As I’m roaming around the blogosphere I see a certain weight loss theme happening …falling off the diet wagon. I believe I did that on and off for a little under 40 years. The bottom line is it happens and the trick is getting right back on that wagon, or is it? Maybe you’re better off chucking the wagon, learning to let go of the old baggage it was carrying and choosing to ride the horse of a different colour that was pulling the wagon in the first place. In this case the wagon is perfectionism and the horse is acceptance, now that is a different colour!
What if I tell you that all obese people are perfectionists, would you believe me? All or nothing thinking is the way most obese minds work and all or nothing thinking is about perfectionism. “If I can’t do it perfectly I won’t do it at all” is the mantra of the perfectionist, even if they don’t realize it! Reading this you may be thinking, “I don’t say that to myself” and you probably don’t use those exact words, however, the results will be the same no matter what you tell yourself. Example – “I blew it this morning so the whole day is shot”, followed by the dreaded BINGE. Another fave example of all or nothing thinking happens at the fast food drive-thru – “It’s more economical to get the extra large fries, I want more for my money!” Do either of these sound familiar? Do you do this with a different dialogue in your head? This is all or nothing thinking. It permeates the obese person’s entire life: work life, personal life, financial life, etc.
As a perfectionist I can be so very very hard on myself. Beating myself up for things I would never condemn another person for doing, saying, and yes even thinking. My standards are so high that I can’t even reach them, at least that’s the way it used to be. I know better these days and when I catch myself going into this old mode I laugh at myself. I actually laugh out loud because it’s good for the soul and reminds me I’m human. Human beings aren’t perfect but I believe with all my heart and soul that we are perfect as we are. Let me put it in another way…you are enough just as you are, you are lovable just as you are. All you have to do is accept your own humanity (perceived imperfections), enoughness and lovability. So what if enoughness isn’t a real word, I’m embracing my humanity! Acceptance is the key, you see there’s a formula for change.
Awareness + Acceptance + Action = Change
Awareness is more than realizing you need or want to lose weight. This is about being aware of yourself and your needs:
- The habits and triggers that cause you to eat.
- What flavors and social events (that happen around food) will leave you feeling deprived if you give them up. Deprivation leads to binge every time. Notice I said flavors and not food, most people don’t need to eat the slice of pizza, they need to eat something that tastes like pizza. We’re taste and, at times, texture driven with food.
- Your relationship with food and by this I mean making certain foods “GOOD” or “BAD”. When I gave up the notion that chocolate was bad I started creating calorie conscious deserts that have chocolate in them. Since I have allowed myself to have chocolate I can keep a bag of chocolate chips in the pantry and I don’t binge on them at all. Actually since I became friends with chocolate I rarely want it. We all want what we can’t have. The same goes for foods you may deem good. If you don’t like celery don’t eat it because it’s a good food, eating foods you don’t really like will leave you feeling deprived, which causes binging. It’s not the food causing the problem, it’s your relationship with it, in other words the way you think about food.
- The things that you feel are flawed about yourself and/or personality quirks you don’t like. These are the things that cause you extreme emotional upheaval and may cause you to beat yourself up. You need to be aware of what they are. Because you’re going to have to accept them as they are, for now.
Acceptance is the big piece of it all! You can only start where you are. Acceptance is about being willing to be honest with yourself. Acceptance is about being willing to start where you are without judgment. Acceptance is about being willing to work with the needs and perceived flaws you’re aware of. If you’re not working with yourself then you’re working against yourself, probably without even realizing it. You have to learn to work with the foods that would cause deprivation if you gave them up; giving these foods up would cause binges which works against your weight loss. You have to learn to work with the parts of yourself that you want to change and accept your humanity, not doing so can cause you to eat emotionally which works against your weight loss. You can’t change the sheets in your bedroom from your living room, you have to work with the bed. In order to lose weight you have to work with yourself and it takes acceptance to do it.
Action speaks for itself. However, without acceptance, which is the key to it all, it’s impossible to take the right action that will work for you.
You see weight loss, or change relies on all the three pieces. A lack of acceptance is denial, denial means you’re not really aware of your needs and the parts of yourself that you need to work with, and unfortunately without awareness of your needs and self, you can’t make the right choices, for your unique being, that will ensure your weight loss success. Weight loss is not one size fits all, it’s personal and a generic food plan isn’t. It’s not that diets don’t work, they all work if you follow, but most of them won’t be right for your beautiful individuality.
Yes it’s work and it’s the challenging part of weight loss. It’s why so many people, including myself, have lost weight and gained it back, they were working with an idea of how things should be rather than working with themselves as things are.
You can do this and so can I. If you have questions please ask. If you need help creating a plan for you please ask.
May your journey be delicious and the company you keep inspiring and supportive.