How to lose weight for good: Follow the pain!
This week I did a curious thing. I paid a woman to find the most painful, tender parts of my body and work her elbow into them. It was painful and I walked away bruised and sore. Afterwards, I paid her my hard earned money and thanked her, promising to return in future. Why would I do that?
I'm not one of those people who likes pain in case you were wondering. I was with my sports massage therapist. I chose this particular one because she is good at finding the root of the discomfort and when she finds it she works on it until the problem is gone. It's a sore process at times and I'm grateful there's not a camera filming my facial expressions while she massages me (although that would make for entertaining viewing).
Many people would opt to apply less pressure to something that feels painful. It makes sense doesn't it? If it hurts and it doesn't feel nice then why not leave it alone? That way you don't need to feel the pain. No pain, no problem and no one like likes feeling pain.
However, I actively seek out this therapist because she knows that the part that hurts is causing me long term discomfort and only by working on that can I feel better in the long run. Don't get me wrong, she's talented enough to vary her approach if something is unbearably sore but I have never had to ask her to adapt anything. It also helps that I accept that if I can bear the temporary soreness and discomfort, I know that I will feel much better for it in the long term. The same idea applies to addressing the reasons behind overeating.
Face the pain of overeating
Sometimes, when I am meeting new people and they ask what I do the conversation turns to weight loss. I'm always very careful about that conversation as I know it can make people uncomfortable. It's not unusual to see people shift their body language and become self-conscious regardless of their size. Occasionally, you even see people well up a little bit.
You will have had had this feeling yourself regardless of whether it's about your weight or anything else that makes you feel a little defensive. Maybe you've felt it in a group when someone talks about weight loss, maybe it's when you see a holiday photo or look in the mirror or perhaps it's when you hear a certain comment or remark. I think we all know this feeling of being a little sensitive to something. Whatever it is that causes you to feel that sting of discomfort or sadness I would like to give you one piece of advice above all the others. Embrace that feeling!
Don’t run from it. Don't ignore it. Don't dismiss it. It isn't going away.
Face it, follow it and overcome it.
It's a matter of choosing your hard.
People who want to lose weight have usually experienced plenty of emotional pain, embarrassment or shame in the past so their main emotional driver is to avoid as much discomfort as possible. That's perfectly understandable.
Dealing with the things that feel hurtful is hard and uncomfortable. In fact, it may feel outright horrible. On the other hand ignoring the issue and not being happy with something doesn't feel good either.
The question is, would you rather walk around for years carrying a low-level of manageable discomfort or would you rather feel a higher level of discomfort in the short term but then address it for good? It's a tough question and only you know the answer.
Just as I walked around with tight muscles for weeks, maybe months before finally facing the problem, I see people walk around with the same emotional problems at a manageable level for years.
They are happy to keep managing the situation year after year, perhaps by avoiding the topic, making excuses, not having their photo taken, making jokes or whatever it takes to cope with the situation at the time. They chose to cope with each situation as it arises instead of dealing with the underlying problem. It comes down to this:
Usually, people chose to manage an uncomfortable feeling because in the short term it feels easier. Perfectly understandable for anyone who has already been feeling rubbish. They do this until they reach breaking-point and decide they can't put up with the effort of managing it any more and they commit to finally dealing with it for good.
Typically, when they finally face up to the problem, it hurts but they push through it and when they come out the other side they look back and realise that actually dealing with the problem wasn't nearly as bad as the idea of dealing with with the problem. Afterwards, they always say that it was tough but they were glad they acted and that they will never look back. Often they ask themselves "why didn't I do this sooner?".
Follow the pain
That feeling of discomfort is telling you something needs to be addressed. Listen to it. Face up to it. The thing that hurts is the thing that is causing long term discomfort and only by working on that will the problem go away. It's not pleasant at the time but you'll be glad you did.
So next time you feel that pang of discomfort or have that urge to move the subject on, acknowledge that feeling and explore it. The reality is never as bad as the you imagine it to be.
I was overweight for years but the act of losing the weight took mere months once I truly faced up to the problem. Like the after affects of my massage, the initial pain subsided and it was worth the short term discomfort to have the problem sorted. Now I'm free to just get on with my day to day life and enjoy doing other things.
Over to you
What are your thoughts?
How do you react when you notice yourself feeling defensive?
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