As the year comes to a close, I have had some time to reflect on how much I have learned through my work and I wanted to share some thoughts with you today.
I want to take the time to thank each and every one of you that comes in to the practice. Your stories are brutally honest and courageous. Your struggles are universal yet unique. I continue to be amazed and privileged that I get to listen and advise.
I have read, researched and mostly listened to your stories. I have come to recognize what things I can change about the way I approach how you feel about your body and why you want to lose weight. I want to continue in my practice to explore the origins of when your weight gain started or your issues surrounding food. I want to hear what you perceive are your trigger foods and what emotions underlie the choice to overeat.
Most importantly, there needs to be a shift out of the Diet Mentality. I want to help you re-frame your thoughts surrounding food. We need to shift the paradigm of GOOD foods and BAD foods. If you gain it is not BAD. If you lose, I want you to feel that you are healthier and not consumed by a number on the scale. If you exercise, it is not because you are working off a muffin; it is because you are enjoying moving your body and its physical and emotional benefits.
Holidays are not to be dreaded because of food temptations. Enjoy the foods you typically wouldn’t eat. If you love mince pie, then have a piece of mince pie! If you were going to eat it anyway, don’t associate it with shame and guilt and wrap it up in negative distortional thoughts. Don’t let a piece of cake lead you down the path of “I am bad. I will never lose the weight. I am destined to be heavy all my life. Why did I do that?” Maybe sometimes you just want a really good piece of something. Savor the moment and move on.
Recognize how hard you have worked on your journey to have a healthy relationship with food. You have stepped away from chaotic mindless overeating and have settled into slow sustainable weight loss based on Your specific lifestyle. Be able to sit with maintaining your weight and that is OK. Embrace the new movement of Health at Every Size.You have maintained your weight loss for 1 year or 8 years. You are now healthier. You have lowered or eliminated your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and multiple other problems. Don’t drive yourself insane trying to obtain a number on a scale that is not attainable. Be at peace with where your body wants to be. Buy yourself some clothes, or as one person did, make your own so that you are comfortable in your new skin.
Nothing makes me happier than when I see someone who is in the “obese or overweight” BMI range but is happy and healthy at this weight. There is a lot of misinformation and bias in the media surrounding obesity. Many of the research studies are flawed and we now know that you can be healthy and obese.
Finally, I have learned that chaos begets chaos especially when it comes to how we eat or our perception of why we need to eat. Plan, prep and enjoy cooking again. We have been programmed that unless we are on an episode of Chopped that we can’t cook. There are plenty of simple recipes online that will get us back to the root of enjoying unprocessed foods and connecting to the fruit of our labors.
Please be kind to yourself as you move into 2019. If your cup is empty, then what have you got to give to anyone else? We can’t be kind to others unless we are kind to ourselves.
I hope you have a joyful holiday and I look forward to meeting you or seeing you again in 2019.
Patrice French, RNP