Are You Stonewalling Your Weight Loss Plan?
By Joan Kent, PhD
"I don't understand. She trains well."
The program manager made this comment when a participant in our athletic training / weight loss program didn't get results. I was both an athletic coach and the lead nutritionist.
His comment exasperated me. Of course, she trained well. She was an expert at that because of her food issues. She'd junk out, then "train well" to burn off the unwanted calories.
It wasn't always the same 'she,' but training was the easy part: getting to the gym for early classes, hitting the weight room, weekend runs, core strength, scheduling with a personal trainer. No problem. Workouts don't threaten eating behaviors.
This type of client wants to eat junk, work out hard to compensate, and leave her eating habits intact.
But Nutrition Rules Push Buttons
Food guidelines, on the other hand, trigger resistance. My nutrition program – highly successful with most participants – annoyed the "resisters."
One client kept demanding more specific instructions. Our guidelines were never good enough.
She claimed not to know what to eat. She wanted menus. When we provided those, she wanted more: exactly which foods to eat, exactly when to eat them, and precise calculations for her calorie and weight-loss needs.
I recognized this for the smokescreen it was, but the program manager saw it as our problem. "Until we provide those things," he said, "she feels as if her program can't begin."
His statement was profound – but not in the way he thought.
Registering for a robust weight-loss program looks like a sincere desire to lose weight. Asking for more specifics seems like part of that sincere desire ... IF you don't recognize the games people play to avoid doing the work.
Yet I've been around the resistance of weight-loss clients for a long time, so I see it differently.
As long as we didn't meet each of her requests, she had an excuse not to change her eating. Not to give up the pizza, margaritas, wine, or nachos listed in her seldom-kept food log. Not to move forward – to any degree – until things suited her to a T.
If we had done everything she wanted, she would have had more complaints and more demands.
Bottom line? She saw the absent specifics as the chink in the armor, her point of attack. A good friend of mine who's a life coach said, "It's better for her if the program fails than if she does. Again."
So What's in This ForYou?
You may want to lose weight, regain control of your eating, quit sugar, or something else. Here are a few suggestions.
• Be honest about what you want.
What's your weakness – sugar, alcohol, butter, chips? Be crystal clear on your goal. It's no crime to decide you don't want to lose weight, stop drinking wine, or end your food addiction.
• See the finish line with no time element.
I learned this from my ultra-endurance athletic coach. Don't worry about speed. These days, some people push rapid weight loss. That's fine if you prefer, but it's not a race.
If it's more comfortable to "set it and forget it", decrease your calories by just 200-300 per day. It may take longer to reach your goal, but so what? Do it daily, forget about it, and let the pounds melt slowly while you go about your business.
• If you're addicted to sugar or other food, focus on the addiction first.
Don't self-sabotage by taking on too much at once. Dealing with addiction first is a strong, solid step toward weight-loss. Once your food is under control, the other goals will fall in place.
• Get past your sugar addiction with qualified help and a proven system.
Everyone has ideas on how to get rid of sugar cravings and addiction. Some of them are almost ridiculous. With the right help, it's straightforward. With the wrong advice, it can be agonizingly difficult.
Find a solid system. Stick with it. Celebrate your results.
Sugar addiction can block many goals – weight loss, better health, better mood, reversing inflammation, autism and more. If you'd like help with your nutrition, I'm dedicated to helping you. Just visit www.LastResortNutrition.com and sign up for your free Empowered Eating Consult. Find out how small changes can open big doors and help you reach your goals.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood, and Transform Your Health.