I see you looking longing at those weight loss photos and weight loss success stories the weight loss industry is forever bandying about. Let's admit it - they're impressive. The 'new' slimmer, trimmer, toned person (now in color and most likely photo-shopped) beams out at you with their successful and apparenty now perfect lives.
These weight loss pictures are also the hook that gets you to part with your money. The message is: if they can do it, see it's easy - so can you! It's how they instill hope and simultaneously tell you there is something wrong with YOU if you can't emulate these results! It's clever, I'll admit.
Here's where the story sold to you starts to come apart. What you need to see is not the weight loss photos only, but rather the down-the-line-'after-after-pictures'. And don't be at all surprised if what you see looks a lot more like a slightly bigger 'before' picture !
The problem is that they aren't telling you the whole story, they're ending the story before the 'real' conclusion. Because as many researchers in this field will tell you (and they've been writing about this for decades) the weight comes back. And you know this because you've been there, you've tried the diet and viola before you know it that same weight + interest finds you again, and that's especially true if you've lost the weight fast and messed up your metabolism.
I once went to a talk by an expert in obesity research who'd approached a well known slimming club and asked to interview their previous 5-years biggest losers for a TV program. Not one (yes you read that correct - not one!) of them would appear on the show. Why? Well...every last one of them had regained their weight and their after-after weight loss photos didn't look so good.
It didn't surprise me. I'd witnessed this exact weight cycling in the years when I was a lecturer and it was my story too. Even when I'd followed their really healthy eating plan to lose my weight there just came a time when I couldn't live like that anymore and the weight loss success story reversed.
And along with it - my self-esteem plummeted. So, if you'd have seen my before and after weight loss photos you'd have seen my 'before' picture at 74 kgs (168lbs), my 'after' picture at 45kgs (99lbs) and my after- after pictures 79 kgs (174lbs). but of course the only part of the story you would ever see is the 74 kgs (168 lbs) to 45 kgs (99lbs) part of the deal.
But here was my dirty little secret that looking at my weight loss photos you'd never have guessed at - and I couldn't tell anyone. No sooner had I reached 45 kgs (99lbs), become a slimming club lecturer and gone onto the 'maintenance' plan... when I just couldn't follow that diet anymore.
Even thought I'd been a weight loss success story, and much as I wanted to look fabulous, my mind simply revolted. Enough of 'being good' - enough!
You'd have never known it in my classes, on the outside my smiley face said I was happy - but inside I felt like a desperate failure all over again. Only my cocktail of daily diet pills helped me look as if I was maintaining what my weight loss photos showed. I wasn't following their plan one little bit.
Because I hadn't had a mind makeover , my old pattern of stuffing or starving and being weight-obsessed had never really left me. It was still there just waiting to re-surface which it inevitably did because I'd only changed my body.
There is just something about the human spirit that balks against living an unnatural life (and dieting most certainly is that). And, while it can give us a temporary feeling of safety to be told what to do, that sense of restriction eventually wears thin. And just watch what Dr. Traci Mann has to say about the physiology of what restriction and deprivation to do you hormonally, metabolically and neurologically. The diet is not failing because of you - it's failing because of what it does to your body!
• Are your habits and attitudes changing?
If you’re just changing how you eat or exercise, without making changes to your habits of thought – any changes are only temporary.
While you may be pleased if you’re having what looks like a weight loss success story, – I’m much more pleased when you’re having an 'old habit loss' because then I know you’re making deep and meaningful changes.
• Are you
growing your self-esteem and self-worth?
If you’re just changing how you eat or exercise, without growing in self-love and self-kindness, you can have all the weight loss photos you want, talk about all the weight loss motivational stories you hear, and sadly, you're likely to still find yourself trapped – married to that harsh inner body critic which means low self esteem.
• Are you growing spiritually – does your life have meaning, passion and purpose?
No amount of making surface changes to your eating/exercising will be effortlessly lasting if your life feels empty and devoid of passion and meaning. You'll be forever emotional eating to fill that hole.
But, when your life has passion and purpose, food and eating take their rightful place – secondary to living and if your natural body needs to lose weight it will.
What we don't need are someone else's before and after pictures of weight loss because most of them are lies and myths.
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