Monthly Archives: May 2016

Secret Eating is Keeping You Sick, Fat and Running in Circles

We're only as sick as our secrets.

When we eat in secret we’re only really hiding it from ourselves.

There is a saying that is common in addiction and recovery circles that “we’re only as sick as our secrets.” While I don’t think it’s helpful to think about our relationship with food as an addiction (you can read why here), I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that the secrets we keep in this area will continue to keep us sick. In the case of emotional eating, bingeing, and yo-yo dieting, the secrets we keep around food will also keep us fat and running in circles trying to lose that same weight, again and again.

As Sick as the Secrets We Keep

I used to do most of my binges after work – either in my car on the way home or while sitting at the bar in my kitchen in front of my laptop, chowing down on whatever binge food I had gotten my hands on. My husband got home from work much later from me so this was my private eating time. The only time of day when I could be completely by myself. When he finally got home, I was usually in the middle of making dinner or other housework and my secret eating was completely unknown to him. We’d sit down to eat dinner and I was so stuffed from my binge that it would be tough to get the meal down but I had to because I didn’t want to explain to him that I wasn’t eating dinner because I had binged earlier. Who the hell does that and tells their partner?? Not me. Not when you’re in denial that it’s even happening.

In my college years, my bingeing happened usually late at night, after we’d get home from the bar or a party. My roommates and I would drink some water before bed and usually have some snacks (you know, to absorb the alcohol so we’d be less hungover the next day). Lime tostitos, pizza with ranch dressing. You name it. Really healthy stuff, haha. But sometimes, as everyone would be getting ready for bed, I would still be in the kitchen, eating one more piece of pizza quickly and quietly, while I stood by the fridge. Or I’d sneak one of their buffalo tenders from their take out leftovers. I just had to have it. One more bite. Sometimes my binges would happen in the morning. I’d stop by the Bagelry for a coffee and a bagel – but instead of ordering one bagel with cream cheese (veggie of course), I’d order two, to go. See, if I got them “to go” I thought the cashier would think that I was bringing one to someone else. Nope, just for me, to eat both shamefully in secret while sitting on T-hall lawn.

No one knew about any of this. In college, our binge drinking wasn’t secret. Everyone did it. It wasn’t a big deal (except to the administration). But no one talked about binge eating and most of my friends were of average sizes so I would never have opened up to them about my eating habits. Even my heavier friends, who I did discuss being overweight with, I rarely addressed the why or how. We talked of our size as if it was just an unfortunate accident that we were heavy. “We’re just naturally big girls, I guess! Haha!” we’d laugh. That secret eating had nothing to do with it.

The more I ate in secret, the more normal (for me) it became. I automatically reached for certain foods at certain times, without an obvious conscious thought. The only conscious thought I had about it was that “I would die if someone saw me eating like this.” I knew it was something that I couldn’t let other people see. It was embarrassing, painful and shameful. I felt I had to keep it to myself. It needed to be my secret. The problem was that by hiding the crumbs under the rug, it made it easier to keep the habit going. Each time I did it, it reinforced the habit. My weight went up, up and up – quickly. I felt like keeping the problem a secret meant that it wasn’t really a problem. As long as no one knew about my weird eating habits, I was normal.

We think that by not acknowledging to another person or to ourselves that there is something wrong, that we sneak food, that we overeat, (or undereat, that we plan and calculate how we’re going to burn every calorie we eat off), that we are keeping it from developing into a real problem. If we said it out loud or even confirmed it in our heads, it might become real and it might mean something about us. We might really spiral out of control.

But what is it now? All the things we do to keep this thing going – this obsession with food, the obsession with the state or size of our body – it consumes so much of our time and attention, silently. We can’t do anything else but think of what we’ll eat next, how we can get our hands on whatever we crave or how we can punish ourselves to make up for that indulgence. We can’t live our lives, be with the people we love in any real way and our entire life’s purpose becomes about maintaining some impossible to achieve perfection with our weight and the amount of food we consume.

It’s Only A Secret to Us

The secrets we keep are only secret to us. If we asked the people closest to us if they ever noticed anything off about our food behavior – if they felt like they could be honest (and most feel that they can’t), they would probably say “yeah, I notice that you only ever order salad when we go out” or “I notice that you’re really uncomfortable at family gatherings when there’s a lot of food” or “You know, I thought I usually left a few pieces of pizza to take for lunch the next day and there is always less when I get to work to eat it. I thought my memory was going”. I remember one of my roommates asking totally innocently and non threateningly “Hey, did either of you eat some of my buffalo tenders? I could have sworn I had more than this.”  Both me and our other roommate shrugged “No, I didn’t have any.” What?? I’m cringing now, just thinking about it. I can’t believe I lied about that stuff – but it was a part of me I denied for so long.

We are not doing ourselves any favors by keeping it all inside. The secret behaviors we have are not really secret. Maybe they don’t know the exact details, but they know that something is wrong. I know my husband had to know something was up when I’d struggle to eat dinner but my weight was going up instead of down. The sweet guy never said a word about it (thankfully he thinks I’m hot at any size) but he had to notice. My roommates noticed their food missing. (I could have at least paid for it. Ug.)

No one can help us if we don’t want to help ourselves. Helping ourselves starts with getting out of that place of denial. You must be honest with yourself. You have to acknowledge that there is a problem around food and that you don’t want to do this anymore. You have to sincerely be interested in choosing to be kind to yourself and treating your body with love. You have to choose honest living – all our secret behaviors that keep us in that sick place need to come out from the dark.

You have to let go of keeping secrets from yourself. Acknowledge all the things you are doing that keep you sick, fat and running in circles. Up a few pounds, down a few pounds, up a few pounds, down a few pounds. Secret eating, secret exercising. Secret ways of avoiding food, secret way of getting more food. Be honest about how much you are eating, how little you are eating, when and where you are eating and under what conditions (rushed? shoveling in handfuls at a time? only alone? etc).

Once you can be completely honest and forthright with yourself – not keeping anything under a rock, it’s time to share with others in your life who care and can help – if only by being a sounding board that keeps you honest. A therapist might be a good start for some of you – but I also encourage you to talk about your struggles with friends, with family or maybe with a support group of some type. You are not the only one who has this complicated relationship with food – and there is strength in hearing other’s stories. There is also something undeniably powerful about putting your pain and secrets into the world. You can’t hide from them and it makes it less appealing to fall back into it.

Once John knew that I was bingeing on cheez-its after work, he was like “Hey, let’s not buy those for awhile. I don’t need to eat them if you are having trouble with them.” Phew! I didn’t have to allow them in the house “for him” when they were really there to support my secret eating. Whatever you’re binging on – ice cream, cookies, chips, pizza etc – your partner can support you in some way if they know it’s going on. If your best friend knows that you binge when you are stressed out, maybe you guys can chat after work a few nights a week to see where you’re at, and relieve some stress with giggles and venting that only friends can do. The people closest to you can be a form of accountability. It’s not their job to fix us (and they can’t) but if you are being honest with them, it’s a lot more difficult to be dishonest with ourselves.

Your eating secrets only serve to keep you sick. If you share it, acknowledge it and stop hiding from yourself and others, it won’t be able to weigh you down so much. Literally!

Where to start letting go of some of your food secrets?

Try some of these:

  1. Keep a food journal. An honest to goodness – descriptive, detailed and every single bite or sip of food. If you binge on chips, put it in there. Not writing it down doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Be brutally honest with your food consumption – quality, quantity and circumstances (when, where, why did you eat?). Raw honesty is healing.
  2. Confide in people who love you. Share your struggles, your pain, your most fucked up habits. Watch as they admit they’re fucked up too. Also that they love you and want to help. Watch as it becomes way harder to deny to yourself that it’s happening if people in your real world know what’s up. This gives you accountability and support.
  3. Consider seeing a therapist. If you’re really in the midst of pain, it might be worth seeing a therapist. Therapists have great tools and skills to help you recover but they also can act like a stepping stone in opening up about your secrets – especially if you haven’t told other’s in your world yet. Alternatively, if you need help with changing your food habits, hiring a coach or joining a support group can be effective and motivating.
  4. Keep a regular journal. Write about your day, what is going through your head, urges you have, wins, fails, thoughts – good and bad. Let all those feelings express themselves. This can be a good exercise for “flexing” that sharing muscle. Share with yourself first, and when you can read those words and know they’re honest and not hiding – you will feel more comfortable sharing with someone else.
  5. Find a Social Media support group. I don’t recommend sharing all your secrets publicly on social media. Don’t tweet about your secret nighttime eating. Don’t take instagram pics of your latest binge. But Do find a private group that focuses on the topic you need support with. There are groups for Overeaters, Binge Eating Disorder – you name it. Some of these groups may not be very active or don’t have very active users – but others are filled with people who have had great success in overcoming their struggles and who want to help others do the same. I recommend joining a couple and reading through the past posts to see what topics they’ve covered and how people tend to respond. You want a group that is supportive, honest and knowledgeable.  Both Facebook and Google+ have groups and it may take a few tries to find one that is motivating and helpful. Watch out for groups that seem to have a lot of people promoting different diets and products – admins should be policing that for groups and if they aren’t, the group might cause more frustration and confusion than help.

I know you’re feeling ashamed that you even have these secret habits and sharing it in any way feels like you’re exposed. But something that you should know is that you are not your eating habits. You are so much more than that. When you can be honest with yourself, those secrets won’t have the same power over you. The fear you are feeling is a sign that growth is on the other side. We have to get uncomfortable to make progress. We can’t keep doing the same things and expect something to magically change for us. Open up, share, be honest. Let your secrets become just honest truths about your past experiences and your future will be more changeable.


Download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

Advertisements

3 Common Traps To Avoid While You’re Losing Weight

Trying to lose weight while eating super low calorie will undermine your progress. Don't do this!

Trying to lose weight while eating super low calorie will undermine your progress. Don’t do this!

When we want to lose weight, we want to clear out every obstacle in our path so that we can get to our goal as easily as possible, right? (Doesn’t mean it will be easy, but a little thinking ahead can go a long way!)

We lay out our exercise clothes the night before so we have one less excuse in the morning.

We spend time on food prep so that we have healthy food to eat without adding to our stressful days.

We make rules – no eating after 7pm, no fried food, no liquid calories (I’m looking at you soda!) etc.

We think we’ve got it all figured out and get up on Day 1 pumped to do as much as we can and go as hard as we can to drop that weight!

And sometimes we don’t foresee the problems that can come with this enthusiasm for our goal.

There are a lot of things we tend to do when trying to lose weight that can seriously undermine our progress. Not getting enough sleep, having a few too many cheat meals or happy hour drinks, underestimating how much food we’re eating or overestimating how many calories we burned during exercise. It can all add up to extra months of “work” and a ton of frustration. Sometimes it can backfire and some of us will actually gain weight – when we think we’re doing things that are good for us. It’s confusing territory!

There are 3 traps I see people doing over and over again that seem to undermine their progress the most – and the worst part is that they really believe that these things are going to help them reach their goal. These are things I found myself doing too, the first few times I attempted to lose weight and I so wish I had done things a little differently. I’m sharing them today so that if you’re just getting started (and you’re so pumped to get there!!!) you don’t end up making some of the same mistakes.

Don’t do these things. Please. You’ll thank me later, I swear.

 

3 Common Traps to Avoid While You’re Losing Weight

 

  1. Doing hours and hours of cardio. Don’t do this. Cardio has it’s benefits – it’s good for our hearts and makes us feel good and yes, it does burn calories. But anytime we’re burning off body fat, we’re also breaking down muscle. That means, you may lose fat but in that weight loss, is some of your lean body mass. Muscle is important obviously for strength but it also affects how good we look in that body (at any size). Muscle gives our bodies shape. Do you want nice legs? Shapely arms? A curvy bum? Those aesthetics come from having muscle tone (or genetics). Instead of spinning your wheels on cardio machines every day of the week, a better strategy would be to incorporate a couple of strength training sessions into your weekly workouts which will help you maintain the muscle you currently have. Don’t be afraid of lifting heavy weights. You won’t bulk up (that takes major effort). You’ll still burn calories, get your heart rate up and when you do lose fat, you won’t have lost as much muscle – which will help you achieve the body shape you’re after. Strength training is also good for keeping our bones strong and you may find it less boring than repetitive cardio workouts. You’ll also see changes in your body that cardio alone wouldn’t give you. If you’re brand new to strength training, it’s a good idea to schedule a couple of sessions with a personal trainer who can teach you proper form. If you’ve done it before and just need some motivation or ideas, visit fitnessblender for free workouts.

  2. Eating a super low calorie diet for months at time. Don’t do this. In order to drop body fat, we have to eat less than our bodies require to maintain our weight, but some people take this a bit too far. They figure that if eating a little less brings them slow weight loss, why not eat a lot less for fast weight loss? Eating super low calorie for a long time isn’t sustainable. It might be ok for a few days but beyond that, if you aren’t eating enough, you won’t have the energy you need to get through your day, you’ll be irritable, you’ll have mood swings and you’ll find that you feel completely out of control around food. It will be all you think about and major restriction usually leads to us eventually eating too much to make up for it. Any progress you think you’ve made from serious restriction will be undone as soon as you let yourself go back to eating normally (which may appear in the form of a binge). A better strategy is to eat a little bit less than you usually do, eat a variety of whole nutritious foods and make sure that every meal and snack has protein, fiber and fat in it (to keep you satisfied). Slow might not be sexy, but it’ll get you there in one piece and help you make lifelong changes (which is what you’re really after anyway).

  3. Jumping around different dietary plans over and over. Don’t do this. For any dietary plan to work, you need to follow it pretty consistently for a significant period of time. It doesn’t matter whether it be something philosophical like intuitive eating / mindful eating or something structured like paleo or the mediterranean diet, if you don’t put in enough time with it, you won’t know if it is a good fit for you.  So many people are afraid they are doing the “wrong” plan – because there is conflicting info about what diet is best and every where you turn, there is an advertisement for how someone lost weight doing x, y and z. Really, there is no such thing as the perfect or right “diet” and what works for me, may not work for you or vice versa. Nutritional science will frustrate the crap out of you because you can always find studies that will confirm or refute whatever plan you are following. You don’t have to jump to the newest and greatest thing to get great results (especially if a friend of a friend you’ve never met is selling it and they’re messaging you incessantly).

How do you know if you should stick to what you’ve started or you should try the newest thing? Well, answer these questions:

  • Is what you are doing working?
  • Do you feel satisfied eating the way you’re currently eating?
  • Do you have enough energy and stamina to complete your workouts?
  • Are you seeing positive changes to your body?
  • Are your clothes fitting better?

If your answer is yes to most of these, then there is no reason to jump onto the latest diet or fitness trend. You need to go with your gut and your results. If you feel good on your current plan and it’s only been a short while – keep going! Jumping from plan to plan can leave us feeling like we’ve been working really hard without getting any results and feel like we are perpetually depriving ourselves – which can sometimes lead to lots of cheat meals and “I deserve to eat this” kind of thinking. Stay the course. If you’ve been following a plan really closely (be honest here) for 6-8 weeks and haven’t made any progress or don’t like how you feel, then it’s probably ok to try something else. But please don’t feel pressured to try the latest and greatest diet out there – it’s not necessary.

If you’re finding yourself caught in these common pitfalls of weight loss and need help prioritizing and getting those obstacles out of your way, I’m here to help. Let’s set up a call as soon as you are free! Go here to do that.


Like this? For more, download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

Things I wish I knew sooner (on this food, fitness and health journey)

Things I wish I knew sooner: that finding exercise that you love will make getting to the gym, studio or lacing up your sneakers exciting instead of something you "endure".

Things I wish I knew sooner: that finding exercise that you love will make getting to the gym, studio or lacing up your sneakers exciting instead of something you “endure”.

My mother had this sweater machine – a big electronic knitting loom thing that helped her make sweaters and blankets way faster than she could knit them by hand – because she loved to sell baby sweaters at Church fairs. In order to create a new row of stitches she had to move this white plastic handled part of the loom from left to right, right to left over the machine, and each time it went over the rows of yarn, it made a loud click-clack sound for a few seconds. I remember timing my trips to the kitchen by that sound after school. I’d wait in the kitchen with my hand on the cookie jar lid and when I heard the click-clack start, I’d lift the lid carefully and reach in and grab some cookies. My mom probably would have said yes, had I asked for a cookie. If she heard the cookie jar opening, she probably would have commented “hey, don’t ruin your dinner!” but nothing more. She wouldn’t have shamed me but I somehow knew I didn’t want to have a conversation about it and I knew that if I did it quietly I could go back and get more cookies. Just have to wait for that click-clack of the knitting machine to start so she couldn’t hear me.

“More” food was something I always craved and yet I wanted to push away all accountability for my choices all at the same time. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. If I wasn’t sneaking food, I was trying to find ways to burn more calories so that I could lose weight. I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but I remember laying in bed as a child saying my nightly prayers and asking the Virgin Mary to make it so that for every calorie I ate, I would actually burn 2! I obviously hadn’t worked out how that math would work long term had she been able to fulfill my wish and I may have misunderstood the types of things that prayer was useful for, but you have to admire the shameless way I tried to elicit the Virgin Mary’s assistance on my #bodygoals.

I don’t remember when specifically I learned that I was overweight or when I learned that that was something I needed to change. I just feel as though I always knew it was something “wrong” about me. Other people with food/weight stories like mine usually have one or two defining moments that stick out in their minds. I have tons of small moments that just add up to a life of feeling completely controlled by or out of control around food.

I’ve spent the last decade plus a few years working on my eating and weight issues in some manner (some things more successfully than others). The most progress in my journey has definitely come in the last 3 years – when I decided to train to be a coach and when I started taking on clients of my own. Watching other women make connections about their own stories and be empowered to change their story going forward has made my own stuff become so much clearer.

During this journey, I am constantly unlearning and relearning things that I took for granted. Things that I once took for certain, like “fat is bad”, I now can’t fathom that I ever believed that. I wish I had known that fat was a crucial and necessary macronutrient a lot earlier in this process. I think my relationship with food might have been less tempestuous had I been able to eat foods that were more satiating due to their fat content. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

If I was starting at the beginning of my food and weight story again, there are a lot of things I know now that I wish I knew then. I am going to share some of those below in case you are just beginning (or well on your way) and one or two of these could help you get to where you are going a lot sooner.

 

Things I wish I knew sooner:

  • that what you eat affects how you feel physically and emotionally.
  • that can’t outrun a bad diet.
  • that just being skinny wasn’t going to solve my problems.
  • that the things I didn’t like about my body when I was heavy would still be the things I didn’t like about my body when I was thinner.
  • that I don’t need to eat to comfort myself.
  • also that there are better ways to comfort yourself, that last longer and don’t have negative effects.
  • that there’s no quick fix, fast diet, pills or powders that will solve what got us into this mess in the first place.
  • not to compare my body and my progress to someone else’s. We’re all on different journeys.
  • that feelings won’t break me and I can feel anything without resorting to food.
  • that the number on the scale can go up and down throughout the week or month and not be an indicator of actual weight gain.
  • that foam rolling existed!
  • how to prepare healthy food so that it tastes good. I used to think it had to be bland and flavorless to be good for me.
  • that this is the only body I have and I need to appreciate it for all that it does for me.
  • that fat wasn’t going to make me fat and that eating it would actually help prevent me from overeating! (Could have saved myself a decade of being hungry here!)
  • that being strong and capable feels way better than weighing a certain amount.
  • that you can enjoy eating without it being your primary source of joy.
  • that liking myself was more important than liking how I looked.
  • that the amount of calories I burned during exercise doesn’t give me a license to eat as much junk as I wanted.
  • that having cute and well fitting clothes to wear makes exercising way more fun.
  • that motivation isn’t a secret energy that only some have, it’s just another word for being disciplined. When you say you lack motivation, what you really mean is that you lack discipline. We can train ourselves to become more disciplined – and it will stay with us a lot longer than any motivation, inspiration or will power.
  • that saying you are “trying” to do something is usually a hint that you are expecting to fail or preparing to never even get off the ground. Remove “try” from your vocabulary and just “do” (not “try” to do) the things you want to do.
  • that being so overweight wasn’t just a given because of my “genes”, or being born “big boned”. In my case, it was the direct result of many, many actions (and inactions) I took over many years (calculated hand in the cookie jar!). Had I recognized earlier that I had a huge hand in getting to such a high weight . . .I would have also been able to recognize that I had a hand in getting myself out of it.
  • that being attractive is not directly tied to the size of the dress I’m wearing. You can be thin and unattractive and you can be fat and attractive. Attractiveness is something so much broader than our size or shape.
  • that the more I worried about how much I ate, the more how much I ate would be a constant concern.
  • that taking rest days when my body needs them actually helps me make more progress, not less!
  • that lifting heavy weights wouldn’t make me big or bulky. (Getting big or bulky from weights requires major herculean effort – you aren’t going to get there accidentally).
  • that for every restrictive diet there will be an equal or greater binge (that idea is goes to Geneen Roth). The more I tried to dial back and eat less, the more I felt compelled to eat more the second I thought I could get away with it.
  • that physical hunger doesn’t cause panic (emotional hunger does). I didn’t really know what hunger felt like for a long time and instead had taught myself to feel “hungry” when I was bored, tired, overwhelmed, stressed, confused etc. I have relearned what hungry feels like in my body and it’s a lot easier to manage now.
  • that taking care of my body feels much better than retaliating against it.
  • that finding exercise you love will make getting to the gym, studio or lacing up your sneakers exciting instead of something you “endure”.
  • that having a proper sports bra makes exercise less painful and makes you feel good (check out Enell, Moving Comfort or Panache if pulling an elastic tube top over your chest that smashes you down isn’t working for you).
  • that keeping weight off after you’ve lost it can be harder than losing it in the first place. If you lose it in a fast or unsustainable way, how will you keep it off forever? Something to think about.
  • that love, success, friendship, admiration, creativity, self-worth and confidence isn’t something reserved only for the thin or fit.

What are some things you’ve learned during your health, weight and fitness journey that you wish you knew sooner? What would you tell someone just starting out?


If you’re not ready for a consult with Andrea but you like what she has to say, then please download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

What if We Gave Up Wanting to Lose Weight?

Is the idea of losing weight holding you back from the life you could be living?

Is the idea of losing weight holding you back from the life you could be living?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what motivates us to work at improving our bodies, and for so many women, it’s the number on the scale. We think the number on the scale automatically translates to looking good or bad. It holds so much power over us, if we let it. But really that number doesn’t really mean all that much. It doesn’t tell us how strong you are. It doesn’t necessarily tell us that you have too much body fat. It doesn’t tell us what your body can do and it doesn’t show us what you look like (despite our thinking that it screams “fat! fat!” to anyone within sight).

You can take three women who weigh the exact same amount and they will look remarkably different. Height, genetics, body composition, body shape and lifestyle can all affect what those women look like at the same weight. A woman who is 5 ft 9 and runs 4 days a week, will look different from a woman who is 5ft 2 and sedentary, and they’ll both look different from a woman who is 5 ft 6 and is a powerlifter.  They may all weigh 145 lbs but be wearing different sizes and be capable of very different things. The number on the scale alone doesn’t tell us anything about them or their lives. It’s not useful but we cling to it like it’s the end all, be all, that determines our worth and how we feel about ourselves.

What if for just a few weeks or months we gave up wanting to lose weight? That nagging, permanent and always just out of reach, weight loss goal? The one that plagues us no matter what weight we are.

You know which one I’m talking about.

You lost 50 lbs . . but that’s not quite good enough, “oh I just need to firm up my belly or lose this belly flab. I’ll be happy when I lose another 10 lbs, I think . . .”

You lost 10 lbs. “Ug, it’s not enough. I need to lose a few more. My thighs are still out of control.”

“I won’t start living until I get rid of this weight.”

“I’ll accomplish x, y and z when I reach that weight. I’ll go on that trip. I’ll date more. I’ll start dating. I’ll buy a bathing suit.”

Try to remember back to the last time you were at that goal weight, you were probably there at some point (even if it was middle school). Were you happy with your body then? Or were you in it but wishing it was something different?

I have clients who by all ways of measuring are what many of us would consider a perfectly acceptable weight – but they’re still not happy with their bodies. Or they are, until they hop on the scale in the morning.

I have friends who are at what most would consider a perfect weight but they’re not happy with their bodies either.

When I was my thinnest, I still felt bigger than everyone around me and found fault with the most ridiculous things – my ass was too flat, my stomach has too many old stretch marks and loose skin etc. I determined that the number on the scale must still be too high.

Some of us will find something to criticize or tear apart no matter how much we weigh or how little we weigh. And sometimes the more we lose, the more we find fault with.

And we put our lives on hold until some mystery time in the future when everything about our bodies will finally be right? But they’ll never meet our expectations. There will always be something we don’t like.

Isn’t that the most insane thing ever?

Could you let go of wanting to lose “weight”? If not forever, how about just for the next 3 or 4 months? If after 3-4 months of not trying to lose weight, you are not happier in your skin, you can go back to being unhappy in it while also wanting to lose weight.

And during that time, instead of focusing on diets that restrict and make you feel tired and hungry, could you focus on taking amazing and loving care of yourself?

Instead of losing weight, your goal for the next 3-4 months is to:

  • Eat food that nourishes, soothes and satisfies your body. Food that gives you energy but also leaves you feeling light and free.
  • Move your body regularly with activity that makes it feel strong, powerful, graceful and resilient. And if it doesn’t feel that way now, your goal is to try new activities that you know will help you get there.
  • Get regular sunshine, fresh air and be social with people whose company you enjoy.
  • Laugh and cry and feel joy but also feel boredom, anger and sadness. Feel all the things, as much as you can.
  • Stay home in your pjs occasionally and drink coffee and read fluffy fiction like it’s your job.
  • Say “no” to some invitations/events/requests that you don’t want to do.
  • Get 8-9 hours of good sleep per night (that means putting down your phone an hour before bedtime).
  • Wear clothing that makes you feel amazing (no matter the current size or shape of your figure).
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • Live. You will do everything you had planned to do when you finally reached that weight, size or shape. You won’t wait, you will start doing those things now. Right now.
  • Look in the mirror every day and find something that you like about the way you look. Bonus points if you can come up with something different each day.
  • Give away as much love as you are willing to receive back (you ARE deserving of it). If you’re not there yet, practice will get you there!

During this time you won’t:

  • Criticize your body in any way shape or form. Also don’t criticize other people’s bodies.
  • Make judgements about the food that you eat or about yourself for having eaten food that previously you labeled as good or bad.
  • Restrict, count calories, points, macros or anything else.
  • Overexercise.
  • Weigh yourself

Try it. Just for a short period of time, try letting go of the need to lose weight – especially if this is something that has plagued you your entire conscious life. Losing another 5 or 10 lbs is not going to fix what isn’t working in your life but putting down that burden might give you the clarity to find another way.

What might you be able to do if you were freed from thinking about your weight or size daily? Who do you think you would be? How might you be different? What about you would be the same? Would you like the woman you’d be? How can you be more like her now?


Like this? To get more like it, please download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).