Let’s get really really real about making change here – you want the magic wand. You want that quick fix. Of course you do – I get it. Not long ago I would have been right there in line with you, waiting for the Thin-and-Fit pill store to open. But I can’t honestly say that anymore.
Because what I get by being with my experience as it is right now is just better.
I mean it. I wouldn’t lie to you about this – it’s too important.
Warning: Painful Truth Ahead. For 95% of us who want to permanently improve our health, energy and weight, anything that promises a quick fix is going to make the situation worse.
If you’ve been around the block a few times, you know this already. But you may not know exactly why. Yes, yo-yo dieting messes with our metabolism and yes, white knuckling it can only last so long. But there’s something sneakier going on under the surface with the promise of the quick fix: we’re looking to that weight loss program to get us out of where we are right now.
Weight loss programs don’t work because they aren’t an escape hatch for our pain.
In order to have initial success with ANY body-centric weight loss intervention, you kind of have to get your act together to start, right? You need to prepare your kitchen (and your family) by dumping all the junk. You need to cancel all social events for your 21 or 30 days so you won’t be tempted to cheat. And you need to eat ALL the pie the night before you start because you’re giving it all up tomorrow -!
Basically you need to Take Control of Things. Then you’ll be ready. On Monday.
We love those quick fix programs to “manage” our eating because they match the techniques we use (about as successfully, I might add) to “manage” our life:
- Binge to get ready to start.
- Get your act together.
- White knuckle it for 21 (or 30 days) and wait for the magic.
- End it with a huge sigh of relief.
- Binge to celebrate your success.
But what actually changes? If you’re lucky, maybe your eating style improves for awhile – less sugar or bread or other triggers. And that’s a good thing. Maybe you even lose a few pounds. But what happens the next time you’re hit with a body-shame storm? Or someone you love gets really sick? Or you’re on a work deadline and didn’t do your shopping prep this week?
What happens the next time your life feels out of control?
Chances are, you’ll go right back to the habits that propped you up the last 4,781 times this happened. And spoiler alert: they probably aren’t sugar/dairy/gluten-free.
So there you have it: you eat “right” when things go smoothly and “wrong” when things get tough.
Control-based programs can’t work, by definition, when things are out of control.
95% of all dietary intervention programs are control-based.
95% of life is out of your control.
We have this illusion that the program itself will help us get things under control. If we do this thing, pain, discomfort or chaos will no longer be able to mess with us. So we pull up our big girl panties, take a deep breath, have a last brownie and go in!
On Monday morning.
Is it actually surprising to you that the results don’t stick?
Here’s my suggestion for today. Don’t wait until Monday. Don’t even wait until your next meal. Instead, try making some space for exactly what’s happening right now – even if you have orange Cheetoh fingers.
Where are you right now? What are you feeling in this moment, as you read these words? What if you didn’t squash that down with “treats” or hold it off with the promise of total abstinence starting soon….?
What would happen to you if instead of buckling down, you softened up?
Just for a moment, try “gentling” a bit around your feelings – around your thigh-dimple-hating, or prickly partner-frustration, or slightly desperate hoping, or whatEVER is happening right this second.
Take a load off. Relax your jaw, try softening your belly. Maybe sip a little breath through a slightly open mouth and just be here for a second. If you can see outside, walk over there and take a peek. Actually do this. I’ll wait.
Can you see anything green? Can you see any blue sky?
Imagine someone you dearly love and trust reaching out a warm hand to pat yours as you gaze at the sky, even if they aren’t around anymore. I would hug you myself in this moment if I could – but this is actually what it feels like to hug yourself for a second.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship: you and where you are right now.
There is a different way. You don’t have to get it all under control.
Your life, and your food, can actually Flow like a river, with far less struggle…..