- Me: “Oooh that breakfast looks lovely!”
- Him: “It’s pretty good! I didn’t think I’d enjoy bacon & eggs without toast, yet here I am!”
- Me: “That kale looks so fresh and green!”
- Him: “It’s bitter, I’m not enjoying it, but I’m pressing through!”
I think my response stunned him… “Then why are you eating it if you don’t like it?” I sensed his surprise which quickly gave way to defensiveness when he replied: “Well it’s healthy, and I already bought it.”
I quickly reminded him that there are too many other “healthy” foods to allow yourself to suffer with your own food choices! So many of us trying to lose weight seem to feel the need to punish ourselves, to self-flagellate, as if we’re punishing ourselves for getting fat! Stop it.
Weight Loss Struggles: Guilt AND Feeling Trapped
Another conversation went like this:
- Me: “I like how that plate looks. But based on the carb content of corn, I suggest leaving out next time”
- Her: “Corn is off limits?”
- Me: “Nothing is off-limits. We choose our food based on an understanding of what they do to our hormonal balance & therefore our ability to burn our own fat for energy. Most of us lose weight at 20g carbs per day or less. One cup of corn is 29g carbs. Knowing all of the above, do you still think the corn is a good choice?
- Her: “Well…this way of eating is turning out to be more restrictive than I thought!”
- Me: “Restrictive? How? Look at the range of green, above-ground veggies that are lower-carb that are NOT on your plate?”
Self-Saboteurs and Weight Loss
So far I’ve described two common mindsets that I find prevalent among dieters:
- I must punish myself for being fat. This food is HEALTHY. It tastes bad, but lemme choke it down. No pain, no gain.
- I wish I could eat X, Y, Z! I feel trapped! Woe is me!!!
By now, you’ve likely deduced that the specific way of eating to lose weight that I keep making veiled references to is a ketogenic or low-carb diet. Truthfully though, this kind of self-sabotaging mindset happens in anyone who has ever struggled with being overweight and who has embarked on any change to eating habits in order to lose weight. If you’ve been following me over the last few years, you’re likely familiar with my own weight loss journey. I’ve been eating low-carb for just over three years now, and I’ve lost many, many pounds. I don’t weigh, but my clothes and pictures tell no lies! Here’s my weight loss journey on keto.
The third mindset saboteur: Desperation
The third common mindset that often manifests alongside the feeling of needing to punish oneself for getting and being fat, is desperation. I understand that feeling all too well. So just how does this desperation look? It looks like a seven day juice cleanse, or a “detox tea” regime, or some other starvation plan aimed at shaking some pounds loose in the shortest amount of time. Now nothing wrong with fasting, and truth be told, sometimes a reset is needed especially if we’ve been eating and drinking stuff that inflames and weighs us down. Here’s how you differentiate between desperation and a reset: You don’t have a plan for what comes next after the detox or reset. You haven’t thought beyond your very urgent need to lose some weight. This re-set is you grasping at something, anything, to make you feel better in the here and now by losing a few pounds. But without a plan for what comes next, you WILL regain the lost weight and perpetuate that all too familiar cycle of self-loathing and condemnation and weight loss and gain.
Here’s how you differentiate between desperation and a reset: You don’t have a plan for what comes next after the detox or reset.
Overcoming mindset & setting yourself up to win on your weight loss journey
So guilt giving rise to the need to punish ourselves, feeling restricted & trapped by a diet and desperation are three common mindsets that beset those of us struggling with weight, and these feelings impact our decisions around the best course of action to take in order to lose weight, and will ultimately impact the success or failure of our chosen course of action.
You don’t need to feel guilty about being fat. What if I told you that the odds of you being slim weren’t stacked in your favour to begin with. What do I mean?
First understand the root cause of obesity
Most of us who are overweight are this way because of one specific reason: insulin resistance. High consumption of especially refined carbohydrates is one of the culprits behind the physiological tragedy that manifests in obesity, hypertension, diabetes type 2, PCOS, inflammation, etc. The insulin our body secretes to deal with ingested carbohydrates in the form of sugars and starches simply isn’t effective enough and as our blood sugar levels rise with increased consumption of these carbs, our body tries to overcome this resistance to insulin by secreting more and more of the same insulin.
The end result of that is both high blood sugar levels and more importantly, high blood insulin levels. These high blood insulin levels result in the body being “told” to hold on to its fat (insulin is lipophylic) and also results in us never feeling full. Insulin also interrupts our feelings of satiety. Carbohydrates, especially sugar and refined carbohydrates are indeed highly addictive, so between how our body is set up and the plethora of easily accessible, highly palatable foods that are rich in refined carbohydrates, you have been literally set up to gain weight and remain fat…
But there’s a way out! First things first: STOP beating up yourself and thinking that you need to punish yourself somehow. Weight loss doesn’t have to be painful once you understand the reasons why we get fat. Weight loss happens when we eat different foods from what we currently eat, not by eating less of the foods we currently eat.
Weight loss happens when we eat different foods from what we currently eat, not by eating less of the foods we currently eat.
Next: Focus on the foods you CAN eat. Explore the possibilities!
If you choose to ruminate and focus on the foods that don’t honour your body and your goals, then of course you’re going to be miserable! You can either sit and mourn the absence of bread and rice and cheesecake and soda from your diet, or you can use up that energy to focus on the wonderful things you can do with green veggies, cheeses, all the meat you can eat, and the sweet treats you can create (quite simply) that are low-carb. The choice is yours. It is always yours.
Consistency leads to Sustainability. Sustainability results in Weight Loss.
And lastly, I invite you to face the fact that you didn’t get fat overnight. It stands to reason therefore that you won’t lose the weight overnight. Desperation is not a strategy to sustainably lose weight. Decide what you want. Plan. Plan some more. THIS is how you change your lifestyle in order to lose weight and keep it off.
Recognize that decisions and actions taken out of desperation will certainly keep you in a vicious cycle of losing and gaining and losing and gaining some more, adding to your feelings of guilt and self-loathing. Consistency is the secret sauce. How you gon stay consistent on teas and juices forever? Never going to happen. Your plan must include food that you enjoy and that you can incorporate with relative ease into how you live. Unless this happens you’ll be consistent for 7 days…10 days tops, before regressing to right where you are.
Recognize that decisions and actions taken out of desperation will certainly keep you in a vicious cycle of losing and gaining and losing and gaining some more, adding to your feelings of guilt and self-loathing.
Help is Available
Need help? Contact me if you think I can assist.
There’s great support in our online support group on Facebook too. Click here to become a member of our Caribbean Keto Tribe.
And yes, there is a plethora of advice out there. In addition to a wealth of free to access information on low-carb eating on the internet, I highly recommend that these two books:
- The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss (The Wellness Code) by Dr. Jason Fung
- Why We Get Sick: The Hidden Epidemic at the Root of Most Chronic Disease―and How to Fight It by Dr. Benjamin Bickman