Starter Tips to Lose the Weight Forever
It happened again. I got through a holiday weekend with no desire to overeat, let alone think “diet starts tomorrow.” At this point in my life, I’m so done with that cycle of indulging and then paying penance. Today, when special occasions or holidays come and go, I’m less likely to recall the time when it was a different story for me. The days when I existed in the pendulum swing of indulgence and restraint are part of my personal history. The only reason I even thought of that old stuff this time was because I overheard someone at a gathering lament over an empty plate “I have got to get back on it on Monday.” I was suddenly reminded I don’t do that anymore; I’ve moved forward.
The key to moving forward forever was losing the desire to go overboard with food. I’m liberated from that past cycle not because I muster the willpower and self-discipline to avoid overeating; I’m liberated because I literally changed my brain when it comes to how—and what—I eat. The urge to get slaphappy with ‘naughty’ food just isn’t there for me. With that desire…that urge…nullified, it’s genuinely not a struggle to skip the chips or diss the doughnuts. I can go to the Mexican restaurant and not be lured by the basket of chips, even if everybody else at the table is crunching away. I can be part of the gathering and decline the dessert without hesitation. No bigs.
When I hit pause and ponder this personal progression, I’m still quite amazed by it. The changing of the mind is a powerful thing! And it’s completely different than employing willpower and restraint in attempt to form new habits. While self-discipline does play a role in the changing of the mind, I am here to tell you that the permanent change I’ve achieved has much deeper roots than any positive habit I’ve ever formed or any discipline I’ve ever practiced.
And I tell you this as someone who’s pretty darn good at creating habits and being disciplined. Proof: I managed to eat a consistently low carb diet for six years back in the early 2000s! Know anybody else who went low carb and sustained it for over half a decade? Probably not! Yet even after six years with relatively reliable eating habits, I eventually abandoned that path; the roots of that approach to eating ultimately withered and I returned to “oh, it’s the weekend; I’ll have the doughnut” and “holiday calories don’t count”…which led to up-and-down weight and dieting all over again. This history allows me to know that where I’m at now is a completely different place.
How did I lose the desire to indulge? I teach the principles and steps in depth in my course on losing weight and eating well for life, but let me share starting approaches for you here. Whether you ever sign up for the course or not, you can take these insights and run with them to spark real change!
Face the fact that food is fuel.
This foundational truth is not fun or sexy. In a world in which eating is an experience and so many of us proudly wave our Foodie flags, flatly stating that food is really just fuel for our bodies and brains can be kind of a downer…insert the wah-wah sound effect here. But embracing this reality is immensely important in adopting the right mindset for the journey that leads beyond up-and-down weight and yo-yo dieting.
Face the fact that food is fuel—that it doesn’t exist to entertain or fulfill us in any other way—and you will become more consciously aware of what, when, and why you’re eating. You’ll be open to learning about how food can best fuel you and start understanding the ways in which you haven’t been eating, er, fueling, properly.
Bonus tip: The food you have stored on your body in the form of fat IS FUEL! The average person has the equivalent of 63 meals stored in fat on her body at any given time. That means your body and brain have plenty of fuel already ‘on board’ to keep you going; you’re just fine to skip a meal every now and then!
Hello, hunger, is that really you?
It is shockingly common for us humans to eat when we aren’t truly hungry. We eat based on the time of day, the occasion, the mere presence of food, peer pressure—so many factors that have nothing to do with whether our bodies and brains need fuel in any given moment. We actually override true hunger signals so often that we lose our ability to recognize them and end up consuming unconsciously—even when our bodies and brains don’t need additional energy.
Learning to listen to your body’s true hunger signals so that you eat only when you’re certain you need fuel is not only effective in helping you lose weight, it’s how we were meant to function in the first place! For example, we have this amazing hormone called leptin that helps inhibit hunger and regulate energy. Leptin triggers a decrease in appetite when there’s plenty of fat on our bodies to access for fuel. If we disregard leptin’s signals and keep eating anyway, we become insensitive to leptin and won’t benefit from its function.
I’m here to tell you: when you heed the bonus tip about stored fat I just shared and learn to really listen to your body, you will discover how infrequently you’re actually hungry!
Don’t cage the beast; release it.
When you try to manage your eating and weight with restrictive diets, excessive exercise, and self-denial, you’re just caging a beast. Over time, that beast will pry the bars apart and break free, and you’ll find yourself binging on your birthday, consuming comfort food in crisis, and feasting on the familiar foods that you’ve always fought against. Instead, release the beast, face it, and let it run past you as many times as it must until you don’t even notice it anymore.
To put all that in practical terms, live your life in the real world, face the urges, yet let them pass. Examples: Eat a good meal before you go to the party so you aren’t hungry for the hors d’oeuvres, decline the free yeast rolls at the restaurant—even if the server shows up at your table with them in hand, let your husband keep his bag of chips in the cupboard—right at eye-level so you have lots of chances to ignore them.
To face the urges yet let them pass, you’ll need to decide in advance and plan ahead. If you don’t decide and plan, you may end up inviting the beast you’ve released to sit beside you while you scarf the pint of ice cream. Our ability to decide and plan ahead is a uniquely human superpower that you can always employ to let the urges move right on by.
Lastly… Neutralize; don’t moralize.
Let’s call a cease and desist on aligning your moral character with your challenges with eating well and losing weight. Has it ever worked in your favor to beat yourself up or think poorly of yourself because of the extra pounds or the propensity to pig out? Of course, it’s never worked—so howsabout trying something different to get a different result? So much of what makes this stuff hard has to do with the way your brain and body is wired—and that is science-based. When you neutralize what’s happening rather than moralize, you clear space to learn the actionable facts to move forward, and you become liberated from thinking this anything to be ashamed about. With that figurative weight lifted, you are able to move forward toward permanent success.
For more about this idea and growing past self-judgement, I hope you’ll check out my previous blog cast on the topic. I will share the link to it so you can find it easily.
I want you to really receive the insights and information I’m sharing here, because I know firsthand how powerful they are in helping us get past the repetitive up and downs and back and forths. I want you to no longer be hindered or held back because of issues related to weight and eating. I want you to what you do…what you accomplish…who you become when you’re done with this and can get to the good stuff in life.
If you’re interested in a deeper dive—the whole shebang, click over to the Courses page on my website, and let’s get going!
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