I can already hear you.
“What do you mean ‘let’ myself release the weight, Suyin? That’s all I want! That’s all I keep striving for!”
Well, you can strive all day long, but until you let yourself release the weight, you will continue to sabotage yourself.
If you are holding on to excess weight (or you put it right back on when you do lose it), there is a belief present that is stronger that the one that says, “I want to lose weight.”
I go into detail about this in Chapter 17 of my book Love Yourself Lighter: How to End Your Weight Struggle by Changing the Way You Think, but in a nutshell it boils down to you “hiring” the excess weight to do a job for you. It’s there for a reason.
Maybe that reason is to keep love at bay so that you don’t get your heart broken.
Or maybe you use the excess weight as an excuse not to move forward in your life, which allows you to avoid the risk of failure—or success.
Or maybe you use it as a way to “fit in” or stay connected with others—because if you were thinner, you fear you might stand out, or be judged, or be rejected.
In order to let yourself release the weight, you need to believe that it’s safe to do so.
I invite you to write down the reasons why you’re choosing to wear the extra weight and take some time to evaluate those reasons. You may find that once you look at it in this context, it’s easy to decide that you no longer need to hold on to the weight anymore and can begin the process of genuinely letting it go.
Here are some Power Thoughts to practice to help you shift your mind:
It’s safe to release excess weight because I trust myself to make smart choices in relationships.
It’s safe to release excess weight because I am a strong, capable person who can manage any situation with grace and ease.
It’s safe to release excess weight because people like me for me, not for what I look like.
Now, why is it safe for YOU to let yourself release the excess weight you’ve been holding on to?
Once you believe your answer, releasing it as good as done.
If you are finding it difficult to figure out the job you’ve hired the excess weight to do, or maybe you’ve figured it out but are having a hard time believing it’s safe to let go of the weight, perhaps investing in some coaching sessions would help. Click here to view my website and make an appointment with me for a complimentary mini-session. I’d love to talk with you and explore the ways coaching can help you create the outcomes you desire. I look forward to hearing from you!
I’m sure you’re pretty clear that what you feed your body matters, but have you ever thought about what you are feeding your brain?
We think thousands of thoughts each day. Some thoughts have become automatic (getting dressed for work), and some thoughts we think on purpose (remembering to unplug the coffee pot before leaving the house).
Your thoughts lead to your actions, and the actions you take create your end result. Your brain likes to be efficient and it strives to make your thoughts a reality.
If you are constantly feeding your brain a thought like “I’m so fat” over and over, your brain will go to work to create that result for you.
This is how it works:
Thought: I’m so fat.
Action: Give up on healthy habits.
Result: Remain overweight.
You end up with the very thing you’re complaining about!
Now, just as your body responds to healthier food, what would happen if you started feeding your brain “healthier” thoughts?
Thought: I take action to improve my health each day.
Action: Stay consistent with healthy habits.
Result: A healthier body
I invite you to be really choosy about the thoughts you are consuming—whether the source is the media, the people in your life, or your own collection of painful stories.
When a food is poisonous, it usually tastes bad, right? Well, thoughts that are poisonous feel bad–that’s how you know to “spit it out” and reject it.
You have the right to reject your own thoughts. You don’t have to believe every thought you think, and just because you think a mean thought about yourself doesn’t make it true.
You get to decide what you want to believe, and you can get good at making your preferred thoughts more automatic by practicing them over and over again (you’re practicing your thoughts over and over anyway, so you might as well pick some good ones).
Just as you pick out food in a market to feed your body, what are the kinds of thoughts you want to feed your brain?
Here are some ideas to put in your “brain basket”:
It’s okay to meet my own needs.
Taking care of myself feels good.
I’m worth the time and effort it takes to be healthy.
I choose to see the best in myself.
I am more capable than I know.
Ahhh… Don’t you feel better already?
On Sunday, after cleaning house for six hours straight, I was ready to settle in for the evening and watch the Golden Globe Awards show on TV. It was amazing how quickly the thoughts of snacks started popping up in my mind.
You worked hard today; you deserve some treats.
Trader Joe’s is just down the street.
You can get chips & dip. Ooh, and maybe some cookies!
Within a split second, I imagined myself going up and down the aisles, mentally selecting the treats I would eat while watching the show.
But then something interesting happened. Since I was already imagining my evening of selecting treats and eating them in front of the TV, I then chose to take it all the way through and mentally fast-forwarded to how I would feel after eating the chips, dip, and cookies. In a word: GROSS. And knowing myself, I would have ultimately wished that I hadn’t eaten that.
Can you relate to this scenario?
If so, then you know all too well that feeling of “Food Regret” that starts to settle in as you lick the crumbs off your fingers as the last bite is consumed. The food is now gone and you’re left there feeling mentally and physically like crap.
Since we already know what the outcome is going to be, why not cut out the middleman and just not eat it in the first place? It truly is the kinder thing to do when we know that certain foods don’t feel good in our bodies. I realize that this is easier said than done—but it is doable—especially when it’s coming from a place of love for our bodies.
Yes, I did work hard today. CORRECTION: My body worked hard today. It did not need to then work even harder to digest those particular food choices. I mentally pictured what my body would have to go through to process food like that and suddenly getting dressed and going to Trader Joe’s didn’t sound so appealing anymore.
Your body works hard for you, too. It helps you get around. It helps you complete the items on your to-do list. It helps you give and receive love. Doesn’t it deserve better than the aftermath of “Food Regret”?
Before you take action on the thought, “I deserve a treat”:
2. Do a mental fast-forward in your mind (based on past experience) and imagine how you are going to feel post-treat.
3. Ask yourself, “Does my body deserve the outcome of this choice?”
If the answer is NO, the kindest thing you can do for yourself and your body is to skip it. Not because you “should,” but because you genuinely want to out of self-love.
You know when you learn a whole new way of looking at something and it totally clicks?
I was listening to a podcast called Happy Ever After, hosted by author and Law of Attraction Coach, Cassie Parks, and in episode #2 she said something that went off like bells in my head. She described how when it comes to money, she doesn’t use the word “spend,” she always uses the word “invest.” She explained that when you invest, you expect a return—which makes you look at spending money in a different way.
“What’s the return on my investment?”
How does this relate to my work in helping women change their relationship with food?
By using the word “invest” any time you purchase food, it makes you think about the return you’ll be getting on that investment—which may change what you decide to put in your cart, and ultimately, what you end up putting in your body.
When you choose high-nutrient foods (protein, vegetables, fruit, etc.), you are investing in your good health. The energy it provides you to run your body, and perhaps even help you release some extra weight, is a return on your investment.
When you are about choose low-nutrient foods (cookies, French fries, ice cream, etc.), you may want to “forecast” your return on investment for that choice before you make it. If you really and truly enjoy consuming that particular food (guilt-free), then maybe the return on investment is worth it to you. If you know from past experience that eating it will leave you feeling physically sick and overstuffed, or it will cause you to gain weight, or you know you’re going to verbally beat yourself up afterward, then you might decide that this type of return on investment is not what you want after all.
As you buy your groceries or as you order in a restaurant, I invite you to think of the money you are about to part with as making an investment in yourself. Which choices are going to give you more of what you want long-term?
Even if there’s no exchange of money, I still invite you to consider your potential “return” prior to making your food choices. Are you about to help yourself to the candy bowl at the office? Unless you are able to slow down and enjoy every single bite, what is the real return you’re about to receive? Feeling guilt and shame for eating it? Feeling physically gross? Potentially stalling your progress on your road to better health?
Each time you make a food choice, stop and ask yourself, “If I choose this, what is the return, and do I want that for myself?” Try this for a week and see if it changes the way you invest in yourself and your health. Who knows? You might even save some money in the process by passing on food you’d rather not invest in. How cool would that be?