What is the desire for weight loss?

To feel lighter?

To hurt a little less?

To reconnect with yourself?

In helping individuals with weight loss, I have asked many questions. Such as why do 80% (or so) of weight loss plans “fail”?

Well, maybe it is because weight is part of the journey of life. Let me explain.

Life is hard. There are ups and downs. Our body (I have chosen to believe) frontloads the beginning of life with youth. Youth seems like an energy that just keeps giving. My brain is learning how to be human first from the lens of a child and building that on each decade of life. It has not been 40- until first was 20, and 30. There is also no system in nature that can give out infinitely without being mindful of a balanced budget- I am not quite sure why we think that the human body is any different. But what a beautiful thing that the body gives, before it asks for anything. It is never failing us; it is trying to help protect and support the person within on the journey of his/her life.

That being said- our bodies have evolved over a long period of time. Genes usually take a long time to change and adapt. We have only been in this industrialized type of world for like a 100 years or so….and 1000s is a lot more than 100. (Meaning we have not adapted for the world that we have created, no matter what we think. We are human.)

Over 1000s of years- our bodies want to be fed some whole foods. Move in some sunshine. Have a good bowel movement on a regular basis and sweat a little. It wants to belong somewhere and feel safe at night when it sleeps. Our bodies are most often genetically engineered for health.

Our bodies tend to make us hibernating bears to keep us safe. It slows down our metabolic rate to make us need less energy. Hopefully then we can outlive the stress, and then go outside and play again when it is over.

Our body cannot discern what is psychological or biological stress- often those can feel the same. As we age chronic stressors lead to weight gain often for many of us.

When our body does this, our mind gets irritable, cannot figure out what is going on. It goes back to the archives of our life experience and somehow believes that if you starve yourself and exercise all the time- you will be leaner. I do not believe this to be true. You have to relieve the bear state FIRST before your body that loves you would ever allow you to be stronger and leaner (meaning up your muscle mass and reduce your body fat). This is because in the eyes of nature, if you do not have as much fat, you need a lot of resources. And if resources are scarce- you are vulnerable. And, if you are vulnerable- your body is not doing its job. Our bodies are designed to first keep us alive, then give us a good day. It is its genetic code.

When I was young, I learned somehow in reflection that food is love. Food is community. Food is soothing. I don’t think that is bad, I just think that I did not realize that I was doing it. I did not realize that I could express my love for others in different ways. I just had to learn how. Sometimes learning new things can be anxiety provoking, not because I cannot do it- rather because I simply do not know how to do it. I never learned that I could lift weights either. I had to reach out and learn that one as well. Meaning as I have aged, I have had to go back and learn the gaps in how I was living, to help my body balance itself- It already did that for me during youth. Thank goodness the life journey is not about trying to have to balance the body and find the confidence of life at the same time. That might not go so well. What a beautiful thing that our body does not ask that of us.

I have also been so surprised by the human judgement of others in weight loss journeys. I have also been surprised about the judgement of folks using “tools”. “Tools” whether it be medication, herbs, support groups, etc. are means to help folks find energy for lifestyle change. Change is harder often as we age- not because we cannot change. It is finding the energy to apply our intent that can sometimes be challenging. And sometimes, we just do not know how.

Also, to think that I am going to be one weight my whole life or that my goal weight was when I was a senior in high school is also not a reasonable goal. Every time I have chronic stress, my weight may change. And that is not my body or me failing myself. That is my body trying to protect me so that I can survive what I am going through. Stressors are going to come and go my whole life. I cannot change that, and if there were no stressors- I am not sure that I would grow. And, if we do not grow- what is life about anyway.

I say all the time- I used to think that life was like the game of life. I jump in the car and start driving from start to finish. There are others that have jumped in along the way.

Well, now instead I think of it like chutes and ladders.  I am always going up and down, sliding down the chutes. I am just learning to change my perspective and remember that I have tools to show myself, my body and mind more space and grace along the way. When I am falling down the chute- I try to remember that I have tools (of which is hard to remember by the way as easy as it sounds). Then when I reach the bottom, I do not fall as hard. And I brush myself off and try again.

To me, weight my friends is a number. Composed of muscle mass, body fat, water, etc. It is you that is the driver. If someone is to ever ask what makes Simple Wellness goals with weight loss different- it is more how we do it I suppose. I encourage folks to use the tools to start to learn the things along life journeys that perhaps they have not learned. But also have a little grace along the way to laugh in that we are all human. Ultimately, weight loss to me is about connection with your body, mind and whatever we are spiritually inside. Life’s journey to me is about figuring this out for each one of us within ourselves. And in always learning, we are always becoming, always changing. I am never there; I am always becoming.


Dr Samantha Durland PodcastDr. Samantha Durland is board-certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Anti-aging and Regenerative medicine and Fellowship trained in Metabolic and Nutritional medicine. Learn more about her ground-breaking philosophy and prescription for wellness- My Simple 7– daily actions to thrive in a strong, healthy and peaceful body. 

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