Last week I was in a session with a client I’ll call Stephanie. In three short months, she’s eating remarkably better and discovered the heart of her double-decade struggle with food. I’m showing her the magic of her emotions; one week she lost three pounds after having an overdue, cleansing cry. Her combined changes have created a wonderful ripple effect in her career. I think Alicia Keys wrote “Girl on Fire” for her.
Stephanie gets that holistic weight loss takes time and is committed. She knows cleanses and crash diets add weight while wrecking your metabolism. But she has a big wedding where she’s a bridesmaid and isn’t at her goal weight yet. And she’s human.
Weddings. Vacations. Graduations. It’s picture season and you can’t hide behind bulky sweaters. We no longer live in an era where there was one, maybe two, cameras where film took weeks to develop and friends were defined by the people you hung out with in person.
So how do you accept where you are with your body without feeling like your vulnerability is being memorialized?
Here are some strategies to reduce your anxiety while making you feel more confident:
1. Complete this 15-minute, at home workout two to three times a week. This workout gets to the strategies behind the barre workout craze, which tones your core and smaller, deep internal muscles for fast toning. The core represents the third chakra of self-confidence. You’ll notice a physical and emotional lift.
2. Reduce or eliminate sugar. Nothing improves your weight and moods more than eliminating sugar. Where cutting calories enough to see a difference in a couple of weeks ensures rebound weight-loss, reducing sugar will reduce the puffiness in your body (face especially), start to balance your hormones and cravings and create the conditions for healthy weight loss. This is also the fastest route to replacing anxiety with calm (note: you might be so surprised at the difference you will be inspired even past your event).
3. Look for explicit data, not subtext. When they worry comes from other people judging your weight, borrow Stephen Spielberg’s director’s hat and create your own version of events. And in general, humans would rather be right (i.e. safe) than happy.
For example, in my early 20s I was in therapy for depression. I told my therapist I wasn’t dating because of my weight. My therapist asked me if only thin people had boyfriends. I knew this wasn’t true, but told her “my type” was interested in thinner women. The reality was I traveled a lot for work and I was in environments (bars and corporations) where I wasn’t going to find a good match for me. But like Fox News, I considered the facts I wanted and didn’t want. And then based on this delusion, continued to place myself in social environments that would confirm I was right. The reality was it felt scary to put myself out there when I wasn’t at what I perceived as “the real me.” If I wasn’t open to some editing from reality, I probably wouldn’t have been open to Carlos, who I met 20 something plus pounds ago.
So before the event you are anxious about, start practicing looking for concrete data about how people treat you versus your story about your weight. If your partner tells you they love you and your body (like Stephanie’s boyfriend), don’t think, “They have to say that.” Receive the compliment. If you run into an old friend and they don’t say, “You look great”, don’t make up a story about how they are secretly judging your weight. Register what they said out loud, not in your head. The better you get at doing this, the more accurately you will see yourself – and your self worth. This may be uncomfortable at first but I promise, being happy is way more fun.
Once those pictures get posted, congratulate yourself for doing things on your own terms. If you are still feeling anxious, go back and look at the previous pictures in your life where you felt dissatisfied with your weight and now looking back, are reminded of how beautiful you really are.
Losing weight the healthy way isn’t always easy. But I promise, what you learn about yourself on the way provides so many wonderful gifts no one else can give you, or takeaway. If you’d like to learn more about my groundbreaking method (my professor even said so!), join me at Be Well Philly’s Bootcamp on June 8 where I’ll be discussing the four steps to a Truce with Food™.
To a photogenic start and finish,
P.S. My website is going under major construction. Heck, I’m launching an entire new look and feel in July. Stay tuned for other exciting changes designed to help you call a truce with food.
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