It’s the middle of December and I don’t know about you but during this time I see everyone’s highlight reel and all of their successes pile in and I can’t help but feel bad about myself even though I’ve had a good year too! I feel this sense of urgency and I obsess about all of the things I didn’t get done, compared to everyone else. This year I’m trying to spend less time scrolling on social so I can invite more gratitude in to my life for all that I have accomplished.
When I used to diet this time was especially triggering for me. I would take a weight inventory which meant I either had a ‘good’ year or a ‘bad year. It was good if I had lost weight, or bad, if I had gained weight. And then, it wasn’t a matter of sitting with the pain I felt no matter what my body size was, but it was a question of, how can I lose weight and how would I carry out this plan. Forget about the fact that no matter which diet I was about to embark on always gave me the same result. Lose weight, gain it back when I gave in to food, go on another diet, and repeat. I didn’t take that in to account. The only thing I felt was that I had failed yet again and I needed to fix it with a diet and weight loss. Now don’t get me wrong, my intentions were good and I’m sure yours are too. I wanted to feel strong, light, freedom with food, and healthy. But no matter how much willpower I had, I still gained weight and then some. And my good intentions ended up having the opposite affect. It wasn’t until I reassessed my health goals to new ones, that I truly got long term results. The kind where I don’t worry about my body going through constant weight fluctuations depending on what I ate that day. And let me tell you, once I let that go my world opened up in the way I had always dreamed it should.
Below, I give you my THREE best tips so that in December of 2019 you don’t feel the same way.
Understand that health and weight are not the same thing.
I have met plenty of people that have thin bodies that are not healthy and people with fat bodies that are extremely healthy. I believe that everyone has a very specific individual healthy weight that is unique to them. However, when we diet that number can get all screwy because restrictive eating messes with our metabolism. In order to have health goals that work long term we must put our weight in a temporary box so we can think clearly about what it means to be healthy, weight aside.
Health is multi dimensional.
Because of diet culture we think that if we reach a certain number or if we lose that last stubborn ten pounds that it will somehow magically put us in a healthy body. What we have failed to realize is that health is a bunch of different things all mixed together. Because of our unique bodies and life circumstances they have different meanings to people. Once I put the weight loss piece aside I realized for me healthy means:
Managing my anxiety.
Taking long walks.
Spending time talking to my hubby without technology in the background.
Being focused on my career where I finish hard tasks from A-Z.
I have solid girlfriend time.
Cleaning my house a little bit every day so that my space makes me feel good.
Having a variety of foods in my diet (see more below).
I want you to make a list of everything in your life that brings you immense joy. The goal is to do as much of that as possible this year. When you’re feeling down about your body, the solution will not be a diet but you will refer back to this list to make yourself feel better.
On a physical level this is literally one of the best things you can ever do to achieve true health. Research has shown there are three very important changes that happen in the body when we diet for weight loss.
Hormonal– If you lose body fat your body will have a hormonal shift and the hormones that help you feel full decreases while the hormones that help you feel hungry increase. You are more likely to feel hungry and less likely to feel full. NOT GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS. GREAT FOR WEIGHT GAIN.
Neurological– Your brain becomes more likely to notice food so it is more appealing to you. You will crave things that are normally not appetizing to you.
Biological– Your metabolism slows down because your body is trying to use the calories it’s getting in a very smart way. This would be helpful if there was a true real threat of starving but there isn’t. If you’re trying to lose weight with calorie restriction, your body will find a way to run itself on as little calories (energy) as possible and use the rest as stored fat. This is why people initially lose weight and then gain it back.
Take away the guilt and shame associated with certain foods.
This is a life long practice for me. Just yesterday I was cravings these homemade soft chocolate chip chewy cookies. I kept telling myself don’t have it, don’t have it, yet the more I tried to fight the cravings, the stronger the urge to eat those cookies were. I finally gave in and stuffed one in my mouth without really enjoying them. Then I felt guilty and this is where the mindset ‘f it I’ll just have more’ comes in. You’d think the guilt would stop me but the only thing it does is make me stressed. Then I can’t enjoy the cookie and I feel like I need another one. Do you see how guilt is detrimental to us making peaceful choices with food? If I wouldn’t have felt guilty perhaps I would have been able to have one cookie and it would have been enough. My point is, start paying attention if you feel guilty after eating certain foods. Does it make you eat less or does it make you crave more?
Now remember you don’t have to do anything about your body. Gaining weight is personal so, if you choose to do NOTHING., That’s ok too:) This is for those that are thinking about going on a diet for weight loss but are open to trying something else.