Take A Deep Breath: Anxiety on the Weight Loss Journey
Blog series and theme of Fall 2020 Get Focused Challenge
*Click below to listen to this blog instead!
Introduction to Take a Deep Breath, Anxiety on the Weight Loss Journey
If you have been at battle against your weight for as long as you can remember, chances are you know the anxious feelings that come when you try to lose weight again.
Can I eat this?
Am I eating too much?
Why is she losing faster?
Am I doing something wrong?
For those that take the big step into weight loss surgery, the anxious feelings can peak even more. If past history tells you that weight is hard to lose and hard to keep off, you may still wonder if surgery can really change that?
Opportunities to trigger anxious thoughts are common and daily
How many times in a day are you faced with a food decision? I would venture to say…countless times!!
What about putting on clothes? Or seeing a post from someone else on their success?
Those things happen on the daily. That doesn’t count the follow up appointments that require you to weigh in and face your surgeon, wondering what sort of grade you will get!
The opportunities that trigger anxious thoughts and feelings are everywhere. As a weight loss surgery dietitian for over a decade, I hear it the emails post-ops send me. Why am I stalled? How many calories will get this weight off? I don’t feel like I’m going fast enough.
These feelings and fears are real. Everyone has them! But how can you stay the course and stay encouraged even when the road feels long? This is why this blog series and the theme of the Fall 2020 Get Focused Challenge is Take a Deep Breath.
We will be going through specific triggers like the scale, social media and when things aren’t perfect.
The Power of Physically Taking a Deep Breath
A quick Google search will remind us all that actually taking a big deep breath make a difference.
When I searched “power of taking a deep breath” articles with these headlines and subtext came back:
Deep breathing exercises can reduce stress, improve clarity and focus, remove toxins, provide energy, and much more. [Source Link]
Repeated deep breaths will naturally bring your heart rate more in sync with your breath. This leads your brain to release endorphins, which are chemicals that have a natural calming effect. [Source Link]
Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing us into a relaxed state. [Source Link]
In this series we are going to talk about identifying when you feel anxious and what is causing you to feel anxious. Sometimes the first step is even knowing that is what you are feeling!
Taking a physical deep breath is a wonderful tool in the moment that you feel your head is starting to spin.
There is a reason why our smart watches have breathing exercises programmed into them and why my daughter’s “calm down corner” has a picture of someone taking a deep breath. It’s a simple tool with a powerful calming effect.
Taking a deep breath and finding space in your day
What I love about taking a physical deep breath is that it does not take long.
When you identify in the moment that you are feeling anxious about when you will ever lose this weight, if you are eating too much, if you are doing enough…you can stop and take deep breaths.
Then there are the ways that you can create space in your life that feels like taking a deep breath in your schedule.
Turning the TV and phone off can feel like a deep breath. Finally scheduling a hair appointment can feel like a deep breath.
Booking a housecleaner.
Putting on your favorite scents in your house.
Doing a crossword puzzle or something that is just for fun and not because you have to.
These are the ways we can create space and take a breath from the distractions and busyness of life. In this day and age, everything competes for our attention! Finding space and breath in your day-to-day life really can overflow into feeling less anxious and more in control of your path.
Stay the Course!
When I do answer an email to an anxious post-op patient wanting to make sure they are doing everything they possibly can to be successful, I usually encourage them to simply stay the course.
Journeys to change in life can feel so long.
A journey to a new career can feel like forever. My husband went from residential construction to a web developer and we both wondered at what point he should just stay in construction to support the family. We knew in our hearts he would be happier in a new career so we stayed the course.
It was long you guys. We had kids along the way and it felt even longer. But now I can tell people how proud I am of him for sticking through it all and making the change he knew he wanted.
The journey to health and wellness can feel so long.
Stay the course.
It won’t be perfect. Some days you’ll want swipe from the record. But take a deep breath, and stay the course.
Live Challenge Call Sunday, October 11th
For those of you taking the Fall 2020 Get Focused Challenge, we will dive more into this topic of taking a deep breath on Sunday!
Calls are at 7:30pm Central time and the Zoom link will be email to active members.
Next up in this series:
Today’s blog is meant to serve as an introduction to the theme of taking a deep breath. Next week we are going to dial in to one trigger in particular that often brings anxiety: the scale.