During my 2 years of study at Iowa State as I was working to attain my Masters’ Degree, I was lucky enough to have a major professor who taught me one of the most powerful questions to keep in my arsenal. It’s a question that I had already used for years, but never truly realized how effective it could be. That question is WHY?
This short, simple, yet undeniably powerful question can open a door to a tremendously deep place or allow superficial, specific resolve. Parents of inquisitive children, I’m sure you can agree that this question can be over used, but think of the success in broadening the minds of our children if we simply answer the question WHY?
Many people may have this great desire to lose weight, so they contact us to help them achieve their goal. Obviously, the first question I’m going to ask is WHY ARE YOU HERE? Most people undoubtedly would love to change their physical self in some way or another. Now let’s be honest, the skeletons in your closet have made a habit of masking themselves as, “I just want to drop a couple pounds.” Although the end goal is usually clearly defined, the reasons why someone would want to lose weight are much, much deeper.
With each and every Nutrition Pros client, we require 2 things. First is to define and remember your WHY. What is the true reason why you are in my office asking for help? I can guarantee it’s not just weight loss. Usually something or even someone has pushed you to the point of wanting change. Honestly, weight loss is usually a distant second place.
Secondly, attach and emotion to the place you are right now and the place you’ve established as your goal. If you’ve been battling weight loss for some time, I’m 100% positive that you’ve attached some type of defeated, depressed, negative emotion to your current self. You’ve probably also attached a happiness or satisfaction to a different body. A body that you’ve desired for some time. This is your positive place. A place of hope. Negative emotion will keep you in the hole, but attaching positivity to every little small success will help you climb the rope to the top! No matter how long it takes!
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What’s the real reason why someone would find themselves sitting in front of me and how can we change the way we feel about the real underlying issues? Let’s start with the following.
Self Esteem/ Self worth
It’s heartbreaking to realize that most women’s self-esteem is well below par. I often hear women talk about their goals in the form of making other people happy. What about you? Why wouldn’t you want to make yourself happy FIRST? The unfortunate fact is that some, if not most women, don’t think they are WORTH helping. The thought of making themselves happy has escaped them because there are too many other people in their life that NEED them. Or maybe you don’t live up to what society has deemed “the ideal body.” You are so unhappy with the fact that you don’t look like the fitness model with abs of steel or Victoria’s Secret model who thighs haven’t touched since she was bottle feeding. Or dare I say, you have cellulite, stretch marks, and belly rolls (oh my).
Well, I hate to tell you this ladies, but you can’t drink from an empty cup. The first thing you will need to get ahold of if you want weight loss to happen is a positive self-image. If you don’t love yourself here and now, you will not love yourself when you reach your goal. Re read that last sentence and take it in. If you are waiting to physically achieve a body that you consider perfect, it will not fix what you think about yourself mentally or emotionally…. Trust me, I’ve been there! You have to remind yourself how amazing you are as a woman, wife, mother, friend, and person. Your physical being does not define you. Fat is what you have, not who you are. So, whatever version of perfection you have in your mind, visualize YOUR OWN body in a better place, not someone else. If you can be happy and confident at any size, you’ve already won half the battle! Work to achieve a sense of acceptance for what you are. The greatest realization in this life is that you can change damn near everything that you have and that you are if you just put in the effort with the proper support.
Let’s face it, no one hires a nutritionist because they have extreme self-control and are completely mindful of the foods they consume on a daily basis. Some may be mindful of the fact that they eat a lot of crap, but have no idea how to fix it. One of my ultimate goals as a consultant is that my clients have a better understanding of WHAT foods they need, HOW MUCH food they need, and WHY they need those foods. Unfortunately, we are not born with hard core self-control you have to create it and perfect it with practice.
Anyone following a meal plan or any type of structured eating knows how difficult weekends and holidays can be. Foods that aren’t prepared on a regular basis end up staring you in the face at a family gathering. Alcohol and appetizers appear at almost every social gathering on Saturday nights. And those darn caramel apples that show up at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch just look so darn appealing. These are the times when self-control becomes non-existent. WHY? It doesn’t have to be that way. Most of the time, we MINDLESSLY allow ourselves to break our plan because these moments only come around once a year or because it’s been over a week since your last cheat. The point of a holiday is not to eat your face off! Believe it or not, you can go out with friends and NOT participate in drinking or food. Just enjoy the experience of surrounding yourself with your loved ones. Can’t that be enough?
Since we’re talking about relating an emotion to our actions, think about how you feel after you have a slip up? Nine times out of 10, there will be regret, remorse, and disappointment which will escalate into continuing your downward spiral out of defeat. How many times have you said, “Well, I already screwed up today, so what’s the point?” BREAK THE CYCLE!!!!!! You MUST remember the negative feelings associated to these moments. Is it really worth the cheat to feel absolutely horrible about yourself? Absolutely not!
Remember, self-control takes practice! The more often you practice, the easier it will be. Again, try changing your mindset. What happens when someone tells you that you can’t have something? Most of the time, we end up wanting what we can’t have. Now, what happens when you don’t want something? It’s usually much easier to avoid something you don’t want rather than something you can’t have. Create a mindset that doesn’t want to break your meal plan and you won’t!! It’s much more gratifying to succeed than to fail for a taste of a cupcake! Eventually, this “ah-ha” moment will allow for greater success and enhance an ability of having self-control in your future.
The little extras
How many times have you gone shopping and ended up storming out of a store, head hanging in shame, with absolutely nothing to show for your efforts? How many of you huff and puff at the top of a flight of stairs? Do your kids ever ask you to play but you can’t find the energy? Why has it been so long since you’ve felt beautiful? I’m sure we’ve all experienced these terrible moments and yes, they are horrible. These moments can cause a downward shift of emotion that will make you feel defeated. When we constantly give our power to something or someone, we are derailing ourselves from ever achieving true happiness. Jeans should never hold the power to ruin your day! Other people should NEVER have the power to steel your essence.
When it comes to these little extra moments, remember, YOU are the common denominator in both the problem and the solution. If you don’t like how clothes fit, change yourself. If you find yourself winded, it’s not the stairs fault! If your kids want to play, work up the endurance and eat for energy to make their childhood one to remember! YOU are the most important person in YOUR life. If there is no YOU there is no LIFE. Participate in life’s moments no matter your size and stop sitting on the sideline because you don’t look a certain way. If it’s hard, find a way to make it easier. Learn how to create your own happy!
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, among many others are becoming more and more prevalent among our population. We are creating unhealthy monsters. One of the most common practices, mostly among male clients, is the health scare technique. These clients will wait until AFTER they have a stroke, AFTER their blood pressure reads hypertensive, or AFTER cancer to get help. May God bless you if you get a second chance, but excuse me for asking the question, “WHY ARE YOU WAITING SO LONG?” Let me ask you a follow up question, “What are you afraid of?”
I’ve watched people in my life ruin their health on a daily basis without giving a second thought. The food you eat can literally change your internal combustion system. You can become more efficient or slowly kill of every system that your body needs to survive.
During a brilliant conversation with one of my wonderful clients, we discussed the technique of NURSING YOUR INNER CHILD. Think of every decision you make as if you were making that decision for your child. Would you allow your child to go drink, smoke, or sit around all day? Probably not. So why do we give ourselves a free pass to ruin our health? Are we less important than our children? Absolutely not! Take control now, you may not have the luxury of a second chance!
The most common client we have at Nutrition Pros is the chronic dieter. This is someone who has tried every type of diet on the market and achieved either short term or minimal success. How frustrating, right?! Long term weight management is extremely important as we age. If you’ve been a chronic dieter, the health of your metabolism is potentially at risk. The quickest way to ruin your metabolism is to eat less and exercise more. Now think of the information that has been engrained into our minds when it comes to weight loss. Eat less and do more, right? Sometimes the information we read is enough to make your head spin! What are we really supposed to be doing in order to lose weight?
When it comes to weight management, almost everyone overlooks the absolute most important part. Your internal health. A healthy body doesn’t hold on to unwanted fat. My goal as your nutritionist is to fix what makes you tick. Weight loss is always a happy accident. Your absolute number one goal should be to achieve a body that you can live in for the rest of your life. Relieve yourself from that hamster wheel. A lifestyle doesn’t have a formal expiration date. If you can dedicate the next 365 days to change, you will create a new you. New habits, new practices, new body, and new mind will help you establish a lifetime of health… not just the next 12-16 weeks!
When you can attack your weight loss journey with an understanding of WHY you truly desire this change, you will succeed. Having an emotional link to why you don’t want to stay where you are and why you desperately want to change will make your goal a priority. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it one million times over, if you want it, work for it! Work on practicing positivity. Each and every pointer discussed takes practice. Remember, perfect practice makes perfect permanent.
Cheers to good health!