The Missing Part of Most Weight Loss Programs
Holiday season is upon us and the new year is right around the corner. You know what that means – weight loss advertisements! You’ll soon be hearing those familiar phrases. Phrases about shedding holiday pounds and starting the new year off right. Ads will centre around gym memberships, diet programs and a few supplements.
Now, I have nothing against many weight loss programs. Many are based on sound principles for weight loss – a good diet and workout plan. I just wish more programs addressed one key thing that stands in the way of weight loss for so many people: the mind.
Most of my patients know what they should be eating to lose weight. Most know how much they should be exercising. It’s often something deeper than a simple lack of willpower or time that stands in their way. For many, it’s hard to do the things they know they should do because their mind is not in a good place.
The reality is that it’s hard to get up and make yourself a healthy meal when you don’t even feel like getting out of bed to face the day. It’s hard to spend thirty minutes at the gym when your mind is scolding you about other worries you “should” be focusing on instead. Food – especially junk food – can be a major comfort when you’re feeling down. Feeling down, stressed or anxious is a major barrier to getting in shape.
You can tell yourself that you HAVE to cut the sweets after work no matter what, but the mind is a powerful thing. If it’s not happy it doesn’t make the best choices. When it comes time to make that healthy choice it can easily overpower your “have-to’s”.
Then there’s the other dilemma. You’ve had some success with weight loss, but it didn’t last long. You were on a roll, then eventually your mind got in a funk and you started comfort eating to soothe your worries. Or you started not feeling in the mood to go to the gym. The weight went back up.
This is why it is so important to get your mind in the right place before or while starting any weight loss mission. Treat your low mood. Treat your anxiety. Treat your chronic stress. Don’t ignore these things and only focus on the body. Treating these issues is what will enhance your weight loss efforts. Treating them will make the results last.
I treat these issues of the mind with herbs, nutrients, lifestyle changes and acupuncture. I watch my patients transform with this care. They begin to feel more excited about their lives and about taking care of themselves. It becomes easier to make those choices to follow that healthy diet and exercise plan. The weight begins to come off, but they also feel like they are thriving in other areas of their life too.
So, this time around when you’re making weight loss or healthy lifestyle resolutions don’t only think about your body. Give your mind some love as well.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].