Have you ever noticed a repetitive, nagging voice in your head, chattering incessantly about your weight? Maybe it obsesses with guilt-ridden thoughts over what you’ve just eaten, or maybe it’s laser-focused on why your body isn’t the “right” size, catching every possible reflection of itself as you walk around the house.
If the voice inside your head isn’t speaking to you with kindness, it’s likely to turn into a vicious cycle that does more damage than good in your weight loss journey.
Here’s how the vicious cycle works:
If so, you’re not alone – scientific studies have shown that one dominant factor contributing to weight loss struggles is this exact vicious cycle.
The shame part is especially powerful, and can be intensified by outside factors, including societal prejudices, lack of support from friends/family, lack of support from primary care physicians, having grown up with a hypercritical parent, etc.
Ways Out of the Vicious Cycle
What’s the way out of this cycle? The overarching answer is mindfulness, or put more simply, presence.
During the vicious cycle, you’re anxious about the future (preoccupied with what you’ll eat or what you can’t eat, how much weight you have to lose, etc.) and depressed/shamed about the past (upset about how much you ate, the quality of food you ate/drank, etc.)
The key to escaping this cycle is being mindful – being focused solely on the present.
There are a number of resources included below to help you begin and amplify your mindfulness practice, including meditations, books and podcasts. Note, though, that being mindful can be part of your every moment, every day. One of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, wrote this quote:
"For example, [when] you wash your hands, feel the water. Smell the soap. Becoming acutely conscious of sense perception means looking, hearing, touching. It brings you into the present moment."
It’s about treating each moment as precious, rather than as a means to an end. Enjoy the process of chopping vegetables, of washing your body in the shower, etc. with your full presence.
Besides incorporating presence in your everyday life, as Tolle recommends, there are some other ways that mindfulness can help you escape from this vicious cycle:
The resources below are all focused on mindfulness, which will help you continue to break ties to the vicious cycle of weight struggles.
What else would you add to this list? Share your favorite resources in comments below! If you need more one-on-one guidance, reach out to us directly – we’d love to help.