us. A magic wand can't give you all of this.
I know snapping your fingers and being 'skinny' is what you wish for. I wished for it too. But life just doesn't work that way. And as nice as wishing is... it doesn't get jack shit done.
Life is really hard sometimes. But we don't have to make it even harder. Go back to the basics and simplify what you can. Losing weight doesn't have to be complicated. I'm not telling you that losing weight is simple. I'm telling you that it's a simple process. There's a big difference.
Think of when you were first learning to drive a car. Driving a car has a very simple process:
Gas pedal makes you go.
Brake pedal makes you stop.
Steering wheel directs the car.
Very simple process. Not so simple to do. I remember my mom taking me to a parking lot for my first driving lesson. She clutched her chest more times than I can count. She yelled, "HIT THE BRAKES!" and "OH MY GOD" systematically every 3.8 seconds. To anyone watching, it would've looked like the car was having a grand mal seizure. I remember thinking, "Why is this so hard? Gas go, brake stop. I mean why can't I get this?" Just because something has a simple method doesn't mean it's easy. It takes time to learn.
Hell, apparently I'm such a good driver now that I can drive with my eyes closed because half the time I get home and don't even remember driving the damn car. But that goes along with the fact that it's so routine at this point that I don't have to think about it (or that I'm too busy singing and pretending I'm on stage shredding a guitar like the badass rock star that I am). But you see, once you learn a new skill and practice it often, it becomes second nature. Learning a healthy lifestyle will be the same way. It will become natural for you to gravitate towards healthy foods and practices, because that is what you've taught yourself to do throughout your journey.
Btw, just thought I'd mention after that first (and only) driving lesson with my mom, she called a professional driving school within five minutes of being home and she never took me out again. She never even spoke of it. However, I am happy to report that she lets me drive her around now. It took a while though ;)
The bottom line is this:
You NEED a weight loss journey to lose weight. Maybe your journey won't be two years like mine was. Maybe you only need to lose 30 pounds and your journey will be complete in four months or six months. No matter what the duration of your weight loss journey is, you still NEED one. A magic skinny wand will only let you live life to the fullest for just a few months before you start scarfing down bags of chips again, but a weight loss journey's results are forever.
Stop looking at your journey like it's a pain in the ass and start realizing that this time is a gift. This is time you are dedicating to you and you only. Time where you care for yourself and cherish your body. Time where your body uses nourishing food to help it heal and movement to oil its parts. Time where you finally learn to love yourself and tend to your needs the same way you've been doing for everybody else around you your whole damn life. Time where you learn to not give a fuck what other people think you should be doing and only focus on what you KNOW you should be doing.
So stop overthinking this weight loss stuff and stop beating yourself up for gaining weight. It's just fat. Fat is not permanent. Stop bashing yourself. You can change your current situation. Start putting in some work and serve that fat its eviction notice. You are the one in control. And to keep it as simple and uncomplicated as possible, you really just have to follow four rules: Eat healthy, move dat ass, get enough sleep, repeat forever.
It really is that simple.
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.
NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.