Working with hundreds of weight loss clients over the course of their practice, our weight loss Nurse Practitioners (NPs), have noticed a few things that we want to share with current clients or those considering starting or already on a weight loss or body change journey.
Weight loss is so much more than calories in and calories out. Your experience may be layered with so many conditions and stories, most/many of them completely valid and important pieces. We are honored to be part of your success story — read on and then book your consultation to get started learning about our options for weight loss with VIVA Wellness. We want to also note that with the addition of semaglutide and tirzepatide to our offerings, there is such a profound shift in allowing the brain to become less focused on food or weight-related thoughts, that the work we suggest in this article becomes something you are actually able to devote energetic resources to.
1. Just because something doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean you are flawed.
Just like when you are shopping for a car, there are going to be certain things that attract you and work for your lifestyle and certain things that don’t. There may be a desired price range and cars that do or don’t fit in it. There are going to be certain cars you are too tall for. There will be cars that seem too big for you. Maybe you don’t like the way the car handles on the road. Maybe one doesn’t have the right fuel efficiency for your driving patterns. There are a lot of things that factor into your decision, but when you are determining what to buy, you don’t look at the car and think there’s something wrong with it: you simply take note of what you did and didn’t like, and then you move on to the next. Think of finding a lifestyle and a health or weight change protocol in a similar way. If as we try to make new changes or try certain protocols we don’t find the success we are seeking or it does not align with us, we get to consider this important feedback! If we don’t make these things mean anything about us and our bodies personally, there is an opportunity to find clues that help us get closer to what we want! Open-mindedness and curiosity is your best friend.
2. You’re never starting over.
If you slip up or something doesn’t work out, you are not “starting from the beginning.” Consider those moments as important milestones on your journey. How did you get there and how will you overcome them? In any journey when you come upon a challenge, no one says you have to go all the way back to the beginning in order to progress. In fact, quite the opposite. You pause where you are, you take stock of what needs to happen at this moment, you get support for your redirect, and you carry onward.
3. Maybe it has nothing to do with food and exercise.
I know, this one might seem like a stretch, but our beliefs around food, exercise, and the way that we interact with them may be more important than the food and the movement itself. We find in our sessions with weight loss clients, whether nutritional counseling or medical weight loss, there are often profound shifts along the journey that come with our clients vulnerably sharing their stories. For many of them, the success was not directly related to any one change in protocol, food, or exercise, but often the context or meaning or beliefs they had about themselves in relation to those things.
As mentioned above, the use of certain protocols, such as those involved with semaglutide (often prescribed under the brand names Wegovy or Ozempic) and tirzepatide (brand name Mounjaro), will likely shift the relationship to food and movement to come from a completely different energy. Both medications target certain receptors within the brain that allow for space to become unfocused on these things which in turn, often have patients making decisions from both an intuitively healthy, not forced or charged, energy.
4. Your imperfections make you human.
Your imperfections do not mean that you will never achieve your goals. Your imperfections may be clues that help move you toward them. Your past, your decisions, your current state, do not have to be limitations. What’s so beautiful about technology and living on this Earth in this age is that there is almost always a solution available. All you need is an open mind, and the right resources to help you connect the dots. Your imperfections, your past, the struggles that you’ve had yet again, are important clues. Think of them like bumper bowling, that will help us know what is and isn’t the best course for you. When you can own your preferences and vulnerably share your experience, the more that may open up and become available in sessions with your NP.
5. The only expert is you.
If you open up about your journey with friends, family, colleagues, etc., chances are everyone you know will become the expert or want to connect you to an idea or a person they know who lost weight doing XYZ thing. In these moments, it’s okay to listen and see if there is something that inspires or triggers you within what they share, but it’s also okay to preface your conversation with the fact that you are or are not looking for their feedback. You may thank them for their thoughts and change the subject. You are your own best expert. A weight loss professional is going to guide you to options, but if every fiber of your being is telling you something doesn’t feel right, we want you to share that and realign with what does feel good for you. It will only work if you are on board, so help us guide you to a plan that sounds great!
6. Our brains are wired for survival, and fat feels like safety.
Once you realize that in many cases your body is simply trying to protect you, can you be open to shifting into compassion for the experience? Perhaps there is something mentally or emotionally weighing on you in your life that creates some source of instability or feeling unsafe in your subconscious mind. If that’s the case, your body may not want to or feel safe to release this fat that it perceives is currently protecting you. While that’s an internal miscommunication that we’ll want to address, doesn’t that make it easier to be gentle on yourself for what has or hasn’t happened with your weight loss so far? Does it inspire any thoughts about something outside of your body that may be coming into play with the situation? This is an incredibly powerful discussion to have with yourself. If you feel you cannot navigate it alone, we have a list of trusted partners in the mental and emotional health space that we are happy to refer you to.
Whether or not you intend to use medical interventions such as semaglutide or tirzepatide, we do find that when the body feels full, it may start to trump that primal sensation. Because it has a sense of sustained satiety (by working with brain receptors), your body knows there is food in the stomach (due to slowed emptying), which ultimately is able to show that primal urge that all the boxes are checked.
7. Reframe willpower as decision fatigue.
You are presented with so many decisions over the course of any given day, and things that are habitually wired will carry out as such. If you have been busy living life and making decisions all day, don’t expect a heroic act of will at the end of the day once you have arrived at a place of fatigue. This is often why we fall back on our old habits in the evening. We have run out of the required type of brain power to make decisions that align with our goals and will fall back on the habit so as to not have to properly weigh the consequences or effects of our decision. Instead of making yourself feel bad for your empty willpower tank, recognize that until a new habit is created, you may need to remove yourself from the situations where those habits normally take place.
Suggested read: Atomic Habits. The studies are somewhat conflicted on exactly how long it takes to create a new habit, but what’s clear is that new habits are possible and consistency is how you arrive there. When you start to see yourself as someone who carries out the new habit and gives yourself the support to do so, instead of just living the same way without any interventions and expecting a different end result, you’ll be able to create momentum toward that new habit and the results it unlocks for you.
8. Stress less.
Forgive yourself, your past, the present conditions, and pay attention to the energy with which you are approaching the situation. If you are coming at your weight loss or weight change goals with an energy of anger or desperation, your experience and your body chemistry will likely be one of stress which is counterproductive to your goals. Stress is one of the primary factors in tweaking the body’s chemistry to become an environment that holds onto fat for dear life. Stress, in primal or physiological interpretations, means the body needs to be on the ready to run or fight. In those moments, the energy signature is not one of rest, digest, properly process, heal and release.
The human body has not evolved to the reality that we are often not experiencing life-threatening events every day. But our body doesn’t know the difference, and it enables the response accordingly, even if it’s just your nagging boss or a tense moment in a relationship, or the traffic on your commute.
In fact, it goes deeper as to why and how we crave eating and yet know it’s going against us in stressful moments. Eating food is something that is chemically supportive of your state in a stressful moment as the act of eating triggers a serotonin response, aka a feel-good response within your chemistry. So now your body has learned that eating makes you feel good, but ultimately your body may also hold the chemistry to create fat or hold on to it. And if you habitually do this, now, you are rewiring this response to just be what you do in those moments. No judgment or guilt regarding your own willpower, but simply understand that this is now physiologically neurologically wired to be the case.
9. The words you hear the most on any given day are your own.
Be intentional and aware of what you are saying because the way that the subconscious mind works is that it simply wishes not to make you a liar. If you consistently affirm negative beliefs about fat or weight or see yourself as a failure who will never figure it out, whether spoken or simply thought to yourself, you have a subconscious mind that is directing the body who is acting according to your words. You can either be your worst critic or your most enthusiastic cheerleader as you navigate this journey with grace. The subconscious mind is directly linked with your automatic and habitual living of life and existing in your body, so empowering it as your ally versus constantly working against yourself consciously versus subconsciously, you may experience easy, profound shifts that truly just feel like flow.
“You do not have to kick the horse harder to make it run faster.” Liz Josefsberg
We love seeing our clients use semaglutide and tirzepatide to regain trust in their bodies and focus on thoughts unrelated to weight loss—for some, the decades-long frustration is lifted and they are finally able to liberate themselves from the struggle of constantly feeling that they aren’t doing enough or that something isn’t working correctly.
10. Fat holds toxins.
If you are experiencing a lot of physical symptoms that point toward toxicity, know that releasing fat could help your toxic load, as fat cells are a hospitable home for toxins. (Read also our article A Creative Approach to Detox and Fat Loss.) Additionally, and in a very chicken or egg scenario, reducing your toxic load by focusing on avoiding them as much as possible in your lifestyle and eating decisions and also releasing them from the body means that the body does not sense the need for as much fat for them to live in. Both of these angles may dramatically improve your health over time.
11. Fill your life with things that make you feel good.
The more filled up you are in life, unrelated to food, the less you are looking for something to bring you those feel-good emotions associated with eating. Food is not an enemy and we are not villainizing it, but the habit of eating in excess or eating to fill a void can lead to overeating, weight gain, digestive distress, toxicity, and other health issues. If your life is full of things that help you feel alive and create those same feel-good emotions in settings unrelated to food, you are less likely to experience some of those issues tied to over-eating.
As you very well know by now, weight loss is so much more than just calories in and out. We also want to acknowledge that not everything shared above may resonate with you or may be overly simplifying something much more complicated. The layers of nuance to every single human’s experience with their body is what makes our team of NPs and providers excited and qualified to offer what they do—customized approaches that get to the root of any issue. We’d be honored to open the dialogue and support you as you move toward your healthiest, most ‘you’ life. Please book a consultation to be in touch, today.
Many of these above items are also discussed in this really powerful video by Liz Josefsberg if you’d like to go deeper: https://youtu.be/YuR51ktq1k8