From a purely biological standpoint losing weight is easy: Eat less calories than you burn. But if it was that easy then no one would ever have to struggle with their weight. But the psychological side of weight loss is often overlooked. Australian celebrity fitness trainer James Duigan (who trained A-listers Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) has written several Clean and Lean for Life cookbooks, and believes that dealing with feelings like shame, guilt and regret are integral to successful weight loss.

Stress in particular has a huge effect on what we eat, and how much. When you are stressed your body produces a chemical called cortisol, which actually inhibits fat loss. So when we become dogmatic about diets and obsess about food we are actually making it harder for ourselves to lose unwanted weight.

Duigan lost his father to cancer two years ago. While his father was battling cancer he had to eat a lot to keep his weight up. Duigan ate with him, and gained 10 kilos (22 lbs) in the process. His father told Duigan "Now I know you’re here, we can beat it." When his father finally passed away Duigan was wracked with guilt. He had wanted to save his father so badly and felt that he had let him down. This guilt drove him into a rut, making it nearly impossible for him to return to shape mentally or physically. Finally, his wife Chrissy told him he needed to let go of the guilt.

By filling each day with positive thoughts and affirmations Duigan was able to let go of his guilt and lost all the weight he had gained in just 3 months. Though most of us who feel guilty won’t arrive at that place by the same road as Duigan the effects can be the same. If you feel guilty or ashamed about being out of shape it will be nearly impossible to lose weight. Many people believe deep down that they don’t deserve to be healthy or happy, and that is clearly not true.

That is why the key to a successful healthy lifestyle is not about being stressed or hyper militant. Eat healthy and exercise, but also know that it is okay to indulge once in awhile. If you want a brownie, have one and then move on. Don’t feel like that brownie is a sign of failure, or moral weakness. Enjoy it and let go of the guilt. Obviously that isn’t license to just eat whatever you want and still expect to lose weight, but indulging in small portions once in awhile is perfectly fine. You should also find ways to destress. You don’t always have to go for a run, you could opt for some yoga or a long, meandering walk instead to reduce your stress levels and decrease your cortisol production.

The minute you have that conversation with yourself and begin to understand that you do deserve to be happy and healthy everything, including weight loss, becomes easier. You stop subconsciously sabotaging your own efforts and approach weight loss in a calm, rational manner. A personal trainer can help you have that conversation and reach that understanding by offering not only fitness and diet guidance but also moral support.

For more information on weight loss, or to start your conversation today, call Paul at 403.612.3538 and visit

Share this Post:

Related Posts