There’s nothing really enjoyable about being obese. I’m not saying just because you’re obese you can’t enjoy your life. I’m saying that obesity has a lot of limiting factors, some of them are physical and some are mental. And this post I want to talk about the mental limiting factors that can come from being obese.
I’ve heard from many of my clients that at a year out from bariatric surgery that they feel fatter now than they did pre-surgery.
That when they go clothes shopping they still start in the double or triple XL section before choosing smaller clothes that actually fit them.
I’ve heard many stories about people feeling very uncomfortable that they are now “seen”. Before the weight loss they were able to hide in plain sight. Now there’s an uncomfortable feeling of being more noticed.
These are just a few examples of what I’ve come to call your fat mind. It’s the mindset that you’ve established over the years of being obese. It’s “helped” protect you from being uncomfortable because of your weight.
This is a very difficult mindset to remove from your life even after you’ve lost the fat.
So How do you beat your fat mind?
You can’t actually ever get rid of your fat mine completely. You can start working towards understanding that it’s not who you are today. The best way to start that process is to find a mental health professional that can help you. That can go a long way towards your success. In addition you can work against the fat mind by doing things that once were uncomfortable to you.
Courage to try can be just as important.
A client who lost over a hundred pounds and wanted to start hiking more. We worked a lot together on her goals. Her main goals was to was hike to the top of a 14,000 foot peak here in Colorado. After nine months of working with her she was physically ready to go but her fat mind told her differently. We kept working til one day she was just tired of letting her past dictate her desires. We planned the hike, met at the trailhead and she made it to the top. I Remember her telling me that building the confidence to do the hike was much harder than the actual hike. That says a lot. Hiking up 14,000 foot mountain is not easy. Now her fat mind is a lot more quiet and her confidence is much higher.
The fat mind can talk to you but you don’t have to listen
Another client of mine really wanted to ride 100 miles on a bicycle but his fat mind was telling him “that’s ridiculous you’ll never do that.” We started slowly working on indoor cycling basic fitness along with building habits. As the weight came off he became a little bit more confident in bike riding outside. After a few sessions of bike riding outside he started to notice that his fat mind, the thing that was telling him he can’t do it because he’s “too fat” was becoming quieter and quieter.
His confidence started to build and 16 months after his bariatric surgery he completed his first century on a bike. When I asked him about it later he admitted there was a certain part of the ride where his fat mind almost got the better of him telling him he can’t do this, but he persevered and crossed the finish line. The reason his fat mind didn’t win was due to the work he put in. He knew he could do this that he wasn’t living his old life anymore.
I don’t want you to read into this as it was easy for these two people who have gone through weight loss surgery to achieve a fairly challenging goal because it wasn’t. There were many times when both of them had self-doubt let their fat mind talk them into bad decisions around eating or not exercising. What set them apart was the fact that even when they allowed their fat mine to take over it was always temporary and they knew it. They always came back. They were always consistent. It wasn’t easy for them and I don’t expect it to be easy for you either. But being good to yourself and not letting that old fat mine continue to define who you are will allow you to achieve things that you would otherwise think impossible.
You don’t have to climb a 14000 foot peak or ride a 100 miles on a bike in order for you to quiet your fat mind. Yet doing something and working towards something with consistency and persistence that you may find now to be both challenging and what you may consider as impossible will go a long way towards quieting that mind.