The domino effect and we're not talking pizza!
Time to come clean. Food has been the one area of my life where I’ve been unable to exercise moderation; it was the great frenemy, until now. Having spent almost a lifetime and many half-hearted attempts to lose weight under my own steam, I’ve finally cracked it and lost 3 stone in the last 38 weeks with a few pounds to go.
Could I have seen myself doing this a year ago? No, although I always knew there was a fitter, healthier person inside I just didn’t know how to get there. Behaviourally, 40% of what we do daily is habitual, including what we eat so I knew I was going around in circles but resisted and instead kept telling myself ‘I can do this on my own’ when clearly, I couldn’t! A classic case of what resists persists.
So now, with the end in sight, my weight-loss has been sensible and steady, just like the real life me. Fascinating! So, will I go back? No, absolutely not. How do I know? Because I’m a steady eddy and learned some important lessons when the poacher turns gamekeeper because coaching is a great teacher if you’re patient and willing to learn.
With food, this is made up of several moving parts, number one, eating sensibly of course, but it’s also getting to grips with understanding how mood and mindset affects our eating patterns and this is influenced by many things including family traditions, our early years, together with own ‘food story’ which covers a whole range of things including limiting beliefs and assumptions about what you can and can’t eat, which I now realise are simply not true.
The good news is there’s no secret formula or method, because we’re all different, however, commitment, belief and asking for help are essential. Yes, the fear of failure rears its head on occasion, but my belief in the new version of me is now is far stronger than the fear of failure in the old version when I started. The tide has turned.
Then, as if by magic and the weeks go by, the domino effect kicks in. Simply put, it’s the things that every weight-loss programme, coach or health specialist promises. More energy, more confidence, looking and feeling better. All true. Then there’s the health benefits, reduced blood pressure, a BMI in the ‘normal’ range, and the significantly reduced chances of developing other weight related conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and some cancers, the list goes on. I’ve even stopped snoring a known side effect of being overweight. Bingo! happy husband! (he’s a stone down too). Oh, and the gardening back pain I was blaming on age - gone - as the pressure of weight on my joints has eased up. Even my youngest tells his friends he’s Bear Grylls these days, which does make me chuckle.
Not every day is a domino day, but your attitude becomes more positive as you become better equipped to recover from setbacks; this is where group support and other forms of specialist help come into their own. They also improve your chances of success as you’re encouraged to approach things with a sense of kindness and curiosity. The feeling stuck is replaced by being able to fall back on what you have learned so once the learning sticks, you never go back to the place you started. That’s a monumental shift.
The scales going down is the ultimate reward for braving it out and keeping going. It makes you feel like skipping all the way to the fancy farmers market and back again! Incidentally, it is pure myth that food costs go up if you want to lose weight. The reality is you will spend less and waste less as you become more conscious, confident and experimental around food and that’s before you factor in fewer trips to Dominos and buying a pair of walking boots Bear Grylls would be proud of!
Use this quick summary to help you reflect on your own situation:
- What resists persists! 40% of what we do daily is habitual and this includes our behaviours and rituals around food, what might you be resisting or denying?
- Don’t struggle on your own; there’s a whole world of expertise out there so do your research and tailor an approach to suit you.
- Join a slimming organisation, hire a coach or nutritionist, or a combination of both.
- Remember commitment, belief and asking for help are your foundations for lasting success.
- If you’re hiring in private help, meet or call them first. Rapport is key. If they have overcome a weight issue they are more likely to connect at an emotional level. They will also be shock proof and understand the secret eating, serial snacking and fridge-raiding because they have probably done it themselves and some!
- If money concerns you, see your weight-loss journey as an investment, a bit like a home improvement, only you’re under improvement and it's less expensive! The ROI is priceless.
Be patient because miracle cures and quick fixes are a false economy. Much better to say you’re going to give this 6 months or a year, and see what can you can achieve initially. Then review what’s working and what needs more focus. After all, it’s a permanent lifestyle change not another diet you’re after. Maintaining your weight-loss is as important as losing it in the first place.
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