Sometimes losing weight can be a venture in frustration. It’s hard enough to lose a few pounds, and it can feel even harder when you find yourself hitting a plateau – the kind of plateau where no matter what you do or try, the number on the scale doesn’t budge. When this happens, it’s time to look beyond food. Here are four secrets to help you get unstuck with weight.
1. Change Your Exercise Routine
How do you feel about exercise? Do you love it or hate it? Do you dread it and wish more than anything that you could avoid it altogether? Time to change things up. Your relationship with exercise could have a direct impact on whether you shed pounds.
Here is a little known fact: when you approach exercise in a state of stress you inhibit your metabolism. As we learn from the field of Dynamic Eating Psychology, stress signals your body to enter into fight or flight mode.
Your cortisol levels go up and signal to your body to hold onto weight for protection. An intense dislike of exercise causes stress levels to rise every time you try to get out and move. This reinforces body shame and a sense of feeling wrong inside our bodies.
The best way to support healthy metabolism through exercise is to come from a place of joy, pleasure, ease, and choice. Exercise for the sake of moving to feel good. Let go of associating exercise with weight loss. Enjoy movement just for the pleasure of it.
To find joy in movement, consider doing something completely different, just to mix things up. The movement does not have to be intense. It simply needs to be something that you see yourself doing every day. Find some type of movement that you love, regardless of how many calories it burns.
2. Eat (Healthy) Fats
Here is a very interesting secret: a lack of healthy fats can lead to an inability to lose weight. Eating healthy fats containing essential fatty acids (EFAs) – such as olive, avocado, coconut oils, for example – does NOT mean weight gain. Our bodies need certain EFAs that the body cannot produce on its own, to keep blood sugars stable, lubricate joints, strengthen skin and hair, and provide efficient energy.
EFAs actually help the body to break down fats to use as energy. They help stabilize mood and keep hormones regulated, and therefore help our metabolism run efficiently. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which helps reduce pain, and they increase digestive ease – all of which helps keep you satiated and less likely to overeat.
3. Relax More
Believe it or not, exercise only works when it’s in balance with recuperation. The body needs recovery time from exercise. It’s in the down time that your body builds and repairs muscle tissue.
The body also needs to step into a consistent relaxation response on a daily basis. The modern world has plenty of stressors, but our bodies are not designed to endure stress in perpetuity. Rather, stress should be occasional and our default mode should be relaxation.
When your body can’t relax, it stays in a chronic state of stress, which is counterproductive to digestive function. Relaxation actually trains our metabolism to keep working. When you’re relaxed, the blood circulates more freely in your organs, allowing you to digest your food most efficiently.
4. Take A Break From Weight Loss
Here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, we advocate taking a break from weight loss. This may be hard to imagine if losing weight is something that you think about on a daily, or even hourly, basis. But if you find yourself stuck, sometimes the best thing to do is to take a complete vacation from thinking about weight!
You may have heard that stress and pressure can be counterproductive for couples trying to have a baby, but sometimes when they stop trying so hard, they conceive. The same can be true about weight loss. Sometimes we can stress ourselves out so much about needing to lose weight that the stress itself starts to get in the way of that goal.
There’s a paradoxical saying in the self-help world that the only way something can change is when we fully accept it as it is. Sometimes, the only way the body will let go of protection in the form of weight is for us to truly honor its gift of protection. It’s only when the messenger feels heard, that it can leave.
Stop the weighing, the dieting, the intense pressure, the negative self-talk, and let your body just be what it is for a few months without trying to change it. Enter into an accepting relationship with your body that communicates unconditional love, and watch your relationship with your body transform into something positive and uplifting. This just might be what you need to move forward with your weight, and with a happier life.
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