For years I thought the way to lose weight was “eat less until I got skinny” then I could return to “normal.” Once I found the right program that told me exactly what to do…and then I got off my lazy ass and stopped stuffing my face…then I would lose weight and life would be rosie-posie forever.
I thought if I just measured, counted, weighed, checked off boxes, ate the right thing, and avoided all the “bad” stuff then I’d be skinny and I could then, and only then, continue on with life.
Someone always knew better than me. I was always searching for someone to tell me the answer. If you’re skinny, then you know how to do this…so show me, tell me exactly what to do!
When I began a serious overhaul of my health in 2010, I entered with a different mindset than I had before.
- It was gonna take awhile and I was okay with that.
- I was doing this whole lose weight thing just once more…however I did it was going to mean doing it in a way that I could carry on for more than a few months.
- I was going to figure out the way to eat pizza, cheese, cookies, and ice cream and still be thin and healthy–I had seen other women do it, so I knew it was possible.
Now, on the other side of my weight loss journey, I’ve got hindsight to help me understand what I did different. What did I do THIS TIME that brought me success unlike all the other attempts before?
There are of course many things combined, it certainly wasn’t any ONE thing. But there are some really important key differences and I’m going to talk about two of them:
FOCUS – what do you put your energy on and what are you thinking about
CUSTOMIZATION – there is one you and how you do health should be unique to you
Let’s talk FOCUS first…
I can’t begin to gauge the amount of time I’ve spent in my life worrying about…being focused on…food, the “counting” of it, and how it affected my numbers. From childhood, my mind was consumed with things like:
- what am I going to eat
- when is meal time
- how many calories/points is this
- I shouldn’t be eating this…it’s not on program
- can I eat this…I don’t know how to count it
- ugh…weigh in day…I’ll probably gain, I’m so embarrassed
- ugh…weigh in day tomorrow…maybe if I don’t eat anything today I’ll show a loss
- I bet skinny people don’t eat this
- I’m so fat, I might as well go ahead and eat all of this
- how much I weighed and my clothing size..how “big” I was
- what should I order…I don’t want to eat more than anyone else
All the programs I tried over the years kept the concept of “counting” food AND the effect of my personal numbers (weight, body circumference, and clothing size) front and center.
The programs had me weighing and measuring and counting my food in some manner. They had me weighing and measuring myself to indicate whether I was doing good or bad. They kept me focused on portioning or counting food in some manner and pounds lost. There was no education or reflection or learning or improvement basis. There was only numbers. My FOCUS was on counting, not on myself and learning!!
What I began in 2010 was different…and most of it was purely by accident…which I’m so grateful for! For whatever reason I began paying attention to how my body was feeling. I was looking for improvements, especially during my workouts, all the time. Yes, at this point, I was still doing some journaling and personal number keeping (weight, body circumference, and clothing size)….but that wasn’t ALL I was doing. Those things were a piece of all the things I was FOCUSING on.
I was focused on:
- how much better I felt with regular exercise
- how my body didn’t hurt and ache after sitting and when I woke up in the morning
- how my ankles didn’t hurt after walking
- how I was getting stronger and faster and more endurance during my workouts
- how I was talking to myself
- eating better, not just calorie counting
- learning to cook healthier and eat more meals at home
- changing one thing at a time until it was my habit
- figuring out my emotional eating triggers
So the saying goes… “Where your focus goes, your energy flows.”
How about this instead?
Focus on your body and how food affects it. Rather than placing foods in a category of: allowed/not allowed, good/bad, on plan/off plan, clean/”dirty” or any other crap, let’s just eat food and monitor how it effects the body. Rather than just weighing ourselves and remaining focused on your clothing size, lets take notice of what our body is doing and how it’s doing those things better and better.
The focus shifts, right?
- The focus becomes YOU.
- The focus becomes how food helps or hinders versus an emotional response.
- The focus becomes how your body is stronger, more flexible, moves with ease not pain versus less weight and smaller size
- The focus becomes a learning exercise versus a counting exercise.
What you do during weight loss/health change mode is a precursor to what you’ll do for the rest of your life.
Will you be counting calories/points forever? Do you want to? Will you weigh yourself every day forever…and do you want to?
On the flip side, can you envision yourself learning how food makes you feel…and then continuing on with those habits and insights for life? Can you learn to focus on the changes and improvements within your body versus the mass you take up? Does that focus feel like something that can be kept up for the rest of your life?
I’ve reached a point where I no longer want to account for every calorie or bite of food. Nor do I want to feel guilt because I truly love cookies. I’ve reached a point where I want my body well and strong for the business of life, not for what size pants it fits into.
My focus isn’t on counting and numbers anymore…in fact, it hasn’t been for quite some time. I feel so much less stress and pressure about food and movement this way. My thoughts aren’t consumed daily with what to put in my mouth and what it means. My mood isn’t dictated by the scale.
Losing weight and changing health can be done in a way that sticks!
Where your focus goes, energy flows…want long term change, then focus internally on YOU…it will make a monumental difference!
Hone Your Healthy Habits (H3) – Healthy Lifestyle Coaching program opened today for enrollment.
This 12 week program, beginning September 5, is about looking inward and discovering yourself and WWFY (What Works For You). It’s about shifting FOCUS and making changes that sustain because they are suited to you and your life!
To find out more about H3 and get yourself signed up, go here.