21 micro habits to make weight loss stick #21: If you’ve chosen weight loss, enjoy the journey.
Scary, controversial truth: You have chosen everything that’s in your life today.
So, says food psychology coach Laura Lloyd, if you have decided you want to lose weight – good for you. Embrace it. Embrace the present opportunity of it, and enjoy every step.
How this plays out in my own life:
I’m the Queen of making the things I love into a duty.
As someone who’s creative, I’ve always been amazed how, whenever I reach for a goal, I turn it into an ambition, then into a crushing self-expectation, then into a duty I’ve got to get through using willpower and determination.
Or have a backlash against my no-fun life, and go f*ck it!
Writing a novel, rehearsing a play, having people over for dinner, going for a swim, doing my thing, loving my people.
I could turn going on a picnic on a Summer’s day and picking a bunch of flowers into a chore.
It’s a revelation to own my choices. I don’t HAVE to do anything.
Think, for example, about your job –
You choose at the very least the pay check, I know I choose to pay rent and have heating and hot water.
The Coronavirus lockdown has shown that to be so true, too, that I also relish the chance to get my teeth into tasks uninterrupted, get stuff done, be part of a team.
Or, your kids –
I know it’s easy for me to think “I’ve got to take the kids to swimming”, or “I’ve got to get them to school”, but really, I choose not to get in trouble with the authorities for truancy and absenteeism, and I choose to have some hours to get on with my shizzle while they are at school too.
I choose to be that kind of mum, that’s my way of fulfilling my own aspiration to be the kind of parent I want to be.
Funny, though, I never say “I’d like to take my kids to school at 8:40am”.
I could though. I might start!
And you probably never say, “I’d LOVE to learn how to be happy eating a little less”.
You probably never think, “I wonder if I can figure out how to lose weight? And keep it off? And have fun doing it.”
If you do, good on you.
But I bet more often, you hear your brain sighing at the sight of your waistline over the top of trousers, and saying “I’ve got to lose weight”.
Nobody is making you.
Nobody has made you eat anything you have eaten in the past, and nobody is imposing weight loss upon you.
If you feel like it is, it’s time to reset your motivation to one that comes from within you.
Even if it’s doctor’s orders, I’m guessing you’d like to choose to stay healthy and alive rather than the alternative.
And I’m a firm believer – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again – nobody has to lose weight.
It’s might feel like it’s a moral obligation in our nasty, body-shaming society, but it’s not.
You can be the size you are, love yourself, be happy and beautiful and worthy, and show others how to do that too.
And, I believe it’s also OK to choose to lose weight, if you want to.
If it genuinely feels like, in an ideal world where everyone else were just completely cool with you as you are, you’d still want to lose weight
- for your body anyway
- because it’d feel right to you
- or because changing your relationship with food would give you relief
– then yay.
So, I’d like to invite you to enjoy the sense of responsibility and agency in deciding that this is your pathway.
If you’ve chosen to try to understand your overeating, to figure out your binge eating, and to keep making the tiny micro changes you’ll need to create in your lifestyle to make a lifelong weight loss yours to keep, then relish it.
Let yourself get all sweaty and excited about the self-discovery you’re going to unveil.
Imagine yourself walking a path which will have ups and downs, but promising yourself all the while, “this is my path, and I’m going to understand this no matter what.”
We might think from past experience that we want weight loss fast, and that it will be hard.
If you’ve gone at it hard and fast in the past, you’ve probably had quite a gruelling ride.
You’ve probably had to eat some food you didn’t like, and feel left out and miserable, and you probably hated yourself and felt guilty for slip-ups.
And you probably regained weight after.
Yep, that’s all pretty hard.
But when I coach weight loss, fast isn’t important. Fun is.
You eat the food you choose, and you choose it because you like it and want it.
You’ll learn you’re not alone.
I’m with you, and you’re part of a community and you learn to be more present for the people in social situations, and how to handle every anomaly like a trip to a restaurant or a delayed flight.
You learn how to manage your mind so that you feel how you want to feel.
And you love yourself and get curious and learn a ton every time you slip up.
And you do things you want to do for the rest of your life, so that you have them embedded in your life as habits that make your life tick and that anchor you to your sense of yourself, so maintaining your weight loss is baked into the project from the very outset.
What if losing weight won’t be ‘hard’? Won’t FEEL like hardship?
Notice that when we think something is ‘hard’, it’s really just a thought of self-doubt. We are really saying ‘I’m not sure if I can do this’.
I mean, nothing ‘is hard’ unless ‘it’s hard for me’.
Is brushing your teeth hard? It was when you were three, but it’s not now.
What if losing weight’ll be empowering? And uplifting?
Also, deepening, challenging, pattern-breaking and elevating?
What if your struggle with food and body is trying to teach you everything you ever needed to learn about your life and how to be alive in it?
I’m excited for you, I really am.
This might sound weird, but here goes: I’m glad I was a binge eater.
It was stupid, a waste of my teens, and yet… I learned all about me from it.
Recovery was my first ever taste of the self-love apple – well, my first experience of self-acceptance that I’d had as an adult, I guess since childhood blissful unawareness of self was replaced by self-consciousness.
- It taught me how my mind worked.
- It taught me how my emotions worked.
- It taught me that I could change my beliefs about myself, voluntarily.
- It taught me that if I wasn’t intentional in redirecting my mind, it gets so busy solving problems that it never dwells on what’s right about me. That my mind never unintentionally soaks in achievements. That it makes stories about failures to protect me from future ones, but doesn’t make equally true stories about my successes to encourage me to keep learning.
More recently, my journey with food has taught me how to plan. How to plan my food, but also, my time.
When I learnt how to delay gratification with food urges, I learnt to do that with my temptation to randomly work on whatever took my fancy instead of pursuing an action plan.
My journey with food has taught me how to prioritise the things that matter most to me personally, and to make them happen with action and follow-through.
It has taught me how to blast through the glass walls of self-doubt I create about my capability, and keep taking action until I reach my goals.
It has taught me how to get out of chaos, how to run a household and feel like a good enough mum.
It led me on this journey to use cognitive therapy to solve any problem.
It gave me a gift to share, with everything I have learned the hard way.
It showed me that listening to a few hypnotherapy recordings could change my life.