Have you ever tried making changes to your body? I recently heard a statistic that said nearly half of all Americans say they are trying to lose weight. This is likely related to our society and culture being so weight focused and biased…but I’ll save that for another post. That said, I can’t lump everyone’s reasons for losing weight into one statistic, weight and wellness is a very personal and individual journey. My own journey to a state of wellness has included losing weight (40 lbs) and more importantly maintaining the loss.
Wanting to lose weight or make any change to your body is tough – mentally, physically, and emotionally. I find that when I start working with a client who wants to lose weight, I notice the following cycle. Apply restrictions, follow strict plans, lapse/give-in and eat something or skip a workout, collapse of plans, feelings of guilt and shame, overeating or completely stopping movement efforts, then eventually trying again with even stricter rules.
This cycle becomes dark and can seem impossible to break, I get it. I used to think of myself so negatively and when I finally learned that thoughts create feelings and feelings lead to actions, I started finding my way out of that cycle. Thinking negative made me feel stressed, anxious or disappointed in myself, those feelings led me to unhelpful choices impacting my daily wellness.
One of the first steps to breaking the cycle is to work on seeing food as nourishment and fuel, instead of just good or bad. Putting food into black and white categories impacts our ability to feed and nourish our body in an intuitive way. I eat something I deem as “bad” therefore I experience feelings of guilt, shame, and disappointment. As I said above, feelings lead to actions and negative feelings are not very helpful or productive when it comes to making changes.
My advice is to begin listening to the language you have around food. If you say things to yourself like, “I shouldn’t eat this, this is a bad food” try to stop, pause, and see how those thoughts make you feel. All food provide something to our body that then gets digested. Some foods provide more helpful nutrients and others are indulgences that provide pleasure – some foods provide both. I think one of the first steps in making changes, especially when it comes to your weight, is to tune in to those thoughts and feelings. The next steps which I cover later include building tools for making changes.
What do you think? What internal thoughts have you had to change when it comes to your food choices?