If you feel frustrated because you aren’t where you want to be with your eating and your weight, pushing yourself harder isn’t likely to help.
It’s definitely not going to help if you are pushing in the wrong direction.
When new clients first contact me, they share what they want – but it’s usually not really what they want.
Clients talk about getting back in control, staying focused, and staying on track. You may talk this way too – because it’s how you’ve been taught that weight loss or healthy lifestyles are achieved.
Having to be in control, stay focused, and be vigilant about being on track – well – it’s exhausting.
Here’s what most women who struggle with overeating really want:
A healthy weight that comes naturally.
An end to the cravings and the struggles with overeating.
An ease with food, so that one taste or portion is enough, and a natural way of eating so that your clothes always fit and you don’t have to mentally “reset” yourself every day to have a “good” day.
You know how you get this freedom (and how you can instantly start getting better results)?
Lose the self-blame, use your thoughts and feelings to fuel your progress instead, and start taking specific actions that take the power back from food – so that you don’t have to fight your cravings, your hunger, or your urges anymore.
If you take the power away from food, you won’t need to fight to have more willpower.
How do you take the power back from food and reclaim your weight? Not by focusing on what to eat (at least at first).
You start by taking the steps to address the reasons that you are wanting, craving, thinking about food, and making the choices that you are in the first place.
It’s usually a web of things: a busy life, stress, exhaustion, using food to fill in the gaps or reward yourself, or eating for comfort. Overeating often happens because you feel too busy to plan meals or get the food that’s good for you – or you are simply too tired or busy to make the “right” choices. And the choices you make while you are busy living your life start to add up.
Lisa (who asked that I not use her real name) certainly felt this way. A very successful professional, her business was growing by leaps and bounds, her kids were neck-deep in sports and extra-curricular activities, house projects were endlessly calling, she was always behind on sleep, stressed and feeling overloaded, always racing from one thing to another, and (no surprise), she had put on 25 pounds.
Lisa wanted her clothes to fit again. She wanted to feel in control of her eating. She wanted to stop reaching for the ice cream in the evening – and she wanted to do it without creating more stress and struggle in her life. When she began working with me, she was tired of trying to be strong and try harder. In fact, she was exhausted. And we took an entirely different approach, one I recommend for you too.
When Lisa stopped pushing and instead started identifying small but significant ways she could better manage her needs without relying on food, amazing things happened.
She had more energy. Cravings went away, and so did constantly thinking about food. She found herself addressing the issues that were driving her hunger (exhaustion, stress, and a lack of time for herself) in ways that surprised her in their simplicity. Her pants got looser, but it wasn’t just her clothes, as she made these changes, her life fit her better too.
Lisa discovered that the key to her success was a plan that gave her ease and joy and addressed her hidden hungers, not a plan that called for more exhausting discipline.
When you live a life that feeds you, you won’t crave food so much.