I hadn’t heard of Healthy Weight Week until recently, but apparently it’s been around since 1994 – it happens every year and begins on the third Sunday of the month for 7 days. Hey, that’s today!
Healthy Weight Week is a great opportunity to shift your focus to a healthy mindset with regard to your weight and body – instead of being stuck in a ‘diet’ mentality, which is far less effective in the long run. Healthy thoughts and behaviors are the best tools to support you in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. I’ve spent a lot of time learning on my weight loss journey – ultimately losing and maintaining over 110 pounds in the last few years – and I want to share with you a few of the things that have made a difference in achieving success on my own terms.
Practicing fierce self kindness and compassion finally allowed me to get the support I needed to get to a healthy weight. It hasn’t been a fast process, and my path has been far from perfect. After years of struggle, I’m within 20 pounds of my goal weight, and I trust that as long as I align with my plan as a daily practice and a priority in my life, I’ll get there. I could probably write a book about what I’ve done to drop the weight, and maybe one day I will. Today, I want to share some of the key strategies I practice.
Here are some things that I have learned along the way.
1. Accept where you are right now. All permanent change starts with with acceptance. It’s all about starting where you are NOW, and consistently taking steps forward. Maybe you will decide to reduce or eliminate sugar or start a simple exercise routine like walking. Commit to a couple of small changes.
2. Learn to love yourself. Most of us try to start with kindness as we help someone learn a new skill – that goes for managing an employee, coaching an athlete, raising a child, giving advice to a friend — or even training a dog! Yelling and harshness simply doesn’t work. Are you that kind teacher to yourself?
The more you practice being kind and compassionate with yourself, the easier your desired change will manifest in your life.
Notice the thoughts you have about yourself that may not be kind and compassionate. Question those thoughts! Reframe those thoughts. Decide to choose a different thought that will be more constructive, supportive and kind. Repeat. This is a practice.
3. Get support. Change is easier when we have support. I put together my own dream team to help me release my excess weight. I worked with multiple coaches, a therapist, my primary care doctor, a bariatric doctor, a nutritionist, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor and massage therapists. I’ve had an ongoing long-term coaching trade with one of the best coaches I know. My husband John has been my rock, and I have friends that I can turn to when I need support who are like family to me. I’ve also been a part of a weight loss support group run by Sean Anderson that has an online community and a weekly call for over two years. I’ve learned so much from the folks in Sean’s group. We are all different and follow our own unique plans and methods to get to and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Ditch the diet mentality. If you want to lose weight permanently, the best strategy is to drop the diet mentality. Instead of dieting, create a plan that will uniquely support you. I feel very fortunate to have Sean Anderson as one of my mentors along this journey. In my first week of being a member of Sean’s group, I learned about an acronym that has become this basis of my self care and healthy weight plan. The acronym is called is called SERF, and was created by Dr Marty Lerner.
S – is for Spiritual
E – is for Exercise
R – is for Rest
F – is for Food
The SERF acronym resonated with me on a visceral level and acts as rails of support for me on a daily basis. The idea is to have a unique plan cover all of the 4 areas above and to practice and integrate the components into your daily practice. The great thing about developing your own plan is that you create the rules that will uniquely support you.
There is something magical about crafting your own plan that helps to eliminate the rebellion that can often happen when we are “on” or “off” a diet.
Another important thing that I’ve incorporated into my plan is to make adjustments as needed. For instance, if I am traveling I will adjust my plan to allow for a more flexibility when I am not at home. One thing I want to point out is that the Food component is the last on the list of the overall self care plan. I believe that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight starts in our head. Mindset has been the most important aspect of my 110lb+ weight loss.
5. Progress, not Perfection. Do yourself a big favor and drop the all-or-nothing, perfectionistic approach to dieting. Start with a basic plan and do your best every day to align with it. You are a human being, not a ‘human perfect’. Perfectionism is not your friend. Instead, do your best to make small changes and integrate them into habits. Consistency beats intensity here.
6. Patience. Align with the behaviors that support your healthy weight. A 5% reduction in weight has a significant impact on your health. The people that practice patience on this path are successful. If you have more than 10 pounds to lose, you may want to consider breaking your goal into smaller manageable chunks. I lost a good chunk of my weight at a rate of just five pounds a month. Slow and steady wins the race. Be patient as you gently move forward to your healthy weight.
7. Perspective is everything. We can’t control what happens most of the time, but we can influence the outcomes by choosing a positive perspective. This isn’t about denial. The first step to creating any kind of desired change is accepting what is. Once we accept what is, we can begin to take steps that will support our change. The perspective we choose will strongly influence our desired outcomes. Why not pull out those rose tinted glasses and choose the best perspective to help you move forward?
8. Don’t give up! Stay in the game and learn to see your failures as learning opportunities. As you learn, refine and adjust your plan. Keep on aligning with your plan and forgive yourself when you fall off the wagon. Research shows that the successful people get back on the horse when they fall. One day off of your plan does not have to mean you are a failure. One day off of your plan is simply one day off of your plan. The key to success here is getting back on your plan as soon as you can. Be prepared to learn along the way!
So much has changed for me over the years. I have much less day-to-day anxiety as well as more peace with my body, my mind, and my spirit. Life will always have challenges, even when we are at a healthy weight. It is how we respond to the challenges that is important.
Wishing you a happy Healthy Weight Week. I hope some of this was helpful. As my mom used to say often “take what you like, and leave the rest”. What works for me may or may not work for you. It’s really about figuring out what works for you and integrating that into your plan and behaviors, and understanding there isn’t an end game. You gotta be in it to win it. I’m here if you need support.