lose weight

Why Weight Loss and Body Acceptance are NOT Mutually Exclusive

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The holidays are upon us. Christmas tunes are playing as I sip from my red Starbucks cup (in other words, it's official now). And while the charm of this season is in the air, it's also a difficult time of year for many: the stress of hosting, complicated family dynamics and financial pressures can make it hard to relax and soak in the holiday spirit.

It's a natural human tendency to look back and focus on the things we didn't fulfill, the resolutions we didn't keep, and the mistakes we made, rather than reflecting on the positive steps we took, the accomplishments we achieved, and the lessons we learned.

I ask you, how many of your past years' resolutions sounded something like this?

I WILL fit into my skinny jeans

I WILL NOT eat carbs

I WILL get back to my wedding day weight

My New Years resolutions were weight-related year after year. I began each year ashamed that, as much as I wanted to lose weight, as motivated as I was (and I was motivated) I would find myself in the same place, just one year older.

So, a few years ago I decided that was enough of that. I realized that shaming myself into success did not work for me. Looking at the upcoming year in a frame of punishment was setting me up for failure before I even started. Because here's the thing. My internal dialogue was not about self care or how I could better feed my body and soul. It wasn't about leaning into things that made me feel good and proud and strong. It was about loathing the way I looked now and berating myself into change. Not shocking that it didn't work.

That's not to say that we shouldn't have weight loss goals. It's the approach we take to get there that makes all the difference. So many of the women I talk to believe that weight loss and body acceptance are mutually exclusive. They are not. Believing that you are worthy NOW and treating yourself with kindness is a MUCH more effective means of losing weight than trying to punish yourself into new habits.

I found sustained weight loss when I shifted my approach from punishing rules and self-hate to mindful eating and self-kindess. And I've seen other women have tremendous success doing the same. To help you step into this holiday season and new year with light, I would like to offer you a FREE, private 30-minute breakthrough session that will help you re-frame your weight loss goals and plans. Booking that breakthrough session will also make you eligible for special holiday pricing on 3 and 6 month coaching packages through the end of January.

If you have trouble believing this works, I don't blame you. But I do ask you to do one thing. Think back to times where you have felt that self-loathing. It was pretty fierce, wasn't it? It may have made you want to hide under the covers, but did it change your body?

So, this new year, don't resolve for a "new" or a "better you". Resolve to love yourself NOW and learn how to introduce methods of self-care that encourage sustainable healthy habits.

Cheers to you. Exactly as you are right now.

5 New Years NON-Resolutions

The promise of a new year often gets you thinking about a “new (and implicitly improved) you”. Between the heightened noise of the diet industry and the reminder that you didn't achieve last year’s goal (it was the same one, wasn’t it?), you are conditioned to believe that it’s your willpower that is lacking. This will be the year. I WILL lose 15 pounds. I will get OFF SUGAR. I will BE STRONG. 

When you stop and think about it, it’s a rather bizarre phenomenon. Every year at the same time – after a month of indulgences which you inevitably feel guilty about – you pick something about yourself to improve upon. Don’t get me wrong; self-examination is an incredibly important practice and something we should do all year long, but let’s break this down for a minute:

The definition of resolution is the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose. 

I’m going to write that again. Firmness of purpose. The words are critical here. They imply that if you want something enough you can make it happen, and if you fail it’s because you lack resolve. It becomes a judgment on your character. But if you are someone that has struggled with your weight or body image for years on end, you know in your heart that its not your resolve that’s lacking. Your desire to lose weight is very real and very strong. But you still don’t lose weight. You only deepen the hate you feel for yourself and your body.

The idea that willpower is the key to losing weight is the equivalent of believing that people with depression can just “snap out of it”. With any type of illness, you experiment with different treatments until you, hopefully, find something that works. You don’t expect that if you’re "tough enough" on yourself, you get healthy faster. If someone suggested that you just work harder to beat that flu virus, you would dismiss them as insane. No, you allow your body time to rest and repair. It’s no different with dieting or losing weight. It is equally unrealistic to believe that hating your body enough will give you the strength to change it.

My point is not that losing weight is impossible, nor that wanting to begin a new year with new goals is a waste of time. I merely want to demonstrate that how you approach it does matter. For starters, what if you ditch the notion of a resolution (and it’s implication that desire equals success) and shift, instead, to the idea of opportunity. What opportunity does the new year present you with that you most want to take advantage of? What opportunity do you want to make more space for in your life this coming year? 

Rather than looking to change something about yourself that you don’t like, what if you appreciate yourself exactly as you are today so that you may start the new year with the increased capacity for self-care? If you focus more on creating space for the positive in your life and the things that make you feel good, you are much more likely to reap positive rewards, whatever they may be. If you practice self-love, you are much more apt to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Since this might be a radically new approach for some of you, I thought I would offer you 5 examples to get you inspired!

5 NEW YEARS OPPORTUNITIES FOR 2016:

  1. Make eye contact - maybe for you this means putting down the phone and actually smiling at the cute guy in the coffee shop you see every day.  A little eye contact goes a long way!
  2. Eat MORE veggies - instead of focusing on the “bad” foods you want to cut from your diet, instead work on adding veggies at every meal. Don’t skip the pasta, just add a side salad. This way you are upping your nutrition and getting full from great stuff without depriving yourself of anything in the process.
  3. Enjoy your food - ditch the guilt. No matter what you are eating, practice committing to tasting and enjoying it. You might find that certain foods you think you love don't actually taste that good (or vice versa).
  4. Take time for self care every day - this does not mean you need to make it to the spa once a week. Choose something realistic; find one thing each day to compliment yourself on, for example.
  5. Be vulnerable - share your victories and your hardships with someone who cares about you. You are not a burden. Your loved ones WANT to be there for you. Let them in, for the good and the bad.

Keep ‘em coming, guys! Would love to hear what opportunities you want to create space for in 2016! Share in the comments below or on Facebook or Instagram!

Here is to you recognizing how perfect you already are.