5 Ways to Fight Weight Loss Challenges with Inspiration
When we create a goal to lose weight, we have to make changes to see changes. Too often, this means restrictions. Even the word feels unpleasant and creates a natural battle of will and wants. All kinds of emotional responses can surface when we are simply having freedoms taken away. That’s why we need to replace some of voids left by our self-imposed restrictions with something so that we remain feeling empowered and whole. Inspiration is a powerful tool you can use to fill the metaphorical space left by those irritating restrictions. Here’s how:
1. FOCUS ON THE WHY, NOT THE WHAT
Inspiration is your why. If you keep why you want to lost weight top of mind, you’ll be less focused on the what (the food)!
It’s impossible not to think about food when every two hours we’re faced with how much of what I can eat and when. The more we have to think about what we are eating, what we aren’t, and when (not to mention if we are calorie or carb counting, all we can think about is food!), it’s against all principles of manifestation! When we think about what we manifest by saying “I will not eat that chocolate bar,” we are keeping our focus on the chocolate bar, instead of “I’m eating healthy today” when we are consciously and subconsciously focused on healthy options.
The more we try not to think about food, the more we think about food (like the ironic process theory’s “white bear” example). Since ignoring food isn’t an option, we need a healthy distraction: inspiration.
So why are you working on losing weight? To fit into a pair of pants? Try them on once a week or once a day to remind yourself what you’re working for. Want to be able to run around with your kids more? Put up a photo of them that specifically reminds you about what you’ll experience when you are lighter and more sprightly. Having health issues? Don’t continue to pester yourself with the metaphorical weight of your ailment or restrictions, but put up a picture about the experiences you want to be able to enjoy in your life.
2. MAKE FOOD FUN (AND INSPIRING)
ElainaInspired approved food means food that is:
- full of fresh and natural flavors
- offers texture variety
- served with flare
My favorite inspired food hacks include:
- Chop 1/4 red bell pepper and add it uncooked for crunch, color and flavor.
- One of my favorite kitchen accessories is a panini maker. I use it to seal healthy wraps that adds function, beautiful grill lines, and a delicious bonus flavor.
- Add fresh herbs to anything savory and pump up the color and flavor to another level.
- Put greek yogurt in a piping bag (or sandwich bag, clipping a tiny corner off) and drizzle for a healthy alternative that boots visual delight and flavor.
- Get flavored Stevia and healthily flavor your coffee or greek yogurt (this one is my fav: Sweet Leaf English Toffee)
- Add little bits of many foods; chopped veggies or fruit (fresh or dried)
- Cut up your food into small snack-able shapes! I love chopping a quarter of an apple into small “match stick slices.” They are much more fun to eat and I don’t even need a whole apple if I don’t want one
Make everything you eat a treat! Serve it with flare and care, adding a fun garnish or serving on a fun plate. Get an antique fork or find fun patterned bowls. Delight yourself by creating an exciting meal with just a little extra care and little extra time!
3. BUILD FLAVOR WITH REAL FOOD
Instead of using fats, salts and sugars to add flavor to food, build flavor with fresh, natural food!
Great produce can create a completely different experience. Pick some hero foods to try and buy them at a local store with great, local produce. Many great chef’s rely on serving the finest ingredients that need very little treatment to create an incredible flavor experience. You can also treat yourself to a CSA box once a month to try new foods and experience the difference in taste.
What else is great about local food? Bolder flavors and brighter colors invite us to enjoy food in a whole new way.
Try cooking food differently. How many different ways can you serve brussel sprouts? I never liked brussels sprouts until I learned how to roast them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. I never like egg plant until I learned to give it a salt bath before cooking. Look up the “best” way to cook a hero food and have fun exploring the different flavors and textures (and enhancing your cooking skills as you go)!
4. MAKE YOUR INSPIRATION LIST AND USE IT
Stress and boredom are ferocious monsters that can sabotage any diet. If you fill your time with inspiration more often, you’ll be more active and too busy to accidentally eat that whole chocolate bar hiding in the drawer.
Make your inspiration list and indulge in inspiring activities instead of those that encourage mindless snacking. When you’re participating in more activities that inspire you, you’re also enjoying your life more, leaning on less on food to provide fulfillment when we’re bored, anxious or uninspired.
5. MAKE EATING AN INSPIRED ACTIVITY
On a diet, food can feel like the enemy. But food is the solution! Food can contribute equally to negative or positive health, so let’s befriend food.
Make eating an inspiring activity. Enjoy food MORE! Appreciate food MORE! Be more present when you eat, indulging in each bite! If you’re eating fresh and local ingredients, it will be easier to appreciate pops of flavor!
What if you went on an inspiration-only diet?
Pretend you’re in the food ads that show someone slowly, carefully biting into a delightful morsel. Maybe the cheese lingers as it stretches towards the mouth or the yogurt spoon lingers too long on the lips longer, accentuating how much the consumer is enjoying whatever they are selling. Eyes open a little wider in pleasant surprise, nodding “yes, so good,” or smiling with such bliss during and after the bite. My favorite example is the Ghiradelli “Rendezvous” commercial. You can’t beat the music:
We know when we’re eating because we’re bored, because we think it will make us happy (when no amount is enough), and when we’re so inspired by the moment that our consumption is slow, present and fulfilling.
If we only eat from an inspired place, we’ll likely eat less because we’ll be eating slowly and be more fulfilled physically and emotionally. We won’t need to binge or eat junk all day, and we’ll be more motivated to give our body the healthy fuel it needs because we also get to enjoy the food that inspires us in fulfilling moderation.
Slow down, be present, and savor every bite (preferably, as ridiculously as possible – have fun with it!). Having your own rendezvous wth every meal, and especially every treat, will naturally help you eat from an internally inspired space. You’ll eat smaller quantities of the less healthy foods that you still love and not eat any food mindlessly.
Be that delighted with every bite! Make those indulgent moments, whether savory or sweet, so fulfilling that they are inspiring enough to be taken in reasonable portions.
6. LOSE RESTRICTIONS BY ADDING CHOICES
When we start a diet, we come in with a restrictive mindset: I can’t eat this. I can’t eat that. I can’t eat for another two hours. I shouldn’t snack. It’s like built-in oppression that strips away our empowerment, inspiration and joy.
When we feel restricted, we can resent and act out against not having choices (or the struggle to make the right choices). To fight this, we need to CREATE more choices. We can do this by introducing new and more foods into our diet to make it interesting.
When you’re feeling restricted, find a way to add something new instead. When I’ve dieted, I had some pretty boring staples. Oatmeal (cinnamon and stevia) and greek yogurt (stevia and maybe a topping). I was fine with these go-to’s until I one day I clearly wasn’t fine anymore. I started looking for different food (and generally not good choices) because I just wanted something different. I didn’t pre-empt being uninspired.
We don’t have to eat only the same foods over and over to lose weight. There are so many flavors out in the world that we can try (how fun) and add (yum!) without adding diet-defeating calories. Fresh herbs and citrus juices are a great example. The same old boring chicken perks up with a fresh tomato, garlic and basil topping, a squeeze of lemon/lime/orange, or spicy homemade guacamole with tomatoes, jalepenos, cilantro, and a touch of greek yogurt and avocado (healthy fat).
Making everything in one pot or pan is easy, but it also makes everything taste the same. Work in and change up one healthy topping on your meals after you prepare them to add extra inspired contrast in color, texture or flavor.
6. BONUS TIP: Weigh yourself once a week
To tap into inspiration, we need to enjoy the journey and not hold our happiness hostage until we meet our weight loss goal. Weighing yourself once a week helps remind us that weight loss is a journey that takes time. We don’t want to obsess about each day and the natural fluctuations that show up when we weigh ourselves daily.
Losing 1-2 lbs a week is considered good and healthy, so even losing 10 lbs can take six weeks of real effort. Once a week is enough to provide progress while keeping us present and satisfied with our effort instead of unrealistic and often discouraging daily results.
7. BONUS TIP: Buy a heart rate monitor with a chest strap and learn when you’re in fat burning zone vs cardio.
I had no idea how quickly my body went into cardio mode (instead of fat burning mode) until I bought a chest strap heart monitor. Wrist and finger heart rate monitors just didn’t seem accurate or responsive enough to track my interval running (ideal for fat burning that continues after exercise ends). If you’re taking the time to work out, learn about how being aware of your heart rate can help you burn fat. A friend lost the most weight when she did two 45-minute walks every day in her fat burning zone.
I was so relieved when I learned that I didn’t have to miserably attempt to sprint three miles to lose weight!