Weight Loss Support - How does your mental health play a role in your weight loss success




Moondance
06-03-2010, 01:34 PM
One of my biggest challenges in losing weight is not the fat around my waist but the "voice" in my head.

I have to make me a priority. I have to change my self-talk, the negativity (internal and external). It's a self-esteem issue.

For me, no lifestyle changes will stick if I don't feel worthy of the changes.

How have any of you dealt with this? How have you worked through your issues?


paris81
06-03-2010, 01:37 PM
It is certainly more mental than anything else! I pretty much always live by the motto "Fake it 'till you make it!"--it helps! Even if I feel like crap, I try to remind myself that's it's important to do good for my body.

Also, when I do fall off the wagon and have major amounts of unhealthy food, I feel it physically, the next day or two even. My heart races, my skin feels gross, I feel dryness in my eyes and mouth, it's generally unpleasant. The thought of that really helps to keep me on track.

mandalinn82
06-03-2010, 01:42 PM
What's interesting to me is how much a "fake it till you make it" attitude helped me here as well. I struggle with episodic depression and anxiety, which can affect my self worth and my desire to take care of myself.

For me, every time I made a choice that was healthy, I felt a little better about myself. Exercise, in particular, does amazing things for my depression/anxiety. So I had to "fake it" (Make the healthy choices to exercise and eat well), which led to reduced depression and better self-image, which allowed me to really "make it" (stick with those changes because I genuinely felt I was worth the effort).


motivated chickie
06-03-2010, 01:50 PM
I've been working on my mental health issues for almost 20 years & some days it feels like a losing battle. But I keep working at it and things are better. In fact, I am the happiest I've ever been. And I've noticed being happy makes weight loss so much easier.

I did seek treatment for my compulsive overeating and that helped a lot. For me, seeking professional help was necessary.

One thing I am learning is to separate emotions from my eating and exercise. For example, I might be particularly depressed and negative, but I still can eat on plan and get my exercise in. Some days, I have to force myself to exercise, but I feel so much better after a run.

Basically, I try not to accept any excuses to overeat or not exercise. As they say, "feelings are not facts" and emotions pass with time. A binge only makes a bad day worse.

I am not perfect with any of this... I am still a work in progress. Good luck in exploring the source of your emotional pain. The journey may be painful at times, but self discovery is an exciting thing.

Gold32
06-03-2010, 01:52 PM
I tell myself all the time, constantly, that this is working. And since it is working, there is NO EXCUSE for failure. It's not an option. I tell myself that every time I have to resist going back for a snack before bed. (Thankfully, the number of times I have to do this a week have gone waaaay down.) I ask myself, are you sure you really want to ruin a great thing? Do you want to fail? Sure, a handful of pretzels, going 100 over plan, doesn't seem like much. But you know how that starts! Those 100 calories are the beginning of the end. DON'T DO IT. You've come to far to inch back!

Yeah, I get pretty mentally strict with myself. I hope I'm this strict with my (future) kids....

I think mental state is key. I think there a lot of balances to strike, a lot of feelings to juggle all at once. In some ways you have to hate your body. While loving it. I mean, it can be crazy what we go through mentally. But I truly think success is based on the right mental approach and mental state. If only that were simple...

Edit: I think maybe I misunderstood the question to some degree. I apologize if that's so!

astrophe
06-03-2010, 01:54 PM
This may sound out of left field... but how are you tending to you spiritual health and well-being? Does that get any attention? Whether your spiritual practice involved organized religion or not, I think this area is often neglected.

People feel "empty" and don't know exactly why. Is there anything you do that "feeds your soul?" Play music? Keep a journal? Artwork? Garden? Sports? Volunteer? I think everyone needs something the feeds their spirit somehow.

This helps with feeling connected to other people and having a sense of accomplishment, and having hope and good self esteem. Perhaps that can help brighten your mental outlook too. There's a mind-body-spirit connection and I feel like all areas need tending so the emotionally we are content and well balanced people.

This journey won't work if we don't also do the exercise, eat healthy... but there's more to tend here than just the body.

A.

Lori Bell
06-03-2010, 01:54 PM
I also suffered from depression and anxiety for a long time. Interestingly, once I stopped eating CRAP, (Processed foods, sugar, preservatives, MSG, and food dyes, etc. as a result of a healthy diet) all the mental health issues vanished over time. I'm absolutely CONVINCED that artificial food additive (AND SUGAR) were a major cause (if not the primary cause) of my mental health issues. Oh sure, I'm still nuts, but I'm at least I'm a happy nut now.

Gold32
06-03-2010, 01:55 PM
I have to make me a priority. I have to change my self-talk, the negativity (internal and external). It's a self-esteem issue.

For me, no lifestyle changes will stick if I don't feel worthy of the changes.


Yes, this would be the first essential mental state. You MUST feel you are worth it. And you are! Of course you are! Why on earth would anyone not deserve better health and happiness?

It isn't an option or a question. YOU DESERVE IT.

Lori Bell
06-03-2010, 01:57 PM
This may sound out of left field... but how are you tending to you spiritual health and well-being? Does that get any attention? Whether your spiritual practice involved organized religion or not, I think this area is often neglected.

People feel "empty" and don't know exactly why.

Is there anything you do that "feeds your soul?" Play music? Keep a journal? Artwork? Garden? Sports? Volunteer? I think everyone needs something the feeds their spirit somehow.

Perhaps that can help brighten your mental outlook too. There's a mind-body-spirit connection and I feel like all areas need tending so the emotionally we are content.

This journey won't work if we don't also do the exercise, eat healthy... but there's more to tend here than just the body.

A.
I like this a lot. I agree!:angel:

Cglasscock1
06-03-2010, 02:19 PM
I agree with everything the others have said. I think weight loss is about a 50/50 split between the right mental attitude and the right eating & exercise plan (for each person). Here is something that helped me: I formed a vivid mental picture of the person I wanted to be. This included how I wanted to feel inside, look on the outside, and even the type of work I would do. I kept this image in my mind as a goal at all times, especially when I wanted to overeat. Today, I am at least halfway there to BE that person and I am so much happier than I was.

patchworkpenguin
06-03-2010, 02:24 PM
I felt I had to deal with my emotional eating habit before I could lose the weight again. I felt that I would just regain the weight if I didn't get that part under control, which really didn't help me feel motivated to make the nessasary changes to lose the weight. It took several months out of my 'weightloss time' but it was worth it. I got a lot of help from Juith Beck's Diet Solution book on the underlying issues that caused me to overeat.

SCraver
06-03-2010, 02:44 PM
After repeated attempts at losing weight, I have found I am good for about 20 lbs. I can do what I need to do to lose 20 lbs... before I fall off the wagon and gain it back.

This time, as I have gotten close to that 20 lb mark, I realized that what I had done in the past hadn't worked. Which, for me, meant I needed some outside help. I have begun seeing a therapist. And yesterday, I started reading "The Four Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace". The book focuses on all the mental and emotional stuff that goes on.

"eat less, exercise more" is what everyone claims to be the "secret" to weight loss... so it should be easy, right? Heck no... it's b/c of all the emotional bagage that I have around food and eating that has made it so dificult for me to lose weight.

For some people, it is just a matter of knowledge: Know what to eat, how to exercise. But (I think) for a majority of people it is about learning new coping skills. Learning new ways to think. New ways to look at eating and exercising.

Moondance
06-03-2010, 03:13 PM
Thank you for all the outstanding replies!! WOW! I appreciate the new perspectives as well as the confirmation that I'm on the right track.

Some things that really stick with me:
Fake it till you make it
Separate emotions from eating and exercising
Mind/body/spirit connection (yes, thankfully I know exactly how to feed my soul!)
I MUST feel I am worth it
Watch the food crap
Form a mental picture of what I want to achieve
Learn new coping skills

quince
06-03-2010, 04:12 PM
it was only when i finally embraced myself as i am, i was able to change and become happier, lose weight and accept the good in life.

i realized i am not a slim, fairy-like girl, but a soft, big and warm young woman with qualities that are different then average, but they still are qualities, so i too deserve to be loved and - most important - deserve to love myself.

when i allowed myself to love myself as i am, when i decided i am going to be as happy as i can be in the skin i live in now, i am going to be as beautiful as i can in the size i am now – that is when i could love myself and care for myself in a good way: give my body the exercise it needs, give it the nutrition it needs, give my heart the good friends it needs and not the ones who hurt me etc. one of the results of this care is weight loss.

so yes, there is a great big and key connection between our minds and our eating. i always ate to silence my fears, depression, insecurity. today i know my emotions can and have to be dealt with without food. and my body deserves to be healthy no matter how i feel.

saef
06-03-2010, 05:31 PM
An observation for you, to do with it what you will:

Every time I've successfully lost a substantial amount of weight -- and I'm talking 80 to 100 pounds -- I've ended up in therapy. I don't know if it's because my life & its routines & familiar comforts are so disrupted that I uncover issues I haven't dealt with. Or if the change in my appearance affects me & shakes me up in some way. Or if, having begun renovating the street view, I start thinking about what's going on inside & particularly upstairs, and want to do some work inside, too. I don't know. But I do believe a few things:

1) Mind & body are inseparable. I tend to want to live as a brain in a jar sometimes, so unlike others, I need to be reminded of the truth of this saying.

2) Eating healthily & attaining mental & spiritual clarity are a what-comes-first,-the-chicken-or-the-egg proposition for me.

2) Losing weight & keeping it off will never, ever be a simple mechanistic process for me, with my body as a machine that ingests a certain number of calories & expends another, different amount of calories. I can stuff everything irrational & emotional down, but sooner or later in the process, it will out. Bingeing, restricting, overeating are all forms of self-expression for me in which I am acting out anxieties & frustrations.

3) I can work on the behaviors all day long but eventually have to look at the motivation. Else something happens that FORCES me to look inward. But I have to say also that, if I look inward all the time & journal & post, but don't do any of the behaviors, NOTHING HAPPENS & I get caught up in stasis & fascination with my own navel.

Tai
06-03-2010, 06:13 PM
I suffer from anxiety and depression that is debilitating at times. While losing weight and maintaining it didn't eliminate either, both have brought me a happiness I never could have imagined.

I didn't tackle any emotional issues when I started the weight loss; I was in the "fake it until you make it" camp until my new habits became more natural. I did notice that all the mental effort and focus it took me to lose the weight was oddly calming and centering.

synger
06-04-2010, 10:44 AM
I second the book "The Four Day Win". It's helped me tremendously in the mental aspects of weight loss. The exercises it leads me through have helped me in so many ways.

ElanaRose
06-04-2010, 03:36 PM
I keep my head in the game :) Plain and simple. Today, I was in class and my teacher starts passing around (*gulp*) muffins!!! While some kids were taking three because there was like an unlimited supply, I politely declined and continued watching Degrassi. It's the small victories that make a difference. Plus I now know that tonight I can have my Skinny Cow/WW ice cream treat because I work it in, and I usually like my sweets at night.