The “I feel fat” trap
How often have you been 2/3 days into a diet and caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror - only to feel fat - deciding in that moment “what’s the point of this diet - I’m fat anyway - I might as well give up”. Or how often have you tried to put on some old clothes, found they don’t fit - felt awful...and then eaten some cake, biscuits and pizza just to make yourself feel better?
So many people fall into the “I feel fat” trap. This is a vicious cycle where you feel bad about your body and your weight and then to make yourself feel better you turn to your favourite coping mechanism...yep...food (and usually super unhealthy food - I have never heard of anyone turning to broccoli to cope). As long as you continue to feel bad about yourself and your body - making any changes to the very thing that you are unhappy about is very difficult. You may punish yourself into sticking to a diet for a little while but as soon as you have a moment of self-doubt - maybe you weigh yourself, maybe you go clothes shopping, or maybe you just catch a glimpse of your bingo wings in the mirror - you may just feel fed-up, throw in the towel ...and comfort eat yourself better!
So what is the solution to freeing yourself from the “I feel fat” trap - to stop focusing on your weight. You really can’t actually lose weight until you stop obsessing about it and how much you hate your body. The more you think about and worry about your weight, the harder it will actually be to lose any! So what can you do instead:
- Go out and live life: when you are focussed on your hobbies, spending time with loves ones, travelling etc. (as long as these don’t involve lots of baking or eating) - you will have your mind on things other than your weight. Just make sure you aren’t trapping yourself indoors, avoiding doing things because you don’t feel good about yourself.
- Focus on eating to be healthy rather than eating to be thinner: take the spotlight off your weight completely. Make food choices because they will support your long-term health rather than anything else.
- Be kinder to yourself: stop talking to yourself so negatively and stop being so critical of your body. Rather than focusing on what your body looks like, focus on what your body enables you to do e.g. walk, dance, have children, work etc. We often taken our bodies and everything they can do for granted - they really are wonderful things.
- Stop weighing yourself: as you weigh yourself regularly you just get more and more obsessed with your weight.
- Allow yourself to build a vision for your future that has nothing to do with your weight - e.g. don’t say, I’ll start dating once I’ve lost weight, or I’ll move jobs once I’m thinner ....just go out and start doing that stuff right now! You can give your weight so much power when you are putting your life on hold for it - and strangely enough this will actually stop you from achieving your health and weight goals.
So stop thinking about your weight, stop worrying about your body - go out there and do things you enjoy and build a vision for your future that you can get excited about (and the weight will just drop off, without you even having to think about it).
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay