It's not what you see. It's how you see it.
In all my years as a nutritionist, the primary reason individuals seek my services is for weight loss assistance. This probably doesn't seem surprising, as we live in a country with an obesity epidemic. It's an epidemic we’ve grown numb to and as a society, accepted it to be as normal as street signs.
On an individual basis, struggling with excess weight hurts inside and out. It affects every aspect of a person's life. Often by the time my phone rings, the person on the other end has reached a point of frustration that has them feeling a serious case of the honey badgers.
Before your give-a-damn busts and you slap on your “I don’t give a sh*t” panties, have a heaping scoop of free nutrition advice from a real life, well-educated and highly experienced nutritionist. Then you may proceed with your panty selection as you see fit.
The two best pieces of advice I can give you or anyone trying to lose weight are as follows:
1.) Eat food, real food. Repeat several times a day. Don't forget to enjoy it.
2.) Get a better perspective. It’s not about failed weight loss efforts; it’s about how you’re approaching weight loss.
The first piece of advice is a bit of a loaded statement, but in the end, it can and will help you. Eat more food found in nature or with minimal ingredients and the good things in life will start to roll in your way. “Good things” refers to improved health, more energy, regular bowel movements, nourished skin and a healthy body weight. It doesn’t not refer to cleansed karma, unicorns, a better job or your arch-nemesis’ demise.
The second tidbit of nutritional advice is perhaps the number one thing you can do to lose weight. Know right now, that you are able to make the changes necessary to have a happy, healthy life. Truth. Know that, and per Journey, don’t stop believing.
“I can’t lose weight.”
If you say so. But if you want to lose weight, stop saying that. You can lose weight. Rather than telling yourself, the professional you’re paying to help you lose weight, your friends, family and the universe that you can’t lose weight, try saying, “I’m healing.”
This may sound like zen hippie malarkey, completely unrelated to weight loss, but I am telling you from experience, it works. My clients who have been the most successful never say they are “on a diet,” or that they “can’t lose weight.” They say they are “healing,” “eating for health” or “taking care of themselves.”
Losing weight is a healing process. Any time the tissues of our body restructure themselves to a better state, it's called healing. A broken bone mending is a great example.
So, why is it that when our bodies are decreasing in fat tissue, increasing in muscle tissue, detoxing and mending the damage excess weight has put on organs, joints and hormonal balance, it's not called healing?
“Eating healthy is too expensive.”
I could site one study after another that reports eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains over processed convenience foods is actually not much more expensive, but I’m not going to. These studies are out there and well known.
Instead, I’m going to tell you what I have seen in both my professional and personal life: Eating healthy is as cheap or as expensive as you make it. First, define healthy. Healthy doesn’t necessarily mean organic, gluten-free, free-range or endorsed by a TV doctor; healthy means nourishing your body.
Second, I’m going to tell you about a little homework exercise that I have given many clients. Go home and add up all your food expenses for the last two months. I mean ALL FOOD EXPENSES: grocery store, convenience store, vending machine, random checkout purchases, cookies, street tacos, fancy restaurants, liquor stores, drive-thrus, movie theaters, you name it.
If you exchanged money for food or beverage, add it up. You will learn that you buy food everywhere, where you buy most of your food from and just how much of your income is going towards food.
What did my clients discover? After two months of seeing me, their food bill was typically cut in half and they were not starving themselves. They were eating well and enjoying it.
So not only can you afford to eat well, you can afford nutrition education. Clean up your blown mind and move on to the next point.
“Losing weight is hard.”
If you want it to be. Another way to look at it could be that you’re eating well, sleeping more and being more physically active to enrich your life. You’re enjoying feeling great, looking better each day, waking up refreshed and full of energy and love seeing how fit you’re getting.
You know what is actually hard? Feeling like crap physically and emotionally all the freaking time, day in and day out. Not to mention, holding in gas. Holding in gas is hard and stressful. One side perk of eating well, working out and losing weight is less farts.
“I hate working out. Going to the gym is expensive, embarrassing and just overall sucks.”
Hate is a strong word and I do believe, in a roundabout way, Yoda said it leads to the dark side. There's a couple of different perspective points on this one.
Younger, pre-nutritionist Sheila once said she hated working out, too. Then, the powers that be gave her a thorough backhand that cured my clinical case of the “woe is me's.” Within minutes of lamenting “having to” go to the gym, I ran into a gentleman my age returning from war. He had lost his legs in an explosion and was unable to get up on a treadmill, elliptical machine or leg press.
In that very moment, my perspective was forever changed. There are still days I have to really push myself to workout, but I always, and I mean always, remember one thing: It’s not that I HAVE TO workout; it’s that I GET TO workout and it’s a blessing to be able to.
Also, realizing that you don’t have to pack up and head to the gym to workout is a way to change perspective. The world is your gym, so get to work. YouTube is loaded with awesome, FREE workout videos. There are miles upon miles of sidewalks, paths and trails to walk, run, jog, or lunge down. Get your Rocky Balboa on and run some stairs.
There are millions of obese dogs (literally) dying to go for a walk. Pilates, yoga, calisthenics, walking, stretching and so many more activities require little to no equipment.
If you’re afraid of some jerk making fun of you or nosing around about what you’re doing, don’t. It’s most likely not going to happen because the truth is, we’re all too worried about some jerk judging us to be the jerk that notices someone working out.
Should someone actually say something to you, here are some snarky, winning remarks to fire back:
“I don’t have time for your BS. I’m training to survive the zombie apocalypse and I’ve got to be on time for weaponry training.”
“I’m sorry you had an unloved childhood, but it’s not my job to help you address that. I’m busy training to take on life.”
“Your time and attention would be better served addressing your problems, as your issues are showing.”
And best for last, “That’s not what your mom said last night!” Burn an extra 10 calories making air-spanking motions.
Yes, I’ve said all of this to paying clients of all ages, from all walks of life. I’ve also seen the success of individuals across the spectrums of age, finances, gender and education be successful in their weight loss efforts by gaining a better perspective. Basically, what I'm saying is, you can do it, too.
Photo via We Heart It