I just had a memory come across my Facebook page that made my heart hurt. This was from the summer I got married. I had spent several months in a crazy weight loss whirlwind…..
July 3rd, 2012
“As of this morning, I have officially lost 30 pounds since the end of March. All the “I fell in love” weight is gone, now to the last 20 pounds that I just want to lose to look good in a swimming suit.”
Followed by these comments by me:
“This is like a never ending battle for me. I am in “totally strict” mode right now. But I did finally find some things that seem to be cracking through the hormonal and metabolism crap that have plagued me for years.”
“ I work out twice a day right now, and have completely eliminated gluten/grains and dairy along with all artificial anything. I am doing a carb-cycling program. I change things up fitness wise every 3 months to keep my metabolism working. I also did the RESET, a cleanse program for 21 days in early April that was very helpful. It is really hard work, but it can be done!”
Guess what happened AFTER July 3rd, 2012? You guessed it. I gained it all back, plus a few. That was probably the 10th time I had lost that weight. It didn’t come back because I lost motivation or started eating crap. I haven’t eaten crap food in years, other than a very occasional stop for fast food when it is that or starve.
I actually continued to workout and eat what I considered to be a healthy diet. My metabolism continued to adjust to my lowered caloric intake. For a while, I kept dropping calories lower and lower, and worked out harder and harder. Then I decided I needed a life. I stopped that multiple “kick my ass” workouts and settled back to a daily walk and a little yoga. The weight crept back, a pound at a time. About 2 years later, I was right back to where I had started, plus a little bit. Right now, I am back to where I was on July 3rd of 2012, but NOT through a low-fat, low-calorie diet and crazy workouts. Not through using supplements or boxed meals. Not through a starvation plan. How did I do it?
Over the last 40 years, I have given pretty much every diet a shot. I have also read hundreds of studies, taken many courses and done multiple certifications in health coaching and nutrition. I am here to tell you a few things about long term, sustainable and successful weight loss.
1. You need to love your fat self the way you THINK you will love your skinny self. Guess what? Skinny you and fat you are exactly the SAME FRICKING PERSON!! Losing weight won’t make you happy. In fact, it can do exactly the opposite. If you are hungry, tired, sore and pissed most of the time, you will not be a happy person. When I was at my lowest weight (which was actually at the high end of what is considered a “healthy BMI”, I was exhausted, losing hair and hangry, pretty much all of the time. My life was consumed with food. “When would I eat next? What would it be? Will they have a veggie tray at the party? How will I say NO to the cake? “ And that was pretty much every day. I didn’t love either me. Weight was not relevant.
- Your body may not need to weigh what the BMI charts say. Healthy IS important, BUT health and weight are NOT THE SAME THING!! So ready for a shocker? We aren’t all suppose to be skinny, and being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you are healthy. I got a message the other day from a dear friend. Her BMI falls well within the range of “healthy”. Her blood pressure and blood sugar also fall in the healthy ranges. If you stood her, next to me, you would say she is the healthy one. Her message was essentially “Thank you so much for the body positive messages in your Facebook group. I just wanted to let you know that I am the exact example of WHY weight doesn’t matter. I am sick. I am on so many medications sometimes I can’t keep track. I couldn’t walk around the block without losing my breath. You, on the other hand, could go out and run a half marathon tomorrow without missing a step. Your body is healthy, mine is not. Keep telling your story. It is important.” I also got a message the same week from a woman who has gained and lost 100 pounds a couple of times. Her message was “Thank you for your posts on accepting your body as is. I do but when struggling, it’s hard to keep it in mind. I’ve been stress eating so much and really, it’s ok given the circumstances, I have to keep realizing body rolls are natural. I’m miss skin sag all over and I’m more ok with that. This week, I’ve been comfortable with my belly rolls, because who cares, it’s me.”
To which I responded:
“We carried babies, we have gained and lost tons of weight over our lives and we have lived through horrible shit. We are perfect the way we are. F**k society and their stupid crappy rules.”
And back to her:
” This skin sag shit is really no joke. Funny I’m less concerned with skin sag than a belly roll but your posts made me stop sucking it in and slap myself back to reality. It’s not a worry I need. Nope.”
So, the fact is, we all are who we are suppose to be. Whether we weigh 400 pounds or 125 pounds, whether we have skin sag, one boob bigger than the other, or a zit on our forehead. WHO CARES? Find your healthy self, no matter where that lands.
- Real food, in it’s natural state is healthy food. Another shock coming now. We have been BRAINWASHED to believe that low-fat, low-calorie processed food is healthy. We have been led, by the food industry and pharmaceuticals to believe this junk. If it comes in a box, can live on your counter, or has a food label on it, you probably shouldn’t eat it. There are a few exceptions, but let’s look at what real food is:
Real food either grows under or above the ground or has a mother.
Here are some examples of real food:
Here are some examples of NOT real food:
High fructose corn syrup
Process white flour
Low or no fat cheese
I could extend both of those lists for miles, but let’s just say, real food is better for you. If you take care of your body by filling it with whole foods in their natural state, it will treat you better from a health perspective.
- Learning to listen to your intuition is a huge step. I was just talking with a coaching client the other day about a concept called “crowding out”. It is essentially when we fill our plates and our lives with the good stuff, leaving no room for the other stuff. This is how I finally figured out how to manage my health from an intuitive perspective. Rather than counting calories, I started to pay attention to the cues of my body. Am I hungry or am I tired, pissed, angry (insert emotion here)?? Am I tired, or would a quick walk help? A journal is a great way to start this process. Essentially noting how you FEEL when you think about eating, how it feels to eat, then how it made you feel afterwards. I learned so much about my body this way. I discovered the foods my body likes, and the ones that cause discomfort. I learned to workout in a way that really feels good for me. I learned that I didn’t need to follow a “plan” or obsess. I learned that if I filled my house with only good food, and really paid attention, I could do this thing. I could let my body find it’s happy place.
- Being healthy doesn’t need to be expensive. Real food and effective movement don’t have to cost a ton of money. A daily walk is a great way to get started on fitness. There are lots of body weight exercises to do, and free online yoga classes are all over! From a food perspective frozen veggies and fruits, along with meats and some dairy if you like it, are really all you need. I like to see a well-stocked spice cabinet, as spices can change any meal into a fantastic one! Shop the perimeter of the store. Most of our meals are five ingredients or less. We start with a vegetable, which I steam, saute in butter or olive oil, or eat raw, with some protein. Season it up, and there you go! Eggs are our everyday staple, since our friendly backyard chickens leave them as gifts for us! EAT REAL STUFF!! DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT AN EGG BEATER OMELETTE IS BETTER FOR YOU THAN ONE WITH A REAL EGG! If someone does try to tell you that, let me know, and I will share a few studies with you!
So, here is the thing. I don’t want you to pay me anything, unless you want to spend some undivided time with me, learning all the stuff I have learned over 40 years of dieting, and lots of learning. I would love it if everyone could eat real food and move their bodies every day. I would be thrilled if no one ever bought another diet plan in their lives. The truth is, they don’t work long term. The fallacy of the CICO (calories in-calories out) diet is a myth. You can lose it, I agree with that. But your body will fight with everything it has to put it back, and your body will usually win. This can be frustrating, when you have spent so much time and effort losing the weight.
There is so much conflicting information out there, with hundreds of dietary theories. The common thread among the effective ones are that they all contain real food, in it’s natural state. Whether you lean towards a vegan, vegetarian, paleo or ketogenic way of eating, fill your plate with the real stuff.
If anyone tells you the plan they are using will work for you, but only have before and after pictures and no “five year from now” pictures, OR they want you to fork over a ton of money to get a box of Frankenfood delivered to your door once a week, TURN AROUND AND RUN!!
Stop beating yourself up. Spend some time listening to your body, learning what makes it feel good, and what makes it feel crappy. Don’t buy into the weight loss hype. It only leads to disordered eating, and feeling like a failure. The biggest thing is LOVE YOURSELF!! No matter where you are on the scale….
You should contact some junior high schools and ask to speak at health classes. This pattern starts very early in life and the sooner it is done away with the better. My girls and I have fought all of these battles and lost most of them! You rock!
Well said. I’ve been eating this way for many decades. So important to Embrace Yourself. Truth is Love.
SOMETIMES….well, really often in all honesty, I think I am hungry when I am really just thirsty. This has been a huge step for me in listening to my body. I’m pretty sure that I was dehydrated OFTEN and didn’t know it.
Hi Jennifer, I really appreciate your writing style! As a matter of fact, most of us spend most of our time to work hard and make money to support our families, but sometimes we do go on holidays and do something different. Eating is something similar. I am very disciplined in eating most of the time, I have been on short term fasting for many years. However there are chances when I’m naughty and eat crap and junk. If we feel happy eating junk food, then eat; as far as we eat real and healthy food most of the time, then a little bit of junk won’t kill.