Meet Cathy Cox
Your Personal Weight Loss Advisor
September 12, 2013
I've been there. I can't count how many times. I've been to all the extremes and back again. I've counted calories, obsessed over carbs, protein and fat grams, and skipped going out with friends. I have looked to the scale to tell me that I was good or bad, right or wrong, successful or not. At best, this negative behavior pattern was utterly making me crazy and was actually harmful at its worst. But I've learned some important weight loss lessons from this experience.
In the spirit of sparing you from living any of the wild swings of my past, I thought I'd share my top four weight-loss DON'TS:
1. DON'T cut anything out of your diet entirely. Whole food groups, specific foods, I don't care what it is, going cold-turkey on anything is bad news. Yes, the strategy will work. But only for a while, until you can't stand it anymore! And it's really hard even when it IS working!
But even worse, when it stops working for you, you'll start blaming yourself. You may start hearing yourself saying things like, "I must not really want to lose weight" or "I guess I'm supposed to be fat." Shame and self-blame aren't doing you any favors, so skip any weight-loss method that sets you up for failure from the very start. Inclusive is in. Total restriction and self-deprivation are totally out.
2. DON'T depend on the scale for validation. It's important to know that our day-to-day decisions DO impact the number on the scale, but you cannot look at a small change in your scale weight today and point to the one thing you did differently yesterday as evidence that you did something "right" or "wrong." The scale is important, but it's a tool just like a thermometer; neither actually offers moral judgments.
The process of healthy weight loss is also about re-connecting with your body, hearing its various cues and signals, and responding to the signs appropriately. Looking to the scale to tell you if you're paying attention to what your body wants is like putting your fingers in your ears and singing "LA-LA-LAAAAA; I can't heeeeaaaarrr youuuuuu!"
3. DON'T be afraid to live. I'll be honest, I think I struggle with this one the most. But what does it mean? It means it's ok to have a drink with friends once in a while. It's ok to eat cake on your birthday, and it's fine to have Mom's mac-n-cheese next time you're home. It's ok to not be perfect. No one can be perfect for the rest of their lives. For better or worse, we celebrate, mourn, laugh, and love around food. We are raised to connect food with important life events. So embrace it. But make life's events about the celebration, the laughter, the love, or the company you're with instead of focusing on the food. When you do, choose to do it mindfully and deliberately. And squeeze every bit of joy out of the experience. Then, move on.
4. DON'T complicate it! Keep it simple and keep it real. That's both figurative and literal, but the closer you come to real food, the better. Real foods are really simple. These easy recipes have very few ingredients (often only one) or they have ingredients you can read without whipping out your Chem 101 text. They generally don't come in boxes, or with 34 health claims plastered all over (Trans-fat free! 54% less fat! Now made with 24% more REAL cheese! etc). They generally don't require a lot of counting or manipulation. And most importantly, real, simple foods don't evoke guilt or worry about the scale.
Take a minute and visualize all the freedom and all of the DO'S that comes with these weight-loss don'ts; DO enjoy, live, learn, forgive, and embrace. Eating well and feeling strong is actually a pretty awesome journey. With these weight loss lessons, you'll see it doesn't have to be a chore.
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