Wow. Last week’s video “#1 Way to Wreck Your Path” was one of the most watched and engaged videos yet.
Spoiler alert: it’s believing the Big Lie that there is only one right way to health and that you must conform to it.
One listener commented: “So true about finding our own path...how often do we try to fit someone's diet book into molding our way of eating only to find it doesn't work? Then we think we are the failure. No, we only learned that way isn't for us.”
As I’ve discussed how to find your own path, some questions came up. You may have had these, too. So I’m answering them in this video.
How do I lose weight without reinforcing the diet mentality or exercising hours a day?
This is such an important question, because if you lose weight using the diet mentality you know from experience the weight will return and you will be even more trapped in an unhealthy relationship with food. And if you lose weight by exercising hours a day, you set yourself up for injury and you don’t have a life outside of exercise - so it is not sustainable.
First, ask yourself your reasons for wanting to lose the weight in the first place. Is it to please someone or avoid criticism? Is to decrease your risk of diseases you don’t want? Is it, like a client of mine, to set a healthy example for her young son? Once you know and like your reasons, then you have the motivation to do the sometimes uncomfortable process of Intuitive Eating and Mindful Movement.
To lose weight without a diet mentality means learning and practicing in depth the steps of Intuitive Eating. Eating only when you are physically hungry, finding solutions to meet your emotional and social hungers without food. Learning your triggers and cues for real hunger. Eating, with unconditional permission, exactly what you want - and knowing what you want is more than just the whim of your tastebuds but also how you want to feel and honoring your body. Savoring your meals without distraction. Research shows us we eat 10% more when we eat distracted - that’s enough to stall weight loss. And then stopping when you are satisfied, and learning what satisfaction feels like.
Exercise has been shown to not only decrease risk of diseases, but it aids in weight loss. But think in terms of accumulating movement throughout the day. Your appetite will adjust to your activity. Be sure to add in strength training to increase your muscle and metabolism.
What makes up a healthy breakfast?
My first thought on this is asking you to define healthy for yourself, especially if your doctor has you following something specific. What makes you feel energetic and gives you a sharp mind for several hours? A great place to start is the Powerful Plate, with equal parts protein and complex carbohydrate, like old fashioned oatmeal, with a bit of healthy fat thrown in. Then listen to your body and adjust from there.
Help. I struggle with fast food.
This is so common; don’t feel bad. Dig in a little and discover what is causing the struggle. Is it a chaotic lifestyle that you need to prepare food ahead so you have options? Is it that you have trained your tastebuds to crave the salt? If so, perhaps experiment with smaller portions while adding fresh vegetables along side to begin re-training your taste.
Is it that you somehow feel fast food is “bad” in a moral sense? When someone says “I struggle with ___ sin,” that is a moral behavior. But fast food is not inherently sinful. So when you put rules around something that doesn’t naturally come with rules, your sense of autonomy begins to crave the forbidden.
If you take the rules away and say “I can have fast food anytime I truly desire it” often it loses its power. Next time you crave it, ask yourself why you desire it and how much you desire it and if you can wait another 30 minutes before having fast food instead of something else. See what you learn about yourself and the desires.
And when you do choose, out of reasons you like, to have fast food, put it on a china plate and savor it without distraction. You may experience it differently.
How can I deal with the low carb, low fat, no salt, no sugar way of eating?
I hear your frustration. This question highlights the craziness of the diet industry. Sometimes for health reasons a doctor may recommend low salt or low sugar, but when someone tries to combine all of the diet industry advice, without a medical reason, it becomes a big mess. It is classic of when all of the lies in the Big Lie (only one way) collide.
All you are left with is lettuce and water - and even that is controversial now as to what kind of water.
The first way to deal with it is to question what you’ve been believing. What is your personal reason for preferring these descriptions? Do you feel better with a certain amount or type of carbohydrate? Do you have more or less energy on low fat? Why are you avoiding adding salt or sugar? If your only reason is its what you’ve been told, it is time to look at Intuitive Eating, which I talked about earlier.
I’ve tried everything and failed. Even if I find something that works, how do I stick with it?
This question is powerful. There are five essential pieces to this puzzle. First is building your belief that you can. Look back over other life changes you have made and see what strengths you have. Then apply those strengths here.
Also, think of all of the reasons you want to make this change, and make sure those reasons are yours. That you own them and are not adopting someone else’s reason. Then think of all of the barriers stopping you. Time? Fear? Boredom? Whatever they are, go through them until you have answers to overcome.
Whatever you are doing, also make it fun. Fun for you. If you enjoy nature, include that. If you don’t enjoy nature but like high-energy environments, set yourself up with that.
And get the support you need. Remember the game show with “phone a friend” - do that. Whether someone walks with you or cooks with you or coaches you, you need support.
But do not wait until you have these five pieces in place to start. Start and work through these as you go.