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I have lost weight, why can’t I accept my body?

There are two aspects to weight loss. The physical piece; involving tracking, moving, prepping and planning. And the emotional piece, which is far more complex.

We know how we may feel about our body when it is heavy and most people can relate to not feeling good or looking good. But what happens with our self-perception with weight loss?

For a lot of people, summer is a time that exposes us to more vulnerability in terms of what we are wearing. Wrapping our head around our weight loss and how we look at ourselves can be a very hard thing to do.

I have a lot of patients who are still wearing the same size clothes as when they first started to lose weight. The thought of transitioning to something that fits them better exposes them to feelings of fear. Fear of how they will be perceived. Fear that this body is a fraud and they will regain. Fear of being looked at differently and being paid attention to.

Feelings of the past whether it is trauma or other incidents can trigger feelings of wanting to hide behind their clothes rather than find confidence in the body they have worked so hard to change.

Weight loss is often a double edged sword. Small changes can be made if that makes it easier for you to adjust. This period in time can often require some tricky navigation to the point where some people go back to the comfort of regain.

So the question is, can you embrace your new skin? Start with one new outfit no matter what your size or your future goals for weight loss. Have someone help you at the store if you need assistance. Buy one outfit that flatters your figure and get used to how you feel and look.

Communicate to Dr. Beth and/or myself how you are feeling emotionally and let us help you explore these feelings. As you shed the pounds, it is time to shed the shame, guilt and fear. You deserve this! This is a time for self-compassion which is self-kindness. Remember that this is you right now ~ You are no longer defined by your past!

Celebrate your beauty and success, no matter what size you are.

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Recovery Vs. Relapse

Each patient encounter reminds me of the incredible work I do every day. This story, I believe will really resonate with many of you who struggle between losing and gaining.

I recently met with someone who has been coming to the office for years. She had not been seen for some time and had regained. She described to me in great detail all the things that had happened to cause the weight gain. She could identify the behaviors, (not tracking, not exercising, emotional overeating/stress eating and going back to the same comfort and trigger foods).

Before she left, she said to me “If I could focus on my recovery the way I focus on my relapse then I would be able to feel better again and lose the weight”. I thought this was brilliant insight and it made me wonder about the 100’s of other stories I hear.

Patients can become very attached to the behaviors that lead to relapse. For some this is more wine at night, more comfort foods, less activity. This leads to avoidance of all the recovery behaviors. The relapse behaviors are more comforting and feel like an old friend you have invited back into your home again. On some level whether conscious or unconscious they are safe and provide some purpose.

So, how do you shift the dynamic of time and effort spent in relapse to recovery?

If you feel as if you are relapsing, try to take a look at what your behaviors are during this time. What was the trigger that precipitated these behaviors? How do these behaviors serve you and how do you get back to the mindset of recovery?  What was recovery for you before?  Was it coming to the office, tracking, moving, prepping, paying attention to yourself and your stressors?

You are not your relapse. This is only a stepping stone on the journey to peace with food. The tools are there for you to get back on track. Shift the focus back on self-care and self-kindness.

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2018 Lessons & Reflections

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