“I eat right and exercise but the scale won’t budge, what’s wrong with me?!” Does this sound like something you’ve said? I have. I spent so many years assuming something was wrong with me since I couldn’t seem to keep my weight steady. Another fad diet was always my solution. The problem with diets is that they are temporary. They all work, I’ve lost weight doing many different kinds of programs and diet plans, but none of them were sustainable for me for more than 2 months at a time. I always thought something must be wrong with me because I would starve myself on these diets and then when I couldn’t take it anymore I would eat anything I wanted, and lots of it. I wish there had been someone around to tell me this: “You are not broken, you do not need to be ‘fixed’, the system is broken. The diet industry doesn’t actually care about you, they just want your money.” It’s the truth, and it’s the thing I tell so many women at my gym. We all think something is wrong with us because we struggle to stay on these restrictive diets. But you didn’t FAIL because you could only starve yourself for 3 days. Your body doesn’t like to be hungry and it will fight you every step of the way to hold onto weight for survival. It’s normal to eat food. It’s healthy to eat food. It’s best to eat a balanced diet of real food (as opposed to pre-packaged meals), including some foods that make you happy! You have to enjoy your food or you will never stick to a healthy eating lifestyle. If you’ve struggled like I have, you already know this! The question is HOW do you break the diet roller coaster? The answer: slowly.
The reality is that when you lead a healthy lifestyle of consistently eating healthy and exercising, the weight loss will happen. It may not happen as quickly as you want it to, but it will be lasting, and you will feel happy and in control. How does that sound?
I’m a trainer, I get up and work out in front of people as the example of what to do during class. I’m not one of those perfect looking Instagram trainers, I don’t have a 6 pack, (well, I have a 6 pack of beer in my fridge at home, does that count?), but I do lead a consistent lifestyle. I eat healthy food the majority of the time, I work out 3-5 times a week, and I also enjoy my life. It has taken me years to understand what a healthy lifestyle looks like, but it was so worth the struggles. My final time losing 50lbs I promised myself that I wouldn’t count calories. I don’t like putting a number value on food. I absolutely despise Weight Watchers, with their points system, and their packaged food products. They just want your money, they don’t care about you! When they label food as 0 points I can’t understand it! You still ate the food, so for healthy foods to have zero value seems stupid to me. I would think that healthy foods should have a higher value, like steamed broccoli should be 100 points, don’t you think? I don’t like the idea of having a goal to end the day at a low number. Then you start to get a fear of the numbers, which can lead to restrictive patterns which then leads to binging, and I just hate that life. Food might be 0 points, but it still contains calories, so this seems like a great way to mess with your mental state regarding food. And we wonder why we’re all so messed up mentally!
Most of weight loss is in your head. Be careful with yourself. Speak nicely to yourself, especially when you look in the mirror. You have to be able to appreciate what your body is capable of, even when you are not 100% happy with the reflection. Self-love is the most powerful piece of the puzzle. Remind yourself that you are creating healthy habits that will help you to live a life of peace and avoid the diet roller coaster.
It can be really hard to love yourself during the weight loss process. You will feel better before you look better to yourself, so you might have to fudge your confidence a little. Look in the mirror and state things as fact: “I am strong” “I am confident” “I am powerful” “I can do anything” “I am already perfect”. These are positive mantras that I have used myself, so I know they work. The trick here is that if you say something to yourself enough times, you will start to believe it. You’ve probably been telling yourself you’re fat and unworthy for a long time, so what if you started being nice to yourself instead? Another piece of this puzzle is learning to take a compliment. How many times have you been complimented on your outfit, hair, whatever, and you brush it off “oh this is just something I threw on” “oh I need to get my hair colored, it’s such a mess” etc. Don’t brush it off, and think about when you give someone a compliment: you mean it, right? Take the compliment, say thank you, and absorb it.
It takes time to beat the diet roller coaster, but you can do it! It starts with what you say to yourself and goes out from there. We tend to be our worst critics, so if you focus on being your biggest cheerleader instead, you will be much more successful. Turn your inner critic into your coach! Fake the confidence if you need to, and eventually it will come naturally. Remember: we are what we repeatedly do.