A Roadmap: Great Tips For Losing Weight
As a doctor of pharmacy and certified personal trainer for The Training Room in Somerset, I get asked health-related questions all the time. One of the most popular questions as well as requests I get is “How Do I/Help Me Lose this Weight?!” I am all about being real. I don’t hide my own struggles and work every day to help clients embrace their own. In the spirit of this authenticity, when I am asked tough questions about weight loss, I am clear to state “this is NOT going to be easy” BUT there is help! The individuals that have been successful at weight loss are the ones that commit to this philosophy. They understand that there is no magical diet or pill and certainly no “quick fix.” Let’s be real, nothing really worth doing is easy and weight loss is absolutely no exception.
Many of us are drowned by negative energy in the world all around us, just turn on the news for five minutes and you will be inundated with enough negativity to fuel the depression bus into the Abyss. This is where I believe the first step to long-term weight loss success begins.
What is your story? How do you define or think of yourself? Is it a positive story you tell yourself or one that is negative and drains you of your energy? In his book “The Positive Dog: A Story About the Power of Positivity” Jon Gordon talks about the costs of negativity: stress, less energy, more pain, fewer friends, increased risk of heart attack and stroke as well as decreased longevity. He writes that we all have two dogs inside of us, one positive and one negative. The dog that we “feed” the most is the dog that grows.
I believe that weight gain and loss is an internal struggle that we can envision in this same way. If we feed ourselves to quiet the negativity energy then we are not nourishing the right dog. I advise my clients that to get serious about weight loss they need to start keeping a journal. In this journal they are not only to record when they eat, what they eat, how much they eat but WHY they eat. They need to start answering a really tough question about themselves, “am I using food as the fuel it is intended to be or am I using it to feed my fear of [insert negative thought…failure, jealousy, anger or depression].
Lesser Known Affects of Fast Food
According to this article, researchers have linked fast food to depression. In a March 2012 “Public Health Nutrition” article individuals who regularly ate fast food were found to be 51% more likely to develop depression compared to those who ate little to no fast food. We have all been made aware of the reasons why fast food is bad for us…high in calories, sodium, fat but depression? I have not heard this negative emotional component of fast food mentioned much as a reason not to consume it.
I have worked with clients who make this cycle of fast food consumption and depression, ordering and eating it in their car. They talk about feeling shame with fast food consumption. Shame and depression feed the negative dog that grows along with your waistline. This gets deep into an area that at least publically and even sometimes within our own families is difficult to declare. My argument to those struggling is this…why not begin to at least consider feeding the positive dog inside of you? As Gordon argues, feeding the positive dog requires banishing fear and replacing it with faith. He argues that fear and faith both have an unknown future, one a belief in the negative and one a belief in the positive. Why not believe that the weight loss you desire, through faith, is a reality? In the food journal I instruct clients to keep, emotional health is part of the journey. I instruct them to write down how they are feeling before, during and after they eat. This has a way of bringing recognition to why we eat.
Walk of Gratitude
When we use food as fuel and deal with the emotional side of food on a different plane, results are seen. It is not hard to banish bad eating habits…it is hard to banish the emotional reasons why we cling to those bad eating habits. Therefore to tackle the weight means to identify and release the emotional burdens and baggage in your life story. Let me suggest something that I have been doing for years. Start every day with a walk of gratitude. Research has found that when you combine physical activity with thoughts of gratitude (positive energy), stress decreases. A simple practice like this helps to stop the cycle of negativity. You begin to reframe your life into a positive one. Remember, we are all the story that we tell ourselves. Are you a victim or an overcomer? When you begin to retell your story in a positive light, you begin to see the blessings all around you and food begins to taste different.
Your Action Plan
The individuals that I have helped in their weight loss journey have embraced this life-long commitment. One of them told me that when she got the emotional side under control, the weight began to melt away. This is why I tell my clients that there is no “cookie-cutter” approach. We all have a secret code because we all have a life story. If losing weight was as easy as math (output > input) obesity would not be sky-rocketing. There is a choice. Start a journal, identify emotional strongholds, replace fear with faith and feed the positive dog inside of you with physical activity combined with gratitude, battle negativity with smiles, laughter, kindness, meditation and positive people. Partner up with individuals/groups who are committed to this life change and be the author of your new story. It’s there, right underneath the current one that is wearing you out.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to reach out with any questions or feedback. firstname.lastname@example.org