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As a former food addict, and someone who’s wrestled more jeans than all the supermodels around the world, Fall brings a special challenge.
Call it a test.
The jeans test.
The softer summer clothing gets packed away and the brutally honest denim emerges.
Since I rarely weigh myself, every year, I wonder if living in the stretchy fabric of summer has given me permission to regain a few pounds.
I grew up in a cranky Southern female family that emphasized looks over achievement, the perfect body over brains, style over substance. I was ninja trained in the black arts of judgment, comparison and self-hatred by a mother who could eviscerate the toughest-skinned cowgirl with an evil look or a few words. In the face of unbearable beauty, her final clawing words were:
“Yeah, she’s pretty, but she knows it, so that cancels it right out.”
It wasn’t easy knowing you’d never be good enough, and, if you did have the luck to grow up pretty, you couldn’t even enjoy that knowledge without the dreaded cancellation effect occurring.
Talk about a lose-lose situation!
I was only ten when she put me on my first diet. Even though I wasn’t fat, there was fear I would be… because she was fat. Mama taught me to closet eat and to use food for every possible doubt, fear, delay or frustration. She also taught me to diet with a vengeance after days, weeks or months of channeling the power of food into bodyfat.
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I was once fat. Many people prefer another word but I like “Fat” and, since it was mine, I figure I get to call it any name I want.
In the year 1996, I weighed 242 lbs.! That’s quite a bit of fat, no matter what you like to call it. Like most people, I wasn’t fond of my fat. I desperately wanted to change it, and I had tried for over 20 years to solve fat. My first diet was at age 10. And, when you try to solve something for 20+ years, and aren’t successful, you get pretty pessimistic about the whole damned project.
The way I saw it, Fat got in the way of finding a career I loved. It got in the way of relationships. It affected how I felt about myself.
And, by 1996, I was seeing it pretty much as UNSOLVE-ABLE!
This wasn’t just an obstacle – it was the biggest obstacle of all time in my eyes. No matter what I had tried, and I had tried every diet, intervention and exercise modality known to wo/man, the excess weight always came back.
Like a stalker!
Like it had FAT GPS!
And I thought I was the only one in the world who had this problem!
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I have fallen. Deeper. Into my body. Into love.
I had to be shown the way, finally. I had forgotten. How to love. How to hold. How to honor. And worship.
Some days, I am in love with everything and everyone and myself too. But, the days I do not love everything and everyone, I am intensely aware I am out of balance and need to get back in love.
Once you know how to love, you cannot stop. You cannot forget. You must have it again. Once you love yourself, you know you will love and love again and because you have to.
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This is the prime week for weight loss depression in the United States. Dead of winter, resolutions a thing of the past… reality sets in. Weight loss can feel hard. Goals can seem F…A…R… away.
Needless to day, a weight loss coach hears these things a lot. But, the failure or lack of original gusto for a weight loss resolution doesn’t have to be “hard” or “depressing.” It doesn’t even have to suck the life out of your energy.
It’s all a question of perspective.
What bothers most people about weight loss is that it doesn’t happen quickly enough. And, if we switch perspectives, that’s a fantastic fact.
Quick weight loss comes back. If your weight loss is slow, it’s much more likely to be permanent. I’ve been helping clients lose weight for over 10 years, and I’ve done it myself – I’ve lost almost 100 lbs. and next month will mark 13 years I’ve sustained that weight loss. I’ve been able to see what makes people successful:
2012 is drawing to a close! It’s time for my annual contest where YOU guess how many exercise sessions I completed this year. The winner will receive a set of Catalyst products, including workbooks and CD audio classes worth more than $500, to illuminate your permanent weight loss journey!
For anyone who’s new to this blog, I’m a proponent of non-diet, permanent weight loss through true lifestyle change.
Diets are temporary ways to eat with endless mind games and emphasize willpower. True lifestyle change addresses the deeper need for food and lasts forever. My twenty-year struggle taught me to deal with the deeper needs in life, so those deeper needs don’t sabotage healthy efforts.
My Approach to Exercise or Activity
I don’t use fancy apps to track my exercise and I’ve lost over 90 pounds without counting a calorie. I know a calorie is not a calorie when it comes to fuel for the body. If you don’t understand the calorie game, get my audio class called “The Hard Cold Truth About Permanent Weight Loss” NOW!)
Here’s my “foolproof” recording method:
Yep, that’s 12 sheets of paper, calendar style, for 2013! It works because the physical act of recording, with a pen, is magical in terms of claiming your work. And you never have to worry about losing it via a computer problem. I have years of these calendars. It’s an instant reference when I need to remember how far I’ve come, or what I was doing that year I lost 20 lbs., or whatever.
The holiday season is in full swing! Even if I never saw a house filled with lights, or the Christmas Tree in front of the mall, I would know it was December because my clients’ anxiety levels are rising! For anyone trying to lose weight, holidays pose more challenges than navigating the line at the Apple store when the latest iPhone is released.
But there’s one way to make holidays easier. And it doesn’t have anything to do with those silly tips you read in fitness magazines that teach you to CONTROL YOURSELF and CONTROL FOOD. Like that worked, right?
Holiday weight gain doesn’t have to happen. The easiest way to have a fabulous holiday season and, incidentally, perhaps change your life, is to examine and STOP making up stories about the holidays and notice how encourages changing habits and behavior with food.
One of the most painful aspects of weight loss is weight regain. Has this scenario happened to you? You’ve struggled and deprived yourself for months, losing weight. And, then, one day you “wake up fat” again.
Watch this video where actor Kevin James explains it perfectly:
What were his key words?
“I’m going to give myself a little time to have fun….”
Yep, that’s what started it all!
Another key thing he said? “I’m going to make a turnaround.”
Have you heard yourself saying either of these things?
They are called denial.
Now, my point is not to ridicule Kevin James. In fact, since I have coached clients in the film business and worked in it too, I can tell you the methods used to get in shape for a film are often gruesome, even more restrictive and debilitating than most of us mortals, who aren’t being paid hundreds of thousands (or millions!) of dollars, could endure.
And, if our mortal efforts results in regain 99% of the time, Hollywood weight loss is almost guaranteed to return. You see this over and over, as actors regularly bulk up, then lose weight, invariably winding up in midlife as overweight, metabolisms shot, bodies energetically depleted. It happened to Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor in the old days. It happened to Russell Crowe and Christina Aguilera more recently.
And even though it’s a legitimate point how differently media treat male and female regainers (media and tabloids follow female regainers around ruthlessly – see this recent article where Christina Aguilera talks about how she was “forced” to be toothpick thin early in her career, with producers telling her an entire tour would fail if she was anything but tiny), they didn’t seem to talk too much about Kevin James’ regain.
He wasn’t ridiculed or plastered on the cover of People.
He didn’t find a “plus sized” label in front of his name, like comedienne Aidy Bryant, a new regular cast member of Saturday Night Live, discovered in front of her name in the articles about her new job. (See this article calling her “morbidly obese” and suggesting thin women run for the ho-hos.)
No, the point is Kevin’s regain. Despite his sense of humor (haven’t we all developed good senses of humor about our weight?), you can see behind his apology.
As I recently told a client who got to goal weight and began to slip: there is only one way to eat.
No “I’ll just give myself a break…”
No “I’ll get back on the wagon….” Remember Oprah’s wagon? There is no wagon.
There is only now. And how we feed and treat ourselves right now will show up tomorrow. There is only one way to eat. And that is in the healthiest way possible, especially given the crap that’s hawked in our faces every day, screaming from every billboard, sign and screen.
Let’s eat in a way that makes us proud of ourselves today, and makes tomorrow great.
We all know how to do this, if we stop and pay attention. We know how to treat ourselves with dignity.