Many thanks to Pamela Sylvan, publicist and editor of DowntownAndAround on line magazine, as well as CEO of Mojo Maker, who interviewed me recently on my work.
(This interview is 35 minutes long, but if you are in a hurry, here are a few notes below so you get the gist of it).
My approach to weight loss is unique because I take women to a deeper place inside; to understand what is going on for you around diet and exercise, and to use that awareness to take more control of your daily choices. Here are four areas we explore:
- The effects of the past: We explore how events and experiences from your past continue to affect the way you see and treat yourself. These patterns show up in all sorts of ways, including your self- care and the way you eat. I summarise this by saying ’the past has long arms’, meaning it can reach into the present, unless we are aware of our triggers and can take control.
- Plan of action: But insight alone isn’t enough to lose weight. We also need to make a plan of action to guide us, so we can get the results we want.
- Mindful eating: Mindfulness is another important piece that needs attention. So many of us eat mindlessly, in front of the TV without noticing what we are eating. Eating this way is a major cause of overeating. We have to start noticing and enjoying the food we eat, which ironically will probably mean we eat less and lose weight.
- Loving ourselves is very important. Most women I see have big hearts, care deeply for others, are super competent and organised. However we often find it hard to care enough about ourselves to prioritise our own needs. It can feel like too much trouble to cook for ourselves, so we take shortcuts when we are alone and just grab and go.
Losing vs maintaining: I talk about the difference between losing weight and keeping it off. Losing weight is exciting, as we watch the numbers go down each week on the scale. But when we reach our target weight and the numbers stay the same, that excitement lessens. So we have to adjust and find our excitement in a different way.
Weight is a signal that something may need your attention: My perspective is that when you are overweight, it can be a signal that something in your life needs your attention. It may be that your self-esteem needs a boost, you need to take better care of yourself or make more space for your own needs to be met.
Personal rules: When you decide to change your diet, it helps to have some structure around your food, and to make some rules for yourself. Some examples of rules might be to add greens to all your meals, sit at a table to eat, have breakfast, avoid overeating by noticing how your body feels as you eat, or refuse to have second helpings. I subscribe to the idea that if you eat more than you need, you are wasting food on the inside, rather than the outside.
How I work: Pamela asked me how I would work with someone who wants to lose weight, but has negative self -talk, a tendency to hide and trouble getting started. I said it’s quite common that someone wishes they felt more motivated to stick to a meal plan, but find they keep sabotaging their progress.
I start by listening to their story – to harvest what they have learned about themselves, their weight and diets. I find most overweight women are already experts on diets and since I am not a dietician, I don’t give much advice in this area. Some women have always had struggles with weight, while others gained weight as an adult, maybe after having a child. We explore what weight means for them, and whether it may be a protection or a distraction of some sort. This backstory helps us identify what needs tweaking and changing.
We set new goals and habits: We look at their food habits, how they treat themselves, their pleasures and interests and how much stress vs support they have in their lives. All of these affect how much we eat. We set modest goals and identify key habits that lead to success. I encourage women to take control of their lives in all areas not just weight, have confidence in their wisdom and choose nourishing food that suits their body.
Visual cues and planning: I work with many smart competent women who love their work, but could work all day without remembering to eat! I suggest making visual aids to chart progress, set timer alerts to eat and plan your weekly menu.
Prepare for success: If your unconscious is not ready for success, this can cause self -sabotage. Losing weight brings many benefits, but not everyone is ready for the compliments, comments and attention they get from others. Many women for a variety of reasons, may not be comfortable with being looked at, seen, getting compliments, stepping out and being visible. This needs attention to avoid self-sabotage.
Lastly losing weight means stepping out of your comfort zone. When you start to do things differently, and act against your childhood conditioning, it feels unnatural at first and you may think you should stop. Maybe you were raised to keep yourself small, and not get a big head for example. This is an example of where good counselling is so useful, to help you resolve this and let yourself experience success. Food addictions can also move around, so if you stop over eating for example, without counselling you may then become a shopaholic, because the pain underneath the addiction has not been addressed.
If you would like to find out more about what I do, visit my website –www.gracefulsolutions.ca and sign up for my monthly tips on emotional wellbeing and weight loss. Feel free to register for my free calls coming up called “Top 3 Reasons Women Regain Weight”, and check out my 4 week on line course starting Wed June 3rd or Thursday July 2nd at 7pm called “Change your mind, Change your Weight”. I would love to hear what you think of this blog or the video, and if there is something you would like to add.