As a nutritionist at Parsley Health, I talk about weight issues and weight loss a lot. I’ve talked about it every day for two years, to be exact. Before that I studied Nutritional Therapy for three years. And before that I lived a life of yo-yo dieting and food obsession for five years.
Today the one-liner of my broken record is this: Do the thing that makes your heart sing first, the rest will follow. Waist shrinking included.
Here are the 5 cold facts I’ve learnt (the hard way) that I want to yell from the roof tops:
1. Your body knows if you love it or not
This isn’t woo-woo. If you’re constantly rejecting your body it won’t function properly. If you hate the way you look, you’re hating a part of yourself and it’s very hard to genuinely take care of something you don’t like.
Radical acceptance—even gratitude—for your physical body and what it enables you to do is the only way to implement lasting change.
2. Stop blaming the banana bread. Food is not the enemy
If over-eating or under-eating is an emotional crutch then no amount of deprivation or starvation is ever going to save you. The cycle only ends with you facing the thing you’re too scared to face.
In what area of your life do you feel trapped? What can you do to feel less bored? What are you silencing with food? Where did you leave your mojo and what can you do to get it back? What belief about yourself do you need to unlearn?
Stop running (literally), stop getting up early to work out, stop restricting, stop counting calories, stop planning how to avoid “temptation.”
Stopping can seem very scary, but you will soon see that where you are now is more out of control than anything that lies ahead.
Try to do nothing. A good place to start is with meditation—the most powerful weight-loss tool I’ve ever come across. Meditation helps you lose weight by reducing stress and emotional eating, lowering cortisol levels, and improving sleep, which is known to cause weight gain.
Think you’re a bad meditator? There’s no such thing. We can help.
4. Forgive fats. They didn’t mean to hurt you
It’s time to get over the fat phobia. Repeat after me: The right fats can help you burn fat. Okay? Can we move on? Eat good fats at every meal. Carbs and sugar are the bad guys, not fats.
5. Get flexible
Being adaptable is a superpower that you should aspire to more than skinny thighs. It’s a secret quality that I’ve observed in the most successful (and beautiful) leaders around me—a lack of force, a certain type of surrender to life’s uncertainty, an eager readiness to collaborate with the variables.
Personally, yoga helped me a lot with this idea. My mind was too rigid. It wouldn’t get there by itself. Yoga tricks you into mental flexibility. It’s impossible to hold a hard pose without breathing and staying chill about it. Eventually you become more patient off the mat too, and before you know it you’re staying as cool as a cucumber about things that used to freak you out (bagels, traffic jams, interviews, investor meetings, people).
Playful free physical movement lubricates more than just your joints. Give up your next run for a yoga or dance class.