This is a special requested topic from a very sweet listener. She asked me what I thought about the shame and fear that comes with being overweight and either having or being at risk for more health issues. As you know, fear, shame, and worry can be killers for permanent weight loss. So on today’s podcast we are going to discuss what we can do if those feelings come up, especially if they derail us into unhealthy choices.
If you look it up online, you will find that the list of medical conditions that are linked to being overweight or obese is staggeringly high. Then there is an entire other list of medical conditions that are exasperated by being over the suggested health BMI range. Doctors, studies, and statistics aside, our own common sense knows that being overweight doesn’t feel good. We become slower, have less energy, and more aches and pains.
So, yes, fighting for healthy changes is worth it, but I want to ask you what fuels your fight? Love? Or fear? In order to wrap your brain around this, we are going to step into a completely different scenario.
I’m a school teacher. Right now I am teaching high school English and elementary art and music. I love my job. It’s busy, fun, and the kids are amazing. Every once in a while you’ll run into a student who is super high achieving. It might be that they are naturally good at their academics and enjoy challenges, or they might have high aspirations and want the grades and skills needed for a desired career or future. Then there is a third group of children that perform because of pressures at home. They get great grades and are possibly involved in other activities because they fear the disapproval or anger of their loved ones. What you see is that the kids who enjoy the academics or are driven to reach their dreams will keep going even when it is hard. But often the kids who are driven by fear will reach their cracking point, or, the moment they move away from home, they might go off the rails.
That makes sense, right? So, what happens when you are the person who is fighting for better health out of fear and shame? The problem is, that you are also responsible for keeping the heat up so that you keep pushing yourself forward. For those high-achieving kids whose parents are the ones who push them forward with high expectations, they have a powerful and constant force and those kids either keep going or they break. But if you expect yourself to lose weight out of that fear YOU are going to have to keep pushing. And, to be honest, it isn’t very realistic to keep going out of fear. Too quickly will come the day where your need for comfort outweighs your fear.
Now, the knowledge of your health conditions and risks can still fuel your loving need to take care of yourself. In this scenario, you become the kid that is pushing themselves forward because they want to reach their hopes and dreams. They can visualize the life they are fighting for and they can probably equally visualize the life in which they gave up before reaching their goals. They want better things for themselves. It is exciting and full of hope. They are looking for the next step forward. Yes, there are days that it is really hard and they will have a lapse or fall-downs but they get up again. They are their own cheerleaders.
We want to be the one fighting for our future and our best life. That is what God wants for us. God has never wanted for us a life where our temptations destroy our health. But, I also want to comfort you with the knowledge that He has great plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11).
So, if you are struggling with shame and fear, I have some very practical next steps for you.
#1, Get very clear on why you want to get healthy. List all the benefits and all your hopes.
#2, Get very clear on what your goal is. Do you want to put some healthy habits in place? Is there a number on the scale you want to reach? Is there a fitness level you want to get to, such as being able to run a race or complete an exercise circuit at the gym?
#3, Share your goal and your reasons for getting healthy with your friends, loved ones, spouses—whoever will be there to give you love, support, and accountability.
#4, Identify resources you can utilize in your journey.
#5, Make a plan to revisit your reasons and your goal often. Write it down and post it on the bathroom mirror, on the inside of your planner, or on the refrigerator door.
I want to give a special thanks to the sweet listener who was vulnerable, honest, and courageous enough to show me what was going on in her head and heart. Her struggle is a common one and I am honored to share it with you here on the podcast.
If you want some health or advice about where to get started as you make some health changes, go ahead and take the quiz. With your results you’ll be given some powerful next-steps and some popular episodes from my podcast that encourage you in your journey.
All my love to you, sweet sister. I’ll talk to you later.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.