Self Sabotage: Why we do it and what we can do about it

Not again! How many times have you self-sabotaged your way out of something you thought you wanted? Here’s why you do that and how to get out of it.

If you’re human, you’ve probably, at times, sabotaged your own success in an area of your life. Some of us do this once in awhile and learn to stop doing it, and then there are some of us who do it over and over, preventing ourselves from ever achieving what we think we want.

Learning to manage our self-sabotaging ways is crucial to creating a life that we love.

Not sure if you’re prone to self-sabotage? Do any of these scenarios sound or feel familiar?

  • You’ve blown up a perfectly good relationship for no good reason
  • You’ve bombed a job interview by purposely avoiding preparing for it
  • You decide to “get healthy” finally this year and after a few good weeks of consistent exercise, you skip a few days and now you can’t seem to get going again
  • You find yourself eating when you’re not hungry and even though you know the reasons you’re doing that, you consciously choose to reach for food instead of the tools that you know would help
  • You say no to opportunities that you want (out of fear)
  • You tell yourself that you need more time to analyze the situation before making a decision and end up forced into the only choice left because time ran out. Not deciding becomes your decision.
  • You regularly do things that you say you don’t want to do but you do them anyway

I believe self sabotage is a form of rebellion. We do it to make ourselves feel free. On some level we don’t feel we have the right to have, the ability to get or access to something. We have told ourselves the thing we want is “not for us”. Or someone else told us that we couldn’t do something or have something and we believed them.

We limit ourselves and feel trapped by those limitations.

If there are places in our life where we’ve been held back (by ourselves or by someone else), restricted, stifled, or overburdened we’ll act out with self-sabotage. It might be with food, or maybe it’s by making decisions that feel irresponsible or dangerous. The reason we do it with things we seemingly don’t want is because it’s the only way we give that freedom back to ourselves.

We overeat, eat foods that make us feel rotten, and stop moving our bodies. We hurt the feelings of people we care about. We destroy progress at work, at home and in our relationships.

It feels like a release of sorts to “act out” like this. The thinking is “if I can’t have what I want, then I can at least do this thing that feels like a choice of my own doing.”

It doesn’t even matter that we are blowing up things that we actually want. If we’re someone who doesn’t believe we have a lot of potential or choices in life, we’re after that delicious moment of freedom, even if it causes us pain and regret afterwards.

Where in your life do you not feel free?

Where in your life have you been held back, restricted or stifled?

Maybe you had a strict upbringing or were told to be a certain way all your life, so you stuffed down a part of yourself that is only being expressed now through your self-sabotaging actions.

One of the ways we stop self sabotage is to figure out where we don’t feel free and begin taking actions that do make us feel free.  Is there a dream that you’ve always want that you won’t let yourself have? Have you gone after what you wanted? Have you taken risks towards something you desire in your life?

What dreams did you once have that you didn’t allow yourself to chase? Or were told you couldn’t have?

Give yourself total permission to go after what you want. The actual getting probably isn’t as important as your belief that you deserve to try to go for it. Allow yourself to feel free to choose in your life. When it comes to taking action towards this thing that you want, start small if you have to. The most important thing it to give yourself permission to have it and to believe it. Believe that you have the ability, right and can access whatever it is that you want.

You can do anything. You can be anything. You can have anything. This is all true.

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This is Why You Feel Like You Can’t Trust Your Body to Tell You When, What, and How Much To Eat

How much of this burger should you eat? Depending on who you listen to, it might be none, half or all of it. The best person to listen to for these kind of answers is yourself.

Have you ever thought to think about what prompts you to start or stop eating?

Is it thoughts about it being lunch “time”? Or maybe that it’s been 3 hours since you last ate? Do you stop eating because you are satisfied or is it because you think you shouldn’t eat any more?

When was the last time you ate a meal and stopped eating when your body told you to?

It’s very common for those who eat emotionally to feel challenged by knowing how much or when to eat. In fact, most of our society is a bit screwed up by this (so please know that this isn’t something unique to you – it’s not your fault)!  Let’s examine some of the social cues and eating rules that we’ve come to use day in, day out that override and confuse the physical cues that we already have in our body.

First, know that no matter what your current relationship or feelings around food, you were born with a body and mind that worked together that helped you determine when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat.

If you’ve ever spent time around babies or small children and watched them eat, you’ve probably noticed that they don’t care what time of day or night it is, and they don’t measure out controlled portions of food. They don’t concern themselves with whether they’re eating too many carbs or fat. They eat when they feel hunger and they stop when they’ve had enough. They don’t overeat and they don’t worry about overeating. They respond to physical cues and sensations that are in their bodies that tell them it’s time to start or stop eating. They also have the amazing ability to communicate this need to the adults that care for them so that they can get what their little bodies need.

You have this ability inside of you still. I promise you do.

And the reason you may feel like you don’t is because of the way we handle mealtimes in our culture.

What went wrong isn’t that you “can’t control yourself around food”, it’s that you live in a society that dictates that you have to eat 3 square meals a day at 8am, 12pm and 5pm (or close to it). You have been trained to eat at roughly those times of day whether you are hungry or not because group meal times are a convenient and somewhat necessary practice of a productive society. Because of these regulated meal times we lose the ability to feel WHEN it is time to eat in our bodies. If you went to daycare or kindergarten, your first induction to group meal times likely happened there and it was probably a bit of an adjustment period (“snack time” in these little ones classrooms give young ones time to get used to more rigorously scheduled eating times than they probably had at home).

What went wrong is that we live in a society that has convinced us all that food is “dangerous”. It’s either dangerous because of how it’s produced (GMO, pesticides, factory-farming, antibiotic resistance, overly processed etc), dangerous because of it’s nutritional content (it’s too high in fat, too high in carbs, not enough protein, too high in calories etc) or it’s dangerous because it tastes good and we won’t be able to stop eating it.  All of this “danger” means we can’t be trusted to make good choices about food on our own.  So with the “help” of our government (remember the food pyramid recommendations? Lobbyists have helped to shape those recommendations more than science), well meaning doctors and dietitians, and profit hungry companies who saw an opportunity to get rich, we have come to rely on food labels, food scales, measuring cups, calories, point systems and more to tell our bodies how much to eat. We learned that we can’t trust our bodies to tell us HOW MUCH to eat and over time we had to ignore those hunger and fullness signals in place of portioned out and rigidly controlled food until we no longer knew what those sensations feel like.

What went wrong is that we live in a culture that encourages confusion, nutritional science studies can’t agree on what is actually healthy. Complicating things even more is if you look into who paid for many food studies, you’ll find some interesting conflicts of interest, such as in this summer’s coconut oil is bad study. Every food or macronutrient at one time gets hailed as miracle cure or made out to be a villain. Remember how huge kale was for awhile?? Then people heard about oxalates and kidney stones and the excitement went away. We listen to all the conflicting advice, we jump on bandwagons for awhile, find out the science was “wrong” get stuck and confused and don’t know where to turn until the next food panacea shows up. And the cycle continues.

I talk to a lot of women who say they don’t know what to eat anymore. They don’t know who to listen to for real and accurate information. They are making themselves sick over worrying about what to eat. This is no way to live.

We can’t change the way our culture handles food quickly. It’s something that is going to be running in the background silently (or not so silently) for a very long time, until more of us than not decide to do things differently.

If you want to reclaim your own natural hunger and fullness cues and you want to feel more sure of your decisions around food, then I recommend you start tuning out what everyone else says you should do (this includes me!) and start listening to yourself!

Here are a few ways you can begin to reawaken and connect with those cues you already have in your body:

  • When it’s an option, eat meal times without distractions. Don’t watch TV, read or look at your phone while eating. Try to take in your food not just with your mouth but with all your senses. Doing this helps our brain interpret signals from the stomach and recognize when it’s had enough. You’ll also eat slower and will get more enjoyment out of your food.
  • Play around with the times of day and how much you eat. Explore having smaller or larger meals and then not eating again until you notice pangs of hunger in your body. Note where you feel it and what it feels like. Note how much food you have to consume to make the hunger quiet down again. How much do you have to eat to feel satisfied? And where does fullness and too full come into the picture? What feels best? Play this game often until you are an expert in your own hunger and fullness signals.
  • Do the same thing with what types of food you eat. Notice how different textures taste and feel. Of the foods you like, what is it that you like about them? And what is it that you don’t like about foods you don’t like? Is it texture? Flavor? Bitterness? Or how it feels once it reaches your belly? Notice if some foods make you feel more energetic than others. Perhaps some make you feel comfort and others anxiety. Explore it all and be relaxed about it. Be Curious and take notes!
  • Walk away from calorie counter and diet apps. Scary at first, I know. But practice not using them. They’re not helping you tune into your body.
  • Do all of this without judgement about yourself. You’re not bad if you ate “too much”. You’re not good if you experience hunger frequently. You’re just a human who is trying to make their way in this world and food is not about morality. View these experiences as an internship where you are learning about your particular body’s needs for the first time.
  • Don’t worry about whether a food is “healthy” or “unhealthy”. All foods can be part of a nutritious diet (and healthy people eat all sorts of things). Use your best instincts (you smarter than you know) and aim for eating a wide variety of foods and include foods that you love. Tell other people to mind their own business if they put their own food beliefs on you.

You’re the best guide you’ll ever have. Listen and trust yourself and your judgement. It’s in the listening to everyone and everything else that got us into this confusion with food. You’ll find freedom in the expertise of being you.

What Does it Mean to Have Food Freedom?

I want it all and on my terms.

There have been many years where the way I ate was most definitely a “diet”. My goal being to make my body smaller and lighter through food restriction.

Then there were several years where the way I was eating was still restrictive in a lot of ways even if weight loss was just a backup singer to the lead vocalist in the band of “health”. Sometimes I restricted that quantity of food I ate, sometimes it was the calories. Sometimes entire food groups, no dairy, no wheat, lower carb, no animal products, no processed food etc.

During these times, I referred to my way of eating not as a diet, but as a “lifestyle”. The goal of the “lifestyle” was to feel good, and to maintain and “insure” my health, but if my “lifestyle” way of eating was a TV show, there would definitely be some closed captions in parenthesis behind me, whispering shadily that my goal was still to become a smaller person. Make no mistake, the word lifestyle is a both a great way and a terrible way to describe eating like this. On one hand  it has to be a lifestyle in order for anyone to be able to eat that way. You have to have a certain amount of money, time and willingness to prepare food with both strange and time consuming ingredients. Your life has to take on a “lifestyle” where food becomes the most important thing . . . because if you live this way you won’t have time or room for anything else. But on the other hand, a food “lifestyle” is just another word for a diet. It is still restriction with a more appealing name.

Somewhere beyond that is where I am right now.

I’ve been playing with a lot of ideas, a lot of foods and really analyzing what I want my relationship with food to look like.

3 and a half years of coaching women on their relationship with food and I decided that I don’t want dieting, “lifestyle” diets and moral judgements around food to be included in my own.

I want freedom with food. I want ease and I want time and energy available to do other things.

Having food freedom means having more freedom in my life in general.

You may have heard me toss around the term “food freedom” or having “freedom with food” a few times over the last year or so.

But what am I really talking about? I know it’s confusing, especially if you’ve followed me from the beginning. My stance has evolved quite a bit since I started coaching. It is still and always will be evolving. What works for me one month may not be true three month from now. And because of that recognition I have really moved away from giving specific food related advice here anymore. I really believe you have to make these decisions for yourself and that no one can know what makes the most sense for you, but you. It should go without saying that f you have certain health conditions that require abstaining from certain foods, like celiac disease or monitoring your intake of certain macronutrients, like diabetes, that may be a different story.

So in case your food story is also evolving and you too want to leave dieting, lifestyle diets and food morality behind, let’s talk about what I mean by food freedom.

Food freedom is:

  • eating what I want, when I want. Sometimes it’s a burger and fries, and sometimes it’s fresh vegetables.
  • making my own decisions about what foods are good for my body instead of changing my mind every time a new half-assed food study comes out
  • being able to walk into any restaurant and find something to eat
  • being able to eat food that isn’t “healthy” and be completely fine with that
  • not feeling virtuous for ordering the fish or for eating light if I don’t have a big appetite.
  • not letting other people’s decisions about food affect my own needs and choices (this one takes some time/work)
  • not feeling like I have to explain or defend my food choices to anyone
  • not being worried about what other people think about what I’m eating or not eating.
  • trusting my body to tell me when I’ve had enough
  • deciding that it’s ok to have ice cream for dinner because that’s what I want
  • realizing that there are some foods that I don’t want to start eating again, because on revisiting them, they still make me feel like poop
  • being able to skip a meal because I’m just not hungry
  • eating after 8pm because I am hungry
  • trying new foods, prepared in a variety of ways, without needing to know the nutrition facts for the item first
  • not hesitating to order the thing I never “let” myself order when I was dieting (if it’s what I want)
  • choosing for myself whether to eat the same amount of meals each day or to eat whenever I want to
  • making only one rule around food and that is: I get to eat and not eat whatever the fuck I want
  • accepting that my body shape or size may fluctuate throughout the year (and keeping some flexible clothing sizes on hand so that I can feel my best whether my body size goes up or down
  • not making myself sick by worrying about what to make for dinner. One meal or 5 meals doesn’t make a big deal in the scheme of things.
  • buying a box of cap’n crunch because I haven’t had it since I was little and I want to feel that delicious crunch on the roof of my mouth. And then eating it whenever I feel like eating it
  • deciding that there is more to a healthy person than rigorously controlling one’s food intake within an inch of their life
  • is being able to say yes to something as simple as ordering pizza or having a beer without having to weigh the pros and cons of it
  • is revelling in and also not caring at all about food at different times

This is what I want from my relationship with food, and this is how I’m trying to live my life right now.

It feels less tiring.

It’s certainly a lot less work to go out to eat or to plan meals or to make food each week.

I still eat a wide variety of foods and I do have a preference for the types of foods that make me feel energized and comfortable most of the time (which often are traditionally “healthy” things) but nothing is off the table anymore at anytime.

“Food freedom” for me also feels more like “normal” eating for my husband. I don’t think I ever realized how my stuff around food affected him as much as it does. Even though I was always willing to buy or make whatever he asked for regardless of what food restrictions I was currently consumed by, he usually went along with it (because this girl is a decent cook and he’s easy going) but he told me a few months ago how awesome it is that he can say “hey can we have nachos for dinner?” and have me just say yes without even thinking about it or he can suggest some hole in the wall restaurant without me having a melt down about it not having the right kind of food on the menu. It makes me sad that I didn’t even realize that my issues with food made things not “normal” for him too.

I’ve put on a little weight during all this food freedom (to be expected when you stop restricting whole food groups) but I don’t really care. In a lot of ways, I feel lighter. I feel emotionally lighter for sure but even my body feels less burdened by the weight of carrying so many rules about food in it. And honestly, that is probably the best part of finding food freedom.

What does food freedom mean to you? Do you already feel that you have freedom with food or is this an area that you would like to work on yourself? I’d love to help you take steps towards finding your own version of food freedom when you are ready.

 

The Myth of The Girl in The Body from Your Past

I want to ask you to question the validity of the stories and myths you tell yourself about your past.

When we’re going through a tough time, we have a tendency to look at our past and see just the pretty parts. We also tend to alter or mythicize the truth in order to make sense of where we are now.

It’s a common theme in our lives.

This happens when we are in a job that isn’t a good fit for us. A previous job that was stressful and draining and all consuming starts to be remembered in a much fonder way.

We’ll find ourselves doing this when we’re single and missing some of the benefits that come with a romantic relationship. We suddenly remember an old boyfriend as being more handsome, more interesting and kind than he was in reality. (He was a dirtbag and you still don’t need him, I promise.)

It’s not hard to find more examples of this in every area of our life. When we’re bored or stressed about the responsibilities of raising families, keeping a home and paying ever mounting bills, we think about how carefree we were in our early 20’s. We conveniently forget that we didn’t have health insurance, our car starting was a daily gamble, and our diet consisted of ramen noodles and frozen burritos (that might be a year old) because we often didn’t have any money for food after paying our bills. It was stressful and awful in a different way but we forget that.

We remember eating better (we ate terribly). We slept better (we hardly slept). We had more energy (we napped all the time). We were more fun (we were just as anxious as we are now). We were more outgoing (No, there were just more opportunities to socialize). More interesting (we just liked to hear ourselves talk about everything we were learning).

The list goes on and on.

The way we remember things and the way we view ourselves isn’t always accurate. We glamorize and mythicize to suit a “need”. The thought is that if we can make ourselves feel that the past was better, maybe we’ll be motivated to make changes or take action to change now.

The most common example I see is in glorifying the myth of the girl in the body from our past. Most commonly the smaller body from our past.

You may believe this myth yourself when thinking of your younger days. Or you may have even seen it shared publicly from someone else, as we tend to do things since the advent of social media! Usually it comes in a “I miss this girl” kind of post on social media. Sometimes it comes in the form of a before / current photo and talk of starting their journey back to their pre-x, y or z weight. (complete with a photo of them drinking an expensive powdered shake in a plastic container of course).

You know exactly what I’m talking about.

Someone posts a photo of themselves in their younger thinner years, usually in a bikini, short shorts, or other various states of light clothing wearing.

It’s always the same.

They’re young. They’re pretty. And they are in a smaller, seemingly imperfection-free body.

They express a desire to get back “there”. (We do this in our heads too – social media isn’t necessary for this kind of myth perpetuation)

The woman they are today (and that most of us are today) has probably been through a lot and on the way, her body has changed. She’s gained some weight, maybe she has stretch marks and cellulite. Maybe she has wrinkles or gray hairs. She may have dealt with some health issues. Her physical body is overflowing with the marks of time and life.

When I see these photos like this or hear statements of “I miss this girl” and “I was so much better then” it makes me so very sad.

First, because in hindsight, we see the younger, thinner version of ourselves as being free from worry, free from problems, and having the body that we would desire to have now. It must have been so fun to have that body then, right? We must have appreciated it and loved it and treated it with respect and great care.

HAHA!

The sad thing is that we didn’t appreciate it. We didn’t love it. We didn’t respect it.

Those of us who are reeling from our current bodies are partly in the place we are in because we treated our younger bodies abysmally.

Raise your hand if you started dieting as a pre-teen and your entire teenage years were consumed with thoughts of needing to stay small or lose a few pounds so you’d be as small or smaller than your friends.

Raise your hand if your norm in those smaller bodied days was to go as many hours as your could between meals and to eat as little as possible at each meal, filling up on rice cakes, fat free cottage cheese and cucumber slices or anything else that your teen magazines told you were low-cal.

Raise your hand if you remember the hours you spent in tears because the boy you liked didn’t like you back and you attributed it to your thighs (and how large you thought they were).

Raise your hand if you started smoking to reduce your appetite, started drinking coffee to lose weight (you didn’t need to lose in the first place) and bought jeans a size smaller than you wear so that you would be too uncomfortable to eat.

Raise your hand if most of your actual memories of those years are not of all the fun ways you lived in and enjoyed your body but instead are flashes and pieces of hunger, thoughts about food or feeling badly about your body for various reasons.

We don’t usually land in our today bodies accidentally.

When we spend time fantasizing about the girl in the body from our past, we are indulging in a myth. When we say “I miss that girl” in our thinner and younger photos, what we are really saying is:

I miss feeling in control of my life and my body.

I feel invisible and too visible at the same time.

I want to feel beautiful, powerful and carefree.

I want to feel confident and happy.

That girl you were wasn’t necessarily any of those things just because the you of today thinks her old body was better. If we’re unhappy now, we tend to look at our past selves with rose colored lenses.

Please, don’t make the mistake of glamorizing the past in favor of crapping on your now.

The body you had when you were 16 or 20 was probably treated often with the same disgust and disdain that at times, you have treated your body of today with. That body didn’t bring you joy and you didn’t feel half as confident as the you of today thinks you were.

The problems you see with your body today were likely the same things that bothered you then (even if there is or isn’t a discernible size difference between the two). And these things will always be a problem as long as you believe they are a problem, no matter what diet or workout routine you take on.

The best thing you can do for the you of yesterday and the you of today is to not wish to be someone from another place in time. Instead start practicing love, respect and appreciation (or at least just acceptance) of the body you have right now.

Don’t sugar coat or gloss over your past. Don’t pretend things were perfect. All that does is set you up for failure. If things weren’t perfect then and you weren’t happy and confident then (before bills, before kids, before work, before LIFE), then how in the world do you have a chance of achieving happiness, confidence and perfection now??? The answer is you don’t. So don’t hold yourself to an impossible and imaginary standard.

If you want to radiate the confidence and beauty you think your younger self is the epitome of in old photos, you don’t get there by making yourself feel bad for where you are today.

You get there by practicing kindness to yourself, always, by caring for your body physically in ways that make you feel good (move your body joyfully, feed both it’s needs and wants) and by removing the pressure on yourself to look a specific way.

You live your life in the present moment.

If the girl you were in your high school days could speak to you today, do you know what she would say?

She’d tell you that she’s always loved you, she just didn’t know how to show you that. She wishes she had spent less time focused on staying thin and being pretty and more time enjoying the freedom those younger years usually bring.

She wishes she had eaten to fullness, laughed with her friends, gone out for ice cream regularly and never started to smoke in the first place.

She wishes that you appreciated all that your body still has to offer you now, exactly as it is and before it’s too late.

She hopes you will stop wishing and missing the girl you were and start paying attention to the woman you are and can still be.

She hopes you raise your own daughters to love, respect, appreciate and accept their bodies for enabling them to breathe, love, create, dance, run, climb, laugh and live. She doesn’t want you to miss the girl right in front of you, right now.

Go out and love and appreciate her.

If You Don’t Have “Big Dreams” or Aren’t Sure of your Purpose, it’s Totally Ok. And You’re Ok.

Clear vision? Big Dreams? Found your purpose? Or do you have no clue and are tired of feeling like there’s something wrong with you.

Warning:  This post DEFINITELY comes from a very personal place that a more cautious person would probably not post online so stop reading if you get secondhand embarrassment easily.

If you’ve ever felt like you were going to barf when someone talks about their purpose, their big dreams or their vision in life because you can’t even decide on what to have for dinner this week, then this post is for you.

I know how heavy it weighs on your heart if you feel like everyone you know has had a detailed life plan and purpose since they were 8 and you just don’t (like, not even at all).

This is something I have felt like a big old weirdo about from as far back as I can remember because I felt like I was the only person on the planet who was battling with this but over the last year or so I’ve talked to quite a few other people who admitted they had a similar struggle going on in their heads too and they felt really ashamed about it. While I hate to see people in pain, it always feels better to know that you’re not alone (especially when you feel alone). It also made me realize that this is a great topic for a blog post – since doing google searches on the subject only pull up lots of stuff that will make you feel worse.

Anyhow, let’s get into this hairy mess.


The only kind of BIG DREAMS I have are the ones where I wake up and Matthew McConaughey is not in my bed.

 

Dream Big! Play Big! Stop playing small! Find your purpose!

Your calling will find you! Get clear on your vision!

All you need to do is _______ to find your purpose!

Everywhere you look, there’s a message telling us how we need to push ourselves harder in order to grow, take bigger actions, play bigger and to dream bigger. That if we’re not already chasing after our lofty dreams and taking action on them every single day, then we are missing out, giving up and playing small. And if you don’t feel connected on a soul level to your dreams and purpose you haven’t been meditating or praying hard or long enough or it’s just not your time yet.

I’m sorry, but . . .

BARF. BARF.

BARF.

The message is that if you aren’t humming along feeling sure of what it is you want or are here for that you are doing it wrong (and that it’s actually soooo easy to do).

As someone who has been coaching for over 3 years now, I’m heavily immersed in the self-help world and surrounded by lots of people who 100% believe it’s essential and possible to to figure out and follow your dreams and purpose with a sparkling clear kale and yoga covered vision. In coaching, we’re all taught that the hard part is the action aspect – taking action on those dreams and visions. It’s really all about getting clear on your goal and then moving towards it no matter what.

But what if you are one of those people who aren’t dreaming big or don’t have a clear goal? Or if you’re one of those people who do want more and would dream big and play big but you don’t have the first clue as to what you even WANT? It’s hard to have huge ambitious goals to work towards if you don’t know what they are. It’s impossible to know what steps you need to take for your life, your business, your family or your future if you don’t have a vision and purpose. A freaking goal!

How can one take actions towards their purpose, their vision, their calling, their BIG DREAMS if they don’t know what the BLEEP they are? And why do those of us who are in this boat feel like the only person in the world who feels this way?

I know there are several of you reading this who DO feel this way and hopefully feel slightly relieved that someone else finally brought it up.

In all honesty, I don’t really dream big. I’m not playing big. I don’t have lofty goals and ambitions. I waver on what my purpose is day to day, year to year. I don’t believe we all just have one calling. I don’t have a plan for the next chapters of my life. I kind of wing things as I go and it totally freaks me out.

Thoughts about “Where am I headed?”, “What’s next?”, and “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” plague me constantly. Always have. It’s really annoying because since I work in the self- help kind of world, I’m supposed to have all of this stuff totally worked out, right?? HAHAHA! (Thankfully coaching people doesn’t require that you have all the answers.)

It’s such a strange thing to talk about in this realm, that anytime I admit these thoughts to someone in my field they look at me like I just told them I have a dead body in the trunk of my car. They think I’m totally crazy and they just want to get as far away from me as possible.

(Calm down. I don’t even have a trunk on my car!)

If you’ve read this far, it’s probably because you’re like me and feel like you’re a creepy defective anomaly among a world full of mom’s who know their purpose is to be a mom, entrepreneurs who have a clear vision of taking their brand to the international stage, and peers who knew from 7th grade that they wanted to be an engineer and then went for it, never questioning it for a second.

No, you don’t feel like a weirdo or that something is wrong with you? Good for you, but why are you wasting your time reading this? Go act on that vision you are so sure of!

As I said at the outset of this post, this is for folks who are feeling alone for not being clear on their dreams and purpose in life but I also want to share some of the reasons I’ve uncovered why this has been a struggle for me and a few things I’m doing to change it and / or accept it so that I can live my life without worrying about not doing it right.

 

The only VISION I have is the kind that allows me to take in all the gloriousness that is RHONY and GOT.

 

I’ve spent a huge chunk of my life worrying about this and feeling like something was wrong with me because I don’t have the clarity and drive that so many others around me have.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hard worker, detail oriented, reliable and creative and there are a lot of things I’m really good at. But ask me to choose one direction to head in, and I suddenly feel like my chest is being crushed by a ton of bricks or that I’m going to puke. I can’t. I won’t. Don’t lock me in.

The purpose, vision and dreaming big stuff all boils down to not really knowing what I want. And if I don’t know what I want or where I want to go, then how the heck am I supposed to go there? If I don’t know where I’m going, I could end up anywhere, so every choice I have to commit to feels wrong. (You too?)

I remember being a kid and people asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up or what I was thinking about majoring when I went to college. I never had an answer that felt even remotely right. I couldn’t visualize my life beyond a certain point – I remember feeling superstitious that because I couldn’t see my life at 20, living in the real world, working a “real” job etc that it must mean I was going to die before I was 20 (geez, I’ve always been morbid, huh?). I can’t tell you how many times I repeated that to friends (but somehow I hit 20 and have kept going, visionless and all!). And since everyone around me felt entirely different and had these big ideas and plans and goals, it reinforced the confusion I felt.

I only started to understand some of the real reasons I don’t have big dreams and I don’t have a clear vision / goal very recently. They are (in no particular order):

I’m turned off by the play big / dream big message out there. My life is more than a 6 figure salary, a fancy car etc. Play big / dream big seems to be messaged in a way that conjures up images of material things that prove success. I love me some nice things, but to me playing big / dreaming big is dreaming of being happy and that is more abstract. And when I get turned “off” by something, it’s like a massive wall goes up around me and there’s no obvious way out.

At least that’s the story I’ve been telling myself for decades. It’s kind of like when I don’t like someone. There aren’t a lot of people I don’t like, but the small handful that I don’t – oh man, my dislike is so palpable when I’m in the same room as them and there is nothing they can say or do to change my feelings about them once I get there. I am as hard and cold as ice. Probably harder, because I don’t melt. Wall up, no way in or out. Walk away!

What my solution to this is:  I’m trying to remember that being so closed up isn’t benefiting me. Trying to stay more open. I’m an adult, I can create and make meaning the way I want to.

Somewhere along the way I stopped dreaming or allowing myself to dream. I can’t pinpoint what it was or where it was (it doesn’t really matter) but I internalized the idea that things that were really hard and not “fun” were rarely worth doing, that I’m not as smart as I think I am, that I’m fickle and get bored too easily to stay on one path. I need instant (or at least pretty soon) gratification. Work without reward leads me to burnout and boredom. I also fear getting too involved in something and wanting to back out.

Even the decision about having kids has always felt out of my reach – my answer wavered from yes, to no, to I just don’t know. Even as the clock is ticking and time is running out on that, that feeling of “should we or shouldn’t we?” is still kind of there and I’m not compelled towards either direction. If someone asks what my long term visions are for my business, I say I don’t know and I’ve been saying that since I started. Tell me to create a vision board and I will roll my eyes and say no. If you ask me where I want to be in 5 years, 10 years, what I want to be doing and what my life will look like, I don’t know. I’ve been telling myself “I don’t know” for so long that I’m not sure there was ever a time where I did know. There might have been, but it’s been silenced for so long that even hearing a glimmer of that voice is a challenge.

What my solution to this is: When my instinct is to think or say “I don’t know” in response to some of these big questions, I’m turning it around and asking “If I did know, what might my answer be?” This isn’t giving me some loud and clear cut answers that I wanted to have decades ago but I’m asking it because I know that we have to put the brain to work in order to get it to help us. If I say I don’t know, I’m not giving it anything to work with, but if I ask a question, I give my brain some work to do and it can go uncover answers for me while I’m living my life.

I react quickly rather than sitting with an idea for a bit. I may seem really wishy washy by all my “I don’t know” to life’s biggest questions, but ask the people closest to me to describe me and some of the words you’d hear are “opinionated” and “stubborn”. I may know not what I want but I am clear and vocal on what I don’t want. If I express frustration or unhappiness with an aspect of my life or business and you give me a solution, I’ll have at least 2 or 3 reasons why that isn’t for me before you even stop speaking, haha! It’s not my best quality, that’s for sure but I hold tight to it because knowing what I don’t want feels like I’m at least crossing stuff off the list in the hopes that what is left will be the “right” stuff.

What my solution to this is: I’m working on not reacting and saying no so quickly. I used to be really bad at saying no (I think we all are) but I’ve gotten so GOOD at it over the years that I spit it out sometimes before I’ve really had time to digest the possibilities. This means I’m shutting things down when really I’m in a place where I need to be opening up instead. Pausing. I need to pause and let the words and thoughts enter my brain for a bit. Instead of saying no automatically, I’m trying “I’ll think about it”. Being open to leaving things open ended.

 

The only PURPOSE I have is to find and create happiness where I can.

 

If you worry about not having purpose, a calling or big dream, one thing to realize is that this is not a horrible problem to have. It’s actually a luxury to be able to worry about this kind of stuff.

Let me explain that before you give me the middle finger.

To struggle with worries about purpose, vision, calling, dreaming big etc. means that all your basic needs are met. If I was out having to hunt for food and haul water for drinking, cleaning and cooking and keep a fire going all day just to have my basic essential needs met, I would not have a single thought about what my vision for my life’s work is.  If I lived in a war torn country and had to flee for safety, I would not give a shit about playing big or what I was going to do in 5 years. Worries about purpose come along because we are fulfilled, secure, and satisfied in other areas and we have the freedom to look for “what’s next? What else is there?”

I am incredibly grateful, humbled and thankful for all that I have. My bills are paid, I’m healthy, my husband is healthy, we have a warm and safe home, we have heat, food on the table (so much food!) and we even have lots of extras that we don’t need – good wine, free time, vacations, hobbies, toys etc.

We even have the luxury of paying someone to plow our driveway when it snows, mow our lawn and pick up our trash – normal day to day stuff we used to do ourselves that kept us too busy during our free time to think about this purpose crap . Life is good, we’re safe and I recognize that blessing every day.

Know that if you are out there struggling and worrying about your own lack of vision, big dreams and soul consuming purpose, you are not alone.

I feel it too. And I have clients and friends who struggle with it as well. It’s just that most people don’t talk about it or they are dealing with much bigger problems that threaten their daily wellbeing, safety and security.

It may not be much of a consolation but if you don’t have a plan, a clear vision, big dream or know what purpose you’re on this planet for just know that it’s really ok and that there is nothing wrong with you.

If this is a subject that weighs heavily on your heart, here are a few last reminders and takeaways to keep in your back pocket:

  1. It’s ok if you’re not dreaming big. Remind yourself that if you are worried about this stuff it’s partially because shit is good and you have the luxury to worry about it.
  2. If you’re not dreaming big, but want to and feel like “I don’t know” is your go to whenever questions about what you want come up, try asking “If I did know, what would it be?” Put your brain to work. As a reminder of this, I made a new desktop wallpaper for my laptop that I would see everyday.  It says “What is the story that I’d love to see unfold in front of me?” and “If I did know my purpose, what could it be?”. Just seeing this every day reminds me to stay open and more kind to myself.
  3. Go easy on yourself. At the end of our lives, no one is going to come to your wake and talk about how big your bucket list was or how early in life you figured everything out. Instead they’re going to talk about your heart, your soul and how you made people feel.
  4. Try not to react so quickly with “no” and try not to wall up around people or ideas that don’t sit well with you initially. Try to remain open. And if you’re closed off already, take baby steps towards opening back up. You never know what opportunity, hobby or person you might come across that could help you see things differently!
  5. Spend as much time as you can doing things, spending time with people and taking in experiences that provide meaning for you. You decide what that even means.
  6. Please remember that you are not alone. Lots of other folks are struggling with the same feelings you are but they just don’t talk about it! I’m sending you love and a big hug if you are going through this.

Lastly, does this resonate with you? Does all the vision, goals, dreams purpose talk make you want to barf too? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

What to Expect When You Stop Dieting

When nothing is off limits to your diet anymore, sometimes you don’t have a clue what you want to eat anymore!

What can I expect when I stop dieting once and for all? How is life different when you don’t diet?

Humans love to collect evidence and data to help influence their decisions, it helps us to feel confident that we’re making the right decision. We read reviews before making a big purchase, we research a company before accepting a new job offer from them, we ask friends for recommendations when planning a vacation somewhere we’ve never been. Sure, some of us like to jump off willy nilly and be spontaneous when trying new things, but for sure, more of us, like to have as much info a possible! So, for you, my friend, who is currently googling how to stop dieting or what to expect when you go off a diet, this post is for you.

There are a lot of things that happen when you stop dieting and these are just a few of the things you can expect:

  • Expect people to ask you lots of questions about what you are eating or not eating.

    When you’ve been dieting for years or eating a certain “way” (i.e. dairy free, vegan, paleo, “clean” etc) people come to expect certain behaviors of you. Especially if you were someone who was very vocal about what you were or weren’t eating, or even if you weren’t vocal,  if you were someone who ate very differently from everyone around you, people noticed. People are going to notice changes from what you do normally, even if you don’t want them to. A lot of folks think when they make an eating change it’s something that they will do forever and is permanent, but people change their minds and what foods work best for our bodies change over time too. It’s okay to do things differently. Be prepared for lots of questions and decide ahead of time if you are interested in sharing about your journey.  If you aren’t comfortable discussing the reasons you are eating the way that you are (there are many reasons people don’t want to discuss their eating habits), all you have to do is say “I don’t feel like discussing my eating choices. Thanks for respecting that.” or something like it!  You are not obligated to talk about this stuff to anyone you don’t want to, but just know that if you were chatty about it before, people may not “get” that it’s not something you want to discuss now and you may have to repeat yourself a couple of times before people “hear” you.

  • Know that these questions aren’t usually a judgement about you or your choices,

    people are just very curious about how others eat. They’re often looking to understand the reasons behind a change. Frequently we think that other people must have more information or knowledge about something than we do, especially in this day and age of health information overload so to see someone who others assume is very knowledgeable about food and health eat foods that may have been off limits for years is a big surprise and they’re just trying to make sense of it.

  • Know that you might gain weight. Or you might lose weight. Or your weight may stay the exact same.

    I think this is the thing that freaks people out the most when they stop counting calories or start eating foods that they haven’t allowed themselves to have for a decade. If they had to do x, y and z to maintain or lose weight before, won’t not doing those things automatically lead to weight gain? That’s not something anyone can have the answer for ahead of time. Everyone is different. Most often I see people gain weight initially as they start allowing themselves to explore foods they haven’t had in years and as they try to understand their own hunger and fullness signals. Some of those folks do lose that weight naturally over time, but there is no guarantee and it’s not helpful for us to hold onto that goal as we try to get back to eating the way our bodies would prefer us to eat. The best thing you can do when you decide to stop dieting is to allow your body to do what it needs to do as you start to experience food in a more intuitive way (letting go of the desire to lose weight or control your weight is too big a topic for me to cover in this post). Listen to your body and see what you can learn from it (and try not to judge the changes that may happen during this time period).

  • You may realize you don’t even like some of the foods you thought you liked.

    How many of us convince ourselves that we like rice cakes instead of bread or crackers? How many of us still buy rice cakes after we stop dieting? A lot! Rice cakes are such a common “diet” food that entire generations of women buy them even when they’re not dieting just because we’re so used to that kind of food. But when no food is off limits and there aren’t strict rules to follow around food, you start to notice some of the weird diet habits you have and will have to decide if that’s something you want to keep. Rice cakes are just one example but there are tons of other foods that we start eating because of a belief that they are “healthier” or because they are low calorie, but when it comes down to it, we really don’t enjoy eating them and they’re not adding anything nutritionally to our diet. On the other end of the spectrum, last weekend, I ordered a jelly donut for the first time in years while grabbing a coffee at a drive thru. I was really excited to eat that donut as I thought about what it was going to taste like but in reality, the texture was denser than I was expecting and the filling and dough itself tasted almost salty to me. It was not good and I didn’t even finish it. I make a lot of food from scratch and have for many years (including my desserts) so when I eat something heavily and cheaply processed (like from a donut chain) my taste buds say “NO F-ing WAY”. Not dieting means every food will feel and taste differently than you remember it!

  • You’re going to unfollow and unfriend lots of people on social media.

    The “hide” button on facebook has become my favorite thing these days. The amount of people trying to sell weight loss as the cure for all your problems seems enormous when you stop dieting. And suddenly your whole social media newsfeed is full of smoothie bowls, juice cleanses and powdered shake before and after photos and ug, I just don’t care anymore – it’s all so stupid.  You start to notice how often people say terrible things about their bodies (I’ve been no stranger to this myself – always working on it), how often they say terrible things about other people’s bodies and how much energy, effort and money goes into attempting to achieve a particular body type. It’s all you can see sometimes. Use that unfollow or hide button and start clicking away more on the profiles and people who post the things that matter to you more. Cultivate a social media feed that is more of what you want to see.

  • You may feel like you have a never ending hunger and want to eat all the things.

    Relax! This usually goes away as your brain starts to get the message that there isn’t a famine going on anymore. Allow yourself to eat as much as you need and want. I know that feels terrifying after coming off of a diet but it’s also what your body has been programmed to do. It wants to make sure you get what you need so it will increase the hormone ghrelin so that you feel hungry. Eat. Let your body know that you will satisfy your hunger. Don’t restrict. Don’t try to go hungry (you’ll just keep your body in a bit of panic about getting enough food). Trust your body, fuel it, feed it and listen to what it tells you.

  • You may experience some digestive discomfort (like bloating and gas)

    as you introduce foods you haven’t had in years or eat a larger quantity than you are used to. Drink extra water, make sure you get some physical activity (walking is great for digestion) and chew well. Some of this is just your body trying to break down different or a higher quantity of food which can be a little taxing on your system (taking a digestive enzyme at mealtimes can help temporarily). It’s no big deal. If it keeps up over time, pay it a little more attention. Is it a particular food or food group that is causing you trouble? Is it when you eat it a certain way (for example, raw vs cooked vegetables or fried vs. baked chicken)? Note what might be causing it and decide if the discomfort you feel is worth the enjoyment and experience of eating the food. For some of us, if we feel terrible after eating something it’s enough to say, ug, I don’t want that anymore. For others it’s not enough, and it’s up to you to decide what you are willing to deal with. Here’s an example from my own life:  Eating dairy daily triggers my asthma really badly. I no longer eat it daily . . .but eating ice cream once in awhile is totally ok . . .I have weighed the repercussions of eating it and I’m willing to live with the discomfort that comes with occasional enjoyment because butter crunch and black raspberry are worth it.

  • You’ll start to feel like you don’t know what you want to eat.

    Previously, in a lifetime of dieting, there were always foods that you wished you could have or were waiting for a “cheat meal” to enjoy your favorite foods. But now that you will allow yourself whatever you truly want, when you want, after you’ve satisfied that for a while, you’ll find that meal time comes and you often have no clue what you feel like eating. Haha! Nothing will really appeal and ordering off a menu or making a meal plan for home will feel extra arduous. Just go with it, it will pass, like everything else!

  • You may feel a little bit alone.

    When you aren’t dieting, you start to notice that every woman around you at any given time is doing at least one of the following:  A) Dieting, B) Doing a LIfestyle Change (like Whole30), C) On a Cleanse/Detox, D) is eating “Clean” or E) Doing some sort of 30 day fitness challenge. No judgements from me on what other people decide to do (I’ve been everywhere in my eating journey over the years), but when you’ve decide to try to find freedom with food and for you that means no more diets or rules, then all of a sudden having lunch with your coworkers who want to spend the whole time discussing what they AREN’T eating anymore can feel a bit distressing. When you get together with your girlfriends, it can feel like they’re bonding over something they all have in common while you sit there in silence, no longer willing to participate in that kind of conversation. It’s challenging. You’ll feel like you’re sticking out like a sore thumb, because everyone else is doing it but you. But that’s ok! Find a way to change the conversation to something more helpful, interesting and positive if you can. Ask people about their families, about the music they like to listen to, if they’ve got any fun upcoming travel plans, or if they believe in past lives. Ask questions that have nothing to do with health, food or fitness (even though we all currently LOVE to talk about that stuff). A year from now no one will remember what diet details someone shared at lunch but they will remember the engaging and interesting person who asked them lots of questions about their life. You’ll make new relationships and find people who also are on the same path with you this way.

Okay, there are certainly way more things that will happen when you stop dieting than just these but for the sake of brevity I’m going to stop it there today! Some of these things may sound like negatives at first, but I think if you stay firm in your desire not to diet anymore and really tune in to trusting yourself and your body to lead you, you will find that it’s actually a much better place to be. You’ll start to see that not focusing on how food affects your weight so much actually allows you to experience and enjoy life more fully, and isn’t that what it’s really about anyhow?? I think so!

I’d love to hear from you. Is there anything on this list that you’ve experienced since you stopped dieting? And is there anything about quitting dieting that I haven’t mentioned here that was surprising for you? Share below or contact me directly!

If I Don’t Congratulate You When You Tell Me You’ve Lost Weight Here’s Why

This cat doesn’t have anything to do with this post but it’s cute face got me thinking: do you think cats congratulate each other about their changing body sizes? Do they notice when one of their litter mates has put on a few ounces? I doubt it.

A Reputation for Knowing all things Weight Loss

 

Long before I became a health coach I had a reputation for being knowledgeable about weight loss, for being well versed in healthy or lower calorie eating, and for knowing all the ins and outs of dieting and lifestyle change.

I had lost large amounts of weight several times in my life and people who knew me “before” and saw me now, began to seek me out for help with their challenges in losing weight. I had a food blog that was dedicated to turning my favorite comfort foods into lighter and “healthier” versions as I learned how to cook for the first time. I made internet friends on diet tracking sites who turned into real life friends. I lived, breathed, read and consumed all things health and fitness.

And even when I gained a lot of weight back (again, several times), people still asked how I had done it, the weight loss that is. What did I eat? How much did I exercise? How did I stay on track? I had all the answers, or at least I thought my answers were helpful, and I was more than willing to share them. I became obsessed with the subject.

I was always interested in talking about bodies. What I didn’t like about mine, what was ok about mine, what I wish was different, how bummed I was that I had gained weight back, or how I still felt fat despite being the smallest I had ever been in my adult life. I felt closer to friends and family when we commiserated about our shared body, weight or food struggles. My interest and the ability to bond with others on the same journey is certainly a big reason why I ended up taking steps to become a health coach.

The majority of conversations I’ve had during my life have had at least one or two references to diets, unhappiness with our bodies, gaining weight, weight loss etc. sprinkled in, regardless of the subject. I was a super willing participant and often I was the one leading these kind of conversations! And it wasn’t all that long ago that there was still a part of me who thought that reaching and maintaining a certain number on the scale was going to bring me the happiness, acceptance and health security that I was after.

 

How Confusing it is to Navigate an Appropriate Response When You are OVER Weight Loss

 

I am so over it. Weight loss isn’t necessary for a happy life or a healthy one for that matter.

I’ve been “over it” for a while but have been trying to gracefully navigate my current feelings about it and my super ingrained normal response to this stuff.

It’s not going as gracefully as I’d like.

So if you tell me about you weight loss and you don’t get a “Wow! Congrats!” from me, I want to share where that’s coming from.

My current feelings are that I’m no longer interested in discussing or living a weight loss motivated lifestyle. I’m no longer taking on clients who are specifically looking for weight loss (which reminds me, I have a lot of old blog posts that I need to edit that say otherwise!). And I believe that keeping so much of our conversations on weight loss and dieting is harmful, especially the way we treat it like the cure for all health concerns.

If health is important to us, we should focus on eating a well varied diet, getting regular activity, managing stress in effective ways, strengthening social relationships that are important to us, developing a spiritual or creative practices that renews us and finding meaningful work or hobbies that bring us life satisfaction. In this way, you can be any size and be healthy (if that is your goal).

My normal (“super ingrained” as I said earlier) response when people talk about weight and dieting has been one that feels almost automatic because of my long history of being immersed in this stuff.  In social situations I might join in or laugh at jokes about weight that I don’t actually think are funny anymore, nodding my head in agreement when someone makes a comment about wanting pizza but they can’t because they’re on a diet, or congratulating people when they share their weight loss success. It’s easier to participate in the way I’ve always known how and go through the motions, even when I am cringing inside at my own response.

I know better! Why can’t I just not laugh when someone makes a self-deprecating joke about their body? Why can’t I walk away from the conversation when it turns to weight loss? Why can’t I just tell people how I feel and why talking about this stuff all the time is a problem?

It’s not that easy. For starters, in our culture, it’s the NORM to be participating and living a lifestyle of always wanting to be in a smaller body. I’ve been living in that culture (and full on participating) for over 35 years. Some responses are learned over time. Another reason is that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that disrupting people’s beliefs in most social situations does not go over well. It either causes an argument, makes someone feel badly, or will make you seem totally out of touch with the group. And since connection is an important part of human needs, I’m interested in fostering connection, not preventing it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been one to speak up when it comes to doing the right thing or when something is important (and I don’t intend to stop that) but when it comes to something as personal as body image, weight and food beliefs, I prefer to handle that on a one by one, case by case basis. I’m not going to launch into a diatribe in a group about how diet culture has brainwashed you into thinking your body isn’t already bikini-worthy. You have to know your audience. Everyone is on a different journey and people know what I do for work now – when they’re ready to walk away from that stuff, they know where to find me. I don’t need to preach about it in socially.

One area I have gotten much better in is in not making jokes about my own body. If you’ve read my stuff over the years, you may remember this post. It’s taken a lot of self awareness (some might say I’m overly self-aware, but it comes with this territory) but I feel I’ve reduced the jokes at my own body’s expense by at least 75% of where they used to be. That is no small feat and feels really good. But changes to conversation like that, and in working to be more true to my current feelings about weight and body image mean that I find myself more silent in social situations than I used to.

For awhile I was chalking it up to working from home (a major blessing that I’m thankful for but also one that has taken any social awkwardness I had and multiplied it by 5) but I think a lot of it is just that so much of conversations with women seem to be about hating our bodies or wanting to reduce our size and I just don’t want to take part in it.

I think there’s so much more to us than our size or shape and I’m working to break down my own biases about weight and fat bodies (that I have carried my whole life). I personally care about living an active lifestyle and eat a variety of types of food but I don’t think I’m a better person for doing that. And I don’t value you less or more based on your interest, willingness or success in doing that too. I want other women (and men and children too) to feel that they matter for who they are, not for what they look like. I want the conversation to be about all the other interesting things we have going on in our lives, all the things we are challenged by, looking forward to or geeking out on. I want body fat to go back to being a part of our bodies that protect and insulates us, not something that we need to feel ashamed about.

So it’s for all these reasons that I’ve gotten a little more quiet when it comes to congratulations and participation in normal diet and weight related stuff and I guess I’ve been feeling the need to explain myself (blogs are great for working through that!).

 

I Swear I’m not Trying to Be a Rude, Disinterested B*tch (and what I’m working on right now)

 

If you tell me about your weight loss success, your newest diet and the new size you are fitting into and I don’t say anything about it, please know I’m not trying to be rude, it’s just that I want you to know that your weight doesn’t matter to me. You matter to me. By saying “Congrats” I would be reinforcing the idea that weight loss is something worth congratulating and I no longer believe it is. It might be the right thing for you and I know there were too many times in my life when I felt it was the right thing for me. I don’t want to praise weight loss anymore. It is not the life-fixer we think it is and it’s not indicative of our health or value.

That’s all. That’s where I’m at. My response has nothing to do with my feeling about you or my desire to see you happy.

So just to share, here are a few things I’m personally working on as I continue to navigate this new (and somewhat lonely) place:

  • When giving compliments, I’m trying to come up with something that doesn’t have anything to do with weight loss or physical looks. This is harder than you think when all the compliments you’ve received or given your whole life have been in those categories!
  • Remembering to just say “Oh” or “How do you feel?” when people look for praise or feedback about their weight loss or diets. It’s not the response they are looking for but it’s one I can give without feeling like I’m encouraging a focus on weight.
  • Being forgiving to myself when I do fall back into old ways of responding and interacting because of a situation that is familiar (i.e. conversations about diets or weight loss). I’m human and it’s taken me this long to get here, it’s going to take a bit longer before I iron out these conditioned bumps!

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and trying to understand my perspective as it continues to change! I’m still coaching women whose goals are not weight loss. Instead it’s better health through lifestyle changes (that may or may not affect their weight ever) and focusing on taking radically good self care of ourselves. My coaching programs teach women how to step away from dieting, understand and manage emotional eating and treat their bodies with the respect it deserves (and weight loss doesn’t need to be a part of that).

How do you feel about this subject? Do you feel weight loss is something we should applaud in our society? Do you think a lower weight automatically means a healthier person? Are you fed up with diet and body talk and food fears in your own social circles? What do you think makes a person healthy? And do you believe that we can see if someone is healthy by what they look like?