Weight loss and personal growth

If you’re reading this blog, you’re focused on personal growth, particularly through nutritional excellence and holistic living. Actively Engaging — key word actively — in a weight loss journey can provide a sense of purpose and structure, contributing to overall well-being. As you navigate your wellness journey, you may be considering weight loss surgery or GLP-1 agonist drugs like Ozempic, for instance. As you evaluate the medical pros and cons of these procedures, evaluate other factors important in your decision.

Even if you successfully undergo weight loss surgery and even if you’re using GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic, Wegovy or Mounjaro, this journey to weight loss is not the same journey with the same rewards as if you had done it without these interventions. Naturally, there’s a place for such interventions, but often people look to them first. Don’t.

If you’ve used one or more of these interventions, I’m not looking to diminish your gains; but rather, I urge those who haven’t incorporated these interventions to evaluate another perspective — one that rejects major life-changing surgeries or use of pharmaceutical preparations to achieve weight loss goals.

Once you’ve done something big, accomplished something large and monumental, you enter a coveted mind space of tremendous empowerment. Not only that, once you’ve accomplished something, you know what’s possible within you. You also know you can do it again. And again.

Triumphing over adversity grants you strength and confidence. It shows you what you’re made of, what you can achieve, that you are strong. Yes, emerging from bariatric surgery and committing to its life-changing effects requires a level of strength. After all, you’re managing post-surgical pain, doctor’s appointments and adherence to a new dietary regimen, among other things. Post-surgical self care means performing the protocols directed by your physician and possibly suffering at various times from diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and other digestive disturbances. Weight loss surgery is not for the light-hearted.

With GLP-1 agonist drugs, doctors report up to 50% of users regularly experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Arguably that, plus risking its side effects to achieve weight loss goals, requires mental and emotional strength to voluntarily manage these conditions and risks.

Of course, we’re not talking about the same kind of strength one expends when they go it alone, are we?

When it comes to staying alive and well, the ideal is managing our health the way we choose to, not the way we have to.

If you’re mulling over bariatric surgery or weight loss pharmaceutical preparations, before you look to outside sources, rely on your own power to create your destiny before you rely on the power of the medical establishment.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
Alice Walker

But you do. You. Have. Power.

Your beliefs about how you can lose weight are worth examining.

There is value in the sense of empowerment and control you’ll acquire by taking charge of your health journey without external interventions. Setting and achieving weight loss goals independently can increase your self-esteem and confidence. So, reap the psychological benefits of taking charge of your health. There are many.

Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew.”
Cicely Tyson

At Holisticnutritioness.com, I often refer to our path to health and wellness as a health journey or wellness journey because indeed it is a journey. Following are ten psychological benefits of self-discovery and personal growth that accompany an independent weight loss journey. These are in line with a holistic approach to well-being.

  1. Increased self-confidence. As you progress toward your weight loss goals, it’s likely you’ll experience a shift in self-confidence and self-esteem. Achieving milestones and overcoming challenges can reinforce a sense of capability and belief in yourself.
  2. Enhanced self-awareness. Critical. Navigating your weight loss journey requires you to become more attuned to your habits, behaviors and emotional triggers related to food and exercise. This heightened self-awareness can lead to better understanding and management of your relationship with food and body image.
  3. Empowerment. I know. I keep saying this. But this is what the blog is about. Taking control of your health and making positive lifestyle changes can promote feelings of empowerment. You may feel a sense of agency and mastery over your body and your life, leading to greater overall satisfaction and fulfillment.
  4. Improved mental health. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits are associated with improved mental health outcomes, including reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  5. Resilience. Overcoming obstacles and setbacks [recent post] during a weight loss journey can help you develop resilience and coping skills. Learning to navigate challenges like plateaus or temptations can build emotional resilience and fortitude.
  6. Increased motivation. Setting and achieving weight loss goals requires motivation, determination and perseverance. As you advance on your journey, there’s a good chance you’ll develop stronger goal-setting skills and a greater sense of motivation to pursue other aspirations in life.
  7. Greater self-acceptance. The weight loss journey often involves cultivating a deeper sense of self-acceptance and self-love. Embracing your journey, including the successes and setbacks, can encourage greater self-compassion and acceptance.
  8. Positive mindset. Adopting a positive mindset is essential for sustainable weight loss success. Through self-discovery and personal growth, you may nurture a more optimistic outlook on life, focusing on progress rather than perfection.
  9. Tranquility. Engaging in regular physical activity as part of a weight loss endeavor can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Also, practicing mindfulness and self-care techniques can further support stress reduction and emotional well-being.
  10. Enriched quality of life. Ultimately, the psychological benefits of self-discovery and personal growth associated with weight loss efforts can lead to an overall improvement in your quality of life. From increased energy and vitality to greater emotional resilience and self-fulfillment, you may experience profound transformations that extend beyond the number on the scale.

Change your life by applying sustainable lifestyle changes

What you want is insert into your life is lasting lifestyle change, not quick fixes.

To do this, you’ll need to develop sustainable habits.

I’m seeing this in action now. I know a man (I’ll call him Carlos) who, about 13 years ago, was 418 pounds. He lost 230 pounds and landed at 188. He’s since gained back 80 pounds and is now at 268. The reasons why he’s gained back the weight are varied; suffice it to say, he’s not doing now all the things he did then to lose the weight. This is so common. It’s my experience as well. Which is why in controlling my weight I don’t do anything I can’t sustain for the rest of my life.

Carlos has made amazing strides. Though his doctors recommended bariatric surgery when he was 418 pounds, he refused it and instead opted to do it the old-fashioned way with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. And now, more than a decade later, he’s still down 150 pounds. Quite admirable. He’s an amazing success story. I am in awe of his commitment. And he’s proof of the benefits of long-term, sustainable habits.

Build a supportive community

If you want to engage with external influences instead of opting for bariatric surgery or weight loss pills, seek support from friends, family or online communities to share experiences and receive encouragement. Importantly, I think you’ll find value in surrounding yourself with positive influences that reinforce healthy habits and mindset.

Totally stolen from Les Brown. 😊

Friends, I implore you to think about the gains of approaching your weight loss using your own power rather than medical interventions. Obviously, as recommended by a doctor, if this is the way to go, this is the way to go.

All surgery is risky. Not only that, once you have bariatric surgery, you will eat in a way that’s demanded of you, not in a way that necessarily satisfies you (or you spirit, to be honest). And of course, GLP-1 agonist medications, most in their infancy for off-label weight loss usage, have not been studied extensively for this usage, so there are several unknowns, not to mention cost and the potential risk of serious side effects — some serious or debilitating.

Finally, if you have an unhealthy body weight, recognize how you got there. If you opt for medical interventions to achieve your weight reduction goal, you’ll achieve it. But the underlying issues that caused your excess weight will remain unaddressed and unresolved. Of course, after the pills or surgeries, once the weight loss is achieved, you might examine what happened in the first place. However, this “work” is ideally done before significant medical interventions.

If you choose pills or surgery, then do what you must, but consider all the benefits you can get by charting your own weight loss and wellness journey. It’s not about weight loss. Pills and surgeries can get you that. It’s about how weight loss occurs and how it is sustained and the wellness it brings, including the pride of accomplishment and achievement.

Bypass the pitfalls associated with relying on quick-fix solutions and reap the benefits of self-improvement and personal development to be found and gained on your independent weight loss, health-promoting journey. Doing so will enable you to understand how your body works and how different dietary and exercise strategies affect your metabolism and your well-being.

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