By Sarah Sutton, MS, CPT, NBC-HWC, National-board certified health and wellness coach and faith-based transformation coach
“Work… drudgery… all-or-nothing.”
I was staring at an audience of anxious, arms-crossed participants of the recently kicked-off community Biggest Loser™ challenge. I had asked what their first thoughts were when I said the words “weight loss.”
These were not first-timers. They knew (I’ll amend that to thought they knew) what they were up against and still they chose to be here. Because they also knew they wanted something more for their lives.
“Vitality… connection… to be a happy mom.”
Next, their expressed visions of personal well-being were resonant in their vibrant simplicity–and in stark contrast to what they thought it took to get there and then sustain it. After I led the participants through a brief visualization in which I asked them to picture their ideal wellness or place themselves in their optimal experience of well-being, smiles of hope started to pull up their lips. Could it be possible? Is there really another way?
I don’t believe in failure. Nor in deprivation. When I weight loss coach, it is from a place of knowing the person in front of me is already whole and has the answers within her. She just hasn’t discovered them yet.
So although I outline 7 sticky steps to sustain a healthy weight, below, you should know that these are just some possibilities of where to start. I’ll use healthy eating as an example.
- Start noticing. Think through your typical week and honestly assess your stumbling blocks. If a few areas don’t immediately pop up, then, without changing a thing, journal your current eating habits for a few days, paying special attention to circumstances and associated emotions. (Note: I’m not asking you to log every morsel here. Balanced eating shouldn’t require such vigilance, so why start now?) Just begin observing yourself.
- Take a more flexible approach. I’m not a fan of counting calories. Or points. That kind of external measure of what you “should” and “shouldn’t” eat just isn’t right. (Naturally thin people don’t do it, so why should you?) However, healthy eating still requires a little know-how. Try the Plate Model approach: At every meal, fill your plate with half veggies, one quarter with a tasty (preferably whole-grain) carb, and one quarter with some form of protein. Notice how hungry you are, play with the macronutrient content (such as healthy fats in place of starches at dinner), and eat to satisfaction. Voila. Easy.
- Act on something. Start with one goal that you’re excited about, like buying amazingly fresh-tasting local produce at your farmers’ market, and/or one thing that’s been bugging you for a while, like how your family never knows what’s for dinner. Make a plan and follow through. And again.
- Be mindful. If you did nothing else but sat without distractions in front of a plate of beautifully prepared food and savored every single bite—and did this every day—you’ll be amazed how quickly everything else falls into place. When you begin noticing how your body feels when treating yourself to what you’re conditioned to think tastes good, such as orange powdered cheese puffs, versus, say, organic strawberries or a single decadent chocolate truffle, there’s just no comparison.
- Act on another thing. Could be something with a bit more staying power, like getting help for your emotional eating, or talking to your boss about cutting back on stressful over-time.
- Repeat. Any or all of the above.
- Write your own steps. Trust your instincts. The answers are already within you.