Like a lot of women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life but it really started in college. Although, I’ve always been active in sports and different types of exercise, it’s still been a continuous battle. To my surprise, it was never a lack of calories I burned but the habit of overeating (I was unaware of) caused by my negative thinking.
Over a year ago, when I gave up alcohol, I assumed my 15 lbs of extra weight would melt off. That is the exact opposite of what happened!! My weight went from 145 to 160, in what felt like over night. Of course it wasn’t but it sure felt like it. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but when I gave up alcohol my sugar consumption and overeating sky rocketed!! It was unbearable, I’d try not to over indulge but the more I resisted the worse it became. Let’s just say I could finish a pan of brownies by myself in a day without realizing it …and that’s just one example.
It took me getting to a very uncomfortable place, both physically and emotionally, before realizing my efforts of working out and trying new diets wasn’t going to help. Thanks to a personal coach of mine, Brooke Castillo, The Life Coach School , who taught me it was caused by my negative thoughts and emotions. I didn’t believe it at first, “so if I change my thinking I’ll be able to loose weight”, that seemed too good to be true. It really wasn’t though, it’s been the best news anyone has ever given me but this road was challenging.
I’m excited to share the three steps of how I lost 30 lbs over the course of five months and currently in the best shape of my life. Trust me, this works but you have to be willing to experience discomfort.
1. Focus on the cause! When I started doing this work, the first thing I learned was to become aware of the reason I was overeating. So I began to notice when I was bored, frustrated, lonely, and stressed I start to crave certain foods (sugar specifically) or feel an urge to overeat.
Then I learned, those feelings were caused by certain thoughts. Most of us don’t notice thought(s) that would cause us to over eat. Often, we don’t even know when we are overeating until after the fact, then we are left full of guilt. So, when I started to feel lonely or stressed I asked, “what thought is causing this”? It was often a highly critical, self sabotaging thought, “you will never lose this weight, so what’s the point in trying”. When I craved a cupcake, I’d instantly start eating what I wanted and quickly feel guilty. So I really started to become aware of the thoughts that were causing these negative and uncomfortable emotions, which prepared me for the next step.
2. Stop resisting your urges. This is easier said that done, but honestly, if I can do it, you definitely can too because my urges were strong! I’d wake up in the morning, thinking, “today I’m going to eat clean, resist the urge to overeat or eat sugar and feel awesome”. Breakfast would be good, then a small snack, lunch not bad, but right around the early afternoon I would cave! It would be a craving for a cupcake or something sweet (if you don’t like sugar fill in the blank for your indulgence). I would resist it, telling myself “I can’t have it” or “your not skinny enough and don’t deserve it”, it’d only make the craving stronger. So, I stopped resisting the urge. When I would see the cupcake, I’d first acknowledge how good it looked. Then I had a choice to either consume it or not. So I’d sit with the craving but pause instead of grabbing it. When I paused it was uncomfortable, so I’d walk away but acknowledging I’m choosing to not eat that. It felt so freeing. I wasn’t fighting myself anymore.
3. Willingness to look at your feelings. It’s amazing how our mind can trick us! For years I’d try different diets and they’d only last a few weeks. Why can’t I just give up sugar? Why can’t I stop overeating? Well, when I started to become aware of my self critical thoughts and stopped fighting myself on what I could eat, a lot of new emotions came to the surface. It was like I had been numbing feelings through my eating this whole time. I think it was around the third week of not eating sugar, unless I planned it, I started to feel these emotions and it was uncomfortable. Thank goodness I had gained that extra 15 lbs or I don’t know if I would be willing to be this conscious with myself. I had become willing to experience these emotions with out reacting!! Wow, it was tremendous improvement even though it didn’t feel like it in those moments. So, when I felt lonely or bored instead of eating sugar I’d journal or just sit in it with compassion. “It’s ok I’m feeling this way, you are healthy and becoming healthier”. That phrase, I’d say often made a big difference.
When I started this process of losing weight, by changing my thoughts and being willing to experience my emotions, I thought I’d become way too overwhelmed. To my surprise, my desire to be in a body that I feel confident in was worth this process. Honestly, I thought I’d always end up choosing the cupcake, stay overweight, and despise my body. Thankfully, that’s not the case, I’m 30 lbs healthier, feel more free and still eat sugar. It’s amazing!
Changing our thoughts during this three step process is powerful! I can’t tell you how much it has positively changed my life and has effected more than just my waistline.
Believe me, I spent the last ten years battling my weight and only ended up gaining more. For some people, finding a diet that fits their needs or a good fitness routine can help shed lots of weight. If you have struggled with it for years, like me, these steps are powerful and may be worth committing to. This journey has been like hiking up a mountain, every moment has a new beautiful view. It doesn’t come easily and requires practice, so be patient with yourself. You can do it, I believe in you, and you owe it to yourself because you’re amazing!!!
Have a blessed day,