There are so many articles published on this topic and I did not want to give you another list of things to do and not do to remember. Albeit a list, this “list” does not contain foods or regiments to follow and abide by. It contains advice. As a nutrition coach, I see many patients that come seeking a quick fix or a simple answer to weight loss or their problems with food. The answer is not so simple because it involves so many aspects of your life. Below are do’s and don’ts that can truly impact weight loss in an effective manner.
What not to do.
Dieting for decades.
Our bodies are all different and there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan or regimen that works all but if you’ve been “dieting” for over a decade and not seeing the results you want in your health and body — chances are it’s not working. The art and science behind dieting lies in helping you establish healthy eating habits in the short term so that in the long term they are simply second nature — not a chore or something you have to do. Stop the nonsense if you have been dieting for decades!
Babe, does this dress make me look fat?
We’ve all at some point or another called our hubby or best friends into the dressing room and asked this question seeking reassurance. Funny enough, this is actually a perfectly normal occurrence. Did you know that the body image a person sees in the mirror or projects in their brain is massively distorted to reality? This distortion has unfortunately been the root cause of many eating disorders and poor body image but studies show the brain is to blame. We have all both personally experienced this phenomenon and encountered others that feel they need to lose 5 to 10 lbs. Bottom line! Stop thinking you are fat if you are not.
I’ll sit this one out.
Poor body image can affect so many areas of your life if you let it. To the extreme, many people who feel they are not at the weight they’d like to be at opt out of evenings out with friends, outdoor activities with family, even intimate relations with spouses because they feel embarrassed or shameful of their bodies. They think — “If I can just lose this weight, I will feel more attractive and better about myself and I can do all these things”. This type of mental recording is dangerous to the psyche. By beating yourself up and obsessing about weight or weight loss, you’re missing out on the experiences that have the potential to bring joy and fulfillment to your life. Try to recognize when you are using insecurities like weight to hold you back from living your life to the fullest.
What to do.
Really and truly that simple. Stop skipping meals. By skipping main meals like breakfast, lunch or dinner with the hope of a quick fix is highly counterproductive. The body needs nutrition to function. The brain needs nutrition to function. Your hormones need nutrition to function. Create a healthy relationship with food, eat your meals with pleasure and experience the sensation of feeling nourished at deeper levels. Discover your natural appetite. Let your body’s wisdom communicate with you. As a nutrition and eating psychology coach, I can help you if you are struggling with this.
I love my body.
“I love my body.” This can be difficult for some of us to say and mean. While we all know we should love and care for our bodies, saying and doing can prove difficult at times. Especially with our brain and its optical illusions. As much as we try, sometimes we just fall short of convincing ourselves that we do. This is a topic that comes up frequently with my patients and my answer is always the same. The body needs love and if you are falling short of positively reinforcing the belief then I encourage you to let your spouse or close ones help you. Have an open conversation with your family and share your struggle and ask for assistance in helping you love your body. Spouses are typically more than happy to express affection and verbal reassurance as body image issues tends to affect intimacy. Let the people around you express adoration and accept what they say as truth.
Be kind. Not cruel.
With the skyrocketing cases of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer — it’s no surprise people are making the effort to lead healthier lifestyles. Be it educating themselves of healthier food choices or hitting the gym, we are all on individual journeys. On these journeys, we need to remember to be supportive of each other; and support each other’s individual goals. There is a competitive nature that comes with fitness and health that tends to carry a negative stigma. Women especially can be very competitive with each when it comes to body weight. They tend to compare, silently criticize and strangely enough go against people they want to look like but it doesn’t have to be that way; and we can change that. Remember to be kind to one another.
Spiritual push-ups are totally a thing.
The quest to loving your body is a great one and taking a holistic approach to weight loss is rewarding and effective. In keeping up with the lists of things to do and not do — eat and not eat — I want to remind you that some kind of spirituality and intent play a huge part in living a well rounded life. If you read my blogs on mindful eating you know and understand “presence” is key, and this practice does not solely apply to your relationship with food but to life. If you’re working out or going for a run — be in the run. If you are spending time with your family, be in the moment and be grateful for the joy they bring and remember how lucky you are to have them. If you are driving down the road and stuck in traffic on your way to work — instead of getting angry remind yourself that you have a car, you have AC, and you have a job that allows you to provide for the things and experiences that make your life whole.
It pains me to hear how so many people miss the mark on what it means to be “healthy” and spend their entire life obsessing over dieting and weight loss. These thoughts and misconceptions have the power to drain and suck the life right out of you. Sadly, many of these people will never reach what they are seeking. Spiritual push ups take us out of tunnel vision and allow us to see with a wider lens and appreciate the big picture. This simple practice can help you relieve stress, manifest positivity in your life and simultaneously help with weight loss. Win-Win-Win!