Did you know that the weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry? Did you also know that the rates of obesity are on the rise and are at an all time high? What is happening and why aren’t people being helped to make permanent changes to their health? I think I have some answers.
Here are some of the misconceptions of the “weight loss industry” that you should be aware of.
- You need to go “ON” a DIET and restrict yourself to lose weight. Think back to how many diets you have been on and off? Maybe 10-20? How successful were they for you? How many times do you come across an ad claiming “lose 10 lbs in 10 days”? To boot, they tell you Jennifer Aniston does this diet and this is the reason she looks good. So you think to yourself, “OK, let’s do this! More motivation to eat celery and protein all day if I can look like Jennifer Aniston!” But Remember this truth, anytime you go ON a diet, you are going to come OFF a diet. Then what? Most people who go on restrictive diets and lose weight initially, find themselves eventually gaining the weight back and more! The weight finds them again, taking them back to square one, trying to find the next “quick fix” to lose it again. Most people are filled with guilt, shame, failure and regret. Let me tell you, there are many quick fix diets out there but none are healthy and sustainable. This type of dieting is called yo-yo dieting. It is actually more harmful for the human body and mind than being overweight. It is my mandate that lifestyle changes are the way to go. My mantra holds true, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!
- If you lose weight you will be happy. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “I am depressed because I am overweight. If I just lose 10 lbs I will be happy”. The 10 lbs comes off and I ask people if they are any happier? They usually respond “not as much as I thought”. Why is this? Because your physical appearance is one thing. Your life, marriage, family, career, living situation and thoughts about these things don’t change because you lost some weight. Some people have more confidence as a result of weight loss, but at the core, they are unchanged and their environment tends to remain the same. I advise my patients to get happy first, and weight loss will happen as a result with very little effort.
- You need WILL POWER to lose weight. So here is the truth. Yes will power can help get you started, but something stronger than our will to lose weight are the thoughts and beliefs that we have about ourselves. Over the long run, it is our beliefs and thoughts that win the battle over will power. Our beliefs and thoughts strongly influence our behavior. The behaviour may be to restrict food, binge eat, sit on the couch all day, give up or try harder. If someone has a very negative self image and at their core they tell themselves “I am fat, I am worthless” and believe that they never succeed at anything, no amount of will power will help them lose the weight they desire. Your self-image, thoughts and beliefs must be in alignment with your desire for success to happen.
- Your emotions don’t matter when it comes to weight loss. This is not something that is talked about often enough. In the media, there is a lot of emphasis on food control and exercise techniques. But what about the emotions that underlie one’s ability to eat well, make healthy choices and move their body? I am a firm believer that if you carry emotional weight, this will drive you to eat and sooner or later, this will manifest as physical weight. So emotions play a huge role in helping you lose weight. No diet that I ever went on asked me to look at why I eat or how to heal my emotions.
- It’s your hormones not you! Ok so we know that hormonal fluctuations can increase weight gain around the abdomen and thighs, especially estrogen in women. We also know that people who have higher stress have increased abdominal weight due to higher than normal cortisol levels. Now here is the thing– these hormones don’t just show up in our bodies and start spiking for no reason. Our brain controls these hormones. We have total control over our brains. Yes we do! Most people don’t stop to think about the thoughts they feed their body each day. Hear me out again. You have the CHOICE to choose positive thoughts or negative ones. If you choose negative, then your hormones will be reflective of thoughts of fear, stress, anxiety, depression, etc. So in a nut shell, you can control your hormones by controlling your thoughts and behaviours. This last remark is for the menopausal women who say, “well after I hit menopause all this weight came on and I can’t take it off”. If that is a belief you have then that will be true for you always. Change your thoughts, change your body.
- Your body needs a pill or supplement to lose weight. Did you know that the body has an amazing ability to heal itself and find balance naturally? The weight loss industry does a good job of making you feel like you can’t achieve a healthy weight unless you do something drastic or take something to help. Did you also know that most of the claims supplements/drug companies make are falsified and not clinically researched? This is disheartening and can lead to negative health consequences. I fell into this trap when I took fat burners to help me burn fat faster. Did it work? NO! It gave me anxiety which in turn made me want to eat more. How about garcinia cambogia? In 2009, the FDA warned everyone to stop taking it because people were developing serious liver problems. I wouldn’t want that for myself, but some people are so desperate to fit into a size 2 they will risk their lives! Ads and infomercials tell you that you need to take something to help you lose weight. WRONG! Stop looking outside yourself and I urge you to look within. Start by asking yourself some personal questions. Explore your behaviours, beliefs and self image. Ask yourself why you have these thoughts about yourself? You have all the answers and your body has all the tools it needs to bring you back to health and balance.
Why am I so passionately about writing about this? Many years ago, I struggled with my weight and was desperately searching for ways to lose weight. I tried all sorts of diets– liquid diets, no carb diets, diet pills, over-exercising, etc. NOTHING worked because they were too restrictive, unhealthy and quite frankly, I was looking in the wrong places. When I began to look “within”, I realized what I needed. It wasn’t products or strict diets. It was self-love, respect and happiness. I started an exploration within myself which involved addressing my emotions, thoughts, limiting beliefs, and poor self-image. Through a process, I ultimately created a healthier environment within myself. My outer reality began to reflect my inner loving self. Weight loss happened almost immediately and effortlessly without much concern about food. It truly was a remarkable experience and I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it is to not concern myself with weight issues. I want the same for you! It is my mission to help you achieve a healthy mind, body and soul.
If you would like to lose weight for good and explore the root cause of your weight gain, please send an email to: [email protected]. I have a program that I can offer you which can change your life and end your struggles with weight forever!
Dr. Jen Cisternino, ND