For those of us who have spent any amount of time overweight or obese, we eventually find ourselves wondering how those skinny people eat whatever they want and stay thin! I mean, come on, Jennifer ate a whole pizza and wears a size 6! What the hell? After losing 70 pounds, I have cracked the code and I’m going to share it with you right now! It has nothing to do with superhuman metabolisms or purging behind closed doors, it is because of their THOUGHTS!!! Here’s how to start thinking like a naturally thin person:
Absolve yourself of shame and guilt over what is “healthy food” and what isn’t.
The “Clean eating” rhetoric, although well-intentioned, promotes shame, and I won’t promote anything that promotes us to feel shame. We have an epidemic of shame in this country and shame prevents us from fully living “wholeheartedly” as Brené Brown puts it [in her awesome ted talk about shame and vulnerability, highly recommended watching!]. The dichotomy of “clean vs. dirty” promotes the black-and-white thinking that naturally thin people just don’t have! Food isn’t clean or dirty; it’s just food. Some food is enjoyable, some is less enjoyable, some has more nutrients than others. Food just is what it is. It’s time to divorce the morality judgement from our food, starting right now!
Think about it this way: falling down a flight of stairs is unequivocally bad for your health, we could almost certainly call it “unhealthy,” but we as members of society typically do not blame that person (who is likely in the hospital covered in casts for broken bones) for “not caring about their health.” We intrinsically know that falling down the stairs is certainly the result of some kind of event or environment that is outside of that person’s control. We tend to agree that a person who fell didn’t choose to fall down the stairs. Contrast this with an overweight or obese person taking an elevator instead of stairs or eating pizza and drinking soda, and all of a sudden, the fat person is “lazy and doesn’t care about themselves.” Where is the understanding that these choices are also related to circumstances out of the individual’s control??? What if that obese person hadn’t eaten anything since the day before? What if they have a stressful, high-pressure job that leaves them only 5 minutes to pick up something, anything, to eat before going back to work? And what’s worse, as overweight and obese people, we recognize others judging us for eating. Eating anything, really. It is too bad that more people don’t recognize this double-standard.
So “clean eating” is just another moral food standard that contributes to a fallacy that we’ve created as a society is more harmful than helpful, and prevent people from losing weight even when they are desperately trying to! (notice I’m not blaming an individual for the shame: in sociology we call this sui generis; a social force created by the people that subsequently exerts its pressure back down on society) Shame is too heavy a burden to carry. We must slough it off to think about food like the naturally, effortlessly thin. The naturally thin do not feel guilty about eating the things they enjoy, and therein lies the secret!
To lose weight, all you need to do is eat the things you enjoy within the moderation of a calorie deficit. Don’t eat anything you don’t enjoy!
Think of your daily calories like money. Would you spend your money on something you didn’t really want? Of course not! That would be a waste! Most of us have numerous foods we really truly enjoy (after all, food is a pleasurable and social experience!) so eat mostly those, with a few new things every once in a while to expand your dietary repertoire. Now I’m not advocating eating chips and soda all day to lose weight. It’s still a good idea to follow some general dietary guidelines (more info on that later, MyFitnessPal and USDA guidelines are fine to start with), but if you save some calories to eat a bowl of frosted-mini wheats cereal at 10PM, that’s fine! If you go out with friends on Friday and drink two beers and eat onion rings, that’s fine! When you eat the things you like, you are more likely to stay on your weight loss plan, and THAT is what leads to permanent, lasting weight loss. The naturally, effortlessly thin do NOT eat things they don’t enjoy. They also stop eating at a certain point, which leads to…
You must accept that you can’t possibly eat everything you want all the time, your stomach will make you throw up, there’s a physical limit to how much it can hold. Also, if you can’t fit something into you calorie allowance today, pre-log it for tomorrow! I very often find myself wanting to eat more things than I have calories to spend.
PRO TIP FOR WEIGHT LOSS – Example: It’s 7PM and I have 400 calories left to spend. I really want to eat a bag of skinny girl sea salt popcorn (160 calories), a Dr. Pepper (150 calories), and a bowl of vanilla ice cream (200 calories) with a sliced banana (75 calories) and chocolate syrup (50 calories) on top.
Popcorn and Dr. Pepper = 310 calories or Ice cream sundae = 325
(If I eat both I will overspend my calories by 235 calories! This is a choice that directly determines how much fat I will lose!)
SOLUTION: Eat only ONE of the options and stay within my calories! Right now I prefer the ice cream sundae (even though I still kinda want both), so I’ll have that sundae tonight and enjoy the hell out of every bite! Yummy! Then I go into my food diary on MyFitnessPal and pre-log the popcorn and Dr. Pepper for tomorrow, because I get a new paycheck (of calories) tomorrow morning and then I can have my popcorn and Dr. Pepper and not overspend! You never have to go without something you really want. You just might need to wait until your next paycheck (of calories) clears the bank!
We know exercise is good for us, for our cardiovascular health and mobility. But deciding to lose weight and exercising like a mad woman until you literally can’t get out of bed IS NOT THE WAY TO SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS.
Simply move a lot throughout the day, don’t kill yourself at the gym. Wearing a FitBit (see weight loss tools) is incredibly helpful for this. With FitBit, it automatically motivates you to reach a step goal, and those steps add up to calories burned! I wear mine all the time and since I live in Manhattan and walk everywhere, I’m am happily getting my exercise while going about my daily life. It’s awesome! Sometimes I walk a little farther or skip the subway and take a longer walk to a friend’s house, and that translates to more movement! If you’re living in a car community, like most of the rest of the USA, take leisurely walks with your family, dogs, take the stairs, park farther away from a building. Walk during lunch and breaks. When I taught high school, a fellow teacher would walk the hallways during her lunchtime to get more movement in. If you watch TV, stand up during the commercials and march in place. If you feel like you really must schedule in dedicated exercise, I recommend yoga because of how relaxing it can be, and it improves flexibility. But seriously, just move around a lot.
No Pain, No Gain, No More!
Have faith in your ability to succeed. This takes time and practice for us to really accept and internalize as we’re working on losing weight. You can and will become more confident each day that anywhere you go (dinner party, pot luck, cookie swap, new restaurant, old restaurant, county fair, buffet, etc), that you can find something enjoyable and satisfying to eat that will be within your calorie plan. It takes practice and experience to be able to trust that with the weight loss plan I recommend and practice, there is no falling off the wagon! Nothing you eat or drink will be cheating or failing. It’s simply not possible because NOTHING IS OFF LIMITS! The only way to fail is to give up on yourself and quit trying.
If there’s a will, there’s a way, and if you have the will, I’ll show you the way! (Seriously, if you want to give up but still have faith, send me an email first, I’ll talk you out of it!) By changing our thought processes, we can think like the naturally, effortlessly thin. Thoughts are powerful things, you’ll see. 🙂
What thought processes have changed as you’ve lost weight? Which of these do you need to work on? Which one is the hardest for you? I’d love to hear from you!
No fad diets. No weigh loss pills. No embarrassing meetings. No punishing exercises.
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