June 1, 2017

This is a more personal blog than usual. For the past four years, I’ve had problems with my shoulders. How this relates to weight loss will become evident.

My shoulders were nothing too serious, but apparently something quite common for women around the age of 50. It started when I was only 49, so I pooh-poohed the idea “I’m not 50, so it can’t be that!”, but over time I realised that it was probably true.

I tried a range of treatments: massage, physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic – all with little effect. Eventually I found yoga, and the amazing thing was that just 5 to 10 minutes daily was all it took to start noticing a real improvement.

What about the weight loss?

Be patient, it’s coming. What I realised was that I had been treating the condition in the wrong way. What yoga did was help me stretch the muscles that were causing the problem. Tight chest and lower back muscles were the cause. Years of computer work, driving, reading, washing… all activities that involve a slight forward bend and arms forward. No wonder so many 50-year old women suffer!

All I needed to do was stretch these and the problem would be solved.

Actually, it’s not so easy and this is where weight loss comes in.

When we have pain or discomfort of any kind, we’re likely to do something about it. Shoulder pain led to yoga. For those wanting to lose weight, the pain (emotional and/or physical) leads to a diet or exercise or both. The key is to tackle the cause of the problem (why you gained weight), not treat the symptoms (excess body fat).

The interesting thing about both injury prevention/rehabilitation and weight loss is that when the pain passes, we forget about doing the things that resolved the pain go. And so the pain returns.

I had holidays and got busy in the mornings and ‘didn’t have time’ for yoga. What a load of garbage! The reality was that I no longer had pain, and so my motivation for yoga dropped. I prioritised it lower than the things I was so busy with. The realisation struck me that my shoulder pain returned because I didn’t keep doing what made it go away.

When people lose weight, it’s common to get to a lower weight and think “Woo hoo, now I can forget about following my healthy eating plan and doing regular exercise. I’m fixed!” The pain of carrying extra weight is gone, and so the priority to exercise and eat well gets pushed further down the list. So the weight returns, and the person feels like a failure, or they say that the ‘diet’ didn’t work.

Whether it’s injury prevention, weight loss, or any other important thing in life, lasting results only come with a long-term plan and prioritising the habits that help get those results.

In short, you must keep doing what works for your body. Returning to old habits – even gradually – means returning to old problems and old pain.

For help with creating habits that lead to lasting results, call your nearest Healthy Inspirations centre and make a time to talk to a Health Coach. Together, you can work out a plan that suits your body, family, and lifestyle, and helps eliminate the pain permanently.

Now, where’s my yoga mat?