Obsessed with losing weight? We're here to help you get into a healthier mindset about your body (and your diet) with these tips.
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The Full Story
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt said that and boy oh boy, was good ole Uncle Teddy onto something here.
This applies to so many things in life (especially in a post-Facebook world). But for today’s purposes, let’s focus on weight loss on a plant-based diet — and how comparing ourselves to others can often lead to frustration and disappointment.
Yes, many folks experience weight loss when they switch to a plant-based diet. Whether it’s 7 pounds or 100 pounds, you’ve probably even seen some of these transformation stories in your Facebook feed, on your favorite websites, on the Today Show. These are great. They’re inspiring, even! And because plant-based foods are naturally lower in calories than processed and animal-based products, it makes sense that weight loss is such a common benefit of eating this way.
But if you’re not seeing the weight loss results you thought you’d see with a plant-based diet, you may be scratching your head wondering what you’re doing wrong. There are several reasons folks don’t reach their weight loss goals on a plant-based diet — some of which we’ve outlined our blog before.
Though here’s the thing: we’re a looks-obsessed culture, which means we can miss the big picture sometimes. We’re also living in a world where we can and do compare ourselves to others 24/7 to the point that it can feel like nothing we do is ever enough.
Ran a 5K? Big whoop, your co-worker is training for a marathon.
Lost 10 pounds? Your friend just lost 20.
Sound familiar? If it does, then you also know it also sounds exhausting…because it is.
For the sake of your wellbeing, take a break from fretting over weight loss so you can enjoy the other benefits of eating this way. Seriously there are so many awesome things about plant-based eating that have absolutely nothing to do with fitting into that old pair of jeans.
Stop worrying about weight, you say? Easier said than done. And you’re right. It takes some work to get out of this mindset, but we’ve got a few tips to help you reprioritize.
1. Set realistic weight loss expectations
If one of your healthy living goals is to lose weight, that’s fine, great even if you think it’ll improve your health. But are you going to get back to your high school weight? Probably not. A lot has happened since high school. For one, you’ve developed into an adult! Adults do not have adolescent bodies. We have fully grown adult bodies. Maybe this adult body has even given birth to tiny humans somewhere along the way. The point is, you’re not a high schooler so you won’t look like one. This is good; it’s called evolving.
While you're at it, stop comparing yourself to celebrities. Are you going to look like Gwyneth Paltrow? Maybe…but probably not because the woman can afford to have a team of folks behind her to keep her hair coifed, her waistline small, and makeup retouched. You don’t need to look like Gwyneth. Let Gwyneth be Gwyneth. Let you be you.
2. Don’t obsess over the scale
Down 10 pounds but really wanted to lose 15? It can be frustrating not to reach weight loss goals, especially when you feel like you’re doing everything “right.” But how much you weigh doesn’t always mark how healthy you are, or how far you’ve come in your plant-based journey. Ditch the scale for a week (or two or three or hey, how about forever?) and instead focus on other markers of improved health: how far you can walk now, what you feel like when you wake up, how regular your digestion is, how your recent blood work came back, how much energy you have throughout your day.
3. Love yourself, your body
Cue the corny music and the self-love pep talk…but seriously, this one’s important. Stop trying to be the prettiest, thinnest, sexiest person and recognize you are an interesting person. (These traits are not mutually exclusive by the way.)
Interesting people are complicated, darn it! We sometimes feel insecure, but we also can learn to be our biggest advocates (even if we have to take baby steps). We have smile lines because we laugh a lot. We have worry lines too because we stress out over the things that matter — and sometimes the things that don’t matter so much, but that’s okay. We don’t always get it right but we keep trying.
Interesting people realize we’ve only got one life and only one body so we give those bodies the care they need so we can live the lives we deserve. Interesting people recognize how amazing our bodies can be — they can repair themselves and even reverse chronic diseases when given food that heals rather than food that harms. That’s incredible!
4. Stop comparing yourself to others
If you only take one thing away from this blog post, let it be this. You will never find joy if you’re always stressed about how you stack up to others. There are so many different body types (and people types) in this world. It’s not worth your time or energy to sit around wishing you had someone else’s body/face/job/house/life. It is the quickest way to feel crappy about yourself. That mindset is like a cancer, growing stronger each time you think “I’ll be happy when…”
You deserve better than that. If you have to, take a break from social media for a few weeks to focus on yourself. “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”
5. Seek help if you need it
For some, food is a deeply emotional subject, tied to issues way bigger than wanting to lose an extra five pounds. If this is the case for you, consider contacting a medical professional who can work with you through these issues.
Realistic weight loss goals are key
Get off the scale
Learn to love yourself (and your body)
Stop comparing yourself to others
Ready to make lasting changes and lose the weight for good?
Join a growing movement of people who are losing the weight for good and are free from food obsession.