Why Suffering Is Part of Healthy Weight Loss (No, Seriously)

Twenty-six-year-old, very idealistic me was sitting front row at an event at my university. The man speaking said this…

“Suffering is inevitable. It’s part of life…” he announced to the crowd. I remember thinking, this is pretty dark don’t you think? Like I said, I was twenty-six and not *much* had happened to me just yet.

“But the key is you’re either creating suffering by wishing, hoping, wanting and not actually realizing, actualizing or experiencing what you truly want. OR you suffer to do the work to achieve the goals and dreams you have for yourself.”

It took me awhile to realize that these were the wisest, most powerful words I would ever hear. And it’s directly related to how you have to approach your weight loss if you want it to be permanent.

Suffer For The Good

It’s all about suffering for good as opposed to suffering for the “stuck”. There is a certain amount of suffering in your life. Everyone’s suffering varies but the fact is, it is part of life.

Recently, I talked about some of the main issues with shows like The Biggest Loser because what they essentially do is take the suffering out of life. Participants are removed from the everyday stressors that cause weight loss.

They don’t have to deal with the bad day at work, fight with their husband, kids not listening, feeling lonely and sad at 9 pm, etc.

So, when they go back to their real life, what happens? The weight comes right back on once those emotional triggers are reintroduced. Because they will be introduced. You simply can’t avoid your life.

That’s why you have to ask yourself…

  • Do I spend my emotional energy wishing, hoping and wondering but at the end of the day still stay stuck?
  • Do I spend my emotional energy creating, planning, implementing and recommitting when challenges arise so that I actually create change?

There will be emotional energy expended either way but only ONE of these roads is ultimately going to get you where you want to go.

Is Change Really That Hard?

The other thing I hear a lot from women when they first come to me is that they are worried that change takes so much effort.

“Can I really do this Jen?” they ask. “Do I have what it takes?”

I love having this conversation with women because I understand exactly where this comes from.

If you’ve ever had hard times in your life or gone through a rut, or the soul-sucking that happens when you don’t feel like the best version of you, then I know you can relate, too.

You stay in this, you tolerate it, and you question new possibility because there is an element of change that is hard. It can feel scary. Absolutely.

The other major factor is you don’t know another way just yet.

The world of dieting that has dominated the health and weight loss industry in North America is solely based on deprivation, white-knuckling, and extreme versions of weight loss that are not possible to sustain for an entire lifetime. This is why most women find themselves yo-yo dieting for 17 years or more, on average!

In order to change, you can’t keep doing what you’re doing because it hasn’t worked. You know it’s not about finding the right “trend” for you because eventually living in a state of deprivation will cause you to crash and burn.

So the major question becomes what do you do instead?

ResourceFULL vs. ResourceLESS

Making the decision to change is the hardest part because there are those parts that tell you it’s not time, wait until it’s easier, you got too much on your plate right now, work is too busy, you’re not ready.

But there will never, ever be a time when you say, “Great! Things are perfect so now I have time to change!” It’s either thrust upon you or you actively seek it out.

This is why it’s so important to find a friend, a coach; someone you can trust. You have to seek out your resources – get resourceful as opposed to feeling isolated or that you are alone on this journey.

My clients in The Weight Loss Code Academy get this kind of support for 10 months. We dive deep into the science of healthy weight loss with sane, customized structure, support, and battling the mindset and suffering in real time.

The 10 months is crucial because this takes you through a hearty cycle of what your life looks like – through the good days, the bad, Christmas, vacations, winter vs. summer, kids in school – you name it. I go through it with you in real time and deal with the suffering for the good together.

You can learn more about it here.

Because what tends to happen is if you keep wishing things were different, hoping it will happen one day and you don’t get the tools to shift into doing, you stay in that pain, guilt, and shame of dieting and feeling like a failure.

The hardest part is starting. The minute you start everything gets easier. And that’s when you decide to keep moving forward with strategies and support.

The Weird Change Myth Everyone Believes

Consistency is the second part.  Because this is what prevents you from making the decision to having to “start” again and so you never get into the habit of consistency and momentum.

Women will say to me, “Jen, I’m good for a week or two and then something happens and I get thrown off and then I have to start all over again…”

There is this weird myth that people believe that once you make the decision, it’s smooth sailing from there. Yes, that initial change is the hardest part but staying committed to the vision despite emotional triggers or life changes will not always be easy. And that’s ok.  

Sometimes you have to keep recommitting to yourself every week, every day, and even every hour.

What’s exciting about this is that ‘s when you see the results. You start to fully realize what you need to stay committed.  

You will live with yourself for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you will face yourself over and over again.

What times of the day do you feel like not wanting to stay committed? When do you beat yourself up or want to stop?

It seems easier to stop because you forget how much energy you had to used to begin with. Instead, I want you to recalibrate…

Where is that emotional leak with your energy? Where is it getting spent and where isn’t it serving you?

  • Do you know you need to go for a walk at night but stay in and watch Netflix instead?
  • Do you know your good with healthy options but don’t grocery shop?
  • Do you know you want to get up and go to a morning workout class but you keep pressing snooze?

If you want something to be different in your life, you have to address what kind of struggle you want. It really is up to you. The challenge to grow is always going to be there until that growth becomes your new normal.

Today, think about that and whatever your challenge is or the thing keeping you stuck. Write it down or pop it in the comments here.

What’s the #1 reason it’s happening?

If you pop it in the comments, I’ll personally respond back to you. Remember, you can’t change what you’re not aware of and this is an opportunity to get my honest feedback and strategies.

You have what it takes. You’re not a failure. You can do this. You simply need to get the strategies for real weight loss for real life.

By | 2018-11-04T10:17:04-07:00 September 12th, 2018|Emotions and Weight Loss, Energy, Keeping Weight Off, Weight Loss|2 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer coaches busy, successful women with imperfect lives who want to look and feel amazing from the inside out. With her tried-and-proven weight loss method—ENERGY to Thrive™—Jennifer takes the fascinating science of physiological transformation and breaks it down into six empowering steps.


  1. Sandy Farmer September 24, 2018 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    I think the thing that holds me back is not wanting to be left out, be different. Not left out of that great meal or desert everyone is sharing. Funny thing is, I have used food to bring everyone together and slowly, they are eating healthier and I am not.
    I eat when happy, sad, tired, energetic. I don’t really want it. I am an alcoholic with 30 years of sobriety. Food still tricks me.

    • Jennifer Powter March 27, 2019 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Ahhhhh – yes…Oh Sandy, so many women can trick themselves with food. I think the question to reflect on is what are you still craving emotionally? Is there something that you still hold yourself back from feeling or receiving?


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