I've lost weight so many times. I don't have another diet in me!
When clients call me for the first time and share their weight loss and diet journey with me, I often hear: "I don't have another diet in me!" and I say: "Good, let's do this differently." Thankfully there is another way: A much gentler, kinder way of approaching the whole topic of being at peace with food - for good.
Let me introduce the basic therapeutic components and building blocks of my mindful nourishment & emotional self-care program:
Give yourself permission to let dieting be a thing of the past.
We know that diets don't work longterm. Data from the scientific community indicate that a 15-week diet, or diet plus exercise program produces a weight loss of about 11 kg with a 60-80% maintenance after 1 year. Although long-term follow-up data are meager, the data that do exist suggest almost complete relapse after 3-5 years.
Long-term weight management of obesity remains a very difficult task, associated with high risk of failure and weight regain.
One out of every six US adults who have ever been overweight or obese has accomplished long-term weight loss maintenance of at least 10%.
“Emotional Eating” is a missing component in traditional behavior change programs.
Good news! You can heal and change your relationship with food.
Eating for comfort and mood management is a powerful ritual. It may have served its purpose over a thousand times throughout a person’s lifetime. Diets fail because they are based on restrictions, rules, do’s and don’ts, good or bad foods and so on. Former yo-yo dieters are left with suggestions regarding their behavior and only scratch the surface of their emotional eating triggers and core issues. Strict prescriptions and guidelines tend to leave dieters more frustrated and hopeless than before.
Diets fail when emotional eating is not addressed. In my work as a counselor I aim at helping clients find new self-soothing and comforting rituals, which will replace the engrained (and proven) ritual of eating instead of feeling.
What are some self-soothing rituals you can think of? Make a list and write them down in a journal. Be patient and gentle with yourself. How would you help a small child who is wanting more and more cookies or chips? What tone of voice would you use? What physical (or verbal) comfort would you offer? Now apply this to yourself. Remember to be kind and gentle with yourself. This kind of change takes time. Healing is not linear.
"Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Fall in love with the deep path of healing. Fall in love with becoming the best version of yourself but with patience, with compassion and respect to your own journey." - Sylvester McNutt
Embrace getting comfortable with discomfort.
Getting comfortable with discomfort is an invaluable tool for finding peace with food and emotional eating. If you are like me I wasn’t taught to sit with (or allow) painful emotions, feel my feelings and let them run through me. During my work with clients I encourage them to embrace discomfort and “lean into it” as Buddhist philosophy suggests. “Leaning in” means not running away from painful emotions and discovering that “Feelings don’t kill us.” as a client so wisely remarked during a group session. “Leaning in” means being curious about the messages our feelings may convey.
Leaning in means learning to label an emotion such as: “I am scared. I feel shaky in my belly area. My heart is racing.” Describing the physical sensations that go along with our emotions is also critical. Take your time to practice labeling your feelings and physical sensations and learn to become a loving non-judgmental observer. This will take the “sting” out of the experience.
Explore what your heart is hungry for.
"What is your heart hungry for?"I ask my clients who have been trying to lose weight for many years, sometimes even decades. This is a crucial question if we want to establish a healthy and relaxed relationship with food and our bodies.
When food has taken on the role of comforter, soother, protector or lover, diets will never be successful. It is crucial to understand the emotional reasons and the core needs that drive a person to the refrigerator late at night. Eating instead of feeling is a powerful ritual and deserves understanding and compassion. Behavior always makes sense, so in many cases the young child learned: “When I eat, I am okay. When I eat, I feel safe.” This behavior can carry on for many years and sometimes even a lifetime.
When someone eats because he or she feels lonely, it merits self-compassion. In my work my clients and I co-create new healthy life-affirming rituals. Diets don’t work long-term. Period. They are often perceived as punitive and further disconnect a person from their true needs. “What is your heart hungry for?” will lead the way to greater insight and new ways of loving yourself.
I am here for YOU.
When you are ready to let go of dieting and want to learn how to have a healthy and relaxed relationship with food and your body, reach out to me for your initial complimentary consultation. Click Here to fill out my contact form.
I look forward to speaking with you.