The Inward vs. the Outward Influences of Weight Loss
Why does losing weight have to be so stressful? Why is it so hard? There are many factors. It would be presumptuous to say that losing weight was easy. It certainly isn’t! A person who has to lose then pounds finds it just a hard and frustrating as the person who has to lose over a hundred pounds. Although the number of pounds appear as a vast difference between the ten-pound loser and the hundred-pound loser, the truth is the same frustrations are experienced. I propose that we recognize the two major influences we have to “learn to discern” if we want to achieve our weight-loss goals. To me, the two major influences are the “outward” influences and the “inward” influences.
An outward influence is anything out in the touchable, three-dimensional real world like food, scales, mirrors, people, clothes, and so forth. The inward influences are things that go on in your heart, your desires, your thoughts, and eventually your actions. Both outward and inward influences play their own roles in losing weight. The key is to learn how to pay more attention to the good inward influence that will help you lose weight. Below are some outward influences and how they affect your weigh-loss progress: The scale: reinforces your success or failure every time you step on it.
Lower numbers on the scale indicate you’ve lost some weight, but never enough according to your expectations. Higher numbers on the scale indicate you must have done something wrong. It doesn’t account for water-weight, bloat/swelling, muscle mass, etc. The mirror: serves as our “critique meter”, or something that reflects how the world views us, therefore, we must view ourselves that way too. The refrigerator and cupboards: reminders of the “NO” ZONES in our homes. People: when they know you are losing weight, they want a report on your progress. Physical body fatigue: dietary changes, exercise, or worrying sets in and you become irritable or sad at times. Food: new eating habits and healthier snack foods interfere with what you’ve formerly known as “normal”, and the new routines are difficult to incorporate. Calendars: timeframes you’ve set to achieve your weight-loss goals is nearing its end, and you are scared that you’ll be a failure “again”. Menus: proper food selection seems like a CHORE, and eating just isn’t pleasurable anymore because you know the caloric count, grams of sugar, grams of protein, and grams of fat of everything you put into your mouth.
Clothes: as you lose the pounds, clothing begins to sag on you a bit, and this can make you look even worse. Having to spend money on new clothes can be depressing if it’s not part of a current budget. Experts: they have all kinds of suggestions on losing weight, and they can’t wait for you to listen to them. This above list could go on and on based on how deeply you wanted to analyze this issue. But as you can see from this shortened version, all of the “outside” influences make us feel the stresses of losing weight. The inward influences I would like to address are those influences that some would label as “self-talk”, or rather “self-affirmations” that either tell us we’re okay or not okay in the world as we know it. It’s that inner voice that all of us have that directs us to thinning, then inevitably directs us to act according to our thinking. Actions begin with thoughts, and thoughts begin with desires. And desires begin with what we want deep within our heart. Sounds complicated and poetic, I admit; but it is so worth the effort to take some time and figure out how you can make your heart speak its desires, which will prompt the thoughts, that will then lead to actions.
The inward influences are working well for you UNTIL you step on the scale or look in the mirror. Then what happens? You’ve allowed the outward influences to monitor your progress, and the outward influences want to override all of those positive inward influences. You begin to mock all of your hard work you’re doing, find disappointments, identify shortcomings, and generally debase any accomplishments you achieved. You’ll do this for one pound lost or for one hundred pounds lost. Why? Because you’re allowing the outward influences to take over the inward influences. How do you make the inward influences rank higher than the outward influences? This is the trick… WORK AT IT and remember it’s TWO TO ONE! As you hear the “devil on your shoulder” (the outward influences) toss around insults, doubts, and negative remarks, turn your head to the “angel on your shoulder” (the inward influences) that tells you that you are doing fabulous, you’re making progress, you’ve worked so hard, you’re improving every day, and you’re going to make it. For every negative comment, strike back with two positive comments. If you do this, you’ll always stay one step ahead of the negative, which just might be enough to keep you moving forward toward the prize. The minute you DON’T strike back, the outward influences gain one-up on you, then two-up, then soon become ten-up… just like a board game and your game piece is falling behind on the squares. If you find yourself too far behind on the squares, you will become more discouraged and then quit the game all together.
Like a kid who says, “well, I sure can’t win now”, leaves the game and pouts on his way home. The outward influences must be part of the process, unfortunately. This is the monitoring, our measuring stick that proves we are doing the right things. The body doesn’t understand this at all. The body is a grand machine that is constantly busy with checks and balances, making sure al systems are GO, that all operations are functioning to their best capabilities. It doesn’t have time for “feelings.” It only does its functional responsibilities accordingly. So you cannot count on the body to understand any inward influences or outward influences such as I’ve mentioned. It is only concerned about body functions and getting things done.