We all know how the story begins. First of all comes the trigger. Maybe it is as simple as a glimpse of yourself in a shop window, or a horrible experience with a dress shop changing room mirror, maybe a remark made by a friend. This is it, we say. This time we will definitely lose that bit of extra weight we are carrying. We begin with great enthusiasm, we have confidence in our ability to finally lose those extra kilos we are carrying. We begin….
What is it that happens to us to stop us being successful in something we want. How do we change our minds, how does our enthusiasm fizzle out. What is it that gets in the way of us achieving what we want? Why do we self sabotage?
Let us have a look at some common themes.
“It’s not fair” We are on our eating program when up pops an occasion. It may be as simple as a colleague’s birthday at work and the offer of a piece of cake. We think to ourselves that it is so unfair we can’t have something nice to eat. We feel hard done by, it makes us think of all the other unfair things in our lives. We think ourselves in to a state in which the only way to right a few of these wrongs is to eat the cake. We eat it.
“Nobody Loves Me” We feel resentful we are not allowed to eat anything we like, we lose sight of our primary objective and we feel to only way to provide love, nurture and care in to our lives is to eat something soothing like chocolate or cake or to drink some alcohol.
“I know you love cake, chocolate, wine, whatever…….” Sometimes the sabotage doesn’t come from ourselves, it comes from those close to us. It can be your partner, your Mum, or your friends. This sabotage often comes when a weightloss program begins to show results. A partner can fear what may happen if you become slim, confident and gorgeous, and may set out to sabotage your success, becoming afraid you may leave them. This is probably not done consciously, but is done unconsciously with the result you eat whatever is offered to please them. Or you feel angry with them for not helping you, which in turn creates its own set of problems. The saboteur can be your Mum or a friend who see your success as in some way pointing out their own lack of success if they could do with shedding some weight. Most people fear change and when ever someone close to them begins to change in some way, they begin to act in a way that says change back to what you used to be.
Some Solutions to keep the “will to Succeed” Strong
Do some or all of the above sound like you? Before you begin a weight loss program it is a very good idea to spend a little time thinking through exactly what role food plays in your life. Have you handed over all your power to food? Is food the ONLY thing that can make you feel better, take away your blues, make you feel nurtured and loved? (In the food category I am also including drinks such as alcohol and sweet milky things). If you realise you have done this you then need to think if this is something you are willing to continue.
It is an excellent idea before beginning another (and this time, final) attempt at weight loss to make a list of all the things food means to you, and all the occasions you feel like eating. What are the emotions? Anger? Sadness? Tiredness? When you have your list then spend a while thinking what you could do instead of eating.
If you feel angry you could try a very fast and furious walk around the block. You could go in to the bedroom and punch a pillow.
If you feel sad and unappreciated you could try a long sweet smelling bath, give yourself a facial, paint your toenails bright red.
If you are tired and craving to eat, register the time in your mind and make sure you have a snack at least an hour before. If you always feel like eating chocolate at 4.00pm, then have your healthy afternoon tea at 3.00pm and the feeling of crashing will be avoided.
The essence of the above is planning and forethought.
What IS a Healthy Diet? There are just so many faddish ideas that you may be tempted to try on the path to weight loss, but sad to say there is no magic solution. We would all like a magic pill we could take which would do the job for us, with little effort on our part, but this just does not exist. The important thing in successful weight loss to change the way we think about food. We need to begin to think of food as the fuel that drives our bodies and to want to feed ourselves a good healthy diet in order to maximise how vibrant and alive we feel.
A healthy diet is rich in vegetables, lean meat, fish, chicken and whole grains and contains little processed food. The best food is the food you cook for yourself and your family as you then know exactly what goes in to it. That way you are avoiding the things in modern processed foods that cause so many allergies and behavior problems in children. All of the excessive sugars, colours, dyes and preservatives that are added to processed food are avoided with great and important health benefits.
An example of a day’s healthy eating for weight loss would look like this: Breakfast. 30 grams of cereal with low fat milk OR 1 egg, poached or boiled with 2 slices of whole grain toast, no butter. Mushrooms or tomatoes can be added.
Morning Tea Cup of tea or coffee 1 Piece of fruit with 10 almonds OR 1 tub low fat yogurt OR 10 rice crackers or two rice cakes with hummus or low fat cottage cheese and tomato.
Lunch Large salad, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, grated carrot with one small tin of tuna or with 30 grams of fetta or 60 grams of cottage cheese. OR A soup made with lots of vegetables and including a can of three bean mix or a can of chickpeas and a piece of bread or a rice cake. The soup is made more satisfying by removing a couple of cups and the blending the rest to make it thick and smooth and then adding back the reserved cups.
Afternoon Tea Same as morning tea
Dinner 100 grams of meat or chicken or 200 grams of fish with lots of vegetables and one cup of rice or pasta or one potato.
Sweet tooth satisfiers. One of these per day. 2 dried figs and 8 almonds 10 rice crackers or 2 rice cakes spread with 20 grams of jam 1 50 gram scoop of low fat ice cream.
Now I know the first thing that will come to mind is “I don’t have time” to do all of the shopping and planning for this. You do have time, you choose not to have time if you reject a weight loss program for this reason.
It is very satisfying to spend a bit of time thinking what you will eat for the next week. Writing out a list of the meals you will eat and the ingredients you will need to shop for. This planning ensures you are prepared and don’t have occasions when you find yourself hungry and tired and just eat everything in sight.
It is a good idea to ask for help from those around you, particularly in the case of those who sabotage your efforts. Explain to them how important this is to you and ask them to help you by not feeding you. Give them a specific task you would like them to do. A good one is to clean up and wash up after dinner so you are not tempted by left overs. Involve those around you in your success and progress.
Do I have to Exercise?
There is no doubt exercise helps with weight loss. But, when most people think of exercise they imagine themselves looking terrible in tight spandex shorts and sports tops.
What I mean here by exercise is any thing at all that will get you moving. It may be a walk to the end of the street, some vigorous sweeping up of the back yard, a swim. Whatever is a form of movement you don’t usually do. Getting the blood circulating has such a lot of benefit in making you feel energised and well. A small amount of effort will pay off in allowing you do more and more as you feel able.
What is essential for success with your weight loss program is the time you spend figuring out what has stopped you in the past, where do your stumbling blocks lie, what are the triggers that send you down the wrong path.
Spend a little while thinking these suggestions through and then get started on your way to where you want to be.
Alison Johnson ND DBM Dip. Hom. Is a Sydney naturopath with more than 20 years experience in herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, iridology, Bach Flowers and Counseling. She specializes in general naturopathy with a special interest in weight loss and female reproductive system problems. Alison is the Naturopath on the Good Medicine website, appears frequently on TV and in print and was the Dean of the Australasian College of natural Therapies for the past 20 years. She practices at Glebe Healing Centre, 1 Booth St, Annandale, phone 02 9566 1222 and at Wholistic Medical Centre, 17 Randle St., Surry Hills, 02 9211 3811