Over the past eight years, I’ve coached hundreds of people who have lost a combined total of about two thousand pounds. Feel that? It’s the planet getting lighter!
I’m deeply proud of my clients, and proud to be part of their journeys.
But I have to confess — as a life coach, clients who want to lose weight can be the trickiest cases to crack, because they’re often loaded up with decades of misinformation and seemingly “good” advice that we have to weed through and clear out.
Here are seven pieces of common “weight-loss advice” that sound super-sensible and smart, but can actually hold you back:
1. “Throw out your scale! Just judge your weight loss by your clothes.”
Not necessarily. If you’re throwing out your scale because you’re afraid of the emotions you might feel when you face that number; if you think you can’t handle it or the feelings will be too upsetting, that’s a problem.
You need to face that fear head on and learn how to work through those feelings, without turning to food, booze or some other numbed-out zone for comfort.
Do that, and THEN throw out your scale … if you still want to.
You might not care anymore, because once you’ve faced that particular fear, your scale will no longer hold the power to shape your self-worth.
2. “Put a reminder on your fridge: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
I’m all about motivational phrases and affirmations. But if you’re going to stick something on your fridge, make it this:
“What feels most like love?”
It’s the question that led to my 35-pound weight loss. And changed my whole life.
3. “Eat healthy six days a week, then eat whatever the heck you want on a ‘cheat day!’ ”
How fun! White-knuckle it and deprive yourself for six solid days, only to be rewarded with a binge fest on Sunday. People. No.
This kind of roller coaster further disconnects you from your body’s signals. Have a balance of delicious, energizing foods and joy foods every day.
Way less drama. Totally sane and nurturing.
Plus, who wants to deal with the “food coma” later?
4. “Gluten/sugar/carbs/meat/dairy is the devil!”
Haven’t we learned anything from the whole “low fat” disaster? Eliminating entire food groups isn’t the answer. It’s just another distraction from listening to the cues of the body.
Every unique body responds differently to various food groups. Some people do well cutting out dairy. Other bodies thrive on it.
Pay attention to how your body responds and do that. Meal plans are not universal.
5. “Throw out any tempting food!”
You’ve seen it on TV. A weight loss “expert” plows through a dieter’s kitchen to dumpster all the mayo, Cheetos, bread, cupcakes … basically anything contains more than 100 calories. The message? We can’t be tempted.
The truth is that deprivation doesn’t work. You can’t hide from food. Food isn’t the issue in the first place. Lasting weight loss comes with understanding the thoughts and emotions that create the urge to overeat in the first place. What are you hungry for, really? When you cure boredom with a plate of brownies or stuff down anger with pizza, or create your entertainment through wine and cheese, notice it.
6. Eat three square meals a day. No snacking!
We’ve become a nation obsessed with eating according to external cues. I recently saw a famous wellness guru tweet to eat three 400-calorie meals a day with no snacking in between for successful weight loss. Is there no wonder why Americans SUPERSIZE our portions?
The truth is that your amazing human body is equipped to alert you when to eat and when to stop. This usually results in eating 5-6 times a day. It doesn’t matter what time of day that is. If you eat when you are hungry, and fuel your body according to its signals, you can bag all the crazy rules.
7. Don’t try to lose weight during a stressful time. Wait until things calm down, so you can give it your full attention.”
People, let’s get real. When it comes to changing your life, it’s NEVER the “right time.”
It’s NEVER the “perfect moment.” There will ALWAYS be at least one “perfectly good reason” to wait just a little bit longer.
But the people who make things happen are the people who have learned to say the following words: “The right time is NOW. Because I SAY SO.”
That’s especially true when it comes to weight loss. When you’re especially stressed, what better time could there be to start taking beautiful care of yourself?
If you’re on the road to permanent weight loss, congrats. You’re doing big, important work that goes far beyond your dress size or appearance. Stay curious, and always question the “expert advice.” Including my own.
But if there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that for many people who are struggling to lose weight, simply sitting in silence and feeling their feelings — without needing to “make them go away” — can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world.
Learn how to do that — and food will never control you again.
You’ll have won the whole battle. And you’ll have won it with love.
What’s the worst piece of “weight loss advice” you’ve ever heard? Did you believe it at first?
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com