Monday, December 10, 2012

The Unexpected Psycology of Weightloss


     When you start losing weight, you think it is all rainbows and butterflies. It is going fine. For awhile. Then the blowback starts. The chastising from the know-alls. The you-should's from the worriers. The gain-it-back's from the yo-yo'ers. The worst is when it is coming from the people that you love and expect to support you, your family and and friends. I am here and telling you now that it will happen. Let me give you some advice from what I have experienced and from other's perspectives.
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      The when of blowback all depends on where you currently fall within "The Attention U" pictured above. Howard puts it better than me, so please go watch his video- it is great. Basically on the attention U, if your shape is less than average, both postivie and negative attention directed at you is increased. As you move towards average shape, attention (both good and bad) decreases. Society is pushing you to be average, and this can apply to way more than just shape. Then, once you start moving past average shape, attention again starts increasing. Again, that is positive and negative attention. Society is again trying to push you back to average.

So, the good news is that when you get start getting blowback, it means that you are actually doing something right. You have moved past average. People are commenting because 1) people are noticing because your look has changed that much and 2) people are having to re-categorize where you fit within their internal ranking system. People are built in with internal health-o-meters, we really do not even notice ourselves scanning. We look over someone, no change, all clear. We look over someone else, change, (!!!) alarm = comment. Our inner brain associates weight loss with health, possibly that person could be sick! So from some people, the blowback is genuine concern whether they realize it or not. Even if you actually look better than before. 

Generally, the negative blowback is out of a place of resentment or competition. This is especially true in women-to-women commentary. You could have been the "biggest" girl in your posse. Once you get into your transformation, you may now have "the best bod" in your group. Now, your friend has to re-categorize you as such. And that might hurt for her, maybe she has struggled with her own weight issues, and here you are seemingly easing your way through weight loss. The person is who is being negative just wants things to return to status quo. 

I want to leave you with some advice that has served me well. When people ask you what you are doing, first answer with the standard "working out." Most people will take that and be done, that is more than they want to do anyway. You can add that you are watching what you eat, or eating less. Do not get into specifics, do not go into detail further than is required. Generally this will only lead into arguments or debate. Neither of which you need or want. It is the doorway into blowback. People that are sincere and really want to know will ask you a second or third time. You can go into detail as far as you are comfortable. If the conversation gets heated or negative at anytime, just nod and smile and say that you are "glad XYZ is working for them" then get the heck away! This podcast is one of the best as far as handling people when watching what you eat and planning around social events-
Eating for the Holidays