3 Critical Keys To Permanent Weight Loss

number 3If you want to weigh less, permanently, here are three important things to consider:

  1. You will need to eat less (and possibly better quality) fuel, permanently.
  2. This smaller amount of fuel will need to be satisfying to you or you won’t be able to sustain it.
  3. To consistently eat reasonably requires having a peaceful, balanced relationship with food, so you aren’t compelled to eat when you’re not hungry.

These three reality checks can help us come to grips with what it takes to reach and keep our goals.

Hint: HCG shots and Nutri-system will not cut it long term.

Here’s how this played out in my life: I didn’t gain the freshman 15. I gained the freshman 40, and I enjoyed getting there with reckless abandon…bottomless Dr. Pepper while studying, drive-thrus, stacks of Cowboy cookies from Safeway, Waffle House at 2 in the morning. The only problem was I hated my body, and food preoccupation was stealing my very life.

Fast forward 40 years. After three decades of brutal food-dysfunction, chronic dieting and body-hatred, I stumbled into recovery and now help others do the same; that’s a long story for another time.

Right now let’s take a closer look at how the three keys apply to a real life – mine:

1. To keep a comfortable weight I will need to eat less for the rest of my life – not just for the duration of a diet. I’m around 40 pounds lighter now and if I want to stay here I need to consistently live with the smaller amount of fuel my body needs to maintain this lighter weight.

This boils down to biology:

  • Small bodies run on a smaller amount of food.
  • Medium bodies run on a medium amount of food.
  • Larger bodies run on a larger amount of food.

2. I had to find a way of eating I really like, one I could easily and happily continue. It’s gotta be a lifestyle, not a diet. Here’s the beautiful irony – I enjoy eating now more than I ever have. Savoring, appreciating, getting up from a meal feeling deeply satisfied and refreshed. I wouldn’t go back to feeling heavy, stuffed, numb and miserable for anything!

3. Eating reasonably meant I needed to build a new relationship with food and my body. Peace with food is not about muscling through by sheer will power. I needed an authentic change from the inside out.

ONE MORE REALITY CHECK: WE CAN’T HAVE BOTH: No one can deeply enjoy their life while living in a love/hate relationship with food or body. Our human capacity simply does not allow room for both. A rich life demands your whole heart. And so does an addiction*.

The good news is that you can, I can, anyone can live peacefully with food & body. Both are our friends. Your body is your constant companion and food keeps it running so you can go live your amazing life.

With encouraging support, solid science, life-giving thoughts and time, you can have the comfortable and stable weight you’ve dreamed of.

 

*There are different schools of thought about whether we can be addicted to food, technically speaking. Food is a different substance from drugs and alcohol. Never the less, a dysfunctional relationship with food (and body) steals life-energy from us as surely as any chemical addiction does.

 

Why “Eat Right & Exercise” Hasn’t Brought Weight Loss

scales 2We all know what to do: just eat right and exercise!

It’s so simple – and it makes so much sense. Why, then, has knowledge about eating right and exercising not changed our weight – as individuals or as a nation?

There are two huge gaps in this advice. Ignoring these two important elements is why 99% of us eventually regain the weight we’ve worked so hard to lose. These two missing pieces are why food has become an emotionally charged subject – complete with shame, confusion and despair (not to mention a multi-billion-dollar weight loss industry getting profitably fatter and fatter by the day).

Certainly there are many “weight loss plans”. You can go with the latest Dr. Oz pick, or cleanse, or Adkin’s, or Nutri-system, or No White Stuff Diet …the list goes on and on. Any of these may move the needle on the scale for a time. Weight will stay lost only as long as you can stay on the wagon because…

We cannot maintain our weight loss without: RECOVERY & DISCOVERY.

RECOVERY – doing the work of healing your food addictions, your attachment to food that makes you act and feel crazy around it.

Until we recover from restriction and compulsion (caused by dieting and other factors) we will constantly be trying to live with the brakes on around food. This is exhausting and impossible to maintain.

BIG TRUTH #1: Until you recover from your damaged relationship with food it won’t matter how thin you become or how carefully you eat –

You will not be at PEACE around food.

Since food is a regular part of our daily lives, we’ll continue to suffer greatly if we don’t come to live peacefully and reasonably with it.

DISCOVERY – finding the lifestyle that FITS YOU – that comfort zone between the foods you enjoy and the health/weight/fitness you want.

Until you discover what fits you – your preferences, your schedule, your life – you will not be able to comply long-term. And that’s the goal, right? A permanent solution – so you can get on with your life, no longer side-tracked by food and body preoccupation.

BIG TRUTH #2: Until you find a lifestyle that fits you, your food-life will be difficult.

You won’t be able to relax into the peaceful partnership that’s meant to exist between you and your body.

Discovering your personal lifestyle takes a willingness to experiment. It requires curiosity, honesty, time and support. This journey is well worth the effort because, not only will it last, but it will bring a deeper love, appreciation and understanding of yourself. This – in the end – turns out to be a much greater treasure than just “getting skinny”.

BIG SURPRISE: When I coach with people who’ve reached their weight goal without these two pieces in place, they’re unhappy and surprised at their disappointment. They thought being thin was going to be the Holy Grail but their food-life is still a source of stress. Maintaining and micro-managing their food and exercise is as big a burden for them now as losing weight ever was.

Why? Because their relationship with food and their body is still out of balance, and they’re trying to operate within a lifestyle that isn’t a good fit for them.

GOOD NEWS: With a little coaching anyone can figure it out. There is always a way through.

BIG TRUTH #3:

You were born “eating right & exercising”

We were born living well with our food and our little adorable bodies. As babies we ate, slept and played joyfully and naturally from the inside out – and we can live this way again.

Peaceful, healthy self-care is not only possible for you – it’s the way your mind and body want to operate. It’s already in your DNA.

Our challenge is to silence the incessant noise, stop living by someone else’s rules and reconnect with the intuitive parts of ourselves…those places dieting has smothered somewhere along the way.

So, how do we put these two missing pieces in place? We stop dieting and start learning how to partner with our bodies again. As you recover your intuitive self and as you discover the lifestyle that fits you best, the strangest thing will happen…

You will begin to “eat right and exercise” naturally.

 

*A WORD ABOUT FOOD CHOICES: People who take the path of liberated eating end up finding their own best way of eating. Some reach their weight goal simply by eating mindfully. Some gravitate toward a certain eating style like Mediterranean, Paleo, etc. Through the process of recovery and discovery they find a menu they enjoy. 

If you’d like help getting started on this path, email me at cindy@theliberatedeater.com. It would be a privilege to help you find the food-life you’ve been wanting.