"I'm trying to lose weight" is a toxic mindset, for me anyway. It brings up so much unhelpful garbage, creating thoughts and feelings like: I'm not ok now. I must actively limit my food intake. My body is broken or can't be trusted. I'll have to deprive myself of certain foods, eat less than I want, not snack, ignore hunger, delay eating, stop short of totally satisfied, and be careful in social situations. I'd better have some tricks to stop eating, ways to distract myself, and "accountability." Yeesh! I hate that one. It's like inviting others to police your behavior, or setting up painful consequences if you don't follow through. Does anyone thrive under those circumstances? I'm thinking no. It's a crappy setup that causes you to gasp for food and ultimately gain more weight. Who wouldn't feel resentful or rebellious? Jealous, deprived, anxious, obsessed, all the (not) fun things?
Always trying to lose weight or control weight seemed necessary, the price of doing business if you want to look fit and button your pants. That scarcity and deprivation mindset is optional though. I eat better without it, much more in line with my actual needs compared to a cycle of restricting and rebelling. I like feeling healthy and fit. I don't enjoy treating myself like a failure or an unfinished project, which is the way restrict-o-mind makes me feel, especially if there's some number I should be but am not. Weight, clothing size, calories eaten, calories burned, body fat percentage, tape measurements. Those aren't health and fitness, which was news to me. Health is all of it - mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It's the whole picture of how we treat ourselves. It's not looking a certain way while dying inside, or refusing to treat ourselves with respect and kindness until we fix our perceived flaws. Fitness is performing well, sleeping well, feeling great, and having the energy to enjoy life. It's not the bone-weary exhaustion or the chronic injury and illness I would subject myself to while pursuing numbers.
If you don't like the way you've been treating yourself, don't like the way you've been eating, and don't feel good in your skin, change makes sense. Absolutely, step up your self-care game. Move toward the life you want. Check in with what's working for you and what you'd like to do differently in order to feel better. "Trying to lose weight" is probably the least effective way to go about it thanks to the all the victimy mental garbage dragging along behind that notion. Coming at it with a kind and curious attitude and the intention of setting your soul free is much more empowering.
Try these on:
"I need to lose weight so I won't be ashamed of myself."
"I deserve to feel fantastic."
The second one will light you up and guide positive choices every step of the way. The first one, not so much.
Thinking back to when I first started Happy Eaters, I wanted to be more carefree with food and not follow actual diet plans anymore. Yet, having been immersed in the diet and fitness world for so long, I was still weighing myself every day, tracking my food, posting progress photos, reading diet books, and judging my food choices. I absolutely wanted to control my weight and body comp, look a certain way, and be a certain size. I would only relax control of my eating to the extent that it didn't affect those, in my mind. In reality, my restrictive mindset affected everything, usually not for the better. But it was necessary to experience all of that to get to where I am now.
The way you think about food and weight, the story you're telling yourself, it really matters. I could be eating the exact same way but judging myself harshly and bouncing between deprived and guilty with one mindset, and feeling empowered and happy and totally satisfied with another mindset. Same food, same amounts, different experience. I think about how I used to restrict up front, eating as little as possible for as long as possible, and then making up for it on the back end with binges, bad days, and lapsing on my plan. Where now I deliberately eat plenty up front, and then experience an easy indifference where I'm not hungry and don't want anymore, so there are naturally smaller meals and lighter days. One way feels fraught with unsustainable drama and one is effortless.
Whether someone's intention is to lose, gain, maintain, or not care about weight, the way you think about it, the way you talk to yourself has a huge impact on how that goes for you.