Patience is sexier than you think, says food psychology coach Laura Lloyd.

It may be at odds with your ambitious, driven, determined, grit-and-caffeine-fuelled way of doing your work life, but for your food & body journey, I believe you have it in you. 

I have lived my life so far as a restless, striving, ambitous person.

I have repeatedly vaccillated between being ‘too clever’ for the dogwork (and trying to ‘learn everything there is to know’ about weight loss and binge recovery, studying it obsessively to try to fast-track myself to intellectual mastery) and feeling a total loss of confidence and self-belief in my own ability to lose 20lb and keep it off for life (“Other people can do it, but there’s something f***ed about me”).

Superior, inferior. Superior, inferior.

The solution: Acceptance. Patience. Humility. You can’t short-cut experiential application of habit change, people.

I have to apply my own principles to my daily practice of how I put food to my lips, and be willing to suck at it until I ‘get it’, and then be willing to keep going until the habits are established.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”

Rainer Maria Wilke

Author, Letters to a Young Poet

The old view of patience:

Little bored women doing needlework (flowery embroidery) by candlelight.

The new view of patience:

A curious adventurer gathering clues on a treasure-hunt journey without wasting energy being angry or frustrated that they don’t get .

Patience is sexy because:

  1. It’s fearless. It’s related to faith. It’s confident. Notice how whenever you experience urgency and panic, you’re trying to ‘get away from’ something. Something in your mind. A thought you have about yourself that you need to disprove quickly with an achievement that’ll provide your brain with evidence you aren’t as vulnerable or weak as you think.
  2. It’s growth. Through learning. Unless you get to be an overnight genius, perfect at inception? Sorry. That’s not how humans work.
  3. It’s living change, not striving for change. This is how challenge and change and weightloss become a beautiful experience we get to evolve through, instead of a place we are pushing to get to where today is sacrificed but it’s worth it for a happy, alive tomorrow.
  4. Contrary to popular misconception, patience isn’t dull. There are many rewards and dopamine hits on the way, keeping you going.

This is really where the skill can be cultivated. If you tune in to the details, you’ll see signs of strengthening, signs of resilience, signs of small changes adding up.

If you’re obsessed with the end result, you miss all that. It’d be like only enjoying parenting when you have a functional young adult on your hands, without ever noticing the way your kid got up after falling in the sand and made a swift, laughing recovery.

I can be patient.

I have done many patient things. Here are some of them.

I have knotted rugs. Done French knitting. Waited 6 years for my house to be built while I lived with my family in a flat above a village shop. Been pregnant. Taught my children to brush their teeth. Grown out impulsive self-cut fringes. Put presents under the tree all through Advent. Paddled in the sea waiting for a wave to bodyboard on. 

What about you? Patience is in you for sure. Can you credit it, welcome it, grow it?  

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