“What you might not know you don’t know” Topic #2: Weight Loss

Hi again! Today’s “what you might not know you don’t know about your body” topic is a controversial one! If you missed yesterday’s post on Knee Pain you can find it here, or if you haven’t read the background on why I’m doing these posts you can read that here. Hope you enjoy today’s nugget!

Weight loss is obviously an astoundingly pervasive topic in health & wellness, medicine, and sports performance. Certainly the consequences and risk factors of carrying extra weight are well understood, and all of us feel better and perform our best at our own “set point” that our bodies determine is right at that given moment.

Constantly feeling stressed about your weight can actually be the factor keeping the weight from falling off.

Constantly feeling stressed about your weight can actually be the factor keeping the weight from falling off.

Sadly this is also one of the most distorted areas of health & fitness – this shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone. The media is absolutely toxic in how it portrays the ideal body image and the ideal diet, leaving nearly everyone feeling inadequate and overloaded with advice and promises about what new diet will work for them.

In fact the whole concept of “dieting” is deeply flawed from the outset – bound to have people invest their time, money, and hope in short term, unsustainable, often calorie-restrictive diets from which the vast majority of people regain weight quite quickly (but as pure fat instead of the fat and muscle that they lost). 

So if you’re feeling a bit depressed now, I apologize. But I truly hope that anyone pursuing a weight loss goal is not simply following the latest popular diet – you need to know that there’s such a better way! 

In working with clients with weight loss goals, I’ve been amazed at how well-researched and well intentioned they usually are – otherwise they probably wouldn’t be seeking me out. Additionally, the people who typically come to see me have tried a lot of things and are frustrated, which is when the “holistic” approach tends to catch their attention.

So my role with any of these amazing, courageous clients is not to provide more information or tell them about the latest superfood or supplement that will keep them in the same cycle of looking for external solutions. Instead, what they often don’t know they don’t know is that weight loss is about so much more than diet and exercise. For sure those are important, but on their own they often fail despite people’s best efforts. It’s far too broad of a topic to really go into in a short post, but essentially people need to understand that their bodies are holding onto the weight for a reason, and often this comes down to the nervous system.

Anyone who is chronically stressed (ironically enough, this stress can even be about the extra weight, as cruel as that is) will have a very difficult time losing or keeping weight off.

Chronic stress can create an internal physiological state that doesn’t allow you to achieve the waistline you’re shooting for.

A stressed out nervous system creates all sort of dysregulation in the body and effectively creates a survival mode where it seems safest to keep some extra fat on us. Remember that our nervous systems are rookies at living in the modern world – stress still signals to them that we might not get to eat for a very long time, not that our Instagram post didn’t get any likes because we looked “fat”. Here we could go into tons of detail about the role of cortisol and the thyroid in metabolism, but hopefully this basic concept already makes sense.

So the answer is simple, right? Just don’t be stressed. Problem solved. Yeah not so much, especially if that source of stress is highly intertwined with the actual weight itself…

Working with stress and anxiety is another extremely popular topic certainly worthy of another post in the coming week. So until then, I’ll leave with you with the encouragement to get curious about your body and what it’s doing – appreciating that everything it’s doing is to try and protect you. 

Hopefully if you’re feeling frustrated about your weight loss attempts and you haven’t looked into your nervous system health yet, you now have a new door open in front of you. Because once you get back in tune with your body and build a healthy relationship with the food that you eat and why you eat it, everything can change for you. The days of punishing and restricting your body because you’re not happy with it can come to an end once and for all 🙂

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments! This is a super broad topic and there is so much more involved than what I can share in a single post, so if I’ve left you confused I would be happy to clarify anything I can.

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