Is it time to change your thinking?
In this weeks blog, I am focusing in on the 4 common things I see in relation to barriers to having the healthy weight you want. I hope these help you make a sustainable real change.
Why the one thing is never the one thing!
Absolutely everyone will give diet advice, no matter experience or success, we grip onto it (well, for at least a minute or so)because this piece of advice sounds great and it just may be the one thing! We are all searching for the one thing that will make a difference to our lives, our health, the magic pill. I know how that feels, it is probably why I love to research so much, just maybe one day I will find it! Haha!
Who do you take advice from?
This is a question you can really reflect on, because we can find it difficult to take the advice that we really need, anything that sounds out of our ‘norm’ will show up as resistance in our body, this may elicit an automatic defensive or negative response, or even just an unemotional glazing over or switching off for you. Your ego can be the enemy, and to have real success in your health goals examining your mindset is essential. Who are you listening to? Have they achieved what you want?
I have tried so many diets, lost weight, gained weight and the cycle repeats?
This is so common in our society and it is a conversation I am having so often with beautiful amazing women (this is not just for women, it is just we are more likely to talk about it), who are so frustrated with themselves and see themselves as a failure that they can not resist the packet of biscuits or crisps. It makes me feel so sad to see them beating themselves up.
We have to change our thinking to really tackle what needs to happen to feel happy with our weight. It is a complex issue and embarking on a diet, where we focus solely on restriction, is setting ourselves up for failure. I could go into so many areas related to our innate response to sugar, fat, salt (the bliss point) and how this is used to keep us overeating, but in this article, I will focus on the most common reasons that are actually stopping you from keeping a healthy weight. You may never have thought about these, and so keep an open mind and really think about how you are feeling as you read each one. If you really want to make that change for life, these 4 key areas are where you need to look.
Do you believe you can be slim?
Can you visualise yourself a happy healthy weight for you? If you are continually not getting the results you want, this is the most likely issue. You can only achieve something if you really believe it can happen.
As you read the last sentence, what was your inner voice saying?
If you think of yourself as ‘fat’ ‘unhealthy’ ‘ill’ etc. and you affirm it to yourself by letting your inner critic take over “I am useless, I will never be slim, I am just meant to be overweight” then this will result in sabotage every time. You are not alone, most of us are talking like this to ourselves. I certainly did it!
Wake up and recognise until you change your belief system, the cycle will continue. Do you want to break it? To do this you need to be prepared to challenge your belief system, it takes practice, so you can not just work on your mindset for one week and then drop it. However, take this advice and it will change your life! I know, I have felt like you, and I have brainwashed myself to change my beliefs, and am healthier and fitter in my forties than ever before, I can also still fit into my wedding dress which I wore 18 years ago after a weight loss of over 3 stone!
Write down everything about the person you want to be, as much detail as you can, specific weight, clothes size, how you want to feel, look, what you want to be doing e.g. the difference it will make for example being able to run around with your kids, grandkids, go swimming, wear a bikini etc. Just do it? Don’t sit there analysing it, just do it.
Next day, write it all again as if it is already true. Write it in sentences affirming “I am feeling so amazing in my size 10/12 bikini, I feel so confident as I swim in my local swimming pool with my children” and so on. Get the details in, feel the joy in the words and get excited as you write them. To make it even stronger, you can make a vision board of images e.g. places you will go, things you will do, the clothes you will wear.
Now write this again every day until it is true because it works.
Does your subconscious programme connect weight loss with deprivation and lack of fun?
If your inner beliefs are that the only way to be a healthy weight is to deprive yourself, work hard and not have fun. You will continually stay in a cycle of restriction and self-sabotage bingeing.
I had this belief when I was younger, and I have had to really shift my belief system and perception of what fun is. This belief system is so common in our society because we tie junk food and often alcohol to having a good time. However, if you look at other societies around the world where they are living easily to 100 plus, enjoying life and not even trying to be healthy, they are having so much fun! Eating highly processed foods and drinking lots of alcohol is linked to switching off from stress, a form of numbing our worries. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work and is a complex part of today’s mental health problems.
As with the first solution, it does take practice to change subconscious programming and to be successful you have to replace habits over time. Find different ways to have fun, try new hobbies, activities, socialise in different ways. Invite friends over and make some Mediterranean style dips, play games, sing, dance, have a go at wild swimming, biking, walking or water sports.
Make a plan, make it easy so that you can start small and grow.
This plan will be different for everyone, depending on where you are on your health journey. The best way to start is to think of one situation where you know that this belief is in play e.g. the night each week or month where the whole health plan blows up and goes to pot! Tackle this one situation first and change one small thing, this could swap a food, drink or start up a completely new hobby to replace it. It really needs to be your choice and your change. You can do this!
It’s the stress!!!
Feeling stressed, fatigued and just generally feeling completely overwhelmed will cause you to hold on to weight. High levels of the hormone cortisol can cause the body to hold on to fat, especially around the tummy. Feeling stressed and tired will also promote sugar cravings and encourage comfort eating or drinking. Being able to manage stress is key to supporting a healthy weight.
Build your toolbox of strategies, find ways to feel calm and promote your wellbeing. You are so important and how you feel will impact everyone around you. Topping yourself up and feeling calm will keep your cortisol in balance and support a healthy relationship to food. Make sure you move in some way every day, our bodies need this and taking a walk outside in nature is one of the best ways to release stress. Everyone can have a different toolbox, for some playing a musical instrument, reading, writing, dancing, swimming or yoga is their thing, and a range of tools is good. Also, the amount of decisions you make each day plays a huge part in the ability to make healthy choices. Just the amount of decisions we have to make can overwhelm, so depending on your job, if you have children, having to care for others etc. this can be different for us all. The more responsibility, the more challenging it is to navigate the overwhelm and access the healthy choices. This is exactly why you will find successful people have routines and work on simplifying their life and reducing decisions.
- Make time for yourself each day – You may only have 5 minutes to start with (everyone can find 5 minutes), in this 5 minutes you may go for a walk, play music, listen to a podcast, read, breathe deeply in and out, write a diary entry, journal about your feelings, do some yoga stretches, sit in the car and do a 5 minute meditation from you tube or an app like ‘calm’ or ‘insight timer’. You can build on this. I have 60-90 minutes every morning to meditate, journal, stretch, workout/walk. It makes you want to get up because you know this is your time. You may have your 5 minutes or more any time of the day to fit with what works for you, it might be that you have a baby and that a 20-minute nap is your time each afternoon.
- Simplify your life – Do you have set routines? If you do can you strengthen them a little more, if you don’t start by introducing one thing at a time to make it a habit, before adding something else. It is like anything new, you have to practise it and make it stick. The most common things that will help you be successful in reducing decisions, getting into healthy habits and enable you to be successful in reducing stress and making healthy lifestyle choices are the following:
– Having your outfit already decided the night before or even better have a simplified workwear wardrobe, after all, if it is good enough for Barack Obama and Richard Branson!
– Meal planning – weekly meal planning is amazing, but if this feels overwhelming, just start with breakfast and build on it over time.
– Having lunches and or breakfast prepared a few days in advance. I tend to do most of my week meal preparation on a Sunday e.g. making hummus/dips/dressings, chopping and freezing veggies and garlic ready for stir-frying, or adding to a chilli, curry, soup etc.
– Have a morning routine – knowing what is happening when you get up and just having everything organised e.g. working out, meditating, taking the dog for a walk etc. takes any decision making out of the equation. If getting up is your issue, take a leaf out of Mel Robbins book and just jump out of bed! Literally, launch yourself like a rocket, and resolve never to snooze.
- Move every day – even if it is just 2 star jumps every morning to start with or walking to the end of the road and back, you will build your fitness and you will feel amazing as it builds. This supports a heathy weight and releases stress. Add some resistance training e.g. yoga, weights etc. As we know that lean body mass (reducing/having a healthy fat percentage) reflects how well we age.
- Adaptogens – these are natural substances which can support a healthy lifestyle, there is very little use for them if we are eating highly processed foods. However, adaptogens are just as they are named, able to help us adapt to stresses and Ashwagandha has been utilised in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, in addition, organic Peruvian Maca, turmeric, and ginger are all healing and supportive in managing stress levels.
My hormones are out of whack!
In number three we introduced the hormone cortisol, and this is relevant to adrenal fatigue, all of the solutions above can help you keep your adrenals in check. If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, you may feel continually frazzled and overwhelmed, you may wake up and feel exhausted as though you have never slept, even after 8 or more hours of sleep (also check nutrient levels, especially iron and magnesium). However, we have more than a hundred hormones in our body, all contributing to our health and wellbeing and so it would be craziness to try and tackle these in one short paragraph. However, the most common issues with weight centre on the thyroid, which is responsible for the metabolism. If you are over 35 and are unable to lose weight no matter what you are doing, it is worth having your doctor check your TSH levels. Hypothyroid or underactive thyroid can be caused by nutritional deficiencies (iodine and selenium), as well as stress and environmental toxins.
If you do have Hashimoto’s or Hypothyroidism you will need to seek medical advice, however, the following advice will support a healthy weight.
- Go gluten-free – follow a whole foods way of eating, avoid processed gluten-free products where possible
- Heal your gut – consume lots of fibre rich foods e.g. veggies, beans and pulses and take a multi-strain probiotic as well as introducing some fermented foods
- Reduce sugar and processed foods
- Reduce consumption of meat
- Do not eat raw cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc.) – cook, well to destroy the goitrogens
- Avoid processed soya products
- Consume 3 brazil nuts a day for your selenium intake
I wish you so much love and luck on your health journey, be kind to yourself, after all, you are amazing!
Love and light,