5 Tips On How To Lose Weight While Still Maintaining A Healthy Relationship With FoodSep 21, 2022
Lots of us have lost weight before. You’ve probably lost a few (or maybe a lot of) pounds. But too often many of us also lose our healthy food relationship, lose ourselves in the process. Moreover, many of us regain the weight back too.
Half the battle is losing the weight - the other half is making sure it’s done in a way that is long-lasting and that doesn’t mess up your food relationship.
What do I mean by messing up your food relationship?
When trying to lose weight, we often want a quick fix - just get it over and done with. We often hyper-fixate on the end goal, of feeling amazing in our new body. We place so much of our worth in our weight. You might start noticing the following happening when trying to lose weight...
HOW DIETING CAN AFFECT YOU NEGATIVELY
- Allowing the weight on the scale to affect your mood.
- Avoiding events, restaurants, parties so you don’t have to guess the calories in drinks and food.
- Waiting to start dating until you lose the weight.
- Cutting out whole food groups / types while you lose the weight even though you love those foods!
- Cutting calories more and more to get to your goal faster.
- Setting unrealistic weight loss deadlines.
- Becoming scared to eat any food that you haven’t cooked and don’t know the calorie count to.
- Becoming obsessive around food.
- Becoming proud that you’re pushing through your hunger (because it means more weight loss).
- Bingeing in secret and then feeling the need to compensate by hardly eating that days after.
Does any of this sound familiar?
I know when I spent years trying to lose weight, all of these changes happened and more! I fully slipped into a disordered eating state that lasted ten years.
This is not to scare you into avoiding weight loss forever. Losing weight does NOT have to end with disordered eating and rebounding weight. The reasons that it does for many are...
REASONS WHY WEIGHT LOSS PLANS OFTEN FAIL
- Placing all of our worth on our weight: If you believe that all of your problems will be solved by losing weight then you’ll likely want to get there quickly. You’ll also likely treat yourself with disrespect along the way (because you only respect that ‘after’ version of yourself). Remember: you can’t hate yourself into a version you love.
- Lack of awareness and knowledge: Sometimes we go into our weight loss journey with good intentions but we haven’t been taught how to lose weight in a sustainable way. You may reduce calories, see fast weight loss and decide to cut them a bit further to keep the results coming - not knowing that pushing your deficit too low almost always backfires and causes issues like food fixation and binge-eating.
Oftentimes when in the fat loss journey, we lack awareness of when things are going awry. E.g. you might not notice these small changes in your food relationship over time - like starting to avoid restaurants or feeling anxious with certain foods. If you know what signs to look out for, you’d be able to press pause on your journey while you get back to a healthy place with food.
- Not setting and sticking to non-negotiables: It’s common during weight loss journeys to totally sacrifice things you love like going for drinks with friends or eating chocolate for the sake of weight loss. Even more subtle things like keeping an accepting and kind mindset towards yourself.
We often do a 180 with our lifestyle during the weight loss journey that can be unsustainable long-term. In my online course, Sustainable Fat Loss, one of the very first things we do is set our non-negotiables list: what are you unwilling to sacrifice during your weight loss journey? What things do you want to keep - whether it’s for increased adherence reasons or just for your soul!
- Not learning from past mistakes: How many times have you started yet another weight loss plan? Thinking that your rejuvenated levels of willpower and determination will be what makes the difference this time? I definitely repeated the same old weight loss plans for years thinking somehow it’d work each time. Even though every time it was failing! I never stopped to look at what my past mistakes were - what was working and not working? Learning from past mistakes is key!
- Not increasing calories during maintenance: It’s one thing to lose weight but another to maintain that new weight. It’s often the part that people forget to focus on. Sometimes we get so used to our weight loss diet/lifestyle, that when we get to maintenance we feel scared to increase our calories to a maintenance level. We fear regaining the weight and losing our progress. But increasing your calories is an absolute must.
Otherwise you’ll be in a deficit state for a prolonged period of time which is not ideal. Conversely - sometimes our route to weight loss was so extreme that by the time we ‘get there’, we want to let everything loose and finally enjoy life again! If that’s how you feel, you’re doing weight loss wrong. Your fat loss strategy in practice should be so gentle and hardly noticeable that by the time you get to your maintenance stage, you feel relaxed.
Any of these stand out to you as mistakes you’ve made in the past?
I want to share 5 tips on how to lose weight while still maintaining a healthy relationship with food. By the way, these are all based off of a recent 1:1 client who has successfully completed the 30 Day Reboot course (where she learned to regain a healthy relationship with food and stop binge-eating) and is now on her slow fat loss journey.
5 TIPS ON HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT WHILE STILL MAINTAINING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
1. Make it doable and hardly noticeable
No one should be able to tell that you’re trying to lose weight! Yes, you could go on a low-calorie diet and lose weight faster - BUT - it’s unlikely you’d be able to adhere to that plan. We want fat loss that is also sustainable and does not take over your whole life. So focus on choosing strategies that feel completely doable - tiny tweaks that are hardly noticeable to you.
2. Take breaks
Most of us approach fat loss like this: I will cut X calories per day every day until I reach my goal. But if we’re approaching fat loss with a gentle mindset - it means your journey will take months. We don’t want to be in a deficit every day for months. Why?
It’s psychologically tiring to be thinking about for that long, and has physiological effects too (e.g. affects your hunger hormones). In SFL, I teach about ‘diet breaks’ where you take week-long (or longer) breaks every few weeks. And it works!
3. Be super aware of your previous issues
Awareness throughout this journey is key! Remember that list from earlier where your food and body relationship can take a hit when losing weight? Yea, that is not happening this time because you’re going to keep increased awareness throughout. Looking out for those signs to catch them early on (if they happen at all) and pressing the brakes when needed. YOU are in the driver’s seat this time.
4.Don’t sacrifice your non-negotiables
As mentioned earlier, in SFL we write our non-negotiables list at the start of our journey. All throughout, your job is to stick to that list. To NOT sacrifice what matters most to you for the sake of weight loss. Life continues while you lose weight. You don’t press pause. You respect yourself by still allowing the things you need and enjoy (even if it means potentially dialling down on certain things or making smarter choices).
5. Focus on other factors than just weight
It’s too easy to get weight-obsessed when losing weight. To feel that high when you feel skinnier one day, yet feel that panic when the scale goes up. We do not want to be on that rollercoaster ride - it ain’t fun! So, yes, it is nice to notice results from your efforts (it’s ok to celebrate weight loss if that’s your goal).
But we really want to be focusing on factors other than just your weight - to ensure that you are not placing all of your worth in your weight. How about your energy levels, skin, resting heart rate, fitness levels, digestion, confidence, desire to socialise etc? Your higher/best self emerges not just when you lose weight - she shines when you take care of yourself through nutrition, connection, meditation, movement etc.
To reiterate: fat loss is possible. It is possible to do it without f*cking up your food relationship (potentially again). It is possible to maintain your weight loss long-term.
If you’d like more help on this journey - I recommend checking out SFL - it is my science-backed fat loss course designed for women who want long-term results without destroying their food+body relationship along the way.
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