How much time do you spend thinking about your weight?
If you're overweight and fed up with being overweight, then probably you think about it a lot. And the vast majority of these thoughts will be negative and self-critical.
Many of my clients are women who are successful in every area of their life, and yet because they're overweight, they find their mind clogged up with negative thoughts.
These thoughts are based around:
"Why can't I figure this out?"
"What's wrong with me?"
And a common one in the age group of women I see in my clinic is: "I'm going to grow old and fat".
And there is a strong undercurrent of self-blame. Usually it relates to a perception that they lack willpower. I often hear clients describe themselves as "greedy".
But how helpful is this self-criticism? Does it really help you? Has it helped you so far?
I have heard of clients lying awake at night cursing themselves for their inability to manage their weight. Is this really the foundation of successfully overcoming this problem?
Castigating yourself doesn't make you want to lose weight any more than before. It just makes you miserable.
Now, let me be clear here; telling you to stop blaming yourself is not the same as absolving you of all responsibility.
I think you should take full responsibility for your health. But just cut back on the self-blame. Self-blame is a distraction. It doesn't help.
Here are five tips for ridding yourself of self-blame:
1. Remember that being overweight is a common problem
2/3 of the population in the UK and US are overweight. In other words, most people are struggling with their weight. You're definitely not alone.
2. Stop depriving yourself to lose weight
Starving yourself is never going to be a long-term solution to your weight. The deprivation intensifies cravings and the unpleasantness and feeling of missing out and will make you want to give up.
When you think that weight loss is painful, you will naturally not want to do it, and then feel bad that you're not taking the necessary steps to lose weight.
Instead of drastic deprivation, make small changes to your eating that don't feel depriving. This will feel much easier to do.
Always think of changing habits rather than dieting.
3. Go easy on yourself
I'm sure you might want to lose all your excess weight in a few weeks, but this is not realistic. Instead, set a smaller goal and be gentle with yourself.
As long as you can keep your motivation up, losing weight a bit slower is not going to be a problem in the long-run.
4. Find others to encourage you
If you're losing weight slowly but steadily, the biggest danger is losing focus or motivation.
A friend or family member who can help you keep on track is invaluable.
Slimming groups can also be very motivating. But a downside is if other members are more overweight than you, it can create complacency.
5. Remove temptation instead of resisting it
How do you eat a chocolate cake if it's not there? You can't.
Most people waste time trying to fight temptation and then beat themselves up when they fail. A much easier alternative is to not keep it there in the first place.
Lose the self-blame
Feeling more miserable and down on yourself will not make your weight loss easier or more likely to happen.
You don't need to wallow in self-blame. Instead, take responsibility for making positive changes to your habits.