This month marks my first official duties as a Consulting Counselor for the National Exchange for Weight-Loss Resistance, or NEWLR for short, so the issues of weight and weight-loss have been on my mind a lot in preparing for my role. From the stories of the people who have found the NEWLR site and from my work with clients, I wanted to share some of what I have learned about the differences between people who successfully lose weight and those who chronically struggle.
Most everyone is aware by now of the health risks associated with obesity (technically classified as having a BMI of 30 or more), but sometimes these facts aren't enough, or only add to the guilt and difficulty for people. Approaching weight-loss from the mental and emotional aspects first is often the solution.
In the book, Weight Perfect, Dr. Mary O'Brien discusses not only the biological and physical differences among people trying to lose weight, but also the psychological ones that we don't usually consider. She writes, "Personality is sometimes overlooked, but it influences our behavior in important ways." She describes how our personality traits can strengthen the motivation to exercise, choose healthier foods, avoid fatty and fast foods, and limit portion sizes.
Even if you weren't born with the most helpful traits for weight-loss, you can learn to develop them. The most important ones that Dr. O'Brien cites (and that I have found in my work) are "having a positive attitude" and "being mindful of what you eat." Of course, becoming more active and exercising are key habits to develop, too. People who successfully lost and kept weight off for more than a year were good at "self-monitoring," according to Dr. O'Brien, meaning that they were good at gathering information, considering their options, and being objective about their food choices. They didn't allow emotions and stress overcome their decisions to do what was good for them.
So if weight-loss is something you are struggling with and you haven't seen the results you would like, consider approaching it from the inside out instead and stop focusing on the scale for a while. Remember that no matter what your weight-loss goal, whether it's 5 or 105 pounds, you are dealing not just with pounds, fat, and calories, but also with all the emotional and social "weight" that comes along for the ride. Try developing the traits Dr. O'Brien describes, and see if it makes a difference in your life.