I’m about to share something very personal with you. I’m compelled to do so.
Family gatherings and parties are some of my very favorite moments in life. I am truly blessed to have a large family of folks who truly admire and enjoy each other. During the holiday season, we get together often.
After a day surrounded by loving family and loads of great food, I usually return home feeling enormously grateful and happy. But this last time, something happened and I came home sad.
Cuddling on the couch after dinner with my Mom, she sighed and said, “I can’t wait for all these holidays to be over so I can go back to my diet. I really want to loose ten pounds this year. I’m making it my 2012 New Year’s Resolution!”
What! This is crazy talk. You see, Mom is turning 91 next month (don’t you dare tell her I told you) and I cannot believe she is still obsessing over her weight. I’ve been listening to this on and off for as long as I can possibly remember.
My mom was the original Weight Watcher’s kid. She was always on or off her diet. Either being “bad” or “good” depending on what the number on the scale said that morning. It was exhausting to listen to, and I can only imagine how exhausting it must have been for her.
I’m quite sure being exposed to this while growing up influenced my choice of careers, although I don’t think I realized that for many years to come. But what I did realize was there had to be a better way to go through life. I was not going to spend mine on and off diets, measuring my foods, feeling good about myself one day, and bad the next depending on my food choices. Or shopping for clothing that “don’t make me look fat.”
And although I figured out a lifestyle that helps me maintain a healthy body weight, and I never go on a diet, Mom did not. Clearly the extra pounds haven’t affected her longevity. A few extra pounds don’t affect health as much as some perceive it to. But what about the stress, the hardships it’s caused her and the emotional lost time?
Now don’t get me wrong…my mother is one of the most optimistic, energetic and dynamic woman you could ever meet. But it saddens me to think about what this has cost her- stress, emotional energy, decreased self-esteem, aching knees and bad back due to the excess weight, not to mention the cost of the many diet programs and special foods purchased over the years. More than anything, the thought of all those wasted moments of distress despite the smile she always shows the outside world To think that those extra pounds could stand in the way of her seeing the totally amazing person she is! Augh, it makes me want to scream.
Is this a story you can relate to? Have you been struggling to take off weight, whether ten pounds or a hundred, living your life “on or off” a diet? If you’ve been living the life of diet, and that’s your solution, you’ll be 91 and still obsessing over what you ate at Thanksgiving dinner.
After working with thousands of clients and hearing stories that sounded way to similar to Mom’s, I knew that something in this environment is making it really hard for people to stay slender, and the solution is not another diet. That’s just a temporary band-aid, but it’s not fixing the problem. See the extra pounds aren’t the problem, they are the symptom. The problem is a lifestyle that’s out of line with keeping a healthy body weight.
Ironically, I haven’t been able to help Mom, but I’ve helped a lot of other people through my one on one coaching. I’ve changed my own life because of this, and I’ve changed other people’s lives.
The New Year has started, and I know that way too many people put weight loss on their list of New Year’s resolutions yet again. Are you one of them? I think that’s a mistake. Rather than make a resolution, change your approach and make a plan!
Since that get together, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of how to reach way more than just my private coaching clients. It has become my mission to teach as many people who I can, that going on a diet is not the answer, and it usually makes things worse!
If you want to lose weight and keep it off once and for all, you must give up the idea of finding the perfect diet. Instead, begin to replace the idea of weight loss with eating for health and happiness. Eat often and eat light. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are satisfied. Enjoy the foods that you know promote health and well-being, and keep sweets and junk food as an occasional indulgence, not a daily occurrence. Food is fuel, not a cure for boredom, anger, stress or loneliness.
Get clear on why it is important for you to take off the extra pounds. Think about how carrying around the excess weight has been weighing you down not just physically, but emotionally. Being relieved of the emotional burden, feeling comfortable in your own skin, and being able to have a normal relationship with food is a lot more motivating than fitting into skinny jeans.
Do the foundational work needed to achieve permanent weight loss before trying to change your food intake. Determine your compelling motivators for change, explore your commitment and confidence level, prepare your environment and get support. Permanent weight loss and a healthy relationship with food is possible, and worth striving for. The answer is inside your heart, not inside the latest diet book, magic pill or drink. You can do this, and I would love to help you.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
It took a long time for me to accept that not everyone in my family would embrace “healthy lifestyle habits” to the degree I would like them to. It took time to get my hubby on board with exercise and it’s importance. Now he loves his tennis and walking, but weight lifting- not so much. It’s still a struggle for him to stay consistent. Although I preach the evils, one of my daughters is addicted to Diet Coke. But over the years I’ve watched her eating habits get healthier and better. I’m still learning to be patient and lead by example, not nagging.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
Watching my own family members struggle with maintaining a healthy weight has taught me to be understanding and nonjudgmental when working with clients. I think my growing up with a mom who was always trying to lose weight gave me an empathy I might not otherwise have.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
Building a coaching practice has been hard work, but incredibly rewarding. Owning my business, working at a career I love, and inspiring others to live a healthier life are definitely some of my most rewarding achievements.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
My family jokes that it’s not easy living with me- the “health nut.” Yet, they all admit that I’ve positivly influenced their choices when it comes to eating habits and exercise.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
Mom! I continue to be inspired by her daily.