Wait! … Loss?

Weight loss and you.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been there: You’ve eaten right, you’ve eaten less, you’ve busted your butt exercising and you still haven’t been able to effectively lose weight. You’re not alone in this either. Many of my patients present with difficulty changing their composition, despite many sincere and powerful efforts to do so. There are many reasons why weight loss is complicated, but there’s something special about the success stories that exist: they all lose weight when they’re focused on another aspect of their health, and the weight loss comes secondary.

Environmental Medicine

Why do these people have success stories? Well, first I have to describe how our minds and bodies manage stress. When we’re stressed or overworked we feel a certain way: tired, wired, lethargic, and wanting to eat anything full of carbs and fat. (hello french-fries!) This is largely because cortisol is coursing through us as our primary stress hormone. In situations of perceived stress, cortisol allows us to have stronger muscle-twitch and acquire/ conserve energy effectively: things we would want if we were in a fight or flight state. It can also make you hangry and cranky. More relative to weight loss, cortisol gets our bodies breaking down muscle and storing fat. What do you think happens when you’re stressing about having to lose some weight?

Loss is stressful.

The key here is stress. When you’re stressed, good luck losing weight. The trouble is that it’s hard to not feel stress when you’re pressuring yourself to change or when changing everything around you: your eating habits, avoiding things you used to love, time with family. When you decide to make truly positive change for yourself, you no longer have to grieve losing things in your life. People who decide they want better for themselves and seek health usually shed some pounds as a part of their healthy progression. In many ways, perspective is everything: Thinking about your body as not good enough and grinding it into what you want it to be is a recipe for stress response. Loving your body and wanting better for it typically yields good results.

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