Losing weight isn’t easy. A “weight loss plan” might be good for you, but who wants to plan for a loss? No one likes to lose. We like to gain. It’s good to gain respect, experience and wisdom, but not so good to gain too much weight. Doctors tell us it isn’t healthy, and it even increases the odds of leaking. So what can you do to keep your weight in check without feeling deprived?
Reframe your aim. What if you stopped trying to lose, and from this point forward, you aim to gain fitness? Instead of thinking, “I have to cut out my favorite foods,” tell yourself, “I get to give myself healthy, nutrient-rich foods.” Words are powerful and create your version of reality. Stop saying things to yourself that leave you feeling deprived, guilty, or helpless. Literally say out loud, “Delete!” and imagine erasing the words out of your thought bubble. Then, replace it with words that encourage and support you.
Weigh in with a professional. Every woman’s body is different. Your perky next door neighbor might rave about the results she gets from juicing and jumping on her trampoline. But for some women, citrus drinks aggravate the bladder, causing leaks. And don’t get me started about trampolines. My first LBL moment happened on one. Before you start a new way of eating and exercising, see a medical professional, and create a plan that will work for your body. Find out what type of foods and exercises are right for you. Instead of high impact aerobics, you may discover that yoga, walking, or Pilates is a better option. Your doctor, nurse practitioner, or pelvic floor physical therapist will ensure you’re on the right track, and will teach you how to do pelvic floor strengthening exercises like Kegels correctly.
Inquire within. When you just can’t seem to reach a healthy weight, no matter how hard you try, it helps to ask yourself questions, like, “How would it be bad for me to be physically fit?”
Search yourself for an answer. I’ve asked this question to women I’ve coached over the years, and here’s what some of them have said:
“If I was thin, my friends would feel bad about themselves for not losing weight too.”
“If I reached my ideal weight, I’d get unwanted attention. My weight keeps me safe.”
“If I lost the weight, I wouldn’t be me anymore.”
If you have a hard time finding a reason, imagine yourself at your ideal weight, and notice what feelings come up. Along with some good feelings, you may discover areas of concern.
Willpower alone isn’t enough to override a strongly held belief. Eventually the belief wins out. What’s important to remember is this: a belief is not a fact. When you challenge a self-limiting belief, you have a shot at changing it.
Celebrate wins. Don’t wait until you’ve reached your ideal body weight to celebrate. Small changes produce big results in your health and wellbeing. For example, research shows that if your weight is around 200 pounds, dropping just 10 percent of your body mass can improve light bladder leakage by up to 70 percent. That’s a big win worth celebrating. Look for something you do well every day, and give yourself credit for it. Start a daily evidence journal, and write every positive action you take each day, no matter how small. You get what you focus on. When you focus on finding evidence that you’re making progress on creating a fit and vibrant body, your results will improve. Even if your good intentions fly out the window and you eat a whole box of donuts in one sitting, you can still have a win that day by recommitting to your health and vitality plan rather than giving up.
Buddy up. There’s a saying that like attracts like. If you want to make healthy changes, it helps to spend time with positive people who take good care of themselves. Consider joining a supportive nutrition or exercise class to hang out with women just like you who are making positive changes. You might even choose to ask a friend to be your accountability partner. Together you can make commitments to meet at the park for a walk every day after work, or meet up at the farmers market to buy your weekly vegetables. Sometimes it’s easier to follow through when you have a partner counting on you.
What about you?
What do you do to stay fit and vibrant while managing your weight and LBL?