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Guilt and Weight Loss

Weight Loss — "It's a War, Not a Battle"

If you've tried and tried to commit to weight-loss goals, you're probably perturbed at what you think is holding you back. Stop blaming all the external factors that manage to get in the way and start considering that your internal dialogue might be affecting your progress. Dr. Michael Friedman, clinical psychologist and EHE International advisory board member, explained that whether they say it or not, many people believe that "if you feel badly about your body, it will motivate you to change." The truth is, this guilt is self-sabotage.

In the "doughnut study," researchers found that women who received a positive message after eating a doughnut ate less candy than the other participants. Treating yourself with compassion is a great start, said Dr. Friedman, but it's important to realize that sometimes you eat more than anticipated. "[Weight loss] is a war, it’s not a battle . . . don't get discouraged if you lose a battle."

Begin to think of weight management as something that happens over the course of a lifetime. There's no quick fix, and there will be times when you'll overdo it, skip workouts, and generally fall off your healthy path. The important thing is to come back to center with compassion for yourself, without guilty feelings, and keep moving forward. For many, embarking on a healthy lifestyle translates to huge (and sometimes scary) changes.

To help with this, Dr. Friedman asks clients to embark on several changes until they find "that one big thing" that works best for them. "If you’re a musician and you do an album, you don’t know what song is the one that everyone’s going to really think is great." For some people, "releasing a full album" — or making a bunch of changes at once — is a better approach than making one small change at a time. Take a good look at your past attempts at weight loss, and start to recognize what hasn't worked. From there, come up with a fresh game plan you can commit to.

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