The Mindful Way I Lost The Hardest 10 lbs of My Life (Hint: It Has Nothing to do with Food or Exercise
“Your attitude about food affects the way the food affects your body.”
I feel like the title of this blog post does not portray the gravity of those 10 lbs. They were the most stubborn 10 pounds in the history of my weight loss! they finally came off just as I was about to give up…again.
My Stubborn Weight Story
I don’t mind talking numbers so I’m just going to be straight with you. I was a comfortable 170 pounds before my first child. I gained 30 with pregnancy and I immediately lost 20 after birth. My next child was a very large baby (9lbs 10oz. Natural. I should get an award, right?). I gained about 40 pounds. I also lost about 20 with him after birth, and then managed to take off another 10. There was a big gap between my 2nd and 3rd child (7 years). I gained weight, I lost weight. But in the end, I gained weight.
My third child, born almost 6 months ago, was a girl and I gained about 25 pounds, which put me at 235. And oh boy was I excited to immediately lose that first 20 pounds like I did with the other two babies. However, that’s not what my now 30-year-old body exactly had in mind. Somehow this baby, the smallest of all three, did not require as much blood and tissue as the other two. Maybe that’s why she was the most painful to carry.
The day after I arrived home I stepped on the scale. You know what it said? 2-2-6. That’s right, folks. 2——2——6! Seriously?! 9 pounds? WTF? My child weighed 7lbs 6oz. Did I really eat the rest of that weight?
To my body’s defense, the next 6 pounds steadily fell off. But when I hit 220, probably 3 months ago, my body decided that’s where it wanted to be and that’s where it shall stay.
I, however, knew otherwise.
What Didn’t Work
I tried like hell after baby #3 to lose weight. Now, when I say, “like hell”, what I mean is I tried in my own way- ways that worked for me before my body’s metabolism shut down. I’m not a fan of exercise but I will incorporate walking and stretching or beginners yoga. I focus more on my diet. I really wanted to get back under 200 just for the simple fact my clothes would fit again. I restricted calories, I limited carbs, I ate clean, and I incorporated movement. But a week after every new tactic started, I weighed myself and observed no change. So, I felt sorry for myself and then I tried a new tactic the next week.
I didn’t know what I was going to do. These tactics always worked for me before. I knew I could always go hardcore with diet and exercise. I completely understand that food and exercise are a huge part of weight loss. If I maintained a strict, clean diet and went to the YMCA an hour every day, I would absolutely lose weight. But I also understand that I will not realistically maintain an intense diet and workout routine in my daily life for the rest of my life. It is so important for me to do something that I can consider a lifestyle change and not a temporary fix.
What I’m Learning
The most important information I’m learning in my health coaching courses is that health is not as simple as what you eat and how much you move. Health is your overall well-being. It’s how the physical, mental and spiritual parts of you connect to make a whole. One of them affects all of them. Your mental and spiritual health can, therefore, influence what is manifesting in you physically.
If I’m holding onto something physically (my weight), it’s possible that I’m holding onto something emotionally or spiritually. If I want to release the weight, I’ve got to find and release my emotional or spiritual burden.
What Finally Did Work
Once I realized that the parts of me you can’t see are affecting the parts me you can see, I decided to change the way I approached my weight loss. It’s no longer about hating the weight and punishing myself for not getting it off; it’s about exploring myself and focusing on the mental work of healthy living as well as the physical. It’s being mindful of my whole being. And it’s being mindful of how I feel about food and my body.
Here is a list things I do now, in addition to the diet changes and movements that work in my life.
1. I Think About It
I began with the mental/emotional work. I ask myself why I have this problem. For me, this meant journaling about my fears. For you, it could be as easy as just asking yourself a question and spending the week chewing on the answer.
Through a helpful journal exercise, I realized I may be subconsciously trying to keep my weight on. The pounds are protecting me from my fear of succeeding in something completely out of my realm (business ownership). By keeping the weight on, I get the great excuse that my future clients won’t take me seriously. Analyzing your thoughts helps you get in touch with the real obstacles you may have not even considered yet.
2. I Visualize the Negativity Leaving My Body
Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you move mountains in your life. Visualization is one of the things I do now when I’m not feeling well, or in this case, when there’s something about my body I’m wishing to improve…such as the ability to lose weight. Here’s how it works for me:
* First I relax and close my eyes.
* I Take a deep breath, in and out, and imagine an outline of my body in my mind.
* I visualize the negative energy or particles in my body that I want to be rid of. For me, it looks like my body is filled with tiny black dots. And for me, these dots either represent negative emotions, a sickness, or a system in my body that’s not working properly. Remember, your vision may look very different.
* I visualize the black dots leaving my body for good.
* I visualize a very bright light entering my body, reenergizing me, and replacing the negative energy or particles that were there before.
That’s it! I do this once or several times depending on how long I’ve had the problem. I honestly feel like it helps me to heal issues much faster. Visualization exercises help your mind to accept and believe in what you want to be true.
3. I Take Deep Breaths and Repeat Affirmations
Affirmations are specific phrases you repeat to yourself to help change your mindset and energy around a specific issue in your life. I will often do this in the shower while I’m washing my hair or at night before I fall asleep.
Since I’m struggling with weight loss I might take a deep breath and then say, My body is healthy, my body is clean, my body is light. To me, this represents the systems in my body working properly, making it easier for the weight to fall off, and easier for it to absorb nutrients. Repeating affirmations is your way of letting the Universe know what you want and the action you’re taking to get it.
4. I Am Grateful For and Have a Better Attitude Towards ALL My Food
This goes back to how our mental state affects our physical state. If we believe the food we are putting in our bodies is bad for us, then it will be. If we have a better attitude about the food we eat, are thankful for it, and believe it is nourishing us, it will be better for us.
I either make a mental note of how thankful I am for my meal or in some cases say it out loud with family. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a Big Mac or a Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad. Your attitude about food affects the way the food affects your body.
I have a great new Journal for Wisdom Wednesday discussing this very topic.
5. I Don’t Look at the Scale (As Much)
This one is big and requires more paragraphs.
I don’t know about you, but I can get pretty caught up in that number on the scale. It was the only way I knew to measure my success. Sure, we all want to lose weight because we want to be smaller, and we want to be smaller because we think it will make us look better. But who the hell cares if you look better when you’re suffering from Type 2 Diabetes or Heart Disease? Looking better isn’t the REAL reason we want to lose weight. What we want is to stick around longer, travel after we retire, play ball with our kids, and not die of a completely preventable disease!
Once I realized this, I stopped making the scale a part of my routine. I stopped torturing myself with watching the numbers go up and down and letting the entire emotional fate of my week rest on that number. Weight isn’t the end goal. Health is the end goal. It’s time we learn to measure our health success in other ways. The number on the scale is just a perk. The pounds will inevitably fall off as long as you allow yourself to sink into your new healthy mindset, and stop focusing so hard on the negative ideas.
Yes, I did eventually look at the scale. I had to, to write this post. But I didn’t do it until my body felt better. I waited until my clothes were feeling lose, my appetite and cravings weren’t so strong, and I noticed a change in my reflection. I used the number on the scale as a point of reference, and not as a goal.
Mindfulness has turned into a huge concept for me and the way I view healthy living. Our belief systems play into EVERY aspect of our lives. Are you having trouble taking that next step in weight loss, or are you trying to set other health goals but always seem to fail? Spend a week focusing on being mindful of it. Try the exercises above and let me know how it plays out in your life.
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