So… I have a lovely client who I am coaching to lose weight. I have developed a process for her and in about 6 weeks we will share the big reveal on Facebook. The last time I saw her, she said in passing “It has clicked…I know what I have to do” those innocent words were the words I had been waiting to hear. My client’s weight has been an issue all of her adult life. It wasn’t for the lack of trying either. She knows the calorie content of a walnut…she has joined every slimming group out here…she has tried every diet known to mankind. Apart from the time when she almost starved herself to death she hasn’t been able to shift the weight. If I were to write a book on weight it would consist of one page and four words. EAT LESS…MOVE MORE. But for most people who wish to lose weight it isn’t that simple, it is a struggle and a battle of willpower. What my client was referring to when she said that ‘it had clicked’ is that after all these years of failure she had finally got her mind in gear. Losing weight has nothing to do with counting calories and everything to do with your mind set. You cannot force your body to go where your mind will not take you.
Being overweight and obesity is now at epidemic proportions according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Every country on the planet apart from Japan and those in crisis have a weight problem. In the USA it is estimated that nearly half of the populations struggle with their weight. This mean that nearly half of the population need or will need medical attention at some point for weigh associated ailments and diseases. It also means that half the population are not living but barely existing.
My psycho-therapist teacher once said that the answer to a food addiction lies ‘behind’ the addiction. In her view anyone who is more than 14lb over weight and who is not pregnant or ill doesn’t have a food problem. They have a life problem disguised as a food problem. It is not so much what they are eating it is more a case of what is eating them. Once you find and solve the life problem …the weight has no place to hide and will drop from the person like a discarded garment.
The reasons why people don’t lose weight
When you say to yourself “I have to lose weight and get fit”. What comes to mind? Nothing positive I’ll wager. But to a therapist it is the key…
Negative attitude. When people approach losing weight with the idea that the process involves …abstinence… deprivation…willpower… suffering and misery then it is doomed from the start. Every day is an uphill battle of being good or bad, counting calories and avoiding functions where there may be food…which is more or less everywhere. Eventually food will win.
Food is the enemy. When people see their weight as a problem they are less likely to lose weight because they think the problem can be solved. They think that the answer lies in a book, in a fad, in a pill or even in surgery. They think that the reason they are not at their ideal weight is because they haven’t found the solution that will work for them …yet.
Food as the saviour. Why people do not lose weight is because they think that losing weight is going to be the answer to their prayers. They observe thin people and imaging that they are having a wonderful life. They fantasise that if they lose weight the love of their life will show up or they may land the dream job. Simple enough, but at the back of their mind they know this isn’t going to happen and they are afraid to put their theory to the test because if it doesn’t happen …then what?
Low self- esteem. Some people do not lose weight because their low self-esteem will not allow them to. Deep down these people do not believe that they deserve to be happy. They see the weight as a curse that thy have to bare for being a bad person. On the surface they try to make out that they are happy. They make jokes against themselves but deep down they’re miserable.
Emotional eating. Some people do not lose weight because their weight is tangled up with their emotions. If they feel bad, sad, mad, bored, happy, stressed… they eat. This pattern is the hardest one to break.
Using food as protection. I once had a client who had been raped when she was slim. Somehow she associated that if she ate a lot of food then men wouldn’t find her attractive, she would become invisible to men and she would be safe from abuse.
Mind over matter…the steps
Change your mind-set. People who are fit and healthy love food but they love life more…they love themselves more than cake…and they love feeling well…alert…agile…vibrant. You have to start to think about all the things you will gain in life when your reach your goal. Change the mind set from weight loss to health gain.
Make a decision. If like my client your weight has been around a long time. You need a cunning plan….make your decisions S.M.A.R.T. Be Specific… decide exactly how much you want to lose and by when. Measurable… make sure that you can quantify it in terms of weight, inches or fitness levels. Achievable… this means if you come from a long line of flat bottomed people then looking like Kim Kardashian may not be on the cards for you unless you know the number of a good surgeon. Realistic… losing excess weight, being fit and healthy is a way of life. It isn’t so that you can go down three sizes by next Tuesday. …if you do not keep it real you will fail. It is better to lose steadily and surely than to go crazy. Too thin and losing too fast isn’t healthy either. Timely… Do this now and do it for you. Choose food that are colourful. Reds…yellows…greens…oranges. That means no brown…beige or white foods allowed. If you stick to colours, you will not have to count anything. Move around more. But don’t obsess. Make it fun!
Visualise the ideal person you want to be. This was the bit that ‘clicked’ for my client. She is a walker and I tell her ‘One day when she is out walking she is going to walk right into her ideal self’. She feels this is true and for once in her life she believes that it is possible.
Starve boredom People who have a fascination with food build their lives around what to eat what not to eat and ultimately eating too much. When they go on a diet suddenly they have nothing to do. It is the boredom that gets them in the end. It is every important when you take something out of your lifestyle that you put something back in. Take up a hobby…met friends…go for a walk when you hit a weak moment…phone a friend for a chat…do anything other than visit the fridge.
Be gentle with yourself. Develop patience. One thing is for sure you did not put the weight on overnight…so it isn’t going to go overnight. Not unless you decide to chop off a leg. You need to be kind to yourself… praise yourself…think about the outfit you are going to buy…or the trip you are going to make. Make a plan how life will take on different meaning when you stop living it through food.
I will post my client’s success with her health gain in a few weeks. I have no doubt she will succeed now that her mind is set.
If you need my help in losing weight and gaining health then feel free to contact me.