It seems like losing weight should just be about math, right?
Calories in, calories out. If the calories in are greater than the calories out, we gain weight. If we shift the equation and make calories out greater than, poof, we drop the pounds.
And sometimes it does work like that.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes I have a client – as I did today – tell me about a life spent restricting calories with little to no significant weight loss.
So what’s going on when that happens?
How can the calories in be less than the calories out, but we still don’t lose the weight?
I wish there was a simple explanation, but there isn’t. I wish I could say it’s the carbs or the sugar or the eating after 7:00pm or your genes, but the truth is that it could be many of those things in combination.
But it could also be something else.
I could be your brain.
In my online course we spend more than a week talking simply about how the brain works and how our brains impact the rest of our bodies.
Because the connection is powerful – more powerful than you probably even imagine.
Let me give you an example.
Take a few seconds and think about the most terrifying thing you could imagine happening to you. If you’re a parent, like I am, I bet I already have a pretty good idea of what horrible, terrifying thing you’re imagining but whoever you are, just think about the absolute worst, most terrifying event you can imagine.
Now, really go there (sorry – it’s all in the name of science). See yourself there, feel yourself there, notice who else is around you, what time of day it is, what do you see, what do you hear, what do you smell, how does it feel in your gut?
These are all just thoughts and you know they’re just thoughts, but guess what? The rest of your body doesn’t know that. The rest of your body is going to start taking the thoughts and acting on them as if they were very, very real.
This means that your heart rate might increase, your blood pressure too. Your pupils might dilate, you might start to sweat a bit. Your endocrine system will start releasing fight or flight hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that it saves for stressful and terrifying situations.
Nothing real has happened. Only your thoughts. But your body is reacting in a very real and measurable way as if it had.
The same effect is true when it comes to your relationship with food.
If you’re the kind of person who holds onto things – feelings, hurts, fears, worries and beliefs then the rest of your body may be getting the message that holding onto stuff is what we need to be doing and it may, in turn, hold onto calories and fat more than it typically should.
So, if you’re struggling to lose weight but you find that, no matter how well you eat and exercise, that scale almost never wants to budge, think about what you might be holding onto in other areas of your life.
Where could you maybe let go and release thoughts, feelings, fears or beliefs that you’ve been carrying around for a long time but are no longer serving you?
Think about beginning to change your habit of holding onto stuff and instead getting more and more comfortable with letting things go and releasing. Not only will it be good for your soul, but you may just find it’s the key to finally moving that stubborn scale.