You Are Not Alone
By Amita Gosh, MS MEd LPCC
With new successes come new challenges. More than any other fear, people are concerned with gaining part or all of their weight back, thereby erasing their progress. They worry that one day they will wake up in the same body they had before they lost weight for all the world to see.
That dread is more pronounced and perhaps more appropriate for those who are struggling to lose weight or who have hit a plateau. In other words, they don’t know what the future holds and they’re dealing with it up as they go. Throw in all the temptations of returning to their old eating habits and you get extreme pressure to lose weight fast and keep it off permanently. The result: Many people are only one weight gaining episode away from a meltdown, even if they’ve successfully lost a lot of weight in the past.
This is why it is important that we approach weight loss as the beginning of a lifetime journey towards a healthier and happier self. We need to plan for and support the changes we are making for a new and healthy life style. Our attitude is crucial to our success. It is important to reach out and get support from friends and family before, during and after weight loss. Most of us don’t realize that the most challenging part of our weight loss journey is ahead of us. We need to ensure that we have a solid support system in place. Here’s how:
Personal Support: If our self-care is lacking, nothing can replace it. Many of us still follow a self-neglectful or self-berating pattern. Being mindful of our self-talk, and replacing critical messages with encouraging and consoling ones can go a long way. This not only puts us in a positive state of mind, it can also change our patterns of emotional eating. Having an open and honest discussion with close family members, explaining how important it is for us to stay healthy and asking for their support up front, enables us to stay on track. Their support may prevent possible sabotage of our weight loss goal as well as ensure we hold ourselves accountable.
Support Groups: Most bariatric weight loss programs have support groups that give patients an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. In these groups you learn that weight loss will not immediately resolve existing emotional issues or heal the years of damage that obesity might have inflicted on our emotional well-being. These support groups can assist us with short-term and long-term questions and needs, including the most effective exercise and nutrition programs. Ongoing support helps produce the greatest level of success for those trying to lose weight and maintaining it.
Other Supports: Research and identify different sources of support you can utilize on your weight loss journey. These may be on-line support groups, books and lectures, daily meditation and guided journaling on how to stay on-track. Don’t let the lack of a convenient in-person support group get in the way of your success.