Let Me Tell You A Story…
I have this client, let’s call her Lucy, who started working with me a few months ago. She came to me like many others do, bound and determined that it was her tummy pooch that was the sole reason keeping her from feeling happy, confident and sexy.
Every time we got on the phone I would get an update from her on the status of said pooch. How much it had shrunk or how stubborn it was being. It had so much control over her perception of progress, of how she felt about herself on any given day, and that which her happiness depended upon. It was like her tummy was an actual living thing, taking away her power and holding her happiness hostage.
I knew I could get rid of her pooch – but I also knew that this was going to be the easiest part of the whole process for her. I decided that upfront conversations about what REALLY needed to happen were better served on another day, once I built up some trust within her as a client. And so I said “let’s tackle that pooch together!”
Little did she know throughout the process, as her pooch disappeared, something else was being built in its place. Something that would allow her to keep that weight off forever. Something that she didn’t even know was happening (because I’m a jedi).
We were building her relationship with herself, aside from her physical body. We were looking within and discovering what REALLY makes her happy. What does she REALLY want at the end of all of this? A little tummy fat isn’t holding you back from living an amazing life, so what is it that was REALLy missing in the equation?? I gave her what she wanted, but also what she needed.
The Pivotal Moment
It turns out…what she needed was to believe in herself.
What she needed was to understand that the lies she was telling herself about why she cannot lose the weight are all excuses that became her reality over time.
What she needed was someone to show her all of the things in her life to be grateful for.
What she needed was to prioritize more of what made her happy so that she could see that her happiness is not tied to a scale number.
What she needed was to understand that nothing will change forever physically unless she commits to also being vulnerable and facing the real reason why she could never seem to lose the last 10lbs.
There is a moment in everyone’s (long term) journey when you realize that the initial reason why you started to try and get healthier and lose weight isn’t the real reason why you wanted this in the first place. That there is a why behind the why. That all of the changes you’re making mean so much more than just feeling like a bombshell in your skivvies. That the scale weight really doesn’t mean anything and that at the end of the day if all you focus on is that, then you’re no better off then when you started.
Let me ask you this. What is the FEELING you’re chasing? When you cross the finish line, how are you living your life? Who are you with? What are you doing? How do you feel?
Now let’s be clear. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t want to feel like a bombshell and lose a little weight to get there. If weight loss is a goal you have – amazing! Let’s do it! But what I SURE AS HELL AM SAYING is that life is about so much damn more than just that. That weight loss is not going to give you what you’re really missing to live the life you just described, and that you CAN achieve that as well if you’re willing to put in the work.
Replacing The Pleasure You Seek
We associate happiness with a lot of things that we THINK will give us happiness. And you know what? Sometimes they sure as hell do. Like going for an ice cream cone on a hot summer day with my hubby = SUPER happy Laura.
But is it really the ice cream? Or is it the quality time I get to spend with my hunky hubs?
What if we removed the idea of pleasure that certain foods give us? What if we learned to find that pleasure and happiness from other sources in our life?
I know this is a crazy idea…but what if you actually allowed yourself to feel the emotion that you are trying to hide from by eating, and then moved forward towards TRUE happiness instead of the fakey kind you get from mowing a cupcake?
I’m giving you permission. Today, right here right now, to actually feel what you need to feel. If its anger, frustration, anxiety, joy, happiness, sadness…whatever it is NAME IT AND FEEL IT. Sit with it. Experience it. We are so fucking scared to feel anything these days that hiding from these emotions gives us an excuse to eat to push them way down inside.
And THEN find alternative ways to give yourself joy. Take up a hobby, connect with your people, laugh, read a book, take a bath, try a new workout class, go for a hike in the mountains, cuddle your puppy, meditate. Whatever brings you pleasure – do THAT.
The Real Reason Weight Isn’t A Big Enough “Why”
Here’s the deal – every single client I work with has the goal to lose weight. All of them. But the REAL why, the REAL reason they are chasing weight loss – no one is the same. None of them.
You might be thinking – I just wanna lose a few lbs…what’s wrong with that?
Well nothing, except for the fact that you aren’t being vulnerable and honest with yourself. Even trying to lose a few lbs, there is ALWAYS a deeper reason. What do those pounds mean to you? What will change in your life by losing them? If you don’t have a deeper why, then why are you even trying to do it? Even if that why is to feel better in your body, to be able to try on clothes more confidently, to feel healthier and fitter, to be a good role model for your daughter.
Your why behind the why doesn’t always have to be life altering. But it sure as hell does need to be there. Weight isn’t a big enough why…cause here’s the deal. Weight loss isn’t always peachy. Weight loss sucks sometimes. There are thousands of macro coaches out there preaching “eat whatever the eff you want, just hit these numbers”.
Okay, so you’re completely ignoring health, satiety, and your declining relationship with food. COOOOOLIO. Unfortunately if you want to create a lasting change, learn how to eat for the lifestyle you imagine living, and build a better relationship with yourself in the process (you know, so you don’t steal cookies from kids because you can’t control your cravings)- you cannot eat shit all the time. Sowie.
Weight loss is the passenger, but what is the driver? And then what is the vehicle you’re driving (aka: what strategy are you going to use to get where you want to go)???
This is going to sound SUUUUPER cliche. But…
To see the change you want to see you have to believe in your ability to make that change. You have to believe in, and empower yourself.
Many things take our power away…think about each of the following:
- peer pressure to order a burger instead of the salad you had planned on
- relying on junk food to make you feel better
- listening to the voice in your head that tells you that “you deserve it”
- talking with your mom about your journey only to feel defeated when she says what you’re doing is stupid
- not speaking up or finding your voice
- thinking that you failed because you didn’t have enough willpower
- blaming others for the choices you make or saying you “didn’t have a choice”
Have you ever experienced any of those?
We all have. Many times. So how do you take your power back??
- Disempower food by practicing a daily mantra (ie: “I, alone, am in control of my actions”) and remind yourself that you are in control of your decisions and that food does not have power over you
- Move towards an understanding that the opinions and comments of others are a greater reflection of their insecurities – not your own.
- Talk openly with a few close, trusting friends or family members to create allies and rocks in your journey
- Scaffold your power, aka: do one thing each day that empowers you a little more. Perhaps the first day you choose a black coffee instead of a latte, the next day perhaps you say “no thank you” to a co-worker who offers you a cookie, and then you choose not to eat dessert after dinner the next day. Where is the low hanging fruit?? Start there.
- Celebrate your wins – take time each day to recognize what went well for you! Write these down, reflect and feel gratitude for the small steps you’re taking towards your future self.