Why We Have to Lighten Up to Weigh Less

Let’s talk about lightening up…

So often we perceive that the only way to lighten up is to actually weigh less, and this is a problem because the pressure of trying to weigh less is quite possibly the heaviest experience that we can have. So it’s like we’re getting heavier to weigh less…  It’s no wonder we’re all struggling so much to feel light on our journeys to weigh less.

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If you look initially at why we want to feel lighter, it’s not so much about the physical like we think it is. We want to feel less stress, less overwhelmed, less pressure, less “to-do’s”, and less responsibilities. Because we want less on our plate, we turn this into a purely physical thing. Like I’m feeling so heavy, so bogged down, so overwhelmed, so much stuff to do and I can’t quite possibly do it all… So if I were to lighten up, physically release this weight, I would feel lighter, which would then allow me to experience life in a more efficient, productive, and lighter way.

And it’s understandable that we would think that way. The problem is that what we do to lighten up is the heaviest thing we could possibly do because we take our already frazzled, overwhelmed, stressed out, burnt out selves and bodies and we pile more “to-do’s” on it.

And even though those “to-do’s” are all mostly positive, like eating healthy food, working out, doing yoga, meditating, or whatever it is the thing that you choose…It’s just something else to add to the list.

Now logically, these are not necessarily large tasks all the time and we know logically that they would most likely make us feel better. And so it’s really challenging for our brains to have any reason why we wouldn’t do it.

Like why wouldn’t you do these things that make you feel better? Why wouldn’t you do these things that potentially cause you to lose weight? Why wouldn’t you do these things that make you feel lighter and freer and better? It’s not logical. And so when we don’t do them, we feel crazy because we know that they are helpful and healthy and in alignment with the life that we perceive would be ideal.

But if you look at your current to do list… do you really want more?

Let’s say you have a lot of downtime. So physically there’s not a lot in your schedule. That does not mean that you won’t feel overwhelmed or stressed or burnt out. Especially if you’ve been trying to change your body for many years. It’s exhausting. So even if you’re not physically doing a lot of things, your mental, emotional, spiritual side is burnt out and drained. It doesn’t want more things to do. Even weighing less which we perceive as a positive change.

And then let’s say you’re on the other side, you quite literally don’t have any downtime. You don’t even know where you’re going to fit all this stuff in. But you know, it’s important and everybody tells you you have to take care of yourself. And you’re thinking, where on earth am I supposed to fit this in? Even if I were to value it over other things, even if I were to prioritize differently, I feel so overwhelmed. I feel like I don’t have enough time in the day to do what I’m already doing. How am I ever going to fit this in?

So what happens as a result of that is we feel like we have so much to do or we have so much suppressed emotion weighing on us, or we have years of rules for weighing less… so if you’re not feeling compelled to do more than you have to look at what’s going on there.

My assumption about myself, if I’m looking at my most ideal connected state is I am passion filled, purpose filled, motivated, and driven. And let’s just assume that is who you are. So if that’s who you are, if you are born motivated and driven and focused and a finisher and not a procrastinator and a healthy person and a happy person and a social person…that means if you’re not experiencing one or all of those things right now, that’s who you aren’t. That’s who you’re not. And that means these things are happening for a reason. 

So if I’m not feeling motivated, there must be a reason for it. And so my action, instead of forcing myself to be motivated or even trying to become more motivated, is to get curious about it.

And if I assume I’m naturally a motivated person, even if I don’t have a lot of evidence for that in the moment… if I’m not feeling motivated, what is that about? Usually it’s happening for a reason and if we don’t fight it or resist it or even try to change it, we’re going to learn something valuable from it. So instead of trying to fix and change everything, what if you just allowed it to be there and you said… hmmm… this is interesting.

Because so much of why you’re feeling so heavy is because you’re fighting against your experience. You’re having an experience that you don’t like, whether it’s eating too much junk food, whether it’s feeling unmotivated, whether it’s feeling undisciplined or weak, and the heaviness is coming from needing it to be different and forcing change upon it.

If you were to trust that this is not your natural state, that you won’t be here forever because it’s not who you are and instead it’s a random occurrence…you’d have a different reaction.

Usually people think, “I better be scared it’s going to be here forever and do something drastically different to change it before it is my forever.”

If we weigh more than we’d like, and we don’t force it to change or manipulate or control it, and we instead allow it to be there and get curious we will have a very different experience with it because we’re not putting more on our plate.

We’re not saying, okay, in addition to being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a career woman and now someone who’s trying to lose weight… we remove that and say, what if I’m just supposed to be more of what I already am?

The real you, not the altered view, not the person that you’ve become as a result of buying into a lot of garbage out there in the media or a lot of belief systems that you don’t really want to subscribe to. I mean the real authentic you that was born with everything that you would hope a human would be born with. Motivation, drive, happiness, health, all of these things.

And even if you don’t have any cognitive perspective of having those things, let’s assume in the womb you were born with these things. Then that means that your experience of whatever you’re having right now, whether it’s excess weight or physical pain or lack of motivation or lack of discipline are not things to be afraid of and are not things to assume will be there forever… but are communication from someone or something and nothing to really be concerned or worry about, but to be curious about.

To check in with and ask yourself, “do I have a lot on my plate?” or  “are my days incredibly full” so that it makes sense that you may not want another thing on your to do list even if you desire the ultimate outcome of weight loss. 

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About The Author

Michelle Hastie

Michelle Hastie Thompson is a recovered binge eater who turned her binge eating around and even got featured in Shape Magazine helping a woman lose weight in “My Weight Loss Diaries". She helps women end the battle of binge and overeating, fall in love with movement, and finally lose the weight permanently. A veteran weight loss coach for almost ten years, she is a Ph.D. student in Health Psychology and has three published books, the most recent titled, "Have Your Cake and Be Happy Too: A Joyful Approach to Weight Loss”.