Yesterday I shared a blog post talking about how to get comfortable with your natural weight.
Your natural weight is a place where you’re living a life that you want to live. A life that is fulfilling in whatever way that looks like for you. It’s a place of sustainable, gentle nourishment and a calm caring for yourself.
It’s not a place of deprivation, self-inflicted and unnecessary restriction, or unsustainable habits.
Since writing that post, I’ve received some questions on how to handle weight gain, post dieting. Today I want to talk about that…
I’ve experienced the pain that comes from losing weight from a diet only to regain that weight later. It’s hard.
When I finally came around to intuitive eating I was so ready for that up and down cycle to stop. I didn’t care what I weighed, really, I just wanted to be happy.
I wanted to feel healthy and happy in my own skin. Free from the burden of heavy restriction. I wanted to begin setting my future self up to feel well.
Here’s the pattern that I noticed happening, and I was ready to stop it:
I’d go on a diet and lose weight > I’d be so burnt out by the time I finished the diet, that I’d start eating what I had restricted > I’d get overly excited about food, have a couple binges, and the weight would return (sometimes even subtly, without binges) > I’d feel bad and think I needed another diet.
When I stepped back and noticed this happening, I thought to myself: “I don’t want to set my future self up for this any longer. Dieting is literally setting up my future self for disappointment. I’m done with that.”
If you’re in a place where you’ve lost weight and have gained it back, the first thing I can say is have grace for yourself. You MIGHT be at your natural weight, you might not be. But that’s not where your attention needs to be anyway.
Your attention, rather, can be placed on your health. Your happiness. Your quality of life. Your enjoyment and pleasure.
What makes you happy? What lights you up? What in your life do you want to improve? Your relationships? How you feel at work? Your confidence? Your intimacy? What would feel really good?
What would having those improvements mean to you?
Think about THOSE things. Allow yourself to focus on THOSE things instead of trying to correct the weight gain. Rather, let the weight gain teach you something.
Let the weight gain teach you that this is what diets lead to. They’re not worth it. They set us up to feel worse later on. Dieting is the problem; not the solution. You are NOT the problem.
Let me share a few diets I’ve been on just to prove it to you…
- A 14 day juice cleanse – I lost 13 pounds, felt that “high” for about a day, and then felt worse and worse as I slowly regained the weight and struggled to fight off cravings.
- The “7 Day Slim Down” – the worst diet of all. I remember feeling SO hungry on this diet. I lost about 13 pounds in a week and gained back 15 pounds the following week just by eating normally. The worst.
- Elimination diet – I’ve also done longer term elimination diets. These were less miserable for me, because I could still eat as much as I wanted. However, doing them for the purpose of weight loss never worked in my favor. Same thing. I’d lose weight, then gain it back.
Enter in intuitive eating, my weight finally stabilized. I found BALANCE. I could eat a burger for dinner without making the scale go up 5 pounds the next day. I was gentler with myself. I felt happier, more at peace. I felt calm. No more fighting.
Add these things up and I didn’t care what I weighed. I just wanted to feel good, and feel good, I do.
It’s now been six years since I first began my journey eating intuitively. It’s an up and down journey, especially for the first couple of years, that’s for sure (and it’s normal). However, it’s nowhere near the up and down that dieting is, and it’s not negative like dieting is.
The intuitive eating journey is a continual learning process of finding what works for you. What feels good. What allows you to feel calm. It’s positive. It’s encouraging. It’s forward moving. It’s beautiful.
If you’ve lost and gained weight recently, I’d encourage you to see it as a lesson. What can you learn from it? Can you work to accept yourself where you’re at for now, while you shift your focus to other things?
If the weight needs to come off, it will.
Your purpose and focus can instead be on creating a life that will sustain longterm. Which is about so much more than just food. It’s about relationship fulfillment, career fulfillment, creating purpose in your life, weighing out your values…
Rather than focusing on weight loss, let’s focus on compassionately caring for ourselves more fully. Let’s focus on behavior and mindset changes, not body changes.
If you have questions or comments, share them below. I’d love to hear.
Would you like to work together? I am taking ONE more coaching client in 2017 to work on exactly this topic. If you’re interested in working together, share your info here and book a free Discovery Session to find out if we’re a good fit.