Tag: losing weight

Successful Weight Loss is Not About the Diet

Successful Weight Loss is Not About the Diet

“Why are You so Damn Fat!?” ~ Martha Beck Tells It Like It Is!

Our diet is an important issue for all of us. Weight loss, particularly as we get older, becomes increasingly difficult. We need all the help we can get, not only to lose weight but to maintain it.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve asked myself this question more than once!  The first time I heard these words, however,  were spoken to me by a “friend”, when I was nine years old — minus the expletive. Prior to that, the idea of being too fat, too thin, or anything other than just me, never crossed my mind. After that, it never left. And, I wasn’t even “fat”.

At the time I picked up Martha Beck’s book, The Four Day Win, End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace, I was unaware that my self-talk was a problem. I became a fan of Beck after reading Finding Your Own North Star.  She’s straight forward, honest, intelligent, well-educated and very funny. Most importantly, she knows what she’s talking about, as much from her first hand experience as her vast education.

I downloaded the audio version of The Four Day Win, slipped on my walking shoes and headphones and headed out the  door to walk the dog and find my way to thinner peace.  The first words I heard after hitting “play” were, “Why are you so damn fat!?”  What??  I swallowed hard and out of respect for the woman, I listened on.

Beck no doubt used this opening for shock value and she certainly got my attention. After all, who would say such a thing, beside mean girls and siblings?  She went on to make her point and it was a good one. What we say to ourselves is far worse than anything anyone else says to us.  We use words just like this over and over, day after day, year in and year out, not only about our appearance, but a vast array of things. We are not our own best friend. In fact, we’re our worst enemy! Why wouldn’t we want to soothe our wounds with a half gal of ice cream! (Incidentally, did you know ice cream doesn’t even come in half gallons anymore! That was not nice of the manufactures at all! ~ Yes, I am an addict. <— See? I just did it!)

SELF-TALK MATTERS

Our daily stream of mental gibber jabber is far less helpful than it could be.  After all,  Beck writes,  when it comes to diet, “who

Not me, but it could be!

doesn’t know the basics of weight loss? Eat less. Move more. That’s all there is to it!” So, it’s not about the “perfect diet”. It’s not about the “right exercise routine”.  They can be  helpful tools, but what really affects our ability to achieve our goals, no matter what they are, is the way we think and what we tell ourselves, both consciously and unconsciously.

If we want to lose weight, or overcome any obstacle we face, our first step must be to figure out what we are thinking.  When we bringing our self-talk into conscious awareness, we can choose self-talk that supports our diet efforts, rather than sabotaging them.

The Four Day Win is not just a diet book. It’s far more and it’s worth the read before beginning any preplanned life change.  If we’re going to succeed at anything we set out to do, it behooves us to become our own cheerleader.

First published June, 2010

© Dorothy Sander


NOTE: Before beginning any weight loss program be sure and consult with your physician. A BMI calculator will help you determine if you are carrying excess weight and how much.

Still Time to Re-Think Your New Year’s Resolutions!

Still Time to Re-Think Your New Year’s Resolutions!

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #1: LOSE WEIGHT?new-years-diet

How About Losing Your Girly Thoughts?

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD  

You have just spent most of the last two months cooking, buying gifts, wrapping them, entertaining, and, of course, eating all those wonderful holiday treats. But now the holidays are over and the new year is here. This might mean you’re now dealing with higher-than-comfortable credit cards bills and a larger-than-comfortable waistline or bottom. 

New Year’s Resolutions 

Enter the New Year’s Resolution. Here you have the opportunity to begin anew, to make conscious decisions that will improve your life—and for many of us, this is to lose weight, especially the weight we just gained over the holidays. Goals are good. There is nothing wrong with having weight loss as a goal, but how you go about fulfilling this particular goal will make 2014 either a great year or another year where you start out strong and fizzle fast.

Your desire to lose weight is just what the multi-billion-dollar diet industry has been waiting for. You are reminded to try the latest quick-loss diet plan through ads on TV and by magazines at the grocery checkout (as you’re tempted by the most delicious-looking desserts in those same places). But will that newest plan really work for you? Maybe it’s time to look deeper at what caused your weight gain in the first place.

How About Losing Some Stress? 

Yes, stress. Those extra pounds did not come from nowhere. You are probably a stress eater. This means when you feel stress, you do something to relieve it, and that may mean eating or drinking to just calm down.

When you feel stressed, you feel you deserve that brownie; it has your name on it, doesn’t it? After all, desserts is just stressed spelled backward!

Consider this scenario: You’ve had a really bad day at work. You deserve a beer or that glass of white wine . . . or two. As part of the eating frenzy that is a family dinner, your kids want spaghetti—seconds, even—and if they’re going to have seconds, you will as well.

Stress is a given in your life. But to lose or reduce it, you need to figure out what is stressing you.

Dieting Stresses You Even More 

If you are a stress eater, if you eat as a way of calming yourself, dieting only increases your stress because you are taking away your stress reducer. This is why diets do not work. Dieting increases your stress. You are now in a no-win situation.

 The Stress of Girly Thoughts 

Focusing on reducing a negative way you are dealing with stress is one strategy. But a strategy with an even bigger pay-off and no back-end payout is to reduce your stress level. And what stresses women out? All those societal messages—those girly thoughts—that tell us we are

  • too fat
  • too young
  • too old
  • too aggressive
  • too smart
  • too boring 

So is it any surprise that you take solace in something that gives give you immediate satisfaction, like eating or drinking? But what if there was something you could do that would accomplish the same thing? Something that would calm you down, give you satisfaction, with no calories?

Challenging Your Stressful Girly Thoughts—A Zero-Calorie Solution 

Learning to talk back to that negative inner dialogue where your girly thoughts are found is one way to do that. How does this work?

  • Identify what is causing you stress. If it is your girly thoughts, then name them. Naming something for what it is gives us power over it. 
  • Don’t let a thought determine how you feel. Don’t feel if this, then that. Having a negative girly thought, or any negative thought, does not have to determine how you feel. It is, after all, just a thought. 
  • Tell your girly thoughts to take a hike. You can choose to not indulge a negative thought about yourself. Instead you can: 
  • tell your girly thought to get lost
  • treat your girly thought lightly, thanking it for its wisdom but saying you’re not interested
  • invite yourself to think of something else, something more pleasant, such as a massage or sitting on the beach 

None of us can control what pops into our minds, but we can control what we allow to be there rent-free.

We can control what we think, and by doing so we can reduce our stress, cut down on our stress eating and drinking, and save some money on all those worthless diet books that we rarely read anyway.

So for a real New Year’s ResolutionSTOP THINKING THOSE GIRLY THOUGHTS! 

Dr. Patricia GormanDr. Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D is an internationally-recognized public speaker known for her warm, funny, and inspiring presentations, coach, psychologist, and a consultant to Lifescape Solutions in Delray Beach, Florida. She is noted for her work on women, children of alcoholics, and trauma, in the child welfare, mental health, and substance abuse systems. She is in private practice in New York.  READ MORE

Author of eight books including: 

Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting (2012)
12 Steps to Self-Parenting (celebrating 25 years in print)
Coming in April in 2014:  Out Your Girly Thoughts . . . Embrace Your Strength
Making Peace with Your Inner Drill Sergeant

Making Peace with Your Inner Drill Sergeant

Aging abundantly is easier and more enjoyable to do when we are able to leave a bit of our physical abundance behind (no pun intended!). But as we age, losing weight and getting healthy is more difficult than ever. Our metabolism works against us, our muscles lose strength and tone ~ physical activity is harder and the results less encouraging. It’s simply the aging process, our changing hormones, and perhaps more than a few years of living a less than healthy lifestyle. This in no way means we should give up on our attempts to be and live healthier. It just means we have to do things differently and adjust our expectations.

As we age, we need to leave the past behind (there I go again!) in many ways. When it comes to our physical selves, our mental picture of our ideal body, like all ideals that involve perfection, probably was and never will be attainable.  It’s time to let it go and get on with what is really important in our lives.

Fortunately, our years of l experience have taught us a great deal about ourselves and the realities of life and we can bring all of that wisdom to bear on our efforts to take better care of ourselves. The damage that has been done is done. But, we still have today and hopefully tomorrow.

I’m not going to talk about diet plans or exercise regimes. There are already plenty of people more qualified than I am who have put thought, effort and research into developing good, solid healthy eating and exercise plans. The only thing I’m going to say here is that the bottom line to weight loss and health is and always has been ~ eat less and move more. Without even counting calories, you will make a difference in your overall health if you simply eat less than you are currently eating and move more.

The real difficulty we have in losing weight is not the plan we choose, it’s what is going on inside of our heads. Women have been at war with their bodies for decades and it’s time we stopped. Nothing good can come of such a battle. The typical pattern of the “yo-yo” dieter is the common diet experience among women of all ages and is the precise reason why the majority of women over fifty are at least marginally overweight. It’s not just a psychological issue but a physiological one as well. When we diet by submitting to the part of ourselves that is disciplined and controlled we think we’re doing the right thing and for a while we lose weight. For a time we pay attention to the voice in our heads that says more or less, “I’ve had enough of your lazy, slothful ways! Shape up!” And we do, for a while, maybe even a long while. But this part of our psyche is not all of who we are even if we let it rule for a while. It is a part of our brain than truly wants to help us but it lacks compassion and has a lot of trouble having fun.  Sooner or later our “wild child” takes over ~ she will not be denied as she is a part of us too! She too has our best interest at heart and knows if we are to be happy and healthy we cannot live entirely under the command of our Nazi general.

There is scientific research that has shown that at the basis of this “wild child”, the one that binges, sneaks food, refuses to exercise and generally wreaks havoc on all of our attempts to shape up, is actually a self-preservation instinct. Our “wild child” is terrified that under the rule of the Nazi general we will starve to death and the scarcity button is triggered in our brain. It is much like the fight or flight instinct induced by fear. Our wild child compels us to eat and is looking out for our best interests in her own way. The “wild child” does not want us to starve to death but she does not care about our health. She is concerned with life and death issues.

The important thing to realize here is that there is more to weight loss and health than will power and self-control. In fact, if you are overweight and have been on a life time of yo-yo diets, chances are you have an incredibly strong will power.  But the stronger the will power, or the rule of your Nazi general, the more rebellious your wild child may be when she lets loose.

Recognizing these two very important aspects of your diet and exercise brain is the first step to paving the way to a new approach to health and weight loss that is sustainable. More on that in my next post.

The Four Day Win by Martha Beck is worth reading.