Whenever I’m talking to women who are trying to lose weight, it seems that they tend to focus on the wrong things.
The wrong things are those things that will rarely help you achieve sustainable weight loss.
Another way of thinking about it is in focusing on the wrong things, you’re putting effort and energy into activities that don’t solve for emotional eating and over desire, at the minimum,or don’t even begin to address those factors.
We often just don’t understand what the weight loss struggles are really about. No matter how long you’ve been trying to lose weight or how many plans or programs you’ve tried. Or how many books you’ve read. Even if you have gained some level of increased understanding and appreciation of current metabolic science research findings.
I can almost guarantee that you’ve spent too much time focused on two things that make weight loss harder than it needs to be: food details and exercise.
Let’s take a closer look at what I mean.
Client’s have lots of questions about food details.
There are lots of variations on this theme, but they revolve around questions like these:
- Can I eat this fruit?
- How often can I eat (fill in the blank)?
- What about a specific ingredient, like gluten?
- Should I stop eating (fill in the blank)?
- How many calories?
- How many ounces?
- What weight loss program works best?
It’s like they believe that if they could just get the specific answers to their nagging questions they could actually create the results they want without all the suffering.
I like to explain that there are other even more critical questions you must ask to make sustainable weight loss your reality.
You don’t have to worry about what types of exercise and frequency produce the best weight loss results.
Up until about 5 years ago, I experienced a subtle, low level anxiety that underpinned most days when it came to thinking about exercise.
I was always vaguely worried that I couldn’t lose weight because I had never established a regular exercise routine. That I hated to sweat but believed I had to integrate strength training and/or high intensity interval training (HIIT) into an exercise regimen to lose weight and keep it off. I had to build more muscle.
Then I would catch myself. (Cue the rueful laugh.) What regimen?
I had none!
My mind spiraled into the dark hole of questioning how could I ever lose weight if I didn’t exercise? How would I ever burn off all the excess calories I was consuming?
But guess what. I lost every pound without any exercise. Sometimes I walked. Regular walks through my neighborhood. And not even every day. Believe me, I didn’t lose weight from exercise. It’s just not a dependable or even necessary weight loss tool.
Of course, human bodies are meant to move for overall physical and mental health. There’s some way for you to move your body that you can enjoy it. Just experiment. Start with walking. Don’t waste your energy obsessing about the best form of exercise for weight loss.
The tyranny of the calories in/calories out model must be thrown into the dustbin of history.
Over decades I tried variations of calorie restriction, as well as low fat, low carb, food elimination diets and various other approaches to lose weight.
I bought the calories in/calories out model, the law of thermodynamics rationale, hook, line and sinker.
Even though Weight Watchers in the in the 1990s was all about counting points, I could see through the subterfuge. It was still about calories.
I thought too much food and not enough exercise was the problem. That’s why I can easily understand how you too want to get those questions about food choices and exercise answered.
I understand how you might think that there’s just something key that you don’t yet know yet. But that once you learn it, it’ll make the big changes you’re after so much easier. I know you’re ready and willing to do the “right thing”, if only you knew what it was.
I’m not saying food choices and moving your body don’t factor into weight loss, but it’s not about the calories in/calories out equation.
Please, send that old, worn-out sacred cow out to pasture for good!
Current research shows that weight loss is not about the calorie count and the calories burned. It’s about the hormonal signaling that food provides. You can never exercise your way out of poor quality food choices.
The great news is that you can stop calorie counting if you focus on whole foods.
But, and this is often the critical missing piece, you must learn how to manage your emotional life in tandem with eating whole foods.
And that, my friends, can be a lot more challenging when you’ve never known how.
Focusing on food and exercise provides a distraction from the emotional work you need to do.
Most of the time, our emotional life is not apparent to us. Even though we can understand that it’s happening on a subconscious level.
While it may be beneath your awareness, it still plays havoc with your weight loss experience if you can’t figure out what’s going on. You need to bring awareness to it. Once you learn how to bring it from that subconscious level to a conscious level. Now, that’s when you can begin the emotional work.
When we’re not aware of our emotions, it’s easier to stay in confusion and indecision. You dwell on thoughts like these:
- I just don’t know if I can/should eat this.
- Maybe it’s not okay to have that.
- I don’t know if I should be exercising like this or like that.
- I probably need to join a gym, hire a trainer.
When your brain becomes preoccupied and focused on thoughts like these, it’s easier to avoid what you deep down suspect will be a really uncomfortable and hard process. Maybe even a lot harder than losing weight.
Yet that’s the work that you need to do to stop emotional eating and overeating.
You need to figure out a way to reconnect with your body.
I teach that one food might be great for you but it could be terrible for another person. Well, how will you truly know what works for your body if you don’t reconnect with your body.
Without that connection, it’s hard to read all of the signals that it’s always sending.
Further more, we don’t know how to interpret them. Maybe wee don’t even realize those signals exist.
Perhaps you have some digestive difficulties. Maybe you feel extra tired. Maybe you feel sluggish and heavy. Maybe certain parts of your body ache or you’re in pain.
Well, you’re never going to know if the food you’re eating is causing or contributing to any it if you just try to write it off to menopause, aging or your broken metabolism.
Move beyond the confusion and indecision around food and exercise.
Just decide you’re going to any particular food and see what happens.
Make a decision and then see how your body responds.
That’s when you’ll be able to discover what thoughts and emotions bubble to the surface when you do or don’t eat certain foods or engage ones type of exercise or another.
Focus on your thoughts, your feelings and your actions.
When you’re spending your precious energy focused on the wrong things, it’s easier to avoid and disconnect from what you think and feel.
And it’s what you think and feel that are directly connected to your actions, your choices, even your inaction — what you don’t do.
Oh sure, you may know exactly what you’re doing when you’re eating a bag of chips in front of the TV at night, or having that second or third glass of wine after you told yourself one glass was enough. But what are you thinking and feeling before you do it?
This is the key to sustainable weight loss: You must develop your ability to recognize and become aware of those thoughts and feelings that are the precursors to those actions.
Start training yourself to recognize that when you think certain thoughts they generate certain feelings.
Those feelings then motivate you do certain things and not do others.
You have to build awareness around this chain reaction.
So don’t worry about whether or not you should eat that sweet potato. What is important is why you are even eating in the first place.
- What’s happening in your body, what signals do you detect?
- What are you thinking?
- What are you feeling?
Focus on whether you are actually experiencing physical hunger or something else.
If it’s not physical hunger, then let’s figure out what’s really going on.
If you could just recognize that your emotions drive your behavior, you would have more control and power to decide at any given moment what you want to do.
So if you’re fretting about whether to enroll in that yoga or Pilates class or hire a trainer, you’re focused on the wrong thing. If you’re focused on whether to eat apple or the pear, you’re focused on the wrong thing.
It’s so much more important that you focus on becoming aware of what you think . How you feel. How that relates to the what you do.
Focus on learning how to process your emotions instead of eating or drinking them.
I can teach you tools and strategies to process your emotions without fear. Then you can finally learn how to stop emotional eating and overeating.
Everybody needs to learn how to feel their actual emotions to be able to successfully manage their lives. Instead of avoiding them, pushing them away, or stuffing them down by eating or drinking, or any other “over-ing” activity that’s overdoing something.
Build the confidence and courage to feel your feelings.
I can understand how you might be afraid to allow what you’re really feeling to surface. That experience can feel unsafe and, for some of you, even terrifying. What you really need is someone to teach you how to do this with compassion and without judgement. This skill is teachable and learnable!
The more you build up your confidence and build those skills, the more you’re able to realize that your desire for food actually is under your conscious control. You are able to recognize that food and your emotions are two totally separate things. You never need to conflate them.
There’s your emotional life and then there’s eating food — mostly for nutrition plus for a little bit of entertainment on occasion.
It’s never too late to lose weight successfully and I can help you.
So focus on these three things to make weight loss easier:
- Build awareness around the thoughts and feelings that are driving your actions.
- Let your body guide your food and exercise choices, which means reconnecting with your body and actually recognizing the messages it’s sending.
- Allow and process your emotions instead of eating or drinking them.
Over focusing on food and exercise details are not the answer.
Eat a diet composed of whole foods while minimizing the consumption of processed foods. This one step alone can make a measurable difference in your cravings, hunger, food choices and your weight loss outcome.
Let me help you incorporate effective weight loss approaches in alignment with metabolic science and neuroscience into your daily routine so you can take control now. That’s how to make the weight loss you desire your reality!
Please take me up on my offer for your FREE Strategy Call so you can get started making positive changes today.
Making a few strategic shifts right now can be the first falling domino you need to make many more lasting changes.
Hey, my friend, it’s still totally possible to make 2022 your year to create the healthiest you. No matter your age, stage or past disappointments.
Jump start your fresh start. A year from now you will thank yourself because you reached out to me today.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. Let’s get going!
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