With summer upon us, its likely you’ve been working on getting a bikini body, or at least thinking about it. It looks something this, you resolve, you waiver and then you throw in the towel. You’re not alone! And the reasons why are universal.
1. Militant approach.
When we decide on a resolution, we often take a militant, all or nothing approach, leaving no room for negotiation and no room for inevitable slips ups. This approach sabotages our success. Why? Because slip ups are human, particularly if you have set the bar so high that any indulgence is considered a failure. And here is the thing…in my decades experience of doing this work, it is not the cake you chose to eat last night that gets you off track, it is the inability to move past it. The all or nothing approach results in the throw in the towel effect and sabotage, period.
We tend to use willpower/a slap on the wrist/reprimand as a strategy to convince ourselves to make change, eat well, exercise. Instead of approaching the change from the mindset of how will this serve me? When you approach change from the mindset of honoring your body by doing what is best for you, then you are more likely to align your actions with what is truly best for you. As opposed to admonishing yourself – which doesn’t work by the way. So try this next time you want to negotiate away your work out, remember why you chose to start exercising to begin with- energy, better mood, better focus? Stay aligned with this desire to do what is best for you – mind, body and soul- this alignment in the end is more powerful than a slap on the wrist.
3. Meet yourself where you are.
This ability is called positive self-acceptance which is the ability to accept yourself exactly where you are at this very moment; accepting your strengths and your weaknesses to formulate a positive self-impression or attitude towards yourself. Someone who has positive self-acceptance is not overly self-critical and does not wish to be someone else or something else. Why is this important? Because studies show that people who have poor self-acceptance or are not able to accept themselves as they are, are less likely to be successful at making change. The good news is positive self-image can be cultivated and mindfulness is a good place to start.
“The biggest food myth on my radar right now is coconut oil. The truth is that coconut oil is comparable to butter in terms of the amount of saturated fat- in fact it is greater than 80% saturated fat and there is no data that it actually contributes to weight loss but there is data that it contributes to heart disease.”
4. Don’t Trust the Gardener.
These days it seems like everyone knows the best diet for you- the gardener, the hair stylist and the guy bagging your groceries. You know what? You know the best diet for you. Common sense still prevails. More from the earth, less from the pantry- more whole food, more fruits, veggies, lean proteins, beans, legumes and less processed, less refined sugar, less eating out, less juice and alcohol. Mind your portions, don’t snack excessively, drink water, sit when you eat, chew, nourish yourself. Guess what? These strategies are not only common sense but what scientists have shown to be associated with healthy weight.
5.Watch the Food Myths.
I understand that eating right can be confusing and that you might question common sense. Why, isn’t it true that butter and oil in your coffee is good for you? Ugh, I get it, the fads create a lot of noise and it can be hard to sift through the truth. But honestly if it doesn’t make sense then it just doesn’t make sense! Trust your gut!! The biggest food myth on my radar right now is coconut oil. The truth is that coconut oil is comparable to butter in terms of the amount of saturated fat- in fact it is greater than 80% saturated fat and there is no data that it actually contributes to weight loss but there is data that it contributes to heart disease. So please stop adding it to your coffee!
Here are some rules of thumb, I follow and recommend
- Eat protein in every meal- chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, yogurt, beans, legumes…
- 20-30 grams per meal does result in greater satiety (aka fullness) and preserves muscle mass while losing weight
- High quality meal replacements/snacks like shakes and bars are a great strategy to get in adequate protein, in addition to a whole food diet, and to limit junky snacks.
- Eat your colors- I recommend ½ your plate to consist of veggies, period.
- Trade in processed carbs like bread, rice, pasta for beans, grains and legumes.
- Move your body daily- don’t negotiate! Its like brushing your teeth.
- Cultivate a practice that gives you calm- reading, cooking, meditating, journaling, just breathing- We all need a mental break.
Youdim, MD, FACP, offers specialized services in medical weight loss, medical nutritional therapy, and nutritional and metabolic support of bariatric surgery patients at her practice in Beverly Hills. Her mindful approach to medicine integrates her education, hospital training, and academic research with her personal values grounded in integrity, empathy, and authenticity.