21 micro habits to make weight loss stick #20: Make a few minutes at the start and end of each day.
Many of us hope to lose weight or get over our overeating or binge eating, as a sideline to our other priorities.
Which is fair enough, because eating has to happen alongside the rest of life. But your relationship with food won’t work itself out by magic. And it won’t work itself out because you ‘try again’ or ‘try harder’ either.
Eating psychology coach Laura Lloyd says, our results will be directly proportional to the focus, energy and time you put towards your goal. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but it does need to be a daily habit.
Want to lose weight? Then give weight loss top priority for a while.
Not forever. Just for a bit. Long enough to get momentum.
Decide how long – say, four months would be realistic.
The notion of ‘work-life’ balance might not be very helpful here, if like me you have a tendency to take on too much and then half-arse everything.
You may just get a mediocre result in a lot of areas of your life.
Instead, if you want to lose weight and keep it off permanently, consider making your relationship with food a priority for a limited time, and giving it some consistent focus.
It won’t always need such concentration, but as you bring all your eating behaviours onto your radar, it pays to pay attention to what you’re doing.
And to create a really strong, positive vision of what you’d like to create in its place.
After a while, the momentum of how good it feels to take kind control of your eating behaviours will propel you forward – for instance, I now plan every day because I love the ‘me time’ of sitting with a notebook; I love the peace and antidote to anxiety of thinking through my day, I love the self-love feelings I get from exploring my mental and emotional wellbeing.
You don’t need a lot of time, so much as consistent time, if you want to lose weight.
You need to build habits that are part of real life, not go on a spa retreat and blitz it.
At a minimum, start by making a few minutes at the start and end of each day – literally, five minutes will do it – to make your decisions by making a plan for the day, and to evaluate what happened and give yourself some love for your efforts.
I know you may feel impatient. You may have a wedding coming up. Or know you’ll be in a photo.
But think about what you want. What you really want, long-term.
What you REALLY want: to lose weight like a thin person lives their life.
So the habits you create, and the results you want, are doable forever.
It might look like it’s a doddle for everyone else, but what if most thin people are actually intentional about being thin?
Nobody loses weight by accident, (except people who get ill, drug-addicted or depressed and sad).
And, I get it – you want your positive habits to be second nature, so that you don’t have to concentrate all your mental energy on all this food on body crap your whole life.
You need your energy to be free to write books, make muchos money, teach your kids they are good enough, and learn to surf before a press-up becomes a physical impossibility.
But consider this: perhaps it’s not quite right to see your relationship with food as something you have to get beyond. As a burden.
Weight loss as a chore, and once you’ve got it out the way, real life starts.
In reality, a weight loss journey, or a journey to overcome overeating or binge eating, is, (sorry to blow your mind), a gift.
A gift you give to yourself.
Once you begin, you’ll start unlocking all kinds of parts of your life where you’re stuck right now.
When you think about it, people who lose weight and change their relationship with their food and their body really glow with self-actualisation. And that’s no illusion.
The act of making changes in your life – pursuing a personal goal, gaining confidence and self-assurance, learning to trust yourself and feel responsible for your choices – all of that is super empowering. It’s what makes a food psychology journey so much fun. Even weight loss!
So why not build in part of your day when you talk kindly to yourself about your eating, a tiny part of your day that you plan to keep doing forever.
I know, you’re like – I have to do this forever?
Firstly, don’t make sitting with a notebook such a big deal.
“I don’t like journaling”.
- It can be a few bullet points.
- A little list.
- A mind-map.
- Filling out a habit tracker like one of these phone ones, or colouring in or ticking an analogue one.
- It might be reviewing index cards you keep by your bed.
- Reading or listening to something inspirational, like a podcast you like.
- Doing a few minutes’ visualisation or self-hypnosis.
Don’t let your brain be a child about it.
I didn’t say you HAVE to do anything forever.
If it brings up a lot of thoughts of ‘not having time’, then that could be a big clue to why and how you’re eating in the first place – feeling overwhelmed, overworked, rushed, burdened with duty and responsibility.
If that’s you right now, then of course eating is going to feel like the only time you get to enjoy your life, relax, be unshackled from responsibility.
Sounds like a recipe for a rock ‘n’ roll party with some leftover macaroni cheese and Netflix!
But try it, and see if it’s something you’d like to take forward for your whole life long.
Here’s the thing: Self connection = self-love.
So your minutes of quality time with yourself, cheering yourself on, understanding yourself, and figuring out what you need next, create self-love. This time will start to feel compassionate, luxurious, and nourishing.
Because if it is something that takes hold in your life, you not only give yourself a chance of weight loss, but you have a very high risk of successful maintenance too.