I have been helping individuals lose weight for over 13 years now, and as I approach another New Year I find myself trying to find ways to make this challenge easier. The most common reasons people struggle with their weight seems to be a combination of knowledge (not knowing how the body treats food and all the hormonal influences), a lack of planning (grocery shopping, cooking ahead, freezing, etc.), as well as social circumstances that make eating healthy near impossible (traveling, entertaining & eating out).
It is no wonder we struggle! So what is the alternative? I always say when I do workshops, we all have 2 choices: first is to learn to be happy with who we are and how we look. If that was a possibility, the constant “struggle” with our appearance and body image would improve since we would no longer judge our self-worth by our size. We would just be content with our bodies. This does not mean we shouldn’t exercise or strive to eat healthy, it would just allow us to live our lives without that constant dissatisfaction with how we look.
The second choice is to own this struggle. There are a million diets out on the market and every single one of them say something different. There are also a million reasons why we are all unique and need an individual plan to accommodate our lifestyle, tastes, budget, metabolism, and family planning. Think of your body the same way you think about your job: you have learned it inside and out and most likely have your own way of doing it. This doesn’t mean no one else could do it, but how you have learned to do your best may be very different from someone else. Those in your field have similar ways of working and understand what you do, and those who have completely different vocations would be LOST in your profession if thrown in randomly. When it comes to dieting, each of us must figure out which way of eating we are best suited for and avoid comparing what others are doing. No doubt that involves a great deal of time and energy.
We spend so much time striving to be the best professionals, mothers, friends, civilians, etc., and not always enough time nurturing how we see ourselves. It isn’t just about the aesthetic aspect of being thin or looking good, it is about taking care of yourself and liking what you see! Yes sometimes that means losing weight and fitting into your jeans . When we feel good about ourselves we are actually BETTER mothers, fathers, and people in general.
I often ask people I meet to think about how many times in a day they think about food, eating, their body or what they should or shouldn’t be having. Most of us spend significantly more time “thinking” about what needs to be done or what we aren’t doing, than focusing on real changes. It does take time to cook, shop, plan, prepare, exercise, and some! It is also hard work to avoid the temptations around us and to stay focused. I could give millions of reasons as to why losing weight is near impossible for so many. But I could also argue that it is harder work to spend a lifetime feeling less than your best.
Each and every one of us has a system that will work to lose weight. Some are more challenging than others (diabetic, slow metabolism, insulin resistant, emotional/binge eater, overweight most of your life), but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. It just means you may have to work harder than others. It may mean you have to take more time figuring it out. But that’s more appealing than spending the rest of your life feeling “fat” “unhealthy” “unattractive” “not your best”. Make a decision to stop wasting time feeling “yucky”. That can be your first step. Acknowledge that you are tired of feeling this way and want to make a plan to change. Here’s to a New Year’s Resolution to stop wasting time!