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Weight Gain & the Woe-Is-ME Syndrome: How to Break the Cycle

Written by Amber Bignell

Published on Nov 8th, 2016

The holidays are just around the corner – and if you are anything like me, you might be mentally preparing yourself for the pounds of delicious food that will soon be upon you. It can be difficult to avoid eating fatty foods, even though you know you might do better to stay away from them. And I get it. I mean… what exactly is the point of holidays if not to try as many tasty dishes as humanly possible? You might be saying “family is the reason for season!” and while that is probably true, I would have to say that comfort food takes a close second.

So what happens when you have indulged in all manner of great food for two months? Again, if you are even vaguely similar to me, you might find yourself with a few extra pounds. You might also find yourself fairly frustrated at this result as well as yourself – and that’s okay! It’s alright to take stock of the situation and find yourself irritated. But be careful of your reaction and treat yourself kindly, because it is all too easy to fall into the “woe is me” mentality – and that can lead to a vicious cycle.

What is the “Woe is Me” Syndrome? To put it simply, this occurs when you find yourself stewing discontent over the aforementioned unwelcome weight gain. It’s a natural reaction; however, it can lead to some less than favorable results if dwelled upon for too long. You might find yourself frustrated and depressed, which can lead to things like increased irritability and stress. And do you know what happens when you’re stressed out and upset?

You eat. Well, okay, maybe you don’t, but I sure do, and many people are the same way. Comfort eating is a thing, and it can lead to even more weight gain. This is especially true since during this time, you might not be feeling up to the gym or going outside for your normal exercise.

The Cycle

When you are upset about gaining weight, you might find yourself facing increased stress levels. Stress leads to high stress hormones, which leads to low serotonin, which leads to overeating. It’s biology. Comfort eating leads to more weight gain, a decreased level of energy, and even more frustration and irritability. The cycle can turn nasty fast.

The cycle will try and convince you that all of this is inevitable, and that this is just how your life will be from now on. Take it from me: it’s lying. You can take back control of your life and your health – just follow a few tips and get started on breaking the cycle!


Breaking the Cycle

Recognize there is a problem. It is okay to be frustrated, but you have to accept the situation and move past it. Waiting in limbo isn’t going to help you in the long run, after all, and your time is precious! Why waste it being upset about something that has already happened? 

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re human, and everyone loves holiday food! It’s okay – really. Holding yourself accountable is a good thing, but spending time ruminating on these supposed “failures” is not. Again, the behavior has already passed. Now is the time to work on feeling better, not making yourself feel worse than ever.

Be mindful about your moods and your thoughts. Try to catch yourself when you’re thinking negatively about yourself, and turn it around. You have to be kind to yourself. If you are upset and depressed, you will be much less likely to exercise and get back to where you want to be – so be mindful about your thoughts and actions, and work on breaking out of the post-holiday “funk.”

Make conscious choices to eat healthier and exercise a bit more. Not only will this help you shed the pounds you want to lose, but it will also help you feel better overall!

Refer to these tips throughout the holidays, and also once January rolls around. Use it to remind yourself that everything will be okay. You’ve got this! It might not be a fun time, but it’s also not the end of the world. You can lose the weight and feel great.



About the Author

Stephanie Clarke is an industry veteran writer and editor. She originally wrote within the field of mental health, expanding into health, lifestyle, and numerous industries. Ms. Clarke has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and resides in Clermont, Florida.