Weight Loss VS Domestic Violence

by Tara Fitness

I’ve got a deep one for you today… I want to talk about unhealthy weight loss.

Domestic violence is something I dealt with a lot when I worked in Child Protection. It’s a significant cause of harm to children, so I worked with a lot of parents to improve their relationships to increase the safety of their children.

I was writing a post the other day — you might remember it, it was about short-term success — and it got me thinking about the cycle of violence. Oddly, I started to see some similarities between a domestic violent relationship and the relationship so many people have with weight loss programs.

The Honeymoon Phase

The cycle of violence often begins with the honeymoon phase. You know what it’s like when you start a new relationship; you’re over the moon, swept away in a sea of emotion.

You feel like a princess or the king of the world. You feel so happy you never knew it was possible. You’re head over heels in love and you want it to stay this way forever.

It’s just like a new weight loss program. You’re feeling extremely motivated and determined. You’re loving creating healthier, tasty meals. The workouts hurt but you keep pushing through.

After a couple of weeks, you stand on the scales and jump for joy because you’ve lost a few kgs. You take some ‘after’ photos and a quick snap of the scales, then throw them on Facebook for everyone to see. You send messages to your closest friends too, because you’re ecstatic and you need to share this with someone.

The Tension Building Phase

In a violent relationship, tension starts to build as the honeymoon fades away. This phase is filled with nitpicking, hurtful comments, put-downs, shouting, controlling behaviour and sometimes, withholding the affection that was so prevalent in the honeymoon phase.

In the weight loss plan, this is the point where your life catches up with you. You’re asked to stay late for a meeting at work, the kids ask to go on a playdate and you’re exhausted at the end of the week, so you pick up a cheeky takeaway.

Suddenly you realise you’ve skipped 3 healthy dinners and a couple of lunches too because you got busy and didn’t have the time to meal prep. You skipped a workout or two as well. You’re starting to feel tired, and your motivation is falling like a skydiver who just jumped out of a plane.

The Acute Explosion

In the violent scenario, the explosion refers to the specific violent incident. The bottle full of rage is emptied in the blink of an eye. This phase often culminates in physical violence such as punching, kicking or slapping and aggressive verbal violence.

However, on the weight loss plan, this is where you throw your hands in the air and admit defeat. You tell yourself you’re a failure, and that you’ll never be able to lose weight. You convince yourself you’re not good enough because the plan was great, but you don’t have what it takes to finish it.

The Break

Over time, memories fade. In our mind, bad things mellow and good things get better.

Think back to the last time you exercised after a long break. It hurt a lot more than you remembered, right?

How about the theme park you remember visiting as a child? Wasn’t it just the most exciting place in the world? Then you returned as an adult and it really wasn’t that great?

My point exactly!

The Commitment

So, months or years after our last weight loss attempt, we remember the weight loss clearly. We remember how incredible it made us feel — or do we? We scroll back through our phone, longing for those miracle results again.

But often we forget the hard yards it took to get us there. We forget about the sacrifices we had to make and the horrible temptation that surrounded us for weeks until we gave in and ate a whole block of chocolate in one sitting.

We remember the honeymoon, yet we’ve forgotten the tension and the explosion.

So, this time around, break the cycle.

Don’t start another bad relationship by chasing unhealthy weight loss.

Don’t chase the quick results when you know you can’t do the work to maintain them.

Instead, take things slowly.

Learn one thing at a time.

Implement one new habit until you’re confident it’s working, then move onto the next.

And slowly but surely, build a better life.

Oh… and you’ll lose that weight too… but this time it won’t return.

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