Summer is here and we’re all thinking about losing weight we may have gained during the winter or the weight we’ve wanted to lose for years. We want to look good at the beach, on the golf course and in those cute summer clothes. Unfortunately, all of these summer activities cause so much anxiety because we think we need to lose weight and the pressure is on to do so! But all prior attempts have not resulted in the outcome we want. What to do???
The intentions are there to get rid of that weight but what is stopping us, why is it just outside of our grasp? Why aren’t any of the diet programs working in the long term? Everyone has to answer that question themselves but I would venture to say that we’re just going about it the wrong way. Losing weight takes a lot more than following a low calorie weight loss plan and upping our exercise. It takes becoming more in tune with our bodies and our emotions.
To help you get started on your weight loss journey, here are the top 3 things you can do to start.
1. Keep an eating journal for 2 weeks. I know, I know, recording what you eat is a real drag but it’s the only way to get back in touch with your body and your emotions when it comes to eating. The journal can help you recognize patterns. Do you overeat at night? Do you get off course during the day if you don’t have breakfast? Are you eating when you are experiencing a particular emotion or situational trigger like stress at work? To help you do this, here is a link to the Eating Journal I created where it prompts you to not only record your food but your hunger levels, eating speed, feelings before and after each meal and what happened during the day that was non-food related. Click here to get the FREE Eating Journal!
2. Review your eating journal after a week and then after two. What have you noticed? Do you feel hunger before eating? Are you a fast eater? Do you eat more on the weekends when you’re not as busy as during the week? Once you identify patterns, you can brainstorm strategies to get more in tune with your hunger cues. Pay particular attention to what you recorded AFTER you ate. Did you feel better or less full after having a balanced meal containing protein, healthy fat and healthy carbohydrates than if you had a meal high in fat, carbs, salt and sugar? If the answer is yes, you can begin to make food choices on what made your body FEEL better rather than on what your brain tells you tastes better. Make sense?
3. Ease your way into weight loss. How many times have you started a cleanse where calories are severely restricted or food is off limits all together in order to get a head start on shedding those pounds? How many times did you binge on the weekend before you started the weight loss diet on Monday? If you’re like me, there are far too many times to count! Did those strategies get you where you wanted to be? No, I didn’t think so…me either. Remember, weight loss is a journey of self-discovery and we all know that self-discovery takes some time and effort. Taking the time to understand who you are as an eater, what your true feelings are around food and what eating habits you’ve developed over time will go a long way in helping you lose weight and keep it off for good.
Notice that these tips mention nothing about restricting your food or increasing your exercise. There’s time for that but you will only be successful if you tune in to your body and feelings, eat intuitively and stop beating yourself up around food. Once you gain this critical understanding, you can begin to gently and compassionately decrease calorie intake in a way that is sustainable for weight loss and life. Even though you won’t be starting the weight loss journey in the typical way, you will emotionally feel better that you are starting in a DIFFERENT way.
Good luck and let me know how it goes. Head to my Facebook page by clicking here to share your Eating Journal insights…I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered about yourself as an eater!