Today’s post is all about signs you should consider putting weight loss on the back burner. Get this: A study by the CDC from 2013-2016 showed that nearly half (49%) of Americans made an effort to lose weight within the calendar year. And after our discussion last week on body image, the topic of weight loss seems like a natural next step.
I have a feeling that, if you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in weight loss to some degree and that you likely have been for some time. Maybe you’ve had the experience of losing a significant amount of weight on a diet and then gaining some, all, or even more back. Maybe you, like me, have done every diet in the book but never saw more than a 5-10 pound difference.
Like I said last week in the post on body image, we’re big believers in body autonomy at NF. I’m not here to tell you what to do with or want for your body. What I want to do is help women lead healthier, more confident lives. And I know for so many of you, you feel like or even assume that weight loss will play a big role here.
And who could blame you? In our society, the desire for weight loss is almost a foregone conclusion. If you feel unhappy or unhealthy, your default thought is probably, “I should lose weight.”
So you start exercising more, eating less, and stepping on the scale every morning. Perhaps it “works” for some time, but if that were the perfect solution, would you be here reading this post?
Yeah, I figured.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. So if the endless pursuit of weight loss hasn’t brought long-term, sustainable results… Maybe it’s time to try something else.
So let’s get into it. Today we’re talking about how to determine if you’d be better served by putting weight loss on the back burner.
Ok, first of all, what does that even mean?
Putting weight loss on the back burner is simply an analogy used to describe the idea of putting your attention and effort into something other than weight loss.
What you choose to put on your front burner is totally up to you.
Perhaps your focus shifts to simply on re-learning how to eat intuitively.
Or maybe you’re in a place where it’s healthy and productive for you to “front burner” habits like eating veggies, drinking water, and incorporating more walking into your day.
Or maybe you’re more interested in using your brainspace for something totally different like applying to law school or starting up your ceramics shop on Etsy!
If weight loss or dieting has been your default mode for some time, the idea of giving it all up to pursue body love or acceptance can feel really scary and unattainable. So unattainable, in fact, that you never move forward. But opting to simply put it on the back burner gives you the chance to explore a potentially better alternative without having to commit to a radical mindset shift.
Consider putting weight loss on the back burner if…
1. You feel like you’ve tried every diet under the sun.
The thing about dieting is that it has this sneaky way of failing you while making you feel like it’s your fault. If you’ve been pursuing weight loss through dieting, I encourage you to take some time to really dig deep. Think about why you want to lose weight. What value will it bring to your life? What will being in a smaller body allow for you, that you don’t have access to right now?
Here’s a fun analogy: Let’s say your best life is a super complex armoire from Ikea. It requires a screwdriver, a hammer, a wrench, and like 4 different hex keys.
When your mind jumps to the simple conclusion of weight loss = happiness, or weight loss = health, or weight loss = confidence, you’re trying to build this complicated armoire with just a hammer, ignoring all the other tools. Probably not going to work, right?
But when you think harder, open up, and allow yourself to get clear on what you truly want in life, you realize that not only can you utilize these other tools, but they may work even better than the hammer. That’s the magic of putting weight loss on the back burner.
2. Your mood is dictated by the number on the scale.
This is what the weight loss journey looks like for so many of us:
You’re “good” all week– salads for lunch, meal prep for dinner, you go to SoulCycle FOUR freaking TIMES! And when you weigh in on Friday morning, you’re down 1.3 pounds! You to go through your day with a bit of a skip in your step and indulge here and there over the weekend.
And then you wake up Monday morning and the scale is up 2.4 pounds. You say, “SCREW ALL THAT” and start your week feeling defeated and insecure. You feel like the meal prep and exercise was all for nothing, so the habit quickly dies off.
If you’ve had this experience, you may find that putting weight loss on the back burner can serve to stabilize your moods and your healthy habits.
3. You’re consumed by thoughts about your body & you don’t like it.
Listen, if you’re down with thinking about your body all the time then go for it. But if you feel like these thoughts are plaguing you– affecting your moods and your ability to focus on what’s actually important to you– then I definitely recommend you try taking the focus off of your weight for a bit.
This will likely look like putting the scale away, unfollowing anyone on social media whose content leads to body-related thoughts, and perhaps even setting a firm boundary with family or friends.
Doing all of the above was essential to my own personal journey. After years of assuming that I needed to lose weight to be happy with my body, I was amazed at how these simple changes brought about immediate relief and a new feeling of body neutrality.
4. The behaviors you’re engaging in to control your weight are interfering with your quality of life.
If you can pursue weight loss and/or weight loss maintenance and live a life you love that’s in alignment with your values, then do not let me stop you, girlfriend! But if reaching or staying at your goal weight costs you your relationships or peace of mind… It’s probably too expensive.
When you put weight loss on the back burner, you have more space to think about the behaviors that you not only enjoy, but also promote your mental and physical health. And then you can do those without weight-related thoughts or fears getting in the way.
If any of those describe you and/or you feel lighter simply by thinking about putting weight loss on the back burner, leave a comment below!