What Can you learn from a Mom who lost #120 pounds…and has kept it off for several years?
Last week we talked about family meal strategies for busy times. This week we’re going to take a look at a real mom who has lost the pounds and kept them off.
It has been an amazing privilege to witness the life transformation of this woman whom I have known my entire life. Recently in an interview* she shared her secrets of her success, and why at age 51 after many failed attempts, she transformed her body and her life for good.
What she talked about included some of her food habits, yet the most enlightening behaviors were not her diet or her exercise.
The biggest surprise was when she revealed what the was holding her back and how it always lead to repeated failed attempts.
The other surprise was what she revealed that gave her the ammunition to keep going. She is very humble and does not share this experience casually unless she is specifically asked.
At the end she shared a few of her personal nutritional guidelines.
Read on to find out what this working Mom used as her guiding principles to reverse what was was holding her back from changing for good.
Get honest with yourself.
When she experienced repeated failures at dieting, she was not being honest with herself.
- She explained how she was bringing ‘Lean Cuisine’ diet meals to work everyday, and then at home she would eat continuously standing up at her pantry.
- She grabbed mindless bites and tastes while making the family dinner. This next admission hit home.
- She ate to avoid a responsibility or task. She ate to numb, sooth and procrastinate. All along she was being dishonest with herself about her eating habits.
The turning point came when she was on a trip. She planned ahead, and used her Palm Pilot (remember those?!) to keep track of her food. There was no pantry or extra food available to sneak.
On that trip, she had her first significant weight loss week. This helped her realize that she had been lying to herself about sticking to the plan. Once she became honest with herself, she became consistent.
This can’t be done in isolation.
She aligned herself with people who had gone before her and successfully changed. She literally sought out a group of people who walked in her shoes and went before her. These people became her support.
Additionally she had a special bond with her long time book club group, her family, and those who are on the same journey as her. When people wanted to help, she let them.
The catalysts for her transformation were mainly about her effort and her attitude. She learned to eat differently once she became honest with why she was eating outside of her meals.
She suggests that it may be necessary have to build your own tribe, or ifnd one that is aligned well with you.r situation.
Don’t play the sympathy or martyr role.
She is actually very matter of fact about the whole process. She says this often: “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me because I’m not eating chocolate cake today. I probably won’t eat it tomorrow, and I haven’t eaten it for seven years. It’s my choice.”
“Don’t feel sorry for me, because no dessert is going to make my life better.”
She asked at a wedding recently how the Tiramisu tasted, and she was fine with knowing that someone else enjoyed it. That was enough for her.
Holy crap! She was content because someone else enjoyed dessert, and that gave her joy. Let that sink in. It is so common when people are “on a diet” to harp on what they can’t have. This Mom has totally gotten over food FOMO.
Take this one day, one minute at a time.
No one is excluded from having crazy things happen. She went through some serious life events including becoming a caregiver for a parent and getting diagnosed with cancer.
She focused on not using emotional eating to soothe during her during these emotionally and physically challenging times. She used tools and her support system.
She learned that eating does not change an emotion. “An emotion is just an emotion. We are not going to die from an emotion.”
Teach people how to treat you.
She uses a consistent firm and polite no thank you when people try to convince her to eat differently. She doesn’t make a big deal about it.
However, she does not back down when people attempt to coerce her into a bite or taste. Her firm attitude is that “I don’t mess with your food, and you don’t mess with mine.”
Eliminate the addictive foods.
She shared that for her personally to be compliant, she had to eliminate all sugar and flour. She was quick to add that that was her personal plan. Her individual physical makeup and personality traits do not support even a little of those foods.
She has an addiction to them.
There is evidence that proves that sugar is more addictive in the brain than cocaine for some people (That can be a discussion for another time).
The fact is, it is real and she has managed to overcome it with honesty, her support system, and other guideposts. This means being brutally honest about what is addictive. There are many ways to use honesty as a guidepost.
She is careful with the subtle triggers.
Some subtle triggers are “even more dangerous” than the addictions themselves.
- For example, she is very aware of the temptations of BLT’s (bites, licks, and tastes).
- Another strong trigger for her is artificial sweeteners. The actual sweet taste triggers her brain. After she found herself drinking upwards of a gallon crystal lite a day, she realized that this was an addictive behavior. There is that honesty again.
It was a pleasure to listen to this Mom share her journey.