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Why Do People Want to Lose Weight So Fast?

Meredith Cariski Writes...

The journey of losing weight can feel like an incessant, ticking time bomb. ⏰ I know the end goal is in a galaxy far, far away, but instead of accepting this, I want to lose weight as fast as Veruca Salt wanted her squirrel in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “I want it NOW!” she screams to her completely whipped Father. And as you may know, she did not experience a happy ending.

What’s worse, is that along with this feeling of wanting something I can’t have instantly, I feel shame.

I experience thoughts like…

I would have lost weight more quickly if I ate perfectly all the time.

It’s humiliating when I try to do yoga and can’t bend into certain positions because my stomach is in the way.

I want to be able to walk up the stairs at work without a single huff and puff, but instead it’s distressing. I should be able to do this, you know? I’m scared for my health.

It’s like every time I go to the store and go for the Ghirardelli brownie mix, I’m the worst person in the entire Multiverse. I learned in therapy how complicated shame can be in a weight loss journey. It’s like shame has completely blocked the part of me that can acknowledge that weight loss doesn’t happen when I needed to fit into that dress yesterday!!! Shame has this way of building a barricade around motivation. It truly stalls progress like a friend calling for ice cream when you’re killing it at the gym.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel with solutions to address and overcome shame. It merely takes unraveling and accessing how shame has twisted its way into my individual life. In my life, shame has my mind talking negative, illogical, self sabotage BS that I have to filter through. In fact, I have written down my twisted thoughts and fired back with glowing, positive affirmations. I repeat this positivity to myself in the mirror and it soon became a habit. Now, it doesn’t take effort to shut down my negative thinking that shame latches onto.

“You are beautiful and doing the best you can!” …And when I try on a dress that is a size 12 when I wish it fit in a size 10… “You look so sexy today, yes girl!”

In therapy, we discussed how to look beyond, well, how I looked. My identity had to be detached from my weight. And there is so much weight placed on physical appearance, especially when you commit to therapy for it. It took realizing that part of my weight wasn’t in my control to sever the attachment I had to it.

Should I be ashamed of my genetics? Absolutely friggin not! Should I be ashamed of how society idolizes stereotypes that tend to make me feel ashamed of how I look? Definitely, maybe. Which brings up a terrorizing point. My shameful imagination is fueled by not only myself, but by the judgment of others. I had to let go of what others thought of me. I had to let go of this vicious cycle going on in my head because it was adding to the circumference of my hips. Basically, I had to find my role in all of this. What can I control and how can I steer towards true body positivity? Heck, I would even go for body neutrality.

I know this is a process and that it takes time. The only way to make it feel like time is going faster is to feel more confidence and self esteem than I do shame. That’s what I try to do everyday.“Meredith, you rock!” See, easy as pie!

Brian Baumal Writes

Meredith, shame is serious business when it comes to weight loss. I think you have clearly linked shame and the desire to lose weight quickly. One of the things I often have to deal with is the fact that on average people lose 1-2 pounds a week. So someone who has 100 pounds to lose is looking at 1-2 years of work ahead of them – and people are often disappointed by that fact. I am an advocate for this rate of weight loss for numerous reasons:

· It is physically and medically healthy; · Psychologically it likely means that people are losing weight while building or maintaining a healthy relationship with food;

· It gives time to people to let life happen to them (i.e. have life throw them a curve-ball) and manage how they will eat under stress; · It took me 18 months to lose about 100-120 pounds, so my experience fits the calculus; · It gives people time to make incremental change, so that maintenance is not such a large change.

On a more psychodynamic level, shame focuses us entirely inward – and of course if we don’t like what we see when we look inside – we want to get out of there as fast as possible. With shame, we feel people are judging us, making assumptions, putting us down in their minds and rejecting us. The antidote to shame is to look outward and stay looking outward in the face of shame. That antidote is a very bitter pill to swallow. However, once you start looking outwards, I can guarantee that the shame you feel will dissolve.

Here is an experiment - Take a long look at people, whether at work, in a grocery store, at a family event. Look at your watch and spend at least two minutes looking at them (or concentrating on them at least) and wondering what they think of you during that two minutes. You may notice:

· Of the two minutes, only seconds could involve “perceived” judgment from someone else; · You may begin to judge them;

· You may realize that they are not judging you as much as you think;

· You may find some things about that person that are very positive;

· You may notice different sensations in your body that help you manage the judgement

Finally, try doing this with your therapist. Even go back to the first session – did you think your therapist was judging you? How did you manage it? Prior to meeting your therapist, did you think he/she would judge you? What did you do to break through and reach out to that therapist to find help? Can you muster that same courage as you are looking at people around you for two minutes, and does it get easier?

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