I’m doing this today because I know how hard it is to visualize a moderate path of weight loss when most of the weight loss advertising you see today is sprinkled with slimming teas, pills, potions, restriction, sometimes even starvation, and of course extreme workouts.
None of these were options for me because I wanted to successfully breastfeed my son Riley. And anything that would’ve compromised breastfeeding was off the table. So here are the core things I did.
I started by getting the right words to motivate myself
I started by looking within. I got clear about why losing the baby weight was important to me. I wanted to make sure that I had the right words to motivate myself when I got tempted to quit.
You see, those who win at weight loss are those who consistently show up and take action all the way. And that was one of the many problems that I had in the past – I quit a lot. So I got to the root of my motivations.
And I found that my desire to lose weight was about regaining my self-confidence. It was about having fun with my family without feeling self-conscious that I didn’t look my best. One of my big fears was that my son would ask to go to the pool and I would say no because I felt uncomfortable in a swimsuit. And I didn’t want that for myself.
I chose healthy eating over exercise
Before I had my son, exercise and healthy eating were on the same footing in my book. But because of the reality of being a wife and mom with responsibilities that can call on my time at any given moment, I put healthy eating higher on my priority list. The way I see it, I have to eat anyway so I might as well eat healthy.
This bit was hard for me. I was an exercise junkie before I had my son, and I hadn’t found an exercise that I wouldn’t try (I still haven’t). So making this mental adjustment was hard for me.
But these days, I do just enough exercise to feel good about myself and maintain lean muscle. This means I squeeze in 2 – 3, 20 minute workouts a week. And I focus on eating healthy the using a system I created to take the mental work out of healthy eating.
This is the VAFs system that I shared with you in the past. The beauty of VAFs was that it wasn’t a restrictive diet, so it didn’t hurt my breastfeeding goals. I breastfed exclusively for 5 months and fed my son breast milk and solids combined till he was 14 months old.
And even though VAFs wasn’t a diet, it still had the right components to support my weight loss. And the important bit was that I allowed myself some indulgences. I called it the 10% rule where I ate to VAFs 80 – 90% of the time and ate reasonable amounts of the unhealthy foods that I loved the rest of the time.
Finally I used self-compassion along with my motivation words to make it easy to stay the course
Whenever I was tempted to quit because it felt hard, I reminded myself of why my goal was important to me. And I used self-compassion to get back on the horse on the days I went beyond my 10% rule or I got too busy to track my eating patterns to make sure I was on course.
The mistake a lot of us make is to think that the harsher we are when we slip up, the less likely we are to do it again. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Harshness stops working after some time because you get immune to it. I learned this the hard way when I’d lost weight in the past. And I try not to make the same mistakes twice.
Self-compassion in the moment for me is reminding myself that I’m human and I’m imperfect. And I figure out what triggered me to fall off my path and learn from it so I reduce the chance that it’ll happen again. Bottom line I treat myself like I would treat a friend, or my son when he does something silly. I course correct with care and kindness.
And that kindness and self-compassion makes me feel good about this long term journey, which makes being consistent with the actions I need to take to keep the weight off easier.
What can you do with this information?
I wanted to share this with you because some of the things that I hear from my ladies is the idea that they have to do all the things required perfectly to get the results they want. But perfection doesn’t exist.
And I just wanted to let you know that we all struggle. It’s part of being human. And the goal shouldn’t be to ignore the realities of your life and shoot for perfect. But to work with the imperfections to create something that makes sense for you.
As I do most of the time, I have something to help you take things further. I opened up a Free 7 day email course to my email subscribers, and I wanted to invite you to join us. I’m sharing my 7 Essential Tools to Lose Weight without Dieting, Skipping Meals, or Starving Yourself.
I’ve mentioned some of these tools here today, like self-knowledge, VAFs, and self-compassion. I intended to share them all, but the post was getting longer than it is now. So I want to invite you to join us on the email course. It’s absolutely free and you can sign up here.
I can’t wait to see you in the free email course. Next time I’m going to talk more about taking stock and accountability.