Over 50% of Americans want to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.
“Want” probably isn’t a strong enough word. We don’t just “want” to lose weight. We’re obsessed with it.
We spend billions of dollars on it. Many of us think about it, read about it, and talk about it constantly. And yet the weight is not coming off. Or it comes off, only to quickly return.
Suffice it to say, weight loss—the safe, healthy, permanent kind of weight loss, not the yo-yo kind—is not “easy.” If it were easy, everyone who attempted it would be far more successful at it!
But permanent weight loss is possible. I am living proof. Many of my clients are, too.
My personal weight loss journey began when I stopped dieting and started, instead, to closely examine my beliefs about food, health, beauty, self-love, and my own self-worth. I was very blessed—at that time—to find an amazing coach who gently re-educated me and explained why most of my beliefs about weight loss were, uh… totally backwards.
No offense to you, sweet reader, but you might have a lot of cray-cray ideas about weight loss, too. Most people do. It’s not your fault. It’s just what you’ve been taught.
So allow me to present some re-education…
Here are 5 pieces of “weight loss advice” that sound smart but that are actually pretty terrible for most people.
(How many of these have you heard before? I’mma go ahead and guess: all of them! Read on to understand why these pieces are advice are totally counter-productive…)
Terrible piece of weight loss advice #1 –
“Throw out all that tempting food!”
You’ve seen this on reality TV. A weight loss “expert” plows through a dieter’s kitchen to dumpster all the mayo, Cheetos, bread, cupcakes… basically anything contains more than 100 calories. The message? “You’re powerless in the face of temptation. Always have been, always will be.”
But the truth is that deprivation doesn’t work—and tossing things in the trash doesn’t work either. You can’t hide from food. Food is everywhere, at all times. Sure, you can toss out the cookies in your kitchen, but what about when Sally from Human Resources brings cookies to the office party? What then?
Permanent weight loss doesn’t happen when you toss tempting food out of your home. It’s what happens when you start to understand the thoughts and emotions that create the urge to overeat in the first place.
So what are you hungry for, really? When you find yourself trying to cure boredom with a plate of brownies or stuff down anger with pizza—or creating entertainment through wine and cheese—notice it.
Over time, you can learn how to satisfy your “cravings” using non-food-related sources of pleasure. It might feel tough, at first, but it does get easier.
Terrible piece of weight loss advice #2 –
“Throw out your scale! Just judge your weight loss by your clothes.”
You’ve heard this one before, right?
It certainly seems sensible. But hold up a minute. Let’s think about this:
If you’re throwing out your scale because you’re terrified of the emotions that you might feel when you face that number on the scale… that’s a problem.
Any time you say to yourself, “I just can’t do [insert action here] because I just can’t handle the emotions that might come up”… that’s a problem.
That means you’re giving a particular activity, place, person, or even an inanimate object—like a scale—the power to control you. Not good.
Rather than tossing out your scale because you’re afraid of how you might feel about your current weight, see if you can courageously face that fear. See if you can learn how to work through those anxious, fearful feelings without turning to food, booze or some other numbed-out zone for comfort.
In other words: learn how to manage your emotions—without needing to use food—and THEN throw out your scale if you still want to.
You might not care anymore, because once you’ve faced that particular fear, your scale will no longer hold the power to shape your self-worth.
Terrible piece of weight loss advice #3 –
“Join a boot camp exercise program. Whip your ass into shape!”
Here’s what usually happens:
You sign up for a psychotic, grueling, military-style 5am boot camp program.
You stare at your instructor’s chiseled abs and think, “Oh hell yeah. That’s gonna be me in 10 weeks.”
Then during week 2 of the boot camp program you injure yourself and now it’s tough for you to walk to your car—let alone exercise—for several months. Hooray!
Instead of pushing yourself to the extreme, focus on finding gentle, loving ways to stay active every day.
Ask your body, “What would feel like a loving, respectful way to exercise today?”
The answer might be… a hike. A walk around the block. Yoga. Or tai chi. Let your body tell you what it needs—and do that.
You’ll feel much better and you’ll be far more successful with your weight and fitness goals if you take a slow, steady, gentle “ramp up” approach, listening closely to your body as you go.
Terrible piece of weight loss advice #4 –
“Buy fabulous new clothes that you love—once you’re thinner!”
When I ask my clients, “What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you reach your goal weight?” they almost always tell me, “Get new clothes!!”
So I tell them, “Great! Do that now.”
I always encourage my clients to invest in at least 3 flattering outfits that make you feel confident and beautiful—right now—at your current weight.
How come? Because if you’re wearing sweatpants that you detest or an ill-fitting pantsuit, those icky clothes are going to influence your mood and make it that much harder for you to stay positive and on-track with your weight loss journey.
Instead of postponing happiness and beauty until “someday later,” invest in a few items that you love, right now.
Let those clothes serve as a reminder from yourself, to yourself, that you are worthy of kindness and nice things at your current size, at any size, always, no matter what.
Terrible piece of weight loss advice #5 –
“Don’t try to lose weight during a stressful time. Wait until things calm down.”
People, let’s get real. When it comes to changing your life, it’s never the “right time.” It’s never the “perfect moment.” There will always be at least one “good reason” to wait just a little bit longer.
But the people who make things happen are the people who have learned to say the following words: “The right time is NOW. Because I say so.”
That’s especially true when it comes to weight loss.
After all, if you’re going through an exceptionally stressful chapter of your life, what BETTER time could there be to start taking beautiful care of yourself?
. . .
If you’re on the road to permanent weight loss, congrats.
You’re doing big, important work that goes far beyond your dress size or appearance.
Stay curious and always question the “expert advice.” (Including my own.)
If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that for many people who are struggling to lose weight, simply sitting in silence and feeling their feelings—without needing to “make them go away”—can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world.
Learn how to do that—and food will never control you again.
P.S. If you want to help women love and respect their bodies, even if they are not currently living at their ideal / natural / goal weight, don’t miss the next round of my weight-loss coaching certification program, BARE Certified.
Women are LOVING this brave, powerful approach to weight-loss, especially the small-group vibe with so much sisterhood and personal support. It’s an honor to watch my clients transform into the weight loss coaches they were born to be.
I’ll be leading the program again in March and registration is already open. Sign up right here: https://universityforlifecoachtraining.com/programs/bare-method-certification/