In my last post we talked all about finding a compelling reason to lose weight. You thought a lot about the reasons you want to lose weight and identified at least one reason that was bigger and stronger than your desire to overeat.
In this post we will look at the second reason why most people fail to lose weight, and what you can do about it.
Reason #2: You haven’t made the decision, to lose weight
You may be thinking "What is she talking about?!?! Of course I've made the decision to lose weight. It's been a goal of mine for ages."
But really, truly deciding to do something big and life changing, and then actually committing to do it is not as easy as you might think.
Making decisions, especially big, audacious decisions, can be terrifying.
What if I decide to do it and then fail?
What will everyone think of me?
Will they laugh at me?
Will they lose confidence in me?
Will they lose respect for me?
These thoughts are terrifying! It is certainly a lot easier to avoid big decision-making in general. If we never make the decision, we never risk public humiliation. So we avoid deciding to take a big career leap, or go back to school, or get married, or divorced, or move, or lose weight. Big decisions impact every facet of our lives. If we are wrong about them or fail at them, we risk public humiliation-- something every human on the planet usually seeks to avoid.
Big decisions impact every facet of our lives.
If we are “wrong” or “fail”,
we risk public humiliation.
Humans intrinsically gravitate towards pleasure, and make even greater effort to avoid pain. That is why, even when we want something really, really badly, we don’t go for it if the pain of getting there is greater in the short term than the pleasure of having it in the future. (Hence why you are still, after all of these years, trying to lose weight.)
So if you really, really want to lose weight you are going to have to make a commitment to circumvent the human tendency to avoid discomfort.
3 critical steps for weight loss
You know you want to lose weight, and you know that it is going to be hard and uncomfortable. You know that it is human nature to avoid hard, uncomfortable things so that is why you've failed every time you've tried to lose weight before.
I have a three step formula to help you overcome these barriers to weight loss.
Step 1: Remember that you can do hard things.
Write down 10 hard things, really hard things, you've done in your life. Think all the way back to childhood if you'd like.
Read this list over anytime you are thinking you can't do it.
(And if you are having that thought, by the way, that you can't do it, be sure to read Part 3 of 3 of this series to learn how to manage thoughts like that as that is the number one reason you won't lose weight.)
Step 2: Decide on purpose.
Think of this decision as a promise to yourself. Decide that you are going to lose weight, that you are going to stop eating all flour and sugar, and that you are going to be successful.
Step 3: Commit to doing whatever it takes to meet that promise to yourself.
You will find there is a great deal of power in that commitment. When you start making decisions and commiting to them you will see a huge boost in your confidence level. You'll be able to trust yourself to follow through successfully on your goals.
Take the time to think through what is the big decision that you are willing to make. Is it to lose 30 lbs? To stop eating flour and sugar?
Decide on purpose and write it down. Seriously. Write it down right now.
Then, commit to do whatever it takes to make that decision deliver the results you are after.
Keep me posted on your progress in the comments below or sign up for a free mini session to learn how you can take this work to the next level.
You read all about No Sugar No Flour in my last post and you gave it a shot.
And... it was easier than you thought!
Maybe you even dropped a couple pounds!
It went great!
For a few days… and then you (check all that apply)...
All of these “reasons” you are struggling, despite your unwavering desire to lose weight, are not really reasons at all.
They are thoughts. Just thoughts. Simple as that.
Lucky for us thoughts can be managed and changed. This is called mind-management and it is without a doubt the number one reason you are not losing-- and maybe even gaining-- weight.
Let’s take a look at what is happening in your mind that is preventing you from losing weight.
Reason #1: You do not have a compelling reason to lose weight.
Losing weight is hard. If it wasn’t, we would all be thin.
But here's the thing. Listen up. This is important:
You can do hard things.
The trick is that you have to have a compelling enough reason to decide to do it-- a reason that you want more than food. And then commit to the decision to stop eating flour and sugar, no matter what.
No. Matter. What.
That is the hard part.
But remember, you can do hard things.
For me, my compelling reason was I was tired of being an emotional eater. I wanted to be someone who did not feel "obligated" by her body or her desire to eat all the time.
I was tired of being an emotional eater.
I didn’t love carrying around extra weight, but more so I was tired of using up inordinate amounts of mental energy for food and body image management (read: obsession). I wanted to feel free around food, confident that my choices would not lead to weight gain, gastrointestinal discomfort, or mental turmoil.
And freedom with food is exactly what I now have. And I will never go back, no matter what. Compulsory eating is history. I know exactly what my body thrives on, fuel wise, and I just eat that.
And it works.
I feel great and, best of all I have tons of mental energy freed up to focus on what matters to me most-- my career and my family.
What is your compelling reason to lose weight?
For many women it is ending the obsession with food. They are tired of constantly thinking about food: what they ate, how much they ate, what they "should" have eaten, what they "shouldn't" have eaten, how they feel after eating, and, most notably, the regret and shame that accompanies the obsession.
Others are tired of the transactional relationship of eating and exercise. They eat a cookie and then the guilt and shame obligates them to go to a power yoga class when their overworked joints are really calling out for a restorative. Or they force themselves to hit the pavement running when running is a form of torture for their souls. They are compelled to end this tit-for-tat relationship that never seems to produce results anyway.
It is important that you spend some time thinking about what your compelling reason is. Because it has to be more compelling than pasta at your favorite Italian restaurant or margaritas with your girlfriends.
But here's the best part: once you’ve identified and aligned yourself with your compelling reason, and you've learned to manage your mind, you will you find that when it comes to weight loss, willpower is irrelevant. You will gradually lose your desire for sugar and flour (particularly after the first 2-6 weeks of NSNF) and begin to taste what freedom around food feels like.
Trust me, it is well worth the hard work to get there. And you are worth it.
Let’s cut to the chase.
You are carrying extra weight that you would like to lose-- the sooner the better.
Guess what? There’s no shame in that.
The purpose of this article is to jumpstart your weight loss journey so you can begin to see the power you have over how you look and feel in your own skin and start making changes TODAY.
So let’s get started.
Step 1: Stop eating ALL flour.
Yup. All of it.
OK, right now, pause and notice what is coming up for you when I say that. Most likely you have a deluge of thoughts running through your head that are designed to freak you out.
Don’t worry-- this is super normal.
Take Action: Write down all those thoughts and questions on a piece of paper and title it “Parking Lot”. This is where they will stay until later. (I promise I will get to them in future post or you can always shoot me an email or leave a comment and I will be sure to respond.)
So, when I say all, do I really mean ALL??
Yes. I do. That is why it is in capital letters. ;)
This includes gluten-free flour, corn flour, rice flour, buckwheat flour, spelt flour, almond flour, garbanzo flour, ALL FLOUR.
Step 2: Stop eating all sugar.
Again, all means ALL. No honey, cane sugar, agave, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, nada.
You are going to have to read labels for this one and be sure to make choices based on the elimination of all sugars. Don’t forget to eliminate sugary beverages as well.
Why do you need to stop eating all flour and sugar?
In order to lose weight our bodies need to become fat adapted. This means that we want our bodies to start using the fuel (fat) we are storing on our bodies for energy.
In order for our bodies to access that fat, we need to lower the amount of insulin in our bloodstream. Everytime we eat (or even think about eating for that matter) we release the hormone insulin into our blood. When insulin is present our body is unable to use the fat stores it already has for fuel.
All foods are not created equal when it comes to triggering the release of insulin. Which foods release the most insulin? You guessed it! Flour and sugar. These two food groups trigger high quantities of insulin to be released, resulting in fat being stored instead of burned.
When we keep insulin levels low, on the other hand, we are able to use the our fat for fuel and find we are less hungry less often and have fewer cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates.
For brevity’s sake I am over-simplifying here, so if you want to learn more pick up Gary Taubes’ book Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It.
If I Give Up Flour and Sugar, Won’t I Be Nutrient-Deficient?
There is absolutely no nutritional reason to consume sugar or flour. You can get absolutely every single nutrient available on the planet without eating flour or sugar, ever.
Eliminating flour and sugar is going to get many of you results fast, but it may not be easy. Most people are so accustomed to frequent and high doses of flour and sugar that they will experience some withdrawal symptoms for the first two weeks or so. Push on. You will get through it and on the other side of this discomfort is freedom.
Some of you might have to be dedicated and persistent for three or four weeks before you see those results. Again, push on. For encouragement and support sign up for a free mini-session with me and I can help you through it. I've got lots of tools, tips, and tricks that you can use to make small tweaks that will make the difference. That freedom awaits you, too, I promise you that.
Freedom awaits You
What is this freedom I speak of?
But also the freedom of living life without excess weight on your body, bulging through your clothes or over the top of your now-very-uncomfortable-pants.
The freedom of finding joy in putting on a bathing suit and heading to the beach without worrying about what your body looks like.
The freedom of feeling good in your own, beautiful, glowing skin.
That is the freedom I'm talking about.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.