Have you ever gone through your home or closet to edit it and get rid of things you no longer need? If so, you know how satisfying that process can be.
It can be helpful to periodically do this same exercise with our thoughts. We can go through and look more closely at the beliefs we could edit that are not serving us.
For example, if you are not planning your food in advance and are instead just eating in the moment, you can ask, “What am I believing about planning that is causing me not to do it?”
Maybe you are believing that planning is hard, or it takes too long, or that planning is restrictive. One by one, you get to investigate and start making some edits.
Does this belief still fit? Is it out of date? Are you still choosing it because you always have, but it is not actually true anymore? What is its purpose? Do you love this belief?
Should you lose weight?
There is just one belief that I want to especially focus on editing today: “I should lose weight.” This can also sound like, “I need to lose weight,” and “I have to lose weight.”
I do not think everyone should or needs to lose weight.
I do not subscribe to BMIs and “ideal weights” as the determinant of whether you need to lose weight. I don’t believe you should be a certain number of pounds for your height or a certain size.
There are happy people at different weights. There are healthy people at different sizes. There are miserable and unhealthy people at different weights and sizes. I believe in modern medicine and disease, but I don’t think we should go off what other people say we “should” be.
“Shoulds” are always made-up rules. They are usually unrealistic expectations of us, of our lives, and other people. They are always denying the reality of what is. They also feel a lot like judgment because they imply that what is currently happening is not okay.
So many women that I talk to share this belief that they “should,” “need to,” or “have to” lose weight. Let’s look more closely at this thought and decide if we need to edit it.
Two reasons why people think they “should” lose weight
Reason one: “I’ll be happier when I lose weight.”
When we think this, we are believing that our body size or the number on the scale creates feelings. We think that if we saw different numbers on the scale, we would feel differently. This is not the case.
Numbers are symbols. They just sit there on the scale, meaningless without a human brain to attribute meaning to them.
We know this because the number you see on the scale that you think makes you miserable is someone else’s dream come true. And there is someone who sees your dream number on the scale right now that feels terrible about it.
We see digits and we make it mean something about us. We feel misery or joy based on the thoughts we choose — not because of the number on the scale.
Reason two: “I will finally be okay, valuable, worthy, lovable, whole, or complete when I lose weight.”
When we believe this, we are saying that our value is based on our weight or size. We are choosing to believe that humans who have lower numbers are more valuable than humans who have higher numbers. Can you see how ridiculous that sounds?
Your value is fixed. It is innate.
You were born with your value and no matter what you do or what number you see on the scale, that won’t change.
If you go into and through your weight loss journey believing this, it will be so much more difficult, likely even impossible. And if you do get to the end, it will be like receiving a beautifully wrapped box that is labeled “Happiness” or “Value” and opening it up to find that there is nothing inside.
You can’t find happiness or value in there. It must be created inside of you.
Three considerations for losing weight
When deciding if you should lose weight there are three considerations that make sense:
- Is your weight creating physical limitations that are keeping you from living the life you want to live? This could look like your health being affected or that you are unable to do the things you want to do. If any of these things are keeping you from the life YOU want to live, losing weight might be something you want to do.
- What is your long game? Meaning in five, 10, or 20 years, what kind of life do you want to be living and what bearing does weight have on that life? If losing weight is going to better facilitate that future, it makes sense to do so.
- Do you have an interest in improving your mind management? Any goal can be a workshop. Weight loss is a great goal because through the process you will not only change your relationship with food, you will also have the opportunity to increase your emotional intelligence, improve your relationship with yourself, and learn to make and keep commitments. These are all skills that you can apply in other areas of your life to achieve other goals. If this is something that appeals to you then the weight loss process might be a great place to start.
When you are coming from one of these three considerations, the belief, “I should lose weight,” can instead be edited to, “I WANT to lose weight.”
Your journey will be fueled, not by obligation or resentment, but by love and care for yourself, which we know is the best kind of fuel.
We can’t eliminate uncomfortable emotions, experience uninterrupted happiness, change our values or increase our worth through weight loss.
But through the process of weight loss, we can learn to create confidence with our minds.
We can increase our love for ourselves.
We can show ourselves what we are capable of.
We can strengthen our relationship with ourselves.
If you do decide you’re ready to lose weight, here’s how to get started.