Brace yourself. I’m about to get woo-woo all up in here.
There’s something that a lot of fitness professionals won’t talk about… because it’s something a lot of us don’t understand. After years of helping people find and keep a healthy weight, I’ve been baffled, too.
Some clients will do everything right: move consistently at a high intensity, eat right, take their rest days, drink lots of water, etc. But still, they can’t lose weight. As a trainer, it’s THE most frustrating thing in the world. You start to wonder if there are thyroid issues. If hormones are off (which is a part of it). If maybe they’re not being completely truthful with their food journal.
It didn’t become clear to me until I became the victim of the phenomenon.
Just recently, I went through a period of being energetically blocked. I was dragging, feeling tired all the time, struggling with a lot of self-criticism and resistance. I thought I was getting the beginnings of adrenal fatigue it was so bad!
During this time, I didn’t eat any differently. I kept my workouts going. I kept drinking lots of water. But I felt heavy inside, as if I was carrying this exhaustion like boulders where my bones should be. And worse, I couldn’t shake it. I was shut into this box of negativity and resistance.
Everything was a struggle. And I mean everything: getting up, talking to people (even just to order coffee), even taking pictures for Instagram (which I usually LOVE to do!).
While I was taking every action I used to take when I was feeling good in my body, I started noticing weight creeping on. It was subtle, but noticeable (to me). I don’t think anyone else saw it, but it was enough to get me thinking: how can I be doing everything right and still be gaining weight?
Luckily, I pulled myself back to light with the actions I know to take when I start feeling heavy and low like that. Now, I’m back to my bright and shiny self, and the extra inch or two is coming off again.
The whole experience opened my eyes to a mysterious anomaly in the weight loss world that I’ve defined as “Energy Weight.” It’s a complex mix of things that happens in your body to keep you from losing weight or causes you to gain weight, even when you’re doing everything right.
While I know this is not the most scientific of diagnoses, I’ll stand behind it 100%. There’s a lot that we still don’t know about body and brain connection, as well as the question of where soul and essence come into play. Now, those are big woo-woo words I’m using, I know, but science supports this, too.
The Science Behind Energy Weight
When you feel down, heavy or exhausted, your body will respond by going into crisis mode. Being that depression and intense stress or anxiety are stressors on the body, your hormones will react in kind to save you from, well, death. Your body thinks you’re dying! Here’s what happens:
- Cortisol, your stress hormone, rises, causing you to hold onto every ounce of weight just in case you’re in a famine. It also kicks inflammation into high gear, which can cause you to bloat.
- Grehlin, your hunger-stimulating hormone, goes up when you don’t get enough sleep.
Both hormones make it insanely hard to budge the scale, and even harder to keep the numbers from going up.
Then, there’s the issue of body image. When we’re depressed or feeling badly all around, our self-confidence takes a hard hit across the board. Even if you’re not actually gaining weight, your brain can play tricks on you when there’s a dark cloud over your head, causing you to see yourself in a different light.
Feeling badly about yourself can totally zap your motivation and make you want to throw in the towel on your healthy lifestyle. Have you ever just given up when you plateau, thinking “What’s the point? I’m doing all this work and it’s not paying off!” That’s the exact same scenario, and it’s a horrible one to get caught in.
And then there’s the issue of mental blocks. Dr. Wayne Dwyer said, “I’ll see it when I believe it,” and it completely applies to weight loss just. You have to know that you’re capable of staying healthy or losing weight before you do it. If you don’t, you’ll struggle the whole way through if you even see any results at all.
Now, The Woo-Woo Side
While all of those scientific elements play into your body’s refusal to lose weight, there’s a host of other factors that I personally believe hold you in this vortex of resistance. It all comes down to the energy you put out there in the world and hold for yourself.
When you feel heavy, down or blocked, you know it. Everything seems like a struggle, just like it did for me a few weeks ago. What you may not know is that feeling that way internally is also projecting that struggle out into the world. It’s a catch 22; you feel like sh** so you’re bringing more sh** into your life!
The blocks you’re feeling (the resistance to good thoughts and feelings, the lethargy, the dwelling, the anger, the sadness, the inability to see through the haze) are keeping you from opening yourself up to the healing energy of lightness.
To become lighter physically, you have to let the light in.
My friend, Gabby Bernstein, talks about this in her video, “Vibes Speak Louder Than Words.”
As Gabby says, the key to opening yourself up to see the changes you want is to reorganize your energy around weight loss so that your energy can allow for this change to happen. While this is a fairly nebulous concept, I’m confident that I can help you break through these blocks. Let’s get to work!
Break Up The Blocks
There are a few things to keep in mind while we go through this process: A) this may take a bit of time depending on how long you’ve been stuck in these blocks, and B) this process takes patience, dedication and strength to leave your ego at the door. Take deep breaths as you try these exercises.
Step 1: Become aware of your resistance
Take a day or two to bring a journal and a pen with you everywhere you go so you can take note of your resistance. Write down the following:
- What triggered this resistance? (thought, person, place, activity, etc?)
- How does the resistance manifest itself physically? (aching, tightness, shallow breath, etc?)
- How does the resistance manifest itself mentally? (lethargy, sadness, anger, disappointment, resentment, ect?)
- What thoughts do you have around that resistance? What story do you tell yourself when it hits?
After doing this for a day or two, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what triggers your resistance and what happens in your mind and body when it comes. When you know more about your resistance, you can resolve it that much easier.
Step 2: Become willing to release it
If you’re going to change anything in your body or your mind, you have to first be willing to release old patterns and mindsets that hinder your goal achievement. When people fail at goals, it usually comes down to the fact that they weren’t fully willing to release.
If you want to live a different life, you’re going to have to take different actions.
Take some time (however long it takes – minutes, hours, days, weeks) to breathe into your willingness to let go of what is holding you in this heavy space. This is not the same as releasing the heaviness itself; it’s a step of choice. It’s the decision to move forward, knowing you can’t be the same if you want to change.
Don’t move into Step 3 until you’ve become fully willing to release the resistance.
Step 3: Actively let it go
Now comes the time to start actually letting go of the negative energy. This can be done in many different ways, and it really depends on the kind of heaviness you’re facing. Here are some ideas to start you off:
- Take a sabbatical from work. Even if it’s for just 1 or 2 days, giving yourself the space to fully recuperate without outside pressure from work responsibilities might be what you need to heal.
- Do a lot of walking outdoors. Even if you’re tired, doing a little bit of low-impact movement outside every day can help you rest more deeply at night as well as reinvigorate your connection to nature and the world as a whole.
- Meditate on a releasing mantra. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and sit comfortably on the floor, on some grass, or on a pillow on the floor. You can play relaxing music if you’d like (it always helps me to stay focused). Close your eyes and take deep breaths in through your nose, then effortlessly letting the breath glide back out through your nose. In your head, say “Let” as you inhale, and “Go” on your exhale. Repeat your mantra for every breath until the timer goes off.
- Write out your feelings and burn, baby, burn (safely). Get that journal back out again! If you write better than you speak, this might be the technique for you. All you have to do is free-write out your thoughts and feelings around your resistance. When you’ve done that, rip the page out and burn it (again, safely please). The act of releasing all your crap onto a page and then setting it on fire is crazy cathartic! You can laugh at me if you want, but give it a try and tell me it doesn’t feel good to light that emmer effer up.
- Don’t hold back. Sometimes we hold onto all that heaviness because we don’t think it’s ok to emote. We have to keep everyone else happy, so we can’t show our “weakness.” Strongie to Strongie? That ain’t strength. Strength is allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and then getting back up as soon as you can. Let yourself cry it out. Let yourself scream into a pillow. Let yourself beat up a stuffed animal. Let it out!!! Holding that junk inside will do you more harm than good and – trust me – the people around you can tell something’s going on. Vibes speak louder than words, remember?
The act of letting go can be tiring, so make sure to get enough rest afterwards. If these don’t work for you, do whatever else you need to do to release tension and stress. There are a ton of other options out there that might work better than these for you.
Step 4: Light yourself up
This is my favorite step of the 4 because we finally get to feel good again! I’ll talk a bit more about my personal process that I use to light back up again in a few weeks, but the possibilities here are truly endless and completely personal.
Just do anything that makes you feel alive, nourished and supported.
I say “alive, nourished and supported” because if you’re hitting all those points, the actions you take will be healthy ones that will help you climb back out of this darkness. This doesn’t include bingeing on food, drugs or alcohol which would make most of us feel guilty, remorseful and self-critical during or immediately afterwards. This only includes actions that bring you back to life, not further away from it.
Draw, run, dance, talk to friends, see a therapist, paint, play some games, do the silliest workout you can find, sing, look at funny memes for 20 minutes, play music as loud as you’re allowed where you live, and on and on. Just do something that puts a smile on your face. Anything.
When you’re blocked, it may seem like nothing can put a smile on your face, but don’t lose hope. No matter what, keep the faith that this (just like everything else) will pass. It will as long as you commit to this process.
When you release all this internal junk, the external will begin to fall into place. Don’t expect it to happen overnight; this is for your long-term health and happiness. Those kinds of changes take a little longer to make.
Your blocks are not who you are. Don’t let them define you.
Here’s to you, shining bright.