New Year....New You?
I know that you will be subjected to a WHOLE LOAD of pressure from today onwards via social media, TV and radio that this new year, you can FINALLY crack it and lose the weight once and for all. All you need to do is follow the latest fad/diet/healthy living plan/lifestyle choice (delete as appropriate) that the 'expert' is recommending.
Trouble is, I know, its a load of baloney!
The slimming club group leaders, fitness instructors and the nutritionists probably have your best interests at heart and might believe that their programme will work for you, if only you do it WELL ENOUGH.....but, that's the thing.
We can't do it 'well enough' for it to work long term, because it doesn't work long term! Take the diet and slimming club industry. This is BIG BUSINESS and is based around something that DOESN'T ACTUALLY WORK!- because if it did, I'd be slim, you'd be slim and so would everyone else. And we'd only need to go for one round, rather than re-join every so often.
Same with the 'healthy eating plan', if it's telling you to 'eat less and exercise more' because if it was that simple, we would ALL be doing that wouldn't we?
And, same with the people that tell you to cut out a particular food group in order to achieve health, feel virtuous and like you are succeeding. Because if we focus on succeeding, and attribute success to 'self control' around our food choices and eating behaviour, then we feel like we have failed if we can't STICK TO THE PLAN. That doesn't sound very healthy to me.
This New Year, my suggestion is that you do something totally different.
There's nothing wrong with a desire to be generally healthier, and to look after your body, but I beg you, don't do it with a focus on weight loss, or by 'going on a diet'.
I say this because weight loss and the desire for weight loss is not the answer.
It's the desire for weight loss that is behind a lot of our struggles with food.
I will summarise my reasoning here:
1. Weight loss programmes don't work (for many reasons), partly because they don't address WHY we eat the way we do.
2. If diet's worked, we'd all be slim.
3. Dieting actually makes you put ON weight. Your body starts compensatory mechanisms to STOP you losing weight. Your body doesn't know it isn't fashionable you see (!), so it tries to protect you from famine (your diet). So, you cut calories, your metabolism slows down and you stop losing weight despite dieting. An then your body starts to crave rich, calorie dense foods including food you don't normally like. Then, you break your diet......
I can remember this cycle and it felt like a constant battle between, 'I mustn't', 'I shouldn't' 'But it looks so nice', 'I'll start again tomorrow....',Jeez why did I do that?', 'why am I SUCH A FAILURE?' It was exhausting and it was all I used to think about. My headspace was FULL OF FOOD.
4. Thin does NOT mean you are healthy. I can think of loads often people who aren't healthy.
5. It is NOT EASY, or even possible, sometimes, to lose weight (sorry to disappoint you!)
6. We are all SUPPOSED TO BE DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES.
7. Fat phobia is the cause of a lot of the shame and discomfort that fat people have to deal with every day.
8. Negative Body Image is not cured by losing weight. NOT. AT. ALL.
9. Losing weight WILL NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY.
10. Weighing less on the scales does not make you a better person.
I could go on!
So, if losing weight doesn't make you happy, and trying to lose weight is pretty much bound to fail, where does that leave us?
Learning to take the focus OFF WEIGHT LOSS is what has changed my relationship with food. I am healthier than I've ever been and in this I include my mental health. I no longer feel constantly guilty, or rubbish about myself and my choices and this is MASSIVE in itself. I'm no longer fighting an invisible battle with myself as the protagonist but also the wrong do-er.
Food is JUST FOOD. Not emotionally charged. Just fuel, except that I now ENJOY It because I eat what I want to eat and as a consequence, I eat LESS of it! I also don't eat 'rubbish' all the time either! I am not compelled to eat loads of it because I'm not starting a diet tomorrow! So I eat when I'm hungry (mainly!) and stop when I'm satisfied. And if I find myself eating a packet of biscuits in one sitting (or standing!!), like I used to, I ask myself why and deal with whatever is going on for me.
I've learned to think about my body differently. I appreciate it more. It doesn't define me. It gets me places! It's strong, it's soft in some places and hard in others. I look at it with love and compassion.
This way of approaching food and myself has changed my life immeasurably and so much so, I knew I had to bring it to other people. I now run workshops and one to one coaching to help women get out of diet thinking and learn to live their lives fully NOW 💕.
My next Course of workshops start in Bristol on 18th January at 7pm and I have some availability for one to one coaching as well, click below to find out more!