Torres column: Why you might be having trouble losing weight
Are you having difficulties losing that extra fat and toning your body? Getting in shape is not as easy as it may seem. In my experience, I have noticed that losing weight and getting fit takes more than exercise and eating healthily. The problem is more formidable than people think, although, of course, it is highly attainable. Signing up in a weight loss program is a first, easy step, though keeping up with the program is harder.
Stress is one of the factors that can affect one’s intentions to work at a weight loss program. One’s working schedule as well as health problems are forms of stress. Work and health issues sometimes are out of our control and, therefore, can mess with our weight loss program. But a balance always can be found. If we don’t find it, we will never get to our desired body weight.
Another factor that can disrupt a weight loss or fitness program is bad habits. I read that a human being can never erase a bad habit. It needs to be replaced by a positive habit. Sometimes, due to lack of knowledge, people don’t even know that their habits are putting their health at risk. Of course, others simply don’t want to give up bad habits because of their prompt relief. Instant gratification is reinforcing, but we can learn to think more long term and, with steady work, begin to morph our day-to-day practices and diet. Good habits result in slow but lifelong rewards, which a bad habit does not do.
Another factor in determining whether or not people will change their lifestyle can be the existence of past traumas. The other day, on my walk, I ran into a young man I know who confided in me that he was afraid to try a real career because he’d been raised to feel he would be a failure no matter what he tried. He was a bright person but had pretty much stopped trying at all. We chatted for a while, and I tried to make him see that without some failures we can’t learn to succeed. And it’s true. People who are successful needed to make many mistakes to get to where they are. For the many arrows that missed the target, one of them will hit it. Some people who have been traumatized by their past don’t give their best or make the commitment to succeed, whether it’s losing weight or sticking to a workout routine. They say, “Why try? I’m not going to succeed.” So they are already failures before they start. My feeling is that, as scary as it sounds, we need to enjoy our failures as much as our success. Life is a journey.
One more factor that sometimes prevents people from beginning physical training is past injuries to the body. People are afraid of pain and want to avoid reinjuring their bodies. For them, if they feel any pain while they exercise, it’s a warning sign to them, and they stop exercising. That’s where a fitness professional comes in. We can help a person differentiate “good” pain from “bad” pain. There are pains that show us that we are getting in shape: One overloads the muscles a little each time, and this helps us get to our goals. Once we know what pain is “good,” we can train our minds not to panic if we feel a twinge or two during or after a workout. Pain is part of all levels of life, and it is needed to succeed in most aspects. It is important to talk to a professional dedicated to your well-being to understand the difference between pains.
Sometimes we wonder why we can’t lose weight and change our lives. These factors most likely are unconscious. Thus many factors contribute to our weight loss or fitness problems, including psychological, physical and environment dynamics. Nonetheless, we have control over our lives, and we can do whatever we want if we really want it from the bottom of our heart. The power of changing is with you and only you.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the books “Lose Weight Permanently” and “Finding Genuine Happiness.” His column appears on the third Wednesday of the month.
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