When I used to obsess about everything I ate, I lost weight. But not for long.
The process always started the same. I would put all my attention on a new way of controlling food by counting calories, or points, or fat grams. You name it and I’m sure I’ve tried it.
When I would drop a few pounds, I would get excited and think that, this time, I was on the right track. I would promise myself I was not going to screw it up.
Then it happened.
Like it always did. I hit my goal weight. The number on the scale was what I had been working toward all these weeks of counting and measuring. You’d think I would have been pumped! But, it was just the opposite…
I was totally freaked out that I could fall off “track” at any moment. And I would every time. I always put the weight back on and then some.
I thought that there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t I stick to eating what I knew I “should” be eating? The reality was that I pushing and shoving myself to my goal weight. The pounds I lost were forced off. It was not a sustainable way of eating, living, or being – which is exactly why I would gain back the weight so quickly.
What I didn’t know was that there actually was a way for me to lose weight, keep it off, and not have to fight with food to get there.
This is natural weight loss.
If you’ve come to believe that there is something wrong with you like I did – because you keep losing weight and then putting it back on, I want you to know this.
The way we have been taught to lose weight is by dieting (in every iteration from counting calories to “watching what you eat”); it is an overly simplified view that reduces eating food to, “Calories in, calories out.” Dieting gives no consideration to the social, emotional, mental, and even physical factors involved in your experience with food.
In other words, you can lose weight by restricting food any which way you want. HOWEVER, if you want to sustain weight loss, you need to think about your relationship with food. I’m talking about your unique body’s experience with food and your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that go along with it.
Like any relationship you have, whether it be with food or a friend, partner, or family member, you need to do your part to keep it healthy. Relationships need love, attention, and honesty in order to flourish. Honesty, of course, is a big part of this – you need to be honest with yourself when a relationship gets toxic. That way, you can heal it.
How to get there
Here are my top 4 food-relationship-healing tips to shift from forced (temporary, yo-yo-ing) weight loss to natural (sustainable) weight loss.
- Get rid of your scale. To this day, when I go to the doctor, I turn my back when the nurse is weighing me and tell her if there are any concerns about my weight in connection with my health, I’m happy to talk about it. Other than that, I’m not interested. I don’t care what you weigh, I have never known anyone to feel good or empowered to change their eating, or anything else, after stepping on a scale.
- Instead of putting foods in a “good” or “bad” category, explore foods through the lens of connecting what makes you and your body feel vibrant. It’s helpful to learn about nutrient density rather than focus on calories or points.
- Just as important as having a good relationship with nutrient dense food, work on your relationship with chocolate, cake, pizza, and fries. If there are foods that you love but tell yourself they’re “off limits,” experiment with eating them rather than restricting them. These are the foods that you end up overeating in the long run because you have mentally labeled them as “forbidden fruit”. Make a point to slow down. Give yourself permission to eat these foods with your full attention, on a plate, sitting at a table.
- Know that nourishing your body comes from sources other than food. If you feel stuck in your job, social life, or relationship, you will eat things to fill those holes. Also, you could be eating all the “right” foods but your metabolism doesn’t work efficiently when your mood is low or stress level is high. When you feel “stuck,” it is also likely that you aren’t taking the time to do things you love – so reconnect with those hobbies you used to hold so dear!
Nurturing your relationship with food, your body, and yourself offers your body access to natural, sustainable weight loss. You don’t have to obsess to weight less.