The better questions is, what do I need to stop doing.
You wake up tired, and hop in the shower. The water hits your skin and feels so good, but you reject the pleasure immediately. You wash up as quickly as possible. It’s as if the more quickly you wash, the less you have to face the feelings of shame as you pick apart your flaws.
You pinch and tug at the areas you wish were smaller, better. Your body is embarrassing, it doesn’t deserve to enjoy the feeling of an enjoyable shower. Maybe once you lose 10 pounds.
You hop out of the shower, dry off, and avoid the mirrors as you rush to get dressed. Your heart rate goes up as you know that this morning is going to be a battle. It’s one you’re familiar with. You’re bloated from last nights binge.
As you scan your closet for something that you won’t have to pull and tug on all day, it’s shots fired. Thoughts race through your head.
“I was so good on Monday, why can’t I get this together? I suck.
Why do I let my boss get to me? She always does this!
I’m so stupid. I know this food is bad. Why do I even keep it in the house?
I hope no one noticed when I went back for more. Are they judging me? They should be, I deserve it.
I really should give up and just buy bigger clothes. Even if I do lose weight, it always comes back.
I’ll never enjoy my vacation now. Everyone will look at me in disgust. You can just forget going to the reunion this year too. Absolutely not. Ugh!”
As you perform the same song and dance you are used to, you decide that this shit… just isn’t worth it. You’re destined to be miserable. Might as well eat whatever you want.
Throughout the day, you pick and eat. You snack, and indulge. You feel your stomach fill up, but that doesn’t stop you. Not because you don’t know better, but because you feel like crap, and food seems like the only thing that makes that feeling go away. It’s a tasty distraction. It’s what you need right now.
Sure, the voice in your head is still talking about how you should just put the food down, and walk away… But you can barely hear it over the rush of dopamine flooding your system. It no longer feels like a choice.
This might go on for a day or two, a week or two, months, years. Eventually though, you get that determination again. You know that you’re not happy with your choices, and you’re ready to try again. You throw the dice and start on Monday.
This is the life of a yo-yo dieter, an emotional eater, a binge eater. It sucks.
“OK, so what do I need to stop doing to lose weight?”
I’ll give you three things.
1 You need to stop believing your thoughts. When you you make a crappy decision, and your thoughts let you know how terrible you are for it, give those thoughts the finger. Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true.
It isn’t one binge that ruins your weight loss. It isn’t one episode of overeating that smashes your success. It’s letting your old thoughts weigh in on a new behavior.
There isn’t a diet in the world that will change your thoughts. It’s a practice. It’s all on you to do that. The good news, is that while you will mess up, you don’t have to quit. It isn’t over because you ate a box of cookies. You can still move forward with a ton of compassion and curiosity.
So what if you wake up bloated? So what if you actually gained weight? The alternative is quitting. As attractive as that is in the moment, it is why you haven’t figured this out yet.
2 Stop trying to make your emotions go away. Instead of letting yourself feel uncomfortable and experience the frustration of your boss, the anxiety of your dirty house, the lack of connection in your marriage, you shove the emotions down with food.
When humans are motivated to eat, it is due to hunger or comfort. If you aren’t hungry when you eat, you gain weight, period. Food is an excellent source of comfort, but it isn’t a problem solver. You still have a crappy boss, a dirty house, and a dull marriage at the bottom of that bag of chips. Avoiding negative emotion not only causes weight gain, but it stops you from living the life you deserve. You accept the crappy things because you soften the sharp edges with food.
3 Stop trying new diets. You have been sold a lie that a diet is your key to happiness, success, sexiness, beauty, acceptance, belonging. It isn’t. Diets are one of the main reasons you are always struggling to fit into your jeans, as counterintuitive as that may seem.
Every time someone in the office loses 20 pounds on the latest diet, you jump head-first into a pile of shit disguised as health advice. You forget that you love to bake pies on Thanksgiving, and you stock your fridge with alllll the keto things.
You forget that the sweet bakery down the street is where your husband proposed to you, and you swear off sugar for life. Anniversary tradition be damned!
All the rules seem like a small price to pay for that tight little mid section. Yet in 6 months, keto Julie from downstairs gained her 20 pounds back and packed on 5 more for good measure. So did you. You are no better off and it cost you (and your loved one’s) this years special memories.
You’re list of “bad” foods is growing, and so is your waistline. How’s that working for you?
Let me tell you a secret, there’s no such thing as a good diet to go on. The best way to eat is the one that honors and aligns with your culture, values, and body. Losing weight is about calories sure, but it is also about who you are as an eater. Discipline will never be enough.
So what do you need to do to lose weight?
You need to lose your story, your shame, and your search for the next best thing.
You need to lose your perfection mindset, your black or white thinking, your self-punishment.
You need to lose unrealistic expectations, restriction, and the victim mentality.
You are the problem, but you are also the solution. It isn’t easy, but it’s permanent. Choose permanent.
Ready to stop starting over on Monday? Download your free Ready for Change Workbook and start making changes today.