What would you say if I told you that the reality of being slim can be scary and therefore we sometimes resort to being fat, either regaining weight or holding onto our extra weight?
You might respond that it's a load of bananas- most people who are overweight would like to be slim. We imagine we would be lighter, healthier and happier. We would be able to buy nice clothes and feel more confident in our bodies. After all, we are bombarded with images and messages every day, whereby slimness is presented as the ideal. If you can just lose those last twenty pounds, you will have it all: the perfect marriage, loving children, great sex, and a rewarding career. What's not to like?
But many people unconsciously fear being slim. Because if you are slim you are expected to fit the norm, to be and to act a certain way. Here are some classic examples from Heyday clients about what they didn't like about being slim and why, in the past, many have regained lost weight:
• "There were too many expectations. I felt too admired, and didn't know how to cope with the interest."
• "I felt that I commanded too much personal power and found the new confidence a bit daunting".
• "I was uncomfortable about the competitive glances thrown at me by other women. Even friends and family members were envious, and I felt uncomfortable as a result."
• "It was like I should have everything sorted out, that I had no excuse for difficulties in my life."
It is these unexpected and uncomfortable realities that can prevent many of us from losing weight and keeping it off. If you have lost weight in the past, this may be why you regained it. Weight has its purposes and advantages, and subconsciously many people fear being slim. In being slim you are exposed to what you tried to get away from by having extra weight. If you are not aware of the reality of being slim and the challenges it can bring, you might struggle to maintain a healthy weight.
Annemarie, a mum-of-two, explained to me that although she lost 42 lbs, in her mind she was still fat and felt completely unprepared for the reality of being slim, such as compliments from family and friends and male attention. She kept checking herself in the mirror, as if she couldn't quite believe that this slim body belonged to her.
The negative images associated with being slim are not always conscious. We are not always aware of them in our day-to-day lives. After all, have you ever heard a discussion on the disadvantages of being slim? Understanding the expectations that we attach to thinness is important, and it is vital that the reality of slimness and overweight are understood. This will prepare you for losing weight, and will enable you to maintain weight loss and manage life as a slim person.
This brings me to another point, and which years of beating myself up because I didn't fit into a size 8 eventually taught me: If you do not feel good about yourself when you are overweight, then you will not feel good about yourself when you are slim either. This is one of the reasons why the majority of people who lose weight regain it. They still feel bad about themselves, and changing their bodies physically does not make them like themselves any more. Learning to like yourself as you are right now is vital.
Are there certain things you are postponing or putting off doing until you have lost that extra weight? Are you waiting until you are slim before you buy yourself those new jeans? Are you waiting until you have the right body and figure before you start doing things you want to do? In other words, what are you waiting to get slim to do? This might include going to a social event, making new friends, buying new clothes. Your challenge in preparing yourself for losing weight and keeping it off!
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