Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Barriers To Losing Weight: Excuse 2

In the 'Barriers To Losing Weight' series, I will outline some of the biggest obstacles (some self-imposed and some not) that previously prevented me from getting in shape. I will also describe how I overcame these obstacles, in the hope I aid someone else in doing the same.

2) I don't want / deserve to lose weight anyway.

Although these could be seen as two quite different barriers, they both boil down to an issue of denial. I have suffered from both these views in the past, so I will tackle them one at a time, and try to work out how I got around them.

In terms of not wanting to lose weight...sometimes I wouldn't. I'd try to convince myself that I was happy with my weight, and that I didn't need to lose any. Most difficult for me, especially when I was younger, was the feeling that I was being vain if I wanted to lose weight. To get quite personal for a moment, I was always fairly popular with girls, but only in the 'cuddly best friend' kind of way. I would regularly fall in love, only to see the girls then head off with guys who seemed the exact opposite of me - slim, muscular, hair waxed, eyebrows plucked etc etc (to say nothing of their personalities). It seemed to me that if these girls were going to like me, I would have to change my appearance, and become more like these other guys. But I didn't want to - I detested those other guys! So I became defensive, saying that 'if a girl doesn't like me for who I am, then she's not worth it'. I was ignoring the fact that I didn't like me for who I was either! And that's a huge barrier in and of itself - if you don't like yourself, its going to be a lot harder for anyone else to.

I think it was recognition of this fact that got me out of that cycle. Rather than focussing on what I wanted from life/the world/other people, and getting depressed if I couldn't have it, I started to look at what I wanted from myself. No, I couldn't change the world to give me what I wanted - but I could certainly change myself! And when you do this, something amazing happens - you regain control. When you take charge of one aspect of your life (in my case, my eating), many other aspects start becoming manageable (my weight, my health, my self-confidence), and that sets the ball rolling for every other aspect of your life.

As for the second barrier above, the idea that I don't deserve to lose weight...this is a difficult one to analyse. I think many people feel like this, but perhaps for different reasons. Maybe someone has another person always putting them down, making them believe this is true. Maybe someone has a general depressive state of mind, and this is just an element of that. Or perhaps (as I believe in my case) it stems from a feeling of guilt about my weight. Sometimes I would look at myself, hate the way I looked, and realise I only had myself to blame. I looked this way because I had chosen to over-eat, and not to exercise, and so I was responsible. I had made my bed, and now I had to lie in it.

I guess you could say this translates as 'I deserve to be fat' rather than 'I don't deserve to be thin', but it was another mental barrier that had to be overcome. I very much looked at my weight as a just punishment for my laziness. But of course, that point of view offers no way out, no chance of redemption. You got fat, it was your fault, and now you deserve to be fat. That was all.

But eventally I managed to turn it around, and it was with the idea that 'I got myself into this mess, so I'm going to get myself out'. Again, as with so many of the barriers, it was overcome with a feeling of empowerment. I read so many accounts, watched so many videos, and saw how people could turn their lives around, and start losing weight that had been around for years. If they could do it, why not me?

And, reader, if they can do it, then I can do it. And if I can do it - SO CAN YOU!

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