As you read in my post last week, I found that it took me nine weeks of constant practice to rewire my brain into automatically skipping wheat, dairy, and sugar. I thought that this was really important information to share, as many people with a history of quick-fix dieting tend to give up on a new practice after about two weeks if they don’t start seeing results. Understanding up front that this process can take several weeks may help you stick with your commitment all the way through.

But instead of focusing on the result you’re after, I invite you to focus on the process.

I invite you to focus only on the day in front of you. In some cases, you may need to focus only on the meal or snack in front of you. Even if you need to break it down hour by hour in the beginning, no big deal. Your process is your process. And it’s the right process—whatever it is—because it works for you.

String enough of those focused days together and you will change your brain.

How do I know?

Because I had to talk myself into eating a piece of bread this past Friday at a fundraising event where I was volunteering.

I neglected to pack some snacks with me and I found my blood sugar dipping right before the big auction where I was asked to be a spotter (waiving a pom-pom stick over the people who were bidding to alert the auctioneer). I knew I needed energy to run around the room, and I also knew that if let myself get too hungry, I would end up with a headache for the rest of the day. I chose to eat the bread, but it took a little convincing.

Crazy, right? Less than three months ago, I was eating bread almost daily. I thought it was an interesting test, too, because since I chose to eat it, I paid close attention to how it made me feel. Though I was able to avoid getting a headache, I noticed how tired I felt. I wanted to take a nap in the middle of the day. I also got feedback that my digestive system didn’t like it either, but I will spare you the TMI on that. This is all good information for me to know, as it reinforces my choice to avoid eating products made from wheat. Not because I “shouldn’t,” but because I genuinely don’t want to.

As I was writing the above paragraph, it dawned on me how much attention I have paid to myself during this practice project. It also made me think of the countless women I meet who believe that paying attention to one’s self is selfish. I used to be one of those women, but over the years I have learned to discard that belief. I would never have been able to win the weight war within had I not paid attention to myself, to my body, and to my mind.

If you want to heal your weight struggle, paying attention to yourself is imperative.

WAIT!

You know what’s funny? This just came to me. When you are steeped in the weight struggle, you are paying attention to yourself ALL OF THE TIME.

You are on yourself for what you’re eating.

You are on yourself for how your body looks.

You are on yourself for how your clothes fit.

You are paying attention to yourself all day long. Except your self-talk is mean, and critical, and shaming.

Why is this kind of attention okay in our society, but paying loving, caring attention to yourself is thought of as odd and almost frowned upon?

When you really look at it, don’t you find harping on yourself as odd behavior?

No one thrives when steeped in shame.

Treating yourself with love and care is how you will heal—and how you will bloom.

Maybe believing this is the first practice you must take on. Because believing that it’s okay to pay loving attention to yourself sets the foundation for other practices that will help you heal your relationship with food and your body.

It’s okay to be nice to yourself.

It’s okay to give yourself supportive pep talks.

It’s okay to like who you are.

Try this practice on for several weeks and see if that changes the game for you.

It certainly did for me.