Thursday, July 11, 2013

Words of Encouragement for People who Struggle with Weight

Encouragement for People who Struggle with Weight
Have you worked for years to lose or gain the same pounds again and again? Do you struggle to make and achieve fitness goals? Have you tried diet and/or exercise plans that seem to work for others but miserably fail for you? Are you discouraged and feeling like giving up? Do you feel like Clark Griswold after spending countless hours stringing Christmas lights only to be ridiculed by others?

You are not alone.

Fitness is a lifelong pursuit, but it is a difficult road for many of us. Although I am a group exercise instructor, I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. I'll admit I have cried when shopping for clothes at times. I have been asked when I was expecting when I wasn't and voiced responses to concerns about my size even when I was a normal weight because people thought I was underweight.

I haven't gone to the double-blind research studies to give citations on this blog post. I haven't spent hours researching the topic. I've simply survived. I have found many things that haven't worked for me. I've seen too many people drop out of exercise classes due to discouragement, frustration, and the feeling that their exercise efforts are not making a difference.

Here are a few words of encouragement for any of you who struggle to lose or gain weight.

#1 Don't let a number on a scale define your worth.

Perhaps your size might dictate what size clothes to purchase or what size seat would be comfortable, but your weight does not determine who you are. If you are tempted to beat yourself up because you feel that you are worthless, shift your gaze to how you treat other people and how you treat yourself. You are unique, special, and you have something to offer the world and yourself. Discover your own personal passions and begin to spend time developing those skills and sharing your gifts with others.

#2 If others treat you badly because of your size, that is their problem...not yours.

Sometimes life is not fair. You might be passed over for opportunities because of your appearance, but those people will probably never acknowledge that attitude. You might be tempted to withdraw due to looks or gestures that other people make in your direction, but try to realize that those people are probably carrying around quite a bit of their own mental baggage. Don't let other people's negative attitudes create a negative attitude in you. Look for and nurture friendships with people who like you for who you are. Everyone can benefit from genuine compassion.

#3 Give yourself permission to be human while treating yourself with respect.

It is hard for other people to like you when you do not like yourself. Do what it takes to find something good about yourself and refuse to treat yourself disrespectfully. Many of us are tempted to treat ourselves much worse than we would treat our worst enemy. Try healthy outlets such as writing, relaxing, exercising, drawing, painting, playing an instrument, singing, etc. If you struggle with depression and self-destructive behaviors, explore options with your healthcare provider and be open to his or her suggestions.

#4 Develop a plan for the future.

Set goals that are achievable, specific, and dated. Goals might be as simple as "I am going to smile three times a day for the next week" or "I will walk 20 minutes/day for five days/week this month." Write it down and develop a way to evaluate how you are doing. Make a back-up plan, not because you plan to fail but because you want to create a plan for getting right back on track and moving forward if you slip. If you have focused solely on pounds in the past, consider other measurements or simply focus on personality goals – you might find that if you care for your inner self and see improvement in other areas that you might then be able to focus on and achieve other goals. Evaluate the plan, make revisions, and continue to move forward realizing that even if you make mistakes, learning from those mistakes can be a move in the right direction.

A physician might be able to offer options that you might not realize are available and may discover issues that might be triggering the weight fluctuations. If you are having trouble with weight gain or loss, it may be helpful to make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss concerns.

I am as imperfect as they come and do not have all of the answers, but I do care. Hang in there and never give up.

Readers might also wish to read:
Find more of Katrena's articles at the Fit Tips 4 Life site map.

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