Why Weight Loss Does Not Equal Improved Health
Updated: May 3, 2019
I have been thin my entire life. I have never struggled to lose weight...that is, until I had children. Then my thyroid went crazy high, and then crazy low, and we are getting it back to a good place.
Over the course of the last 7 years, I have done just about every diet you can think of, although now that I'm thinking about it, my dieting days really started in college. I had never been self conscious about my weight until I went to nursing school and was surrounded almost entirely by women who were very insecure about their bodies. By default, I became insecure and joined the diet train in order to lose the freshman 15 I had gained (nevermind the fact that I gained those 15lbs due to the stress hormones and lack of sleep).
Fast forward to married life and being in my 30's with 2 children, one of whom has special needs, and my weight would not budge. I was stressed ALL the time due to having a kiddo with special needs, on top of the underlying hormonal imbalance I didn't want to acknowledge. I just wanted to lose the weight. And I couldnt unless I did keto, or GAPS, or 21 day detox's. All of which led to rapid weight loss that I could not maintain in spite of clean eating habits. It was beyond frustrating and eventually I gave up.
Something interesting happened in the giving up, though. I discovered that I had viewed weight loss as an indicator of health. Weight loss CAN be an indicator of health in some people, but it is not necessarily THE indicator of health. You can be at your thinnest and have an absolutely terrible relationship with food, be undernourished, unwell and have hormone imbalance. When I did keto and was in ketosis, I lost weight, but it eventually caused my body to produce reverse T3, which effectively told my thyroid to produce LESS thyroid hormone, leading to further estrogen dominance, slow metabolism, rebound weight gain and eventually a complete inability to lose weight.
For me, keto actually damaged my hormones in the long run. It occurred to me that I had believed the lies of diet culture that weight loss equals health, and that is simply not the case. I was at my thinnest as an adult woman, but my hormones were a mess!
Once I stopped dieting, I began to examine some of my beliefs around food, my beliefs about myself and I began to ask myself some questions:
Can I love my body even though I'm not at my "ideal" weight?
Can my "ideal" weight and the verbiage around that be exchanged for "ideal" health?
Can I form a positive self image and relationship with food that allows my body to heal from the inside out, which may eventually lead to weight loss?
I can happily answer yes to all of those questions because believe it or not, having a negative view of ourselves and the food we eat can actually cause you to continue producing excess cortisol as you focus more on losing weight than the underlying health issues.
When I exercise, I do it because it is good for my whole body and mind.
When I eat, I choose foods that nourish my body
When I eat, I am focused on the foods I can enjoy, not the foods I don't tolerate or cause inflammation or that I otherwise "can't have"
I have healthy sleep habits because its good for me. I RARELY am thinking about all the things I could and should be doing if I just stayed up later. In otherwords, I prioritize sleep because it is a luxury I cannot afford to leave out.
I proactively address the stressors in my life by putting myself first.
These are just a few of the mental shifts that have changed my focus from weight loss to nourishing my body and my hormones.
It is my firm belief that when we give the body what it needs: water, sleep, sound nutrition, reduction in stress and exercise, our hormones will heal and a byproduct of that in many instances is weight loss.
I am on a journey of healing my hormones at a deeper level, but I am excited to share what I have learned and researched with you. If you'd like to learn more, make sure to check out my 8 week Hormone Recalibration Group Coaching Course, where I give you all the tools and structure you need to make some amazing shifts in your health by healing your hormones from the inside out!
To your wellness,