How much pressure do you feel to lose weight or to maintain your current weight? If you're like most of us, you feel it constantly. Enter any gas station, grocery store or market and you'll probably see a long row of fitness magazines with half-naked, perfectly formed, fat-less men and women reminding you of what you're 'supposed' to look like - if you could just get yourself together.
You feel it when you pass a jogger on the way to work and are reminded of the workout you didn't do. You feel it when you're eating out and wonder what people will think if you (gasp) order your salad with dressing.
The pressure seems to come from everywhere, both in the real world and in our own heads and that pressure can often lead to:
- Feeling like you're in jail - The words that accompany pressure are usually words like 'can't' and 'have to' and 'should' - all words that make us feel trapped. You can't have that hamburger, you have to do your workout, you should be losing weight. At some point, you may feel like you don't have any choices left, which only makes the need to escape that narrow existence too great to withstand.
- Trying too hard - So, what happens when you feel all this pressure to be perfect, to lose weight? Some of us become controlling...so controlling that every bite, every movement, every little thing we do has to be monitored. The problem is, the more you try to be perfect, the more out of control you feel.
So, how can you take the pressure off? There isn't a cut and dried answer, but what usually helps is doing the one thing that seems to make the least sense: Giving up on weight loss. That doesn't mean you stop trying to lose weight, but it does mean stopping and refocusing on the things that matter - How you feel, how much you value yourself and your health and how well you're taking care of yourself. When you focus on those things, you end up doing all the things that lead to weight loss: You eat good foods, you move more and you feel good...all without all that pressure weighing you down.
What do you think? Do you put too much pressure on yourself to lose or maintain weight? Does society put too much pressure on us? What does that pressure do to you and how do you deal with? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences with weight loss and pressure.