Weight and Your Brain: Considering the “Failure Syndrome”
Most of the battles with weight loss rage not at the dinner table or even at the drive-thru window, but in our minds. All too often we are our own worst enemies when it comes to making healthy life changes. Just realizing where these struggles usually take place and how we are defeated by them can often be the perfect step in the right direction. After helping hundreds of patients lose weight amidst difficult situations, I have personally seen the results of the “Failure Syndrome” time and time again. Failure Syndrome is when a perceived failure leads to feelings of frustration, sadness, hopelessness, etc… This perception of failure, often leads to hopelessness. Patients with this mindset believe they will never be able to achieve their goals, and. so, they begin to engage in even more self-destructive behavior. They give up. Obviously, this vicious cycle can relate to more than just weight loss, but for our purposes we’ll look at it in that light.
We are all too familiar with this kind of reasoning, whether it involves weight loss or other life choice. This is a spiral of unhealthy thinking that never ends well; what’s important is to realize and how to end this cycle of negative thinking. Consider the following scenario: You’re on the second week of your “diet,” it’s been a long day, company has been in town and you recently attended three birthday parties where you ate too much, and skipped any physical activity. You feel like you “failed”. You’re upset and frustrated at yourself. Right at this point is where you’re faced with a big decision. A) Avoidance: Responding by making excuses and rationalizations, while telling yourself it’s no big deal. Or B) Confrontation: Being 100% honest with yourself and figuring out a way to change right now. The difference between A and B is the difference between sulking or taking positive action, feeling sorry for yourself or feeling empowered, weight loss “failure” or weight loss “success.”
Contrary to popular opinion, being “successful” with your health and weight loss goals is not about always making perfectly-healthy decisions. Rather, it’s about a willingness to confront unhealthy behaviors head on (and change those decisions), rather than avoiding and downplaying them. We are faced with opportunities to confront or avoid multiple times every day; a healthy lifestyle is one that consistently confronts. We are all going to eat the cheeseburger, pizza or ice cream at times–that’s just real life. We are not, however, all going to live feeling guilty and defeated, and always making excuses for our actions. At CHI Health Weight Management, we have observed thousands of patients turn things around and find the strength to confront and change.
We know that many of our readers have done the same, and want to know how have you been able to make this happen?