What’s wrong with wanting to lose a little bit of weight? What’s wrong with wanting to look better in a dress that you bought for an event. Nothing is wrong with it, I simply have not met anyone who would like to just temporarily lose weight. Nobody has ever said to me, “I just want to lose 50 pounds for like a year or two and then get it back.” People want to lose weight permanently and yet there’s no known way to make that happen right now.
Right now, long-term weight loss is an exception, not the rule. We make the problem about the person, not the practice, which is twisted because in medicine that doesn’t make any sense. We would never use a therapy that has a 95% failure rate. That would be unacceptable but somehow, dieting continues to be recommended and supported. Why does it feel like most of the people, and most of the studies and most of the articles say it’s because the person doesn’t keep following the program; that any program will work for someone if they just stick with it long-term.
Herein lies the problem. The strategies used to lose weight are too extreme for someone to fit into their daily life without making it the single most important thing. So even something that from the outside seems moderate at first, might not work so well in the long-term. This could be a particular gym routine that has to be adhered to by going to the gym. What if going to a gym no longer suits your lifestyle? You either need to make your life suit the plan or you need to make plans to suit your lifestyle. I’m a bigger fan of the latter.
Make a plan that fits your lifestyle! Find something that works into your life. It may require change and there will be a transition time. The same will be needed with food. Your eating habits must include living. They must include anything that your heart desires, otherwise life will get in the way of your plan and mess it up. We are here to live. You need to be able to go on holidays and enjoy the food from different cultures. You need to be able to have food with your family and friends. You need to be able to go out for dinner or to a barbecue without it being a big problem. When the rules get to be the single most important thing, that’s when it all falls apart.
Our children see that a diet, and that weight-loss and that maintenance is the most important thing; more important than sharing in the joy of your kid’s birthday cake; more important than sitting down to feast with family and friends; more important than anything. I cannot accept that weight-loss should be the most important thing in someone’s life. Too many great minds are being wasted in the pursuit of this. Too many women are missing out on living in the pursuit of weight-loss, and what’s worse is that it doesn’t work.
We do know that health benefits can happen without weight-loss. Chase health. Make a dietary change. Whether it leads to weight loss or not is irrelevant. Every diet out there has a couple of fundamental consistencies. We as humans need more vegetables than what the average North American eats. Does that mean that we need to stop other foods? Probably not. Like my friend Jen says, “It’s Rad to Add: It’s more important to pay attention to what you’re putting into your diet, and less to what you take out.” Find creative and fun ways to make food tasty and interesting. Find a way to move your body that makes you feel good and that makes you feel strong. But before any of that can happen, people who have been chasing weight-loss for so long need to change their mindset. The association with any kind of dietary change or exercise plan sends them into this weight-loss mode; into this way of being that is all consuming. The idea of adding vegetables immediately triggers thoughts of removing other foods, of restricting other things. The mere idea of starting an exercise program throws them into a mindset of all or nothing. Every day they must adhere to these insane plans that cannot be sustained in the long-term.
First and foremost is of course, the relationship that you create with your body. It’s about body gratitude, appreciation and, dare I say, the love that needs to be expressed to your own body. Every day, stepping into that place of appreciation and love. Most of the women that I know, or work with have spent the better part of their life hating their bodies. And even if hate is too strong of a word for some of these women, they are very critical of their body. The research is there.1 We know that employees thrive in an environment of reinforcement and acknowledgment. Similarly, we know that children thrive and develop at an accelerated rate when they are encouraged and supported. A woman is going to do better in her life if she is encouraged and loved. Since I am with myself all day long, that love and support needs to start with me, and so it does with you too.
How can you start to love a body that you’ve been at war with for years? You can begin by building a foundation of appreciation. Do this by starting each day with looking in the mirror and thanking your body for keeping you alive all night long. Then you build from there.
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.
[dt_divider style=”thin” /]