How to Lose Weight without Restrictive Dieting
Is it really possible to lose weight without calorie counting and restrictive dieting? Isn't it simply about "Calories in - Calories out?" What about willpower? I propose that there is another way. Let's explore how a different approach may lead to a life free from worrying about food from morning to night.
Here are some tips and strategies for practicing good emotional self-care and tuning into your needs so you can gently commit to nourishing yourself well, both physically and emotionally.
Tip #1 - Emotional self-care supports weight regulation.
" Give yourself the oxygen first!" We are all aware that this (life-saving) advice is valid on airplanes, but what about applying this principle to our daily life? My invitation to you: Give yourself permission to carve out time for yourself and say 'no' to other people's demands and expectations. It'll pay off in the long run as you are honoring your own energy levels and emotional capacity to give. Remember: Self-care isn't selfish. It's not a luxury but a necessity for living a balanced and authentic life.
Tip #2 - Self-compassion is key for finding peace with food.
Self-compassion and self-empathy are important components of weight regulation and behavior change. Emotional eaters can learn how to separate hunger from other needs. When reaching for a snack and you aren't physically hungry, gently ask yourself: “What am I really in need of right now? How am I feeling? What challenges do I face? Am I angry? Do I feel lonely? Am I sad? Am I bored? Am I feeling unappreciated?” Comfort yourself the same way you would help a child in need of reassurance and protection.
"Loving yourself doesn't mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion." – Steve Hickman
Tip #3 - Accept and love yourself unconditionally.
I learned this later in life. I was able to become the person I needed the most. The majority of my clients report that they didn't have nurturing mothers growing up. I know what that feels like as my mom wasn't able to connect with me emotionally or tune into my needs, which wasn't her fault. She wasn't able to give to me what wasn't given to her. It is my strong belief that it is never too late to "remother" yourself.
Tip #4 - There are no taboo foods. Treat yourself.
Instead of "banning" certain foods, i.e. a burger with fries or ice cream - Plan for a special meal or treat and FULLY enjoy it, without guilt or shame. Enjoy and savor each bite. When we label certain foods as good or bad we create stress and intensify the longing for the "forbidden fruit." There's no need for that. Go ahead and enjoy!
Tip #5 - Emotions are messengers.
It's important to not fear our emotions. I know this is easier said than done. We can 'lean' into an uncomfortable feeling and allow it to run its course. Label it, journal about it, give it space. As a client stated in one of our group sessions: "When you are physically hungry, eat. When you are emotionally hungry, explore." This takes courage and also a strong support system. If feelings seem overwhelming, don't go it alone. Seek help from a friend or a therapist.
You can be at peace with food and your body.
It takes courage to take a 'deep dive' into our early woundings. There is no quick fix when it comes to understanding and overcoming well worn paths and old patterns. Healing takes time and is never linear. The good news is that you CAN heal, you can repair and develop new healthy coping and self-soothing skills. It is never too late to learn to nurture and nourish yourself well - without using food as a mood regulator.
I have witnessed when clients start practicing good emotional self-care - weight loss becomes a beneficial side effect. It's an "inside-out" approach. I am here to support you on this journey. Reach out to me for an initial complimentary consultation.
Take good care,