Lasting Weight Loss: First You Must Be Kind to Yourself
Don’t underestimate the need for being kind to yourself. Most of us are our own worst critics.
We continuously judge ourselves and find it hard to let go of the self-blame, shame and regret.
But, if you want to get off the hamster wheel of dieting, you really must start to be kinder to yourself.
One of the most detrimental things we can do to our bodies is “go on a diet.” You’re already on a diet. Your diet is the collection of your eating habits.
It includes how you make food choices, which choices you make, how much you eat, and whether or not you address your food feelings.
So basically, you’re already on a diet. But, the absolute worst thing we do to ourselves, is to go on a restrictive fad diet of some kind for the purposes of losing weight.
What happens is you lose weight only to gain most it back again within 5 years. Most of the time, more than you lost. So be careful the next time you hear about some diet being the “best ever” for you. It’s usually just hype.
Eating is so much more complicated than “calories in vs calories out.”
There’s a good reason you crave so called “unhealthy foods”
We didn’t evolve as humans with a desire for eating healthy foods. We evolved as a species by eating nutrient dense foods to survive. I’ll put a link to a really interesting article called “Our Moods, Our Foods” in the show notes on the site. Check it out. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/our-moods-our-foods/284238/
Our ancestors didn’t survive harsh winters before modern civilization by pushing aside high calorie choices for the less fattening spring mixes. They ate what they had to, to survive. Right now, the evolution of our nutritional needs hasn’t caught up with our technological advances.
Healthy eating patterns aren’t marked by the restriction of specific food items, or macronutrients. Healthy eating patterns involves eating a variety of foods and learning to understand what our bodies are telling us. Makes good sense, right?
Start first by being kinder to yourself
One of the most harmful aspects of modern dieting is the toll it takes on your self-esteem. Your body is biologically driven to survive. But, psychologically, we’re programmed to eat food for cultural, and emotional reasons. The fact is, food is necessary for survival.
Most importantly, lasting weight loss depends heavily on your brains preset idea of your body’s ideal weight. There’s this thing called a “set point.” It’s the baseline your brain uses to decide what YOUR ideal weight is despite what your doctor tells you.
The desire to lose weight comes with anxiety, fear, and preoccupation with what you’re eating. Dieting is harmful to your self-esteem because we go beyond taking responsibility and right into taking the blame. To lose weight and keep it off, we’re basically fighting against our biological evolution.
Take a step back
If you find yourself having one of those internal monologues or conversations with yourself, and what you’re hearing is hurtful and mean, it’s time to take a minute and step back.
A healthy body isn’t necessarily a super lean body. We think it is because of all of the images we’re inundated with each and every day. But, simply put, a healthy body is linked to a healthy self-esteem and healthy mind.
Beating yourself up will only raise your stress levels, which in turn affects other hormones in your body. For most of us, stress triggers food cravings.
Healthy behaviors like exercising in a way that’s enjoyable rather than stressful, eating foods that make you feel good, and cultivating relationships with your community are more closely linked to better overall health than having a super lean figure.
Obsessive weight loss focused dieting can lead to dysfunctional behaviors like a mistrust of foods. That’s not good because it kicks in starvation, binging, and creating those negative self-feeding inner dialogues that are harmful to your self-esteem.
The basic truth is that most of us could do with some adjustment to our bodies- or at least we think we need it. What we need more of though, are healthier relationships, a healthier mental attitude, more personal kindness and acceptance of who we are.