But what if the body we are in isn’t serving the life we want?
A lot of people are focusing on weight loss right now, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight. But I do want to point out that your WHY matters.
When you consider the desire to lose weight, what kind of energy does that desire have? Is it tinged with self-loathing? A quality of striving, clinging, or grasping? Shame? Fear?
Yeah, we’ve all been there. Let’s not approach weight loss from that yucky place. I call those days “bad body image days.” Everyone has them.
Those days are not good days to make big overhauls to your eating or lifestyle behaviors. Let’s stop fueling behavior change with shame and self-loathing.
Instead, approach those days with gentleness, self-compassion, and presence. Focus on something else that you love doing, and let your body thoughts remain in the background, acknowledging they are there without giving them too much attention.
And then, on a day when you’re feeling more emotionally neutral, consider what small, healthy, sustainable actions you are willing to do to gradually change your body.
Orient toward the long game, and be careful not to fall into a diet mentality. Focus on the goal of moving toward a body that will serve the life you want, rather than running away kicking and screaming from the body you have today. There’s nothing wrong with your body today. And, there’s also always room for improvement. Can you allow both to be true?
Can you orient toward behavior change at the level of small, sustainable impactful habits rather than sweeping overhauls?
If you’re on a weight loss journey, instead of asking the question “what do I need to take away” what if you asked: “what can I add in?” Here are some of the habits that our community members are adding in this year, all of which have been scientifically shown to support healthy weight loss:
- Preload with water: Drink a metabolism-boosting 2 cups of cool or cold unflavored water before each meal.
- Begin your meal with low calorie foods: As the first course, start each meal with an apple or soup or light vegetable salad containing fewer than 100 calories per cup. This will help get some fiber and volume into your meal to help prevent overeating.
- Slow down your eating: Aim for 20 minutes of distraction-free eating for at least one meal per day. Try taking one breath between a few of your bites. Dozens of studies have demonstrated slowing down lowers caloric intake.
- Befriend Fullness: Make a habit of checking in with hunger and fullness in the body using a hunger and fullness scale of 1 to 10. Aiming for starting eating at a 7 or 8, and stopping around a 2 or 3.
- Swap Processed Grains for Whole Grains: Feed your microbiome friends! Powdering of grains prevents them from feeding on starch enclosed in unbroken cell walls. Grains also help you stay full for longer.
- Front Load Calories: Enjoy the metabolic benefits of making breakfast or lunch the largest meal of the day.
- Aim for a 12-Hour Eating Window: If it feels sustainable to you, eating within a 12 hour window has been shown to be beneficial to weight loss.
- Gentle Exercise in a Fasted State: For weight loss, there has been some benefits shown to light exercising in a fasted state at least six hours before the last meal (so, likely breakfast following a work out).
Notice no categorical exclusion of foods or diet mentality in that list. Imagine the impact of consistently (but not perfectly) implementing just a few of those habits!
What can you add in?