My thoughts on overeating and weight loss
I was approaching my 40th birthday and morbidly obese.
I existed in a state of embarrassment and shame.
Common thoughts at the time were…
“How much more weight do I need to gain before the weight gain stops?”
”I hope I don’t die at this weight, the ultimate humiliation would be having the pallbearers struggle to lift my coffin at my funeral”
“How did I become such a failure?”
I had a lovely home, two amazing children, a solid marriage, a successful business – no traumatic childhood.
I also used to think…
“Anyone hearing about my life will think I am a success – anyone looking at me will think I am a disaster”
I felt so capable in so many areas of my life, work, and family, and yet so incompetent at something that, I thought, should be relatively straight forward.
Losing weight and keeping it off!
My weight had fluctuated since my teens. I grew up in a family...
My kids are almost no longer kids.
They go back to school today.
I’ve spent much of the last 8 weeks wishing they were in school, yesterday we had drinks in a café (the three of us together) and laughed and shared in a way that is all too rare.
I recognised that I hadn’t spent enough time appreciating them being home this summer. And I was reminded of these words of wisdom from Ryan Moran
‘When I was a kid all I wanted to be was a millionaire. Now that I am a millionaire, all I want is to be a carefree kid. There was a time in my life where I lost a lot of weight and I had abs for the first time in my life, but I felt too skinny and all I wanted was to add some muscle. Now that I’ve added some muscle, all I think about is how much I miss my abs.
Before I was a father all I wanted was kids. I wouldn’t trade my daughter for anything, but I sometimes miss the days when I was alone. When she was a baby and she was crying in the middle of the night,...
All of us experience pain at regular intervals in our lives. We often turn to food, alcohol, shopping, work, or something else to ignore the pain we feel. These temporary distractions only prevent the process that needs to happen to let it go.
The more you avoid it, the more you have to avoid it. You might eat, for example, instead of feel. Then you might get upset because you ate when you weren’t hungry. Then you might obsess about your body or your exercise routine. All of these tactics...
We (us humans) have made it almost impossible to lose weight because we can’t rely on our body to tell us when to start, when to stop, and what types of food best serve us.
It has become increasingly difficult to rely on our brilliant bodies for wisdom. The suggestion to eat only when we are hungry and stop when we are full is the most elegant suggestion, and if we could follow through with it, we would most definitely lose weight.
But so often, we struggle when trying to adhere to this. We aren’t sure when we are hungry, we can’t identify when we are full, and even worse, our body doesn’t seem to know either. How is it that we can feel hungry all day long? How is it that we can be overweight and be hungrier than someone who has very little fat on their body? It doesn’t seem to make sense.
And it doesn’t. Our body’s wisdom has been sabotaged by us. We didn’t...
Nearly all my clients, at some point during our time working together, will refer to the fact that they just want to eat ‘like a normal person’.
The definition of normal is conforming to a standard that is usual, typical or expected. Being normal often means being the same as others or a part of something and we seek it because we feel connected in our alikeness....
When clients come to me to lose weight one of the first things that I ask them to do is to keep eating exactly as they have been for a week and to keep a detailed food journal.
A food journal helps me, and my client, identify patterns and learn why they are overeating and overweight. For years I just thought I overate because I was ‘greedy’ or had ‘no will power’. I had shame around not being able to control my eating, and when I felt that shame and thought I was incapable, I would seek comfort in food and eat more.
When I understood all the reasons why humans have evolved to overeat, when I learned about food and eating with regards to our physiology, neurobiology, psychology and evolution it helped me to overcome that shame and frustration. This in turn enabled me to work with my body and brain, and not against them as I had done for years.
So here are the five things that I ask clients to observe and record when we start working...
There are many coaches out there and many different coaching methodologies. The type of coaching that I offer is ‘Causal Coaching’. This means that I treat the cause of my clients’ problem, or the reason why they are not getting what they want in life, and not just the symptoms.
What I mean by that is when a client comes to me because they can’t lose weight, I don’t tell them what to eat, instead I work with them to help them understand why they are overweight in the first place. Of course, on the surface it’s obvious ‘they overeat’, but what we want to understand is why they overeat. Is it because they want to avoid stress or boredom? Is it because they are insulin resistant and their hormones are out of balance? Or is it because their brain is constantly seeking highly refined foods for a dopamine fix?
When a client comes to me with a problem it can be really tempting to want to tell them how to fix it. If they...
Your past no longer exists except in your mind. All you have is now. The past is over, and the future is in your imagination. All you have in this moment are the thoughts you are thinking. If you’re thinking about your past, that isn’t your past. This is a huge distinction. Your past is over. The only way your past exists at all is in your thoughts about it now. Otherwise, it doesn’t affect you in any way.
Your thought right now about your past does affect you. All your thinking affects you deeply in this moment, but what happened to you in your past does not. Your past is over and doesn’t affect you, and then there are your current thoughts about your past, which do affect you.
Your past no longer exists except in your mind. That is a huge concept. When I ask you about your past now, what is it? It’s your story about your past.
If you had amnesia and you had no memory of your past, it would have no influence on you in terms of your...
I found hormones fascinating when I studied them as a part of my biology degree. They were one of my favourite modules, even though I didn’t realise then what an impact they have on impact on our lives. Something that I have a heightened awareness for now that I’ve been married to a type 1 diabetic for more than 20 years.
Put simply, hormones are the body’s little messengers, which get produced in one part of the body, such as the thyroid, adrenal or pituitary gland, pass into the bloodstream or other body fluid and go to distant organs and tissues where they act to modify structures and functions. For example:
Learning the art and science of intentional eating has been an important part of my weight loss journey.
By intentional eating, I mean that I plan what I am going to eat for every meal at least 24 hours in advance. This may sound restrictive, but it saves a ton of time and mental energy.
It’s a bit like once you’re married you don’t have to think about dating, who you should or should not go out with, how often you should see them. It’s a whole lot of emotional energy saved and it’s the same with intentional eating.
I have a food plan. Each week I decide what I am going to eat for every meal. My weekly food plan incorporates regular foods, exception foods, joy eats, drinks and meals out. My regular foods are foods that I chose to eat regularly. I chose them because they provide fuel for my body and I feel good when I eat them. For me these include: all vegetables, meat, poultry, fish dairy, rice and potatoes, coffee. I eat limited...