In this post I am going to share with you one of the most powerful secrets to ending your battle with food and losing weight for good.
That secret is prioritizing exquisite self-care.
I’m not talking about making sure you are hitting the gym three times a week or getting your nails done (unless that kind of thing floats your boat-- if so, please be my guest!).
I’m talking about getting real with what brings you pure, unadulterated pleasure, satisfaction, and fulfillment, and committing to infusing that into your life.
What does this have to do with weight loss?
Let’s start from the beginning:
We women have spent so much time, maybe even our entire lives, trying to beat the excess weight off ourselves.
We've suffered through excruciating exercise regimens we hated and countless diets and cleanses that brought about significant anxiety and effort, in support of the belief that suffering is the only path to get the results we want.
No pain no gain, right?!?!
How’s that been working for you?
My guess is that if you are reading this, it hasn’t.
The notion that we have to suffer in order to get what we want is total bullshit.
The way to get the results you want isn’t through self-flagellation.
It’s the opposite.
When you care for yourself relentlessly, you lose weight and keep it off as a by-product of that nurturing.
Because the only reason you have unwanted weight in the first place is because you are turning to food to find pleasure, fulfillment and nurturing-- none of which food can give you.
But here’s the tricky part: you have to know what true self-care is for you.
Many of my clients have never spent the time to think seriously about what brings them fulfillment and pleasure-- especially if they’ve coupled up, produced some babies, and are bosses in their professional lives.
When we talk about self-care, commonly they think of getting a massage, getting their hair or nails done, or going to a yoga class.
But the thing is, these examples do not feel like self-care for everyone.
For example, while I love having manicured nails, I hate getting them done. I hate sitting in the nail salon, I hate the feeling (guilt, embarrassment) of someone digging funk out of my toe nails, I hate how long it takes and then having to wait for it to dry. I would rather be doing about 100 other things. Getting my nails done is not nourishing in any way-- I just like the result. I also see it as a professional obligation so it feels more like work than personal pleasure.
On the other hand, a really good yoga class with one of my favorite teachers is deeply fulfilling and nourishing for me. Magical even. Total self-care, hands down.
But for my sister? Not so much. Going to a yoga class would be uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking-- the opposite of self-care.
When you figure out what true self-care is for you and you incorporate it into your daily life you will find that you turn less to food to alleviate anxiety, stress, boredom, or unfulfillment.
People like to argue with me about this.
They think if they are kind to themselves, if they accept and love themselves for who they are and take themselves on dates and participate in restorative yoga classes and lounge around in their PJs all day on Sunday reading the New York Times while snuggling with their littles on the couch-- that they will turn into fat, lazy beasts eating cookie dough ice cream out of the tub after having eaten a wheel of cheese and guzzled a bottle of chardonnay.
So when they do do those things-- take it easy in yoga class, spend an indulgent Saturday morning alone with a good book or journal, or stay in their PJs all day-- their lizard brain has a hay day with fear based thoughts of self-loathing: “I wasted the morning. I’m so lazy. I should have gone to the gym. I have no discipline.”
And what do we emotional eaters do when we have self-loathing thoughts?
We head to the freezer for that tub of ice cream or that block of cheese, proving our lizard brain right.
Ready to indulge is real self-care, personalized for you?
Follow these steps and you will find yourself glowing with nourishment, instead of bloated with overeating.
Give yourself the gift of self-care.
Because you deserve it, because you are human.
And remember, the more self-care you give yourself that is unrelated to food, the less you will use food to nurture the need for self-care that all humans have.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.