Minimalism Helped Me Discover The Real Cause of Weight Gain and How to Deal With It.

Written by Freedom Strider

On February 25, 2019
Minimalism Helped Me Discover The Real Cause of Weight Gain and How to Deal With It.

Minimalism Helped Me Discover The Real Cause of Weight Gain and How to Deal With It.

by Feb 25, 2019

Minimalism? What? So you… have 1 spoon and fork, sit on the floor, wear the same t-shirt everyday and you only eat mangoes and green smoothies? 

No. 

Well, the green smoothies were a recent development. But, still, no.

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 MINIMALISM IN A NUTSHELL

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Minimalism is the personal realization of what your needs are, and what the healthiest ways are for you to achieve them. It’s a mindset, not a lifestyle per say; you can be a minimalist in any, all or only some aspects of your life – whatever makes you comfortable. 

It’s not about having the minimal amount of stuff numerically possible but having the minimal amount of stuff that you personally need. So, with food, it is really about portion sizes and being aware of what you actually eat. The real cause of weight gain is lack of understanding

No, I don’t mean become vegan, but there is a reason why a lot of minimalists are vegan and we’ll write a blog about that soon. ;D … no, we are not vegan, yet, and maybe never but never say never. 

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The Problem

So, the minimalist mindset, what the heck does it have to do with me losing weight?

In our ever-ongoing journey in discovering how to be healthy and happy, I am today going to be not only updating you on my current challenge of getting myself to a healthy weight but also how we are changing our lifestyle to pursue that goal.

Today I would like to discuss about discovering and tackling the root of our problems.

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The Change

When we start trying to change something in our lives, a lot of us get frustrated by lack of results. Or the eventual rebound of our achievement. This is not true just in weight issues – it is part of the process when we have to make our human mind. We try to accept an alternative approach in dealing with whatever is going on.


Minimalism is not a switch that you can flick on and everything will magically work; minimalistic thinking has to be slowing implemented. It needs to be free to naturally root itself into your life. It’s not about immediate radical change (ie. crash diets.. bad idea) but about shifting the circumstance of your life without stressing yourself out. 

What does that mean in English? Glad you asked. ;D

get started with alternative lifestyles

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Here is the complete overview of What alternative living is, Why it’s a good idea and How you can get the ball rolling.

How in the world are we to make the results of our efforts more permanent?

 

For those who do not know, my name is Polly and over the years I have had difficulties with my weight, and have noticed patterns that correlate towards fluctuations. Before we get into that, let us first talk about what the larger part of society believes about people with weight issues.

And yes, I have been subjected to most of these opinions myself.

So, let’s take an ordinary overweight person. People’s immediate thoughts are to assume that this person is either eating too much or not exercising enough…or both. Thus, naturally, all said person would have to do is eat less and move more – seems simple? And while these two factors are still extremely important to solving the problem, they are by no means the cause of most obesity cases – they are the symptoms.

 

So why does this line of thought not always work?
Well: There is this

Overweight people are further subjected to the abuse of being called lazy and weak if they are gaining weight or maintaining a high weight, even if their intentions and actions are to pursue losing weight. For some people, laziness and lack of determination are their problems, however, the majority of other causes of weight issues are:

 Lack of confidence

Lack of knowledge

Stress

Anxiety

Depression

Medical issues

Now, we are going to put the medical issues to one side, as they are complicated and vastly different from individual to individual.

Taking all the other possible causes of weight disorders mentioned above, what can you see?

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They All Have A Psychological Basis

The pattern I noticed with my weight was directly connected with the amount of stress I was experiencing at the time. Throughout school, I maintained a high weight but could not find a way to bring it down but when the summer holidays came, I relaxed, which allowed me to focus on my health. I controlled my food better and did intense and consistent exercise – so my weight went down and various other health factors improved too. As the next wave of stress came, my weight loss progress stopped. This reoccurred nearly every school year, however, the last time it happened was different – it was not just workload stress, now there was emotional abuse in play.

So, I’m going to get a bit sciencey for a minute but bear with me, because this part really helped me.

Stress is controlled by a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is naturally produced by your body and is responsible for many functions, including regulating blood sugar level, metabolic rate, memory formation, etc. If under stress, anxiety, depression or general negative emotions, your body releases more cortisol, which is fine for short periods of time, however, prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels (meaning you are stressed for a long time) can lead to a lot of health issues. Such as:

Weakened Immunity

High blood pressure

High blood sugar

Greater psychological stress

Insulin Resistance

Carbohydrate Carvings

Metabolic syndrome + Type 2 diabetes

Fat deposits on the face, neck and belly

Reduced libido

Bone loss 

During my last weight gain, I had been stressed for months (nearly a year). I was progressively experiencing the majority of those symptoms, including some behavioural changes such as, I was more intolerant, critical and my short-term memory was suffering. I noticed that I would eat a normal lunch and after I would be hungrier than before (which now I know were stress related carb cravings).

This led me to gain 10kg [22lbs] in 6 months – that’s half a kilo [1lb] a week – and the excess food I was consuming was not a match for the kilograms added, so my guess is my blood sugar levels were off and I suspect insulin resistance may have started. I felt like I could not stop it; my body had totally gone out of sync.

Here is why I know that simply limiting my food and putting myself under intense exercise would not solve my weight issues this time, as I had done before: because I started to.

I began a strict diet and started intense exercise, and within 3 days, I noticed signs of mild depression. I realized that mentally and emotionally I was not ready to drop my weight.

it was vital for me to stop the strict regime.

Had I not, and had the negativity increased, I could have landed myself on the other side of the spectrum with something like anorexia because my mind may not have been able to handle the change or I could have even gained more weight. Thankfully, I did not find out which worst-case scenario my body preferred – because I caught myself.

Upon realizing how stress played a part in my health and weight situation I understood that just eating less and moving more will not get me healthy. Me eating more, that was just the symptom of a bigger and deeper problem – I had to address my happiness outside of my kilograms and look inwards in order to truly lose the weight and keep it off. 

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So, How Am I doing This?

Calorie Tracker

get started with alternative lifestyles

Download your FREE eBook

Here is the complete overview of What alternative living is, Why it’s a good idea and How you can get the ball rolling.

Easy, huh?! 


Minimalistic thinking helped me realize this, and honestly, my diet hasn’t really changed – just control my portion sizes. I still enjoy the same meals and foods I always have, just with some more variety in my diet. If I am being honest, I probably eat more chocolate now than I used to – I just enjoy it more because I know how to fix the damage if I overeat or I know that that chocolate bar fits within my daily limit.  

I started tracking what I eat and worked on understanding what the numbers meant. This method was very effective at teaching me how to be honest with myself, about myself – it cut the guilt of eating ‘unhealthy’ stuff as I knew how much and what made it unhealthy. 

I simplified this down to calculating the calories in my food (ie how many calories I ate during a day), and how many calories I burnt via doing exercise, by staying alive – my BMR and other things. For an explanation on how I did this – I published a video explaining it all here

Interestingly, this became therapeutic – it helped me keep track of the day, and gave me a simple number which I used to compare against my weight results. Over the past year, this numbering and tracking system has been accurate within 3% of what I calculated – which when you think about how complex the body is, is remarkably accurate!

If I feel like doing an exercise workout or going for a run, I do it. If one day I feel like eating chocolate, I do it (more like every day). Most of all though, I walked a lot more. Having a Fitbit definitely helped, but staying stress-free, and knowing my state of mind was the singular turning point.

Understanding yourself and figuring out what is causing your weight to pile or stay on (if you want to lose it) comes down to, not just how much you eat and how much you move, but also how anti-toxic your state of mind is – and if this is not in a healthy and happy state, you need to make it so.

Ask yourself:

What is making you eat more? Why do you have a lack of drive to exercise or do anything? What is truly keeping you from being healthy and happy?

Figuring these out will go a long way.

And just remember that some people like being fuller and they are by no means lazy, stupid or out of control if they choose to be so. That is their choice for them to make, not for you to judge them for it.  ;D

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