How I Finally Stopped Dieting

Last night my sister said to me, “Hey, you know what’s great? This week I got to a place where I’m not stressed out anymore about breastfeeding. I don’t feel compelled to nurse 100% of the time and I no longer have guilt or stress about it. I wish I could figure out what got me to this point so I can be ready for the next time something overwhelms me.”

no more diets; no more calorie counting; a new way to lose weight; no more overeating; no more stress eating

She got me thinking and I realized that’s exactly how I feel about my weight loss journey. I am 100% no longer worried or stressed about getting to my goal weight. I’m not setting weight loss goals for myself or weighing myself constantly to monitor change.  I’m not tracking my food intake or my daily calories burned.  I’m not planning my meals based on my total calorie goal for the day. I stopped all of it. I haven’t even looked at my weight on a scale in 2 years! That’s also how long it’s been since I’ve put myself on a calorie restricted diet.
What happened? Did I stop caring?
I still care but I just care about different things.

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Your Weight is NOT Your Identity

So often we attach our self worth to how we look and what size we are.  We can often do this for so long that we forget who we are apart from our bodies.  We begin to think that our identity is tied to that number on the scale.
My sister recently told me about a conversation she was having with her husband.  She told him
she didn’t know her role in the family if she wasn’t the skinny one because all her life up until now she had been the skinny one. So now who was she?

I liked his answer. He said “you can be more than one thing”.

I had a different answer.

I said, “you’re the same person you’ve always been in the family.  You’re the kindest of us, the most caring, the most artistic, and the most creative. Being skinny or fat doesn’t change that”.
Whether you were skinny when you were younger and now you’ve gained weight in recent years as an adult or maybe it’s the other way around and you were the fat girl growing up and now you’re slimming down, regardless, your weight does not define who you are.

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Stop Emotional Eating by Learning from Your Childhood

Can you remember the first time you used food to Feed Your Feelings?

Information is power.  We need to understand when the habit of using food  to feed our feelings first started. We need to understand why the habit started in order to break it.

On the tv drama, This is Us, Chrissy Metz’s character, Kate, reminisces about her childhood a lot. In one scene, the family is on vacation and Kate’s mother points out that all of Kate’s favorite moments during their trip revolved around food.

stop emotional eating

This  got me to thinking about my own childhood. I was trying to remember at what point I started turning to food for my main  source of fun. I think it started when I hit puberty and started getting curves. Suddenly the major topic of conversation in my house was whether or not my clothing choices were “appropriate”. Modesty was  a huge topic in my house and it became increasingly difficult to please my parents in this area with my ever changing, ever expanding body.  So I started avoiding activities to reduce the number of conversations I had to have about what I was wearing. I didn’t want to worry about what to wear so I just stopped doing things like going to parties. But opting out of social engagements presented a new problem. Once I started eliminating activities because I was fat, I slowly had nothing in my life to turn to for relief from the hard stuff. I had no way to reward myself when I aced a test. When I got a bad grade or had a fight with someone, I didn’t have anything fun to do to take my mind off of it or put me in a better mood. So, I ate.

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The Secret to Making Exercise A Daily Habit

The secret to making exercise a daily habit is to incorporate more fun activities into your daily routine.

When I first joined the program, Live More Weigh Less (LMWL), one of the first things that was brought to my attention was that I had forgotten how to have funAll my “Fun” revolved around eating.  Outside of food, I had forgotten how to celebrate life in other ways. All of my workouts were punishing and brutal and felt like “work” as I thought they should.  I never moved my body in ways that were just for fun. I would get up and do a “workout” but then outside of that I’d be pretty sedentary the rest of the day. Ironically, I now realize if I had just incorporated more fun activities into my days then I might not have needed the grueling workouts at all. Putting more fun into our lives can be an easy way to sneak in exercise without even realizing it.
Because my workouts were punishing and my life was dull, I would overeat because food was my only source of entertainment and joy.  I used food to take up the space of the fun that I wasn’t having.
As I worked through the LMWL program I sought out more fun and I worked hard to come up with ideas for ways that I could have fun. But I soon realized that there were 2 main issues keeping overweight people like myself  from having more fun and they had nothing to do with our lack of creativity.
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The first issue is that we,  as overweight people, tend to have limiting beliefs about what we can and cannot do in our plus size bodies. We tell ourselves that we can’t do this or that activity because we’re fat. No matter how large you are, there is always a way to figure out how to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine.  Sure there may be a few physical activities that would be harder for you to do depending on how much extra weight you’re carrying around. But in my experience the activities people avoid when they are fat usually have very little to do with physical capability and everything to do with not wanting to draw attention to themselves. Examples: swimming, dancing, anything that requires getting dressed up or wearing shorts, etc. You get the picture. You’re not afraid of not being physically  able to do something. You’re afraid of how you think you’ll look doing it and how uncomfortable that attention might make you feel. I say, get over yourself. No one is focused on you that hard. They are way too busy obsessing about themselves.
The second issue that keeps us from having fun is that as adults, fat or skinny,  overtime we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that grown-ups are only allowed to have a certain type of fun and a limited amount at that. This belief manifests in many different excuses. I’ve listed the most common ones I’ve heard below and I offer some rebuttals to help you claim back your fun.

Top 10 limiting beliefs that are keeping you from having more fun and losing weight in the process:

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I Have A Dream (A Weight Loss Dream)

Today as we sit and think about the wonderful dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. that we would all get along and celebrate each other’s differences instead of persecuting each other for them, I am left with a thought about my own dreams for each of us in regards to our weight loss journeys and our health.

My (Weight-Loss) Dream:

I have a dream that one day we will no longer judge each other for how much weight we carry around.  We will no longer stereotype an overweight person as lazy or lacking self-control.  We won’t idolize people simply because they are a size 2 and nothing more.

I have a dream that one day modeling will be a profession for women of all sizes, shapes and colors because the fashion industry will truly be selling to everyone and celebrating everyone no matter what size jeans they wear.

I dream of day when we speak of programs like Weight Watchers as a thing of the past, a thing our ancestors used to participate in and people will say,  “oh, isn’t that a funny thing to think about – paying someone to make you stand in line and weigh yourself and count points for every morsel of food you put into your mouth.”

I dream of a day when scales are these antique artifacts left in our grandparents’ attics to discover and marvel at because we no longer use our weight as a measure of our self-worth. Continue reading

Will 2018 Be the Year that You Finally Lose the Weight?

Is this your year? Are you finally going to lose all the weight this year?  And more importantly, will you keep it off? What’s it gonna take to make 2018 the year?
I don’t know if it’s your year or not but I plan on making sure that I do everything in my power to help you and support you in this goal.  One thing I know for sure, we won’t get there by dieting.
No new diets in 2018.  You hear me?  NO. NEW.  DIETS.
no new diets in 2018; 2018 is your year to finally lose weight
Instead, we need to focus on our WHY.  We’ve got to get way more specific about WHY we want to lose weight.  What do we think we will gain by losing?  How will our lives be different?  Let’s make that list together.  And then………….go after those things.  No more waiting on the weight.  Let’s go.  Right now.  Let’s make the changes in the other parts of our lives that we want to see, right now.
If we do that.  If we REALLY focus on that, I know that we’ll also see that weight come right off as a result.
What you focus on expands.  IF you obsess about your weight, you will gain weight.  But if you obsess about getting the life of your dreams, then you will get a pretty fantastic life.
Does this mean I’m not gonna talk about food ever again?  No. Of course not.  Because for me, eating great food is part of living a fantastic life.  But that’s just it.  “Great Food”.  What is that?  It’s not junk food.  It’s not food that makes me sick.  It’s not food that slows me down and makes me want to sleep and watch tv all day.  No.  It’s nutrient dense, super flavorful, REAL food.  Whole Food.  So that’s what we’ll talk about.  we’ll talk about nutrition in it’s simplest form – how to get it, how to eat it, how to afford it, etc.
I have two goals for this blog and its readers in 2018.  The 1st is to focus on Simplicity. 

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The Simplest Thing You Can Do To Lose Weight in 2018 All Year Long

The one thing you can do right now to help you start losing weight fast is to find one thing that makes you feel good about the way you look that also has nothing to do with the number on the scale.  For me that one thing was rolling my hair at night.
For years my mother has been trying to get me to do this but I just blew her off  because it seemed like it would just be one more thing I had to add to my to-do list.  But this past summer, I finally took her advice and started rolling my hair at night.  4 months later its the single best thing I’ve done for my weight all year.
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For years my mother insisted that if I just rolled my hair at night it  would give me a nice curl in the morning. At that time in my life I was spending a lot of time overexercising so my main hairstyle was a quick ponytail. It was very boring,  understated and plain.
Subconsciously what was really going on was that I was telling myself, “you are too fat to walk around with your hair looking special. What’s the point anyway? All people will see is how big you are. You’ll seem silly trying to keep your hair nice when everything else looks so bad so don’t bother.”
 
So what’s changed?
Why did I finally  decide to listen to my mom and try rolling my hair? It certainly wasn’t because I had lost weight. In fact I had a baby in March so I was even bigger!
Two years ago I changed the way I approached my weight loss journey. I made a deliberate effort to look as good as I possibly could at the current weight I was. No more waiting on the weight.
 
As a result something incredible happened.

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I’m Gonna Love You Like I’m Gonna Lose You

Could Decluttering Help You Lose Weight?

About a month ago, I had a very unfortunate argument with a woman on my staff.  She was upset because I had taken a box of empty binders from her office to our supply room in an attempt to slowly help declutter her workspace.  She said she was saving the box of binders for a large report. I didn’t see the big deal because she could simply get the binders back from the supply room when she needed them. “How would you feel if someone came into YOUR office when you weren’t there and threw stuff out?” she asked me. I apologized and agreed that I had overstepped.
In my defense I didn’t just wake up and decide to go clean someone else’s office. We had been discussing for months me helping her to declutter and clean up. She got very upset and she asked me ultimately why it bothered me so much when it wasn’t my work space. I told her it looked unprofessional and that it affected her productivity.  But was that really my issue?
Later I pondered her question.
Why did other people’s clutter make me so crazy? Why did it bother me so much?
decluttering equals less stuff equals less stress equals less stress eating
Deep down, I feel like her clutter is contagious and if I don’ t get rid of it then I am silently saying it’s okay,  it’s acceptable. And if I’m saying it’s acceptable then I could “catch it”. My office could slowly end up looking like hers over time.

Over the past two years I’ve been noticing a correlation between my stuff and my weight.  Over time I’ve also noticed the same correlation between other overweight people and their stuff.

We tend to hold onto extra stuff for no real reason. We say things like, “I might need it one day” or “what if I run out” or “what if someone asks me for a copy of that”.

Our clutter is another way of holding on.It provides a false sense of security, just like our weight. Subconsciously we sabotage our diets. We overeat when we’re not hungry. On some deeper level we want to keep the weight on because it gives us this false sense of security and safety, much like a security blanket for a child.

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10 Do’s and Don’t To Help Change Your Relationship with Food

The difficult part of having a food addiction is that it is not an addiction you can quit cold turkey. You must always have food in your life and this presents the challenge:

How do we focus on food in a healthy way that serves us as opposed to focusing on food in a way that leads us astray and back to our addictive ways?

In my daily practices I have come up with five distinct mindsets you should have and 5 that you shouldn’t have that will help to change your relationship with food.

The wrong way to focus on food:

  1. Don’t focus on food as a way to have fun.  When it’s time for you to think about something fun, you should not immediately go to food. As my LMWL coach, Sarah Jenks, says, “your life should be more interesting than your food”
  2. Don’t focus on food based on its calorie content. You should not make your eating decisions based on how many calories are in the meal. Ignoring your taste buds and your cravings will only make you rebel later in unhealthy ways
  3. Don’t focus on the next meal.  So many times my obsession with food has left me unable to enjoy the meal I’m eating at the moment because I’m so focused on what’s next. Always what’s next, never what’s right in front of me right now.
  4. Don’t focus on the last mistake you made. You can not fix your last mistake   by skipping a meal or ignoring what you really want and eating well below the caloric amount you know you need.  The best thing you can do when you feel you’ve made a mistake with your eating or your exercise is simply to move on.  Make better choices the very next opportunity you get but DO NOT try to make up for what has already transpired.  Let it go. Trying to make up for it will leave you wanting more which will lead to sabotaging and “messing up” AGAIN and then you’re back to the same vicious cycle.
  5. Don’t focus on delayed gratification.  So often I’ve skipped something I wanted in that moment because I was saving my calories for something else later. Unless that something later is truly unique or you only get it in a certain town or during the holiday, don’t save it. Have what you want now.  No delays.  If you delay you’ll probably eat more of the later food to compensate for what you missed out on earlier. If you watch what you want in the moment and you still want that other thing later, have it. I’ll bet you’ll end up eating a smaller portion and it’ll all shake out in the end . Or better yet, you’ll find it wasn’t all that important to you in the first to place and you let your imagination make it into something it wasn’t.

 

The Right way to focus on food:

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4 Things My Newborn Baby Taught Me About My Relationship with Food

I had my 1st child back in March. In the first 4 months of his life I struggled with getting him to breastfeed.  Because of this struggle I spent a lot of that time focused on his eating patterns. I watched when he ate, how much he ate,  and the way he acted when he ate. During these observations I learned a lot about the way our relationship with food initially begins before it all goes wrong. Here are 4 lessons my newborn son taught me about my relationship with food:
4 things my baby taught me about my relationship with food

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10 Fun and Easy Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day without Ruining Your Diet

It is a cruel joke that Valentine’s Day comes only 6 weeks after everyone has made their New Year’s resolution to lose weight.  Enter the candy parade.  Valentine’s Day is about telling people you love and care about them. Contrary to popular belief there are many ways to do that without chocolate or candy.
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Here are 10 fun and new ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that encourage a healthy relationship with food and allow you to celebrate without ruining your diet:

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