Former adult film star Jenna Jameson has been closely documenting her weight loss journey on Instagram over the past few months after having a baby. In a new post, she gets candid about the mental part of losing weight.
“I’m going to be honest with you, when I was heavy I hated leaving the house,” she wrote next to before and after photos of herself. “I felt judged. I felt eyes on me everywhere. I could hear others internal monologue saying ‘damn, Jenna Jameson let herself go’ ugh.”
Jameson acknowledged that “all of us do this…we worry so very much how we are perceived.” But she also says she had “deeper shame,” in addition to her negative thoughts. “I was disappointed in myself. I was worried I couldn’t lose the weight Sober,” she wrote, noting that she’s battled addiction in the past. “I’m being real with you. When I was in my addiction it was easy to stay thin. Sobriety and being overweight was new to me. I kept telling myself if I could beat addiction and stay sober, I can easily lose the weight… and I did. The healthy way. And as of today I can say my mental game is STRONG. I feel I can do anything, I conquered abuse, addiction, PTSD and depression.”
People were overwhelmingly supportive in their comments. “You looked pretty either way, but you are right there is nothing better than feeling healthy and happy with yourself!” one person wrote. “Needed this,” another said simply. “Your honesty is refreshing. I recently started my journey, so thank you for being inspirational!” another person wrote.
Jameson is right — this way of thinking is common among people who are trying to lose weight, New York-based Jessica Cording, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I see it all the time,” she says. “I feel like everybody struggles with it on some level. Even people who are maintaining their weight struggle with it sometimes too.”
This can be especially challenging for people who are active on social media, Cording has noticed. “Even when you don’t consciously think you’re concerned about what others think about you, you still internalize this idea that people are watching and have opinions about you,” she says.
Weight loss on its own is just hard, and it can be difficult to stay mentally strong through it no matter who you are, Gina Keatley, a certified dietitian/nutritionist who practices in New York City, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “When we are looking to lose weight, the obvious solution is to cut out calories, but we’re hardwired to enjoy sugar, fat, and salt,” she explains. “Going against our biology to avoid excess sugar is already a difficult proposition, but we also develop a chemical addiction to the sugar by way of neurotransmitters.” Adding self-doubt into the mix just compounds the problem.
Your expectations are important too, Susan Besser, MD, a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We all want to see instant results — which aren’t going to happen,” she says. “And when we don’t see that, we will be more inclined to give up.”
There are a few things you can do to stay mentally strong during the weight-loss process. In the beginning, it’s a good idea to figure out why you want to lose the weight and set a lot of short-term goals, Keatley says. It’s also important to anticipate that you’ll have some setbacks, and be OK when they do happen, she says. “It’s the little changes over time that make the lasting changes, and not being able to stick with one change doesn’t diminish other changes you’ve made,” she says.
Cording has also found that it’s helpful to remember that everybody engages in negative self-talk sometimes, whether they’re trying to lose weight or not. And if you feel like you can’t continue on your weight loss journey or you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, she recommends walking yourself through the progress you’ve already made and reminding yourself that you have a plan. Journaling can also help, with both helping you to look at what you’ve accomplished and plan your next steps, she says.
But if you find that you’re really struggling to maintain a positive mindset, or that you’re so immersed in negative weight loss self-talk that it’s distracting you at work or in your social life, it may be time to connect with a mental health professional. “When someone’s on that weight loss journey, having some kind of mental health piece of the picture can be so helpful,” Cording says.
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