Something that I typically work with my coaching clients on right away, or that we at least talk about, is their “why.” A lot of times, we get so caught up in the scale, the weight loss, the program, that we lose sight of our “why.”
Why are you doing this? Why is it that every day you’re waking up; you’ve already pre-packed your lunch; you have a healthy breakfast option; you’re drinking your water; you’re getting in your exercise. Why are you doing that? Chances are it comes down to one of several reasons, and you need to refocus on your “why” continuously.
If you don’t have this, I urge you to think about it now. Create a list of “whys.” Don’t worry about how superficial your reasons sound. Don’t worry about sounding like you’re being selfish. Put it all out there. It can be anything from wanting to be a better mother or a better wife, to just wanting to look better in pants or to be able to buy clothes in regular sizes. It could be also for things that are medically related. You could need to get off your medication. I get it all. Write it all out.
Write your “whys” down, and reconnect with them on a daily basis. Keep in mind, being healthy has no end. I’m continuously working on getting healthier. I’m continuously working on getting stronger. There was no cutoff point where I finished getting healthy. You’re constantly working at it, just like maintaining a car. You’re doing things every day to keep that going.
A lot of times when people get knocked off, and they’re struggling to get back on track, it’s because maybe they aren’t connecting with their “why.” I don’t look at it as you’re on or you’re off, or you’re good or you’re bad. I look at it as degrees of health.
Are you the healthiest version of yourself today? That can be something that depends on the person. If you’ve been extremely strict with what you’ve been eating, and you decide you want to have that piece of birthday cake at a party, that might be the best thing you can do for your mental health in that moment.
Ask yourself, is this healthy for you physically, mentally and emotionally, and are you enjoying your life? Because if the answer to all those questions is yes, then you’re doing the right things. In this whole process, connect with your “why.” Never lose sight of why you’re doing this, why you’re working toward swinging your life into a healthy direction. It’s not on and off. It’s varying degrees of health.
In this Ask Coach Heather session, Heather share her 6 tips to help you focus on maintenance in your weight loss journey.
Several of my coaching clients have come to me with questions that they weren’t sure were within our scope of coach and coachee. When I ask if it plays into their eating behaviors and exercise, most often it does.
For example, if you struggle with feelings of self-worth and every time you say yes to somebody else — to prove yourself, to feel validated, to feel important — you say no to your healthy habits, then that needs to be addressed. If you try to eat in a healthy way but your boss yells at you and then you go home and binge because you don’t have proper communication skills, that is something that needs to be addressed.
My coaching clients ask, “Heather, is this really important for us to talk about? Is this really going to help me with my weight loss?” My response is to ask, “How does it impact your relationship with food and your view of yourself? How does it influence your decisions on whether or not you’re going to take care of yourself?” Answering these questions will let you know if you need to address it.
You have to look at your life holistically. If you’re struggling, it’s not just because you haven’t managed to get the right calories or macros or points, or because you don’t have the right workout program. I wish it were that simple because it would be an easier problem to fix. The real reasons are those other things that happen on a daily basis that knock you off your game and cause you to run into the arms of food and/or feel bad about yourself, which leads to not wanting to do whatever healthy habit it is that you’re working on.
I’m going to challenge you this week to look at all the life factors that go into why you choose to do what you choose to do. When you’re feeling lonely, do you turn to food? When you don’t have constructive things to do at night with your time, do you try to entertain yourself by going out to eat and eating large quantities of fun food?
I encourage you to go a layer deeper; don’t stay on the surface. Ask yourself, “Why is it I do what I do with food? What are the situations that trip me up, and where is that coming from?” Then try to figure out some ways to start handling those situations differently.
One of the things I’ve found transformational in my weight loss journey was creating personal boundaries and codes for myself.
For a long time, I did not have those in my life. I generally got what was right and wrong, but because I didn’t establish what I would and would not allow into my life, I found that I would compromise what was important to me sometimes because I didn’t have that structure.
One of the things that I feel very passionately about is diet bets. I often see people on Instagram and Facebook spearheading diet bets. I’ve been contacted by these companies, and I just decline and delete. The reason I feel so passionately about not putting that out there, and why you don’t see me doing that, is because, as a child growing up, I watched somebody who was very close to me, who struggled with his weight, over and over and over again doing diet bets.
This was before the internet; we’re talking the ‘80s here. We’re talking a bunch of guys at work betting money on who could lose the most weight. And guess what? He could lose the most weight. He could also binge and put all that weight back on when the diet bet was over.
I watched this over and over again, and it really affected me and my thoughts around weight loss. This is why I don’t put diet bets out there — because I don’t see this whole getting healthy, weight loss thing as being something with an end point.
Because I know my boundaries and parameters, because I know my real views on these things, it makes it easy for me to hit delete. I want to encourage you to really look at your life. Look at your feelings about weight loss. Look at what’s worked for you and what hasn’t worked for you, and start to really think about what healthy boundaries you want to set.
I decided earlier in my journey that I would not lose weight for money. I would not bet on my health because I had seen it crash and burn so many times, and it just wasn’t a healthy situation. So I created that boundary for myself, and it’s been something I’ve really stuck with.
I share this with you because, as somebody who puts out a podcast, as somebody who does a blog, I feel a responsibility to you not to condone things I know don’t work. I’ve maybe seen one case where somebody got started on a diet bet and actually got somewhere, and that was Tracy Reifkind. I think that’s the only person I’ve ever met who started from that place and actually progressed. The majority of people do not.
If you’re seeing the same people doing diet bets over and over and over again, I think that should be a signal that maybe the emphasis isn’t on maintenance. If the emphasis were on maintenance, then we wouldn’t need to do the diet bets over and over again, right?
I’m not coming from a judgmental place. I’m really coming from a place of wanting to protect you and encourage you to just observe and say, “What’s good for me, and what are the parameters that I want in my life, and what am I willing to do? What am I not willing to do?” I think creating those boundaries is an essential, healthy part of getting to a healthier body and maintaining it.
This is just something that’s been weighing on my mind. I know that with the new year, we are coming up on diet bet season. I encourage you to start thinking about how you want to create your own boundaries going into that season.