Six Steps to Liberation from Food and Weight Struggles

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Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!

(Sometimes I have a flair for the dramatic. You’ll get used to it.)

Your life is about to start a serious trend UP! Woot!

Let’s get to the business of setting you up for sustainable success. You know, the forever kind. You’ve been waiting far too long as it is.  Are you with me?

Here are your 6 MUST-HAVE steps for rocking real recovery from a lifetime of food and weight dysfunction.

  1. PUT ON YOUR BEGINNER’S MIND

It’s been a whole lot of diet drama and diet trauma day in and day out! You’ve been through the ringer with this struggle.  You’re probably super skeptical to be reading another person’s account of how they can help you to solve your problems in the food-and-weight-arena.  I get it.  You are such a trooper for coming this far. And thanks for reading 🙂

Obviously, keeping an open mind when starting a new program, (or even reading a free e-book!) can be borderline impossible!  And, wouldn’t you know it, an open and willing mind is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of sustainable success.  What a dilemma!

Can I ask you a huuuuuuge favor?  Can I ask you to do the unthinkable? Start your Beacon program with a fresh pair of eyes as if it is the first time you are trying to address your struggles with food and weight.  What do you think?

As Wayne Dyer said so beautifully, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  If you’re going to try this or any other program, the first and most important thing I need you to do is let go of the past feelings of hopelessness, failure, frustration, and sadness.  Do a sage ritual, burn a letter, throw out your old diet books – do whatever you need to do to get a clean start to your new life.  You deserve it.

Set yourself up to let in all the goodness and success that is waiting for you.  What’s the worst that can happen?

  1. MONITORING WORKS.  JUST ASK SCIENCE

Plain and simple: Writing down your food – a.k.a. self monitoring – is the most effective tool in sustainably changing your food and weight behaviors.

Now don’t turn off your Beginner’s Mind, please.  I know your diet drama and trauma may be aghast at this suggestion.  And you know, the little defiant food addict in me also wants to say, “Right? Writing down your food is so rigid. It’s so stupid, and it doesn’t work. How many times have you tried to journal your food unsuccessfully?”

Luckily, the trained recovering behaviorist in me is going to chime in. While it does seem daunting and even outlandish at times to track your food, it also happens to be the clearest indicator of success.

That’s not what I think, that’s what years and years and years of research in long-term weight loss and recovery from eating issues has proven.  People who write down their food 75 percent of the time or more have success with keeping off lost weight. Whoa. #ilovedata.

Our program uses evidence-based, (sometimes boring) science to help our clients find sustainable solutions. And while that makes things a little less sexy, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel or give you suggestions that we think work.  Science rocks because it has been proven to work. Yay!

And really, that data isn’t too surprising, is it? Anything in your life that you are successful at, you keep some sort of record of accountability of, don’t you? If you didn’t look at your bank account, I bet you would bounce a lot of checks, right? If you own a store and aren’t aware of your inventory, I bet your business and clients will suffer for it. You get the gist.

See how it works for you. Think about your real issue with food logging – why isn’t it working for you? Often the problem isn’t the logging, but the HOW of your logging. Maybe the previous logging was too laborious with too many components, or was handwritten when you would prefer to keep a note on your phone.  

Access that Beginner’s Mind and see what might work for you today! Our experience suggests that simple is better: the date, time, and food you are eating in any mode that makes the most sense for you.

  1.  IT’S ALL ABOUT MEAL REGULATION

What’s meal regulation? It’s eating 4-5 times a day, 3-4 hours apart. And many say it is the key to helping us not overeat. What a promise!

Meal regulation helps us to repair your relationship with your hunger and satiety cues. This relationship has been seriously damaged in the world of overeating and undereating. If you like to eat all day long ignoring meal times completely, meal regulation helps to make clear punctuation to your meals. Same deal if you like to eat one big meal.  Meal regulation allows meals to have a beginning, a middle, and most importantly, an end.

And it helps with things like blood insulin levels, boosting metabolism, and overeating from getting too hungry. Meal regulation = win win win.  

Most importantly, meal regulation gives you life between meals. It helps you to worry less about getting too hungry, when you’re going to eat next, or if the food will satisfy you. Rest assured, there is another meal on the way…

I know it feels like I am taking all the “fun” and impulsivity out of your eating life. Can you take a minute to remember how foul and icky and hateful you feel after you overeat? How demoralizing it is to have to make ANOTHER New Year’s resolution on January 1st? We’re on a quest to get you long-term, sustainable results. We want you to have tons of on-the-fly fun in every other area of your life. We call this life between meals. We want life to be the focus, not food. Sound good?

The goal is for you not to be too hungry OR full as both can get in the way of you reaching your goals. Let’s get you regulated! Don’t hate, meal regulate!

  1. MARRY A MEAL PLAN

My friend once said something so fabulous about dieting: “At the finish line of all my diets there is a plate of donuts.” True that.

If you are someone who is great at getting things done, you’re probably fabulous at dieting. SO MANY PEOPLE ARE, which is why we continue to try diets in earnest. Often, at the expense of your emotional health, your physical health and your general outlook on the world.

Most of us can do uncomfortable things for a concentrated amount of time. In this vein, drinking cleansing cayenne pepper and lemon juice, reheating little pre-bought meals, juicing, or eliminating carbs, can sound like an AWESOME idea. Especially with the promise of immediate results. We get what we want, and we get it right when we want it – NOW.

What’s the problem? Sustainability. Restricting like that gives you only one outcome: your sweet little restrictive, and somewhat harmful, diet will ALWAYS come to a close.  And not to the tune of a bowl of oatmeal with some fruit and almonds. The end of a restrictive diet is met with the exact opposite of the diet. Veggies and protein only? Cue plates of pasta and boxes of cookies. Juicing? Cue chicken parm and chocolate bars.  And … cue demoralization and shame.

Often you can not create this meal plan for yourself. Albert Einstein said it best, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” That rings beyond true with creating a food plan.  More to come on this in Tip #6.

What’s the answer? I hate to be the bearer of balance (it’s so BORING), and yet, here I am.  The answer is A MEAL PLAN. A meal plan is a sustainable plan of eating that you can do, with some imperfection, day in and day out.  A plan that is individualized to cater to your needs and is also a fluid working document.  It’s a program that meets your biological needs (like your sensitivity to sugar and flour) head-on, and prescribes food that you love and that LOVES YOU BACK!

  1. NINJA SKILLS

You know what would be amazing? If our issues with food and weight were just about food, and we could read a little magazine article and seamlessly take off the weight? Or take some advice from a friend who had tried the latest fad diet and … boom! Problem solved!

Unfortunately, if you have experienced diet drama and trauma, that is NOT the story. It’s not that you haven’t WANTED to make changes with food and weight. Every article you’ve read, or diet you’ve tried, has not been in vain.  It’s that you haven’t acquired the skills you need to make these changes last!

SKILLS! Yes, it IS about the food – and, when that issue is settled, it’s about getting you some serious skills. So many skills, so little time.  And there are SO. MANY. SKILLS.

First, we need to train your brain to focus. This helps to stay true to your best-self and helps to make decisions that serve you. Our favorite data-driven skill at Beacon is meditation and mindfulness. M&M (the good kind, not the chocolate kind that takes you off your path) help you to stay focused, act smarter, and to rock your best self more of the time.

Second, we need to train your brain to be FLEXIBLE for when things don’t go your way, or according to your plan. We need to train your brain to not make bad situations worse. You know, learning to stop using food to solve your problems. Cue distress tolerance skills. Distress tolerance skills teach you how to tolerate life when it’s not going as you think it should or hoped it would.  

I know you may be shaking your head saying, “That won’t work for me.”  Or worse than that, you are in complete refusal mode. You’re saying: “There is NO WAY reading a book, or meditating, or putting ice on the back of my neck, or dancing in my living room, or taking a walk, or calling a friend will ever rival eating. It just won’t work.”

Uh oh. Though I get it – I get your skepticism and your concern, can you pleeeeeease put your Beginner’s Mind back on?  Thanks.

Here’s why: until we can find skills that can help you to reset AND bring you closer to your ultimate goals, things aren’t going to change. And that’s why you’re reading this book, right?

As the old adage says, “Nothing changes, nothing changes.”  We need to get you a whole bunch of skills to rival the bad habits that you’ve acquired with all your diet drama and trauma. AND, we need to get you mastered like ninjas in using them. We need to get your brain into some serious shape.  As we say at Beacon: “It’s a BRAIN GAME.”

  1. FORM A POWER CIRCLE

I think the phrase, “It takes a village” was written specifically for sustainable success from your diet drama and trauma.

This struggle can make you feel stranded and alone. And those feelings almost always lead us back to the food. #visciouscycle

Here’s the BIG TRUTH: You’re not alone. Actually, you are really really really not alone. That’s a feeling, and feelings aren’t facts.

Feelings are quite changeable with skill number 6. Reach out for support;  MAKE A POWER CIRCLE.

At Beacon, we see our clients – a.k.a. our Beacon Buddies – on group texts, conference calls, and emails.  They are sending ideas, words of inspiration, hope, and strength to each other. Guess what? IT’S HELPING.

Knowing that you aren’t alone will make a HUGE difference. Knowing there are others that you can talk to and tell the truth in rough times is more curative than we can explain.  

Worried that you don’t know anyone to add to your Power Circle? No problem! Think of someone you might know who has a welcoming voice, a warm heart, or might need a little support. Don’t underestimate the power of connection. It goes a loooooong way.

If you are only beginning this process, you may need more than the support of your friends and fellows. You may need some real-deal coaching. You need to be not just good at reaching out for support but GREAT at it – like gold-medal-Olympic-athlete great.

If you were going to become an Olympic figure skater, would it be enough to buy some skates and a frilly dress and hit the frozen pond? I hope not!  If you were super serious about become an Olympic athlete, wouldn’t you seek out the finest coaching available? Wouldn’t you get to that pond and practice, practice, practice?

And, there you have it! Six of the most helpful and effective tools to get you started on your journey to sustainable weight loss and food functionality.

You have taken a huge step today simply by reading this.  GO. YOU.

If you liked what you read today, and want a little bit more Beacon, never fear, there are sooooo many more resources available to you! Beyond our live help in our Manhattan offices, we offer online programs that you can access easily in your living room.  And we have world-class, top-notch coaches at Beacon available for individual treatment – via Skype or telephone.  Our highly-trained coaches are devoted to helping you find a solution to your food and weight issues for good.  We also have weekly Facebook, Instagram and YouTube posts designed to help keep you on your path to long-term success. I speak for me and my team when we say we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of your journey.

I meant it when I said your life is about to start a serious trend UP!  Let’s get you moving into your big beautiful life, free of your food and weight issues right now!

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