LIFE HACKS FOR SURRENDERING UNWANTED WEIGHT AND
ACHIEVING YOUR IDEAL SHAPE AND SIZE PLUS GREAT HEALTH
copyright © 2017 Rosie Bank
Recently in a discussion with a health coaching client, I mentioned having enjoyed a small piece of birthday cake at my girlfriend’s birthday party. My client was shocked. She said in a voice of incredulity, “You eat cake?”
The following message is for any of you who struggle with your weight and/or your health. As a former sick and fat person, and as one who, in the past, struggled with my weight as if there were an extra forty pounds sitting heavily on my shoulders, I speak from my own experience. The theme that runs throughout the Health Matters blog, podcast, and my book, Health Matters is that if I can overcome my staggering issues with weight, food, body image, and health, you can too.
In this article about eating cake and other life hacks for health, vitality, and slenderness, I intend to inspire you in three ways:
- Food is not the playground bully, and you can take your power back.
- Learning to meditate, breathe, and relax helps you create the body you long for.
- Your state when you eat food will impact other health and food-related decisions.
TAKING BACK YOUR POWER
I think the biggest mistake people make when they want to lose weight is what they focus on. A preoccupation with a diet, for example, is a tough road. Not only is it very un-fun, it is the thing that you can’t wait to stop doing. The other mistake is to dislike your body so much that you think harsh, critical thoughts and send your body negative energy. If you hate how your body looks, it’s harder to get in touch with how you would love your body to look. Loving your body first may seem counter-intuitive. However, if you think about this, if you love your body the way it is now, you are much more likely to take better care of your body. This includes stopping doing terrible things to your body such as depriving your body of restorative sleep, not feeding your body nutritious food, and subjecting your body to extreme and relentless stress. You can say these back to yourself in reverse easily to understand what loving your body includes.
I can encourage you with conviction and hard-earned authority that your mindset around taking excellent care of your body and providing your body with love and nourishment works infinitely better than only focusing on what you can—or should—and can’t—or should not—eat. Of course your selections for optimal nutrition and whole, fresh food are a big part of the equation. I’m just suggesting that including a more global approach to your health, that includes food but is not limited to food, works the best.
It makes a huge difference to ask yourself health-affirming questions. Here are a few examples:
Does eating this support
What form of refreshing exercise do I want to do today?
What can I eat to provide my body with love and nourishment?
How does this choice impact… and then fill-in-the-blank with a specific goal… such as an upcoming special event, or a health concern.
What adjustments in the evening can I make to ensure I am in bed sleeping for about eight or nine hours?
Asking these questions keep you in touch with a bigger picture for long-term health and the size of your body that you desire. Switching from the mindset of deprivation dieting to getting in touch with loving and nourishing your body can change your life. This is particularly true when you practice this over time, and hone your skills. Thinking positively is a habit and you will get better at it. The reward can be your feeling more connected to your body. Personally, I think that people perpetuate damaging habits upon their bodies because they are disassociated from their bodies. Examples are taking in copious amounts of low-quality food, tolerating exhaustion and depletion, not moving or exercising, and running negative self-talk without intervening to make a change. Brené Brown, one of my favorite authors says, “Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.”
What if losing weight and getting healthier
MEDITATION, BREATHING, AND RELAXATION
My clients learn to meditate, breathe, and relax because this is essential to their achieving the health and weight goals that brought them to me in the first place. A rule of thumb is that unwinding
People who find it difficult to breathe deeply, quiet their minds in meditation, and release tension so that their bodies can relax are excellent candidates for experiencing the benefits for learning to do these things and to overcome the challenges along the way. For example, if you find it particularly hard to connect with your body and relax on purpose, you have a life-changing opportunity at your fingertips. One of my clients announced with great joy that he now enjoys meditating on a regular basis. He believes it helps him with feeling more comfortable in social situations as well as quelling the fire of stress that used to drive his food and drink habits. He told me recently, “I’m just not that person anymore.” This is a good example of having the weight drop off and health improving as side-benefits to connecting with your body more. I have more guidelines in a blog that you can read at www.RosieBank.com/meditation.
I am a huge fan of Tony Robbins. He says, “Whatever you focus on, you get.” He is an expert in inspiring others to get in a good state. What this means to you is that if you are tired, stressed, anxious, upset, or burning with rage, you really should not eat until you are in a better state. Even a few minutes of relaxing your breath and creating a positive, soothing image in your mind can be enough to turn your inner tides. Relaxing movement, like a walk, can work wonders. Moving your focus to take care of your body instead of shoving food into a hole to try not to feel the way you are feeling will change your life, as well as your health and the state of your body.
There are some critical things you should know about this because the impact of your state health-wise and body-wise is enormous.
- When you are feeling any of the above emotions, your body is probably in a stressed state. This means that your sympathetic nervous system is activated. This is significant because, in this flight-or-fight state, your body’s ability to digest food is compromised. The blood flows to your extremities and does not prioritize the food passing through your digestive system. This is often why, if you were in a highly stressed state, you might feel very uncomfortable after eating.
- If you make the mistake of eating to quell the stress you are feeling, you are more at risk
tochoosing foods that do not get a good rating on the nutrient-dense scale. In other words, your body thinks that simple carbs are your friends. When in fact, breads, desserts, alcohol, and other highly processed foods are more like partners in crime. You may feel compelled to reach for them, but it does not mean that they are providing your body with optimal nutrition.
- If you are feeling agitated in any way, this is what I mean by your chance to connect with yourself. Throughout my book, Health Matters, I emphasized the importance of finding ways to soothe yourself. I often give my clients a word for the week, and soothe is one that really helps them focus, cool down, and connect with their bodies. When you are soothed, you have activated your parasympathetic nervous system. In a calmer state, you are more likely to select food and activities that perpetuate your feeling of well-being. Now a veggie burger looks more appealing than a cookie. A walk around the block or a bounce on your backyard
cellerciserbeckons you instead of a giant bowl of chips.
- This change of state that you can create through breathing, relaxing, quieting your mind, and connecting to your body is precisely the one from which you make healthier choices. If you don’t need food to help you stop feeling upset, now you have a new range of options from the perspective of giving your body love and nourishment. This is why I emphasize that getting healthy and losing weight is mostly about you working on you, and not just focusing on food, food, food.
In some ways, individuals who are barricaded behind unresolved issues like the ones I just mentioned experience many of the same challenges. Fear, pain, self-esteem, shame, embarrassment, frustration are just some of the difficulties that people deal with when they are out of sorts with their bodies and are unhappy with their energy level, their health, and their size and shape.
On the other hand, if this is you who I am describing, when you are sorting through this labyrinth of feelings, they seem profound and unique to you. It doesn’t matter that another person also is frustrated with her health and weight when this is happening to you. I get it. It can feel like being trapped in a body and wanting desperately for things to be different. At this point, I urge you to change your practices so you can achieve the results you desire.
BACK TO CAKE
Maybe my next book will be How to Eat Cake. In the long run, as you and your body get on the same page, you may discover better results and learn how to eat and learn how to be okay with food. Using cake as an example, rather than fighting against yourself each time you want to take a bite, you simply make choices that you know intuitively
When I was at my girlfriend’s birthday party, the person who was cutting pieces of cake was putting huge pieces on each plate. The piece that was passed to me, randomly, was a little piece, like a child’s portion. Since I wanted to enjoy some cake—and there will be more about this coming up soon—I was happy that I got a tiny piece. I was mentioning this to my client to make a point. In the past I would look beyond whatever piece was served to me, scanning the plates, either wishing for the biggest piece, or already planning on having another piece (or two, or three) even before I was finished the piece that was served to me. Back then, I was messed up in my head about food, and my body revealed this conflict by being stressed, sick and fat.
Since obsession with cake and countless other sugary-laden foods occurred decades ago in my own history, this story amazes me in two ways. First, that the memories are still vivid. It was an overpowering experience to feel so helpless, so utterly out of control. The second way this amazes me is to realize, for the umpteenth time, how grateful I am every day of my life to have left this behavior in the past where it belongs.
The story with my client is useful because it illustrates how someone else views eating cake, and I think you will be able to relate to this. For many people with whom I work, I hear that there is a huge fight inside of their minds around food. Do you recognize any of these remarks inside of your head?
Should I eat this? Will this make me fat? I promised myself I would be “good” today.
Oh, screw it. If I am having cake, I may as well start my diet again tomorrow.
I messed up again. I am really weak. I am never going to lose this weight.
There is no way I can pass up this cake. THERE IS NO FREAKING WAY!
I am bad. I am a bad person.
Ouch! What I am illustrating here for you is the self-inflicted pain and drama around food. This is made all the more real when you are trying to diet. Consider the following as an alternative.
When I am in a social situation, often when a cake is served I don’t want any. It’s not a big deal. I like dark chocolate after a meal so passing on the
Let me end with some encouragement for you and your body to connect. I wish for you to put in the moments, the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, and then the years to do kind things for your body. You may never have to worry about getting stuffed again, or eating too much food that makes you feel awful, or drinking so much alcohol* that you hate yourself. This can happen when you practice connecting, feeling your body, relaxing on purpose instead of tolerating un-mitigating stress, and living with more body
To learn how to get your body to love you back, visit https://rosiebank.com/coachingschedule/
*I do not profess to be an expert in working with practicing alcoholics, nor is this article intended to address serious issues with abusing alcohol. My remarks are broader and intended for the average person who would like to feel more in control with food and drink choices in general.
Rosie Bank is Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the founder of Health Matters Coaching. She is the author of the book, Health Matters. Rosie is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is certified by The Center for Nutrition Studies (e-Cornell) in Plant Based Nutrition. Rosie is an international speaker, blogger, and the founder of Health Matters podcast. She is certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant through the American Fitness Professional Association and as a Nutrition Advisor through Sanoviv Medical Institute. Rosie founded The Vitality Club in Brentwood, CA in 2018.
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