Is your approach to weight loss actually creating the perfect conditions for weight gain?
You’ve just finished a weekend bender of too much wine and heavy starchy foods and too little exercise. You’re feeling fed up with your food rut and ready to feel lighter, brighter, and more energized. Your pants feel a little too tight for comfort. and in a moment of disgust you resolve that you’ll finally kick this overeating habit, finally stick to the foods you know make you feel sexy and full of energy, and finally follow that workout schedule. You’ve created your intention. You’ve determined the rules. Identified the guidelines and you’re flying high.
And then. . . you wake up. The excitement from the night before has disappeared and a familiar feeling of dread and anxiety has taken its place.
This is dieting consciousness.
Dieting consciousness is marked by a feeling of restriction, contraction and deprivation. It’s characterized by punishing exercise and food rules, an initiated from a place of not feeling enough, not feeling worthy, not feeling whole.
And from this place of rules, rigidity and restriction, our spirit shrinks, our aliveness is diminished, and our hearts become heavy with the idea that we just need to lose the weight before we can start living the life we crave, before we can be loved, before we can fulfill our dreams and desires.
There are so many problems with this approach to weight loss, but let’s start with the biggie: it doesn’t work.
Strategies that are inherently stressful and initiated from a place of body and self attack catalyze stress physiology which leads to a cascade of events that leads to increased insulin, increased cortisol, decreased fat burning, and decreased ability to build muscle. This all equates to non-caloric weight gain. It’s as simple as low-level stress physiology = stubborn and persistent weight gain (no matter how many calories you cut or how much you exercise).
What’s more is that we can not create the life we yearn for inside of a contracted state. As we start to over-analyze and overthink everything, we cut ourselves off from our own body’s wisdom. True transformation always takes place within an experience of relaxation, expansion, and trust.
So what does work for sustainable, pleasurable weight loss?
Intuitively nourishing the body with high quality, seasonal, fresh whole foods in their most natural state. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re satisfied, and let your body wisdom guide your food choices. Ask yourself, “What am I hungry for?” “What would be most satisfying to me?”
Practice relaxing into the flow of life, slowing down, and coming back to the breath. With time you’ll notice that this time simple tweak alone will transform your digestion, weight, and vitality.
Get into your body. Buy clothing that makes you feel sexy. Take time for baths, massages, facials, sauna sessions, or anything else that you crave. Move your body in enjoyable ways. Play some music. Take long walks in nature.
Honor your compulsions (to overeat, overspend, bite your nails, do-do-do, drink or check out with social media or web surfing) as a gift. Let them be your guide in coming back home to yourself, and shining the light on whatever needs your loving attention.
Start living the life you desire NOW. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not after you lose those last 5 pounds.
Turn your attention towards the places where the real action is. Do the work to reclaim your wholeness, attune to your needs, feelings, and desires, and show up authentically and fully expressed in every area of your life.
As you become who you’re supposed to be, your body will become what it’s supposed to be.