22. Get Honest About Why You Want to Lose Weight
Welcome to episode 22 of the Mindful Weight Loss podcast. I am your host and your coach, Emily Erekuff and today I am talking about getting honest about why you want to lose weight.
And what inspired me to get on this topic was an interview I listened to with Martha Beck who is an amazing coach and author. She is coming out with a new book called The Way of Integrity and don't normally listen to the Goop podcast, but I heard she was on the podcast and decided to listen to her conversation with Gwyneth Paltrow about the book, and it was great. I highly recommend listening to it and I'm incredibly excited about the book.
And one thing that I learned during the interview is that in the past 5 years, Martha has done her best not to tell a single lie - like no little white lites, and no automatically saying something like "oh, I'm fine" when someone asks "how are you doing". And she says this radically changed her life and that she felt healed physically once she did this and got back into integrity with herself.
And that just really struck a chord with me and especially in regards to weight loss, because don't so many of our weight loss attempts feel like we are battling with ourselves?
Often we think of integrity in the moral sense and that someone with integrity has strong moral values and lives by them. And there's a high level of transparency and honesty there - that you are as you would seem to be. And then there's also this notion of structural integrity that comes into play which is so interesting. Structural integrity is the ability of a structure to withstand its load or serve its purpose and remain intact. A boat with structural integrity will float. A plane with structural integrity will fly. And the latin origin of integrity means wholeness, soundness, completeness.
And yet when we attempt to lose weight we feel anything but whole and complete. In fact isn't the reason we are often trying to lose weight because we feel incomplete? We feel imperfect, like there is something wrong with us. Our weight is a problem to be fixed.
And this is sort of out there conceptually, but this kind of mindset is an attack on our integrity on both the moral and the structural level. When you judge your body or your weight as flawed you are attacking your own sense of structural integrity. You are judging your body as unfit (ooh notice that pun) to serve its purpose in the world. Your overweight body is like a boat with a hole.
And because these judgements aren't true, this mindset also brings you out of that moral or spiritual integrity. When you tell yourself that your body is a problem that needs to be fixed you are lying to yourself. And strangely enough when you lie to yourself you bring yourself out of that structural integrity. You might as well have a hole in your boat, because you won't function correctly. You are trying to serve two masters and you are thus split; fractured.
And just as you can't win a war if there's infighting among the factions. You can't effectively change yourself if you are fighting with yourself. And yet this is how we try to lose weight.
We try to make ourselves do things that we don't really want to do, like skip meals, give up carbs, swear of sugar. Like part of us wants to do that, but there's another part that doesn't and that's part of why we sabotage. When we restrict ourselves we are not 100% on board.
And what I think is more pernicious is how we motivate ourselves to lose weight. That judging of ourselves as being unfit. And holy crap have you ever realized the overlap in those definitions. Straight from the dictionary, unfit refers to a person not in good physical condition or a thing not of the necessary quality or standard to meet a particular purpose. In other words unsuitable.
But deep down you know that you are anything but unsuitable. Deep down you know that your weight has nothing to do with your worth. And that's why weight loss attempts built on shame don't last. They are built on lies. They are a house of cards that will fall down as soon as someone sneezes in the next room. They just don't last. The you that knows the truth is going to call bullshit and sabotage you every single time.
And so if you want weight loss that lasts you need to get honest about why you want to lose weight. And if it stems from thinking that you or your body is somehow unsuitable or any other lie you need to reevaluate because that lie is what's going to sabotage you.
So why do you want to lose weight?
Is it to be happy? Well, guess what, weight loss isn't going to bring you happiness. That's a lie.
Is it because you want confidence or you want to feel more attractive? You know weight loss might help at first, but if you are used to feeling insecure and unattractive, you will find new flaws to focus on. Or you might just continue to see yourself as not being good enough. You know that quote I wish I was as skinny as the first time I thought I was fat? If you can identify with that, then you know you can feel "fat" and unattractive no matter what.
Is weight loss preventing you from really living your life and achieving more? No. It makes for a great excuse, but really that's another lie.
And here's the kicker that you really have to answer.
Is there anything truly wrong with your weight as it is right this moment? Can you prove in a court of law that the number 178 or 207 or 265 or any number that you might see on the scale is wrong? Aside from the stories you tell yourself, the judgements you make, is there anything really wrong. Is your body unfit to live in? And clearly if you are still living it's not.
And then you have to ask yourself do you really even want to lose weight. If you didn't consider what anybody else thought of you, would you care? And so many of us are so scared to even ask that question because we are so afraid of what other people think. What if you were content with the size you are, or what if you gained even more weight and you were fine with that? For some that doesn't even computer in our brains because all we can imagine is what other people might think. We are so afraid of judgement that we don't even allow these things to be possibilities for us.
But we have to allow those possibilities and come to see weight loss as a choice. Because if it's just forced on you by society, then you will always fight it. You will always rebel when you try to restrict your own freedom because it's out of integrity with who you are. You are free, and weight loss has to be your choice.
You have to come back into integrity with yourself if you want to lose weight for good. You have to ask yourself those hard questions and be really honest with your answers. And you've got to get rid of all those false desires so that you can find your true desire that will actually propel you towards weight loss rather than sabotage it.
And you have to admit to yourself that you are ok just as you are and that you maybe don't even want to lose weight. Because here's the crazy thing. When you let go of that desire and go after what you really want, if you really have weight to lose, weight loss is often the result.
It's kind of like magically losing weight when you fall in love. When you stop trying to lose weight in order to be happy and instead just focus on being happy, you're likely to lose weight. Or if you stop trying to lose weight in order to live your life and just start living, you're likely to lose weight without even trying.
When we try to get things via weight loss we have it backwards. Weight loss is the symptom, not the disease. You aren't confident because you weigh too much, you weigh too much because you're insecure. And if you focus on creating confidence and learning how to be confident, you will find your external reality begin to match your internal reality. When you address the real internal issue, your external reality will adjust accordingly.
And that's another key point. The why that is really going to help you lose weight is going to be something internal. It's going to be something about your core being. And it's going to be completely, totally, 100% FOR YOU. Weight loss can't be about pleasing other people or fitting in. It can't be about forcing yourself into a box. Lasting weight loss is about changing your identity and changing your sense of being.
And when you pursue that real why, you can do so from a place of integrity, from a place of wholeness and honesty. Your real why doesn't require that you judge yourself or put yourself down. You can appreciate your body and who you are and still want more from your life. We are meant to grow and change, and probably the most satisfying mindset you could have is to appreciate what you have and to be eager for more.
And the best part about identifying your real why, is that you can enjoy the journey to get there. Because when you approach weight loss from a place of integrity, again from a place of wholeness and honesty, you don't feel desperate to escape yourself. You can stand in your worth and power and be totally present to the remarkable experience of change.
Ultimately, weight loss can feel good when use it as an opportunity to grow rather than diminish ourselves. And you can begin that right now by getting back in integrity with yourself - first by acknowledging that you are perfectly ok at your current weight, and then by finding a real positive, inspiring reason to lose weight that is only for you.