I saw a friend with a familiar dilemma the other day…She has been trying to lose weight – eating “better”, exercising more, and has been able to stick with a “plan” with good success for a while…but then she inevitably gets “bored” or “stressed”, goes off the plan, and gains her weight back. Next step is to feel bad that she lacks discipline or willpower to keep it all going. So she quits for a while and then goes to her step 3: ask other people what has worked for them.
Only to try again with the same results.
What an exhausting self-defeating cycle to be in, and I know she is not alone. It is repeated over and over by women everywhere. The thing that I feel most sad about in this familiar story is watching women make themselves wrong (undisciplined, weak, lazy, unmotivated) for what is a biological imperative.
Restriction will ALWAYS, but only ALWAYS, be followed by indulgence. Whether that restriction comes in the form of counting calories, quitting bread, or only eating between 12 and 6. And that is not lazy or weak, that is homeostasis (remember that 9th grade Biology word for the magical way the body is always seeking balance). If you get on the wagon with the wrong motivation or perspective or a balls to the wall strategy, you will ALWAYS fall off at some point. It’s nature. And since it’s hurricane season down south, we are right in the midst of our annual reminder that, as fabulous as we are, humans do not beat nature.
This on-again, off-again cycle wears us down psychologically and it actually damages our health, the very thing we think we are helping by eating and moving according to the latest plan that the interwebs and all your friends tell you is the answer to all your problems. Losing and gaining weight in this never-ending cycle is one of the greatest metabolic disruptors and it diminishes our self-esteem to nothing.
So, what to do instead? Are you stuck?
No, my friend, you need to dig deeper. The answer is not going to be found in a nutrition plan, although changing what you eat may be a factor. Nor will it be in more cardio or time at the gym, although moving your body if you can is a good idea. But that is not the deep work.
The deep work is to know what it is you really want and why (remember you can’t actually have it all). And then you need to understand the reasons you haven’t gotten what you want yet – and that is way more than getting bored or being lazy or undisciplined – those are still surface level answers that don’t actually mean much. Then you can craft a solution. It is not a one-size fits all plan, and likely you will need some sort of support along the way. The good news is that when you approach your health goals this way, you get waaaayy more than fitting back into your clothes.
You get freedom from a vicious cycle of self-loathing, power that comes from knowing you have your own back in all areas of your life, and a truly nourishing connection to your body. Now those are goals I can get behind.
May your days be truly delicious and satisfying!
P.S. If you realize you are caught in this cycle of restriction and indulgence and are ready to end it, then we can talk to see if coaching is a good fit. Book a free mini-session with me here.
Hi! I’m Laura Jarrait and I work with women who adore good food but feel like it’s running or ruining their lives. They don’t want to diet or quit socializing around food but are tired of feeling less than their best and guilty, obsessive, or confused about what they eat. I help them keep the pleasure and drop the stressful thinking and extra weight, so they feel confident, light and free — all without ending their love affair with food!
I would be thrilled to help you do the same! Get my free Beautiful You guide that teaches YOU how to eat with pleasure and thrive at your natural weight or learn more about how I can support you in your eating, body love, and weight-loss goals.