This past week I had a consultation with a woman who has battled weight her whole life. After talking to me she said she’d sign up right away except she needs to talk to her husband. After she spoke to her husband, he wanted to meet with me and hear what I had to say that was different from the hundred other weight loss programs she had been on. My first thought was, “Wow, how’s that for support?” but then I realized that weight and acceptance is a big issue for women (and some men), they lament all the time, “Am I thin enough? Am I pretty enough? Do I look good to you?” etc. We can thank the media for creating insecurities in women, most of which are unwarranted. Bottom line, although Susan (name changed), has been suffocated with diet failures, her husband has been along for every painful ride.
Dieting is not just a one person issue, it affects not only the “dieter” but those surrounding the dieter. Chronic dieting affects families, friendships, spouses, sisters, mothers and daughters, etc. It can be relationship damaging, not only with others but with oneself, I see it all the time. Unfortunately, people don’t realize how toxic chronic dieting is until they sit down and talk to me. So what is different with what I do? I really don’t care about weight, yeah, I really don’t. Not that I don’t think people don’t need to lose unhealthy weight when they come in to see me, but it’s been their focus for years and to no avail. So why keep doing the same thing when the results are not forthcoming? Yet diet after diet, failure after failure, dieters keep coming back for more. So, when they come to me, I don’t focus on weight, period.
Well then, what is my strategy to help people lose weight? To be honest, I really don’t help them do that, what I help them do is change their perspective, their focus, their effort on to lifestyle change. You see, you will never, can never lose weight until you get past the weight and connect with the things that will positively affect it, right? You see, people have it wrong, they try to lose weight first and implement changes later, wrong-o! You must identify which unhealthy habits are currently a part of your life, figure out how, why, and when you’re going to change them. Words of advice? Take it slow. It took years to get where you are, allow the same patience as you change.
Another major mistake is folks try to change their life overnight, not possible if you want to make long term changes. Unfortunately, diets are sold like any other scam, they make promises of making your life perfect, loaded with everything you could dream of and then suck you in to buying it. If you’ll note at the bottom of any of these advertisements, diets or get rich quick schemes, you will see in very small print, *these results are not typical. People don’t read the fine print because they want to believe that this time is it, this time will do it. If it sounds too good to be true, it is, trust me. Even people like Oprah Winfrey and Ricky Lake are not exempt from being sucked in for all the wrong reasons.
So today, why not make the choice to focus on lifestyle, what practical changes you can make. Next, make a list of things that need changing and pick one to focus on for 30 days. Once you’re able to make the change and you realize it makes sense for you, then you can move on. You are then setting yourself up for success versus failure, it works trust me.
The hardest part of all of this? Believing you can change and getting rid of the weight focus. Look, weight loss has become a part of our culture, “everybody’s doing it!” but it is not good, it simply sets people up to fail time and time again. Weight loss is not what will make you successful, lifestyle changes will and that is a whole new way of thinking, so you’ll need some adjustment time.
Why not stop your diet tomorrow? Why continue to push yourself to achieve something that is unrealistic? Opt to set yourself up for success by allowing room for change, allowing time for change and allowing yourself to seek out great things for yourself that are possible. Talk about enhancing relationships, when you feel great so do those that love you.