Want to lose those extra pounds and live in a body you love?
The old answer was always to diet, to calorie restrict, to eat less and exercise more.
And it probably worked … at least to start with.
Yet the body, in its deep wisdom, recognises when food is less available and adapts accordingly.
Cycles of dieting, food restriction, and rigid rules around what and when it’s “acceptable” to eat take a toll.
The body exists in a state of stress.
The mind feels deprived and limited.
Dieting can feel like a prison … so it’s hardly surprising when constraints are shrugged off and replaced with the relief and escape of stuffing down food.
If you’ve decided never to go on another diet—never to starve yourself again—go for it! Your phenomenal body deserves to be treated with the love and respect it deserves.
And, at the same time, the rebound effect of dropping the dieting—the flip side of release—can be overeating and carrying unwanted extra weight.
It makes so much sense—an innate survival response—but perhaps you sense a niggle that it’s not where you want to stay.
My guess is, you want both:
- to feed your body and treat it well, and
- to drop any additional pounds that sap your energy and weigh you down
It doesn’t have to be a choice of either/or. It’s ok to want both.
And you can have both.
So how do you go about continuing to feed, honour and support your body AND drop those excess pounds?
A two step process can be the most nurturing and effective.
It allows for baby steps and a much greater chance that each uncomfortable emotion, trigger, belief or challenge can be fully seen and responded to as it arises.
It allows you to work with your body rather than against it.
The two step process
Focus on resolving the binge eating or overeating and, when you feel confident, calm and satisfied with the food you’re eating, move to step 2.
Implement strategies to compassionately and responsively drop any additional pounds until you reach the weight that feels right for your body and reflects who you want to be in the world.
Where to start
The following three tools each offer an excellent place to begin.
Each aims to help you become attuned with your body and ease it out of an emergency stress response. From there, food will become less of a trigger and more a form of sustenance or fuel.
These tools can be used individually or in tandem. Experiment to find which resonate with you most.
Tool 1: Get to know your body
This exercise is a powerful way to communicate and connect with your body at a deeper level—to form a partnership rather than feeling “up against” each other.
As you get into it, you’re likely to uncover meaningful, important and helpful information that may be entirely new to you.
Here’s how to start a conversation between you and your body:
Step 1: Write a letter to your body
Tell your body exactly what you think and feel about it. Be really honest. Don’t hold anything back or pretend to feel anything other than the way you do. Let your body know how it has impacted your life, your relationships, your choices and your potential. How and why do you wish it were different?
Step 2: Write a response from your body
If your body could reply, what would it say? How does your body think and feel about you? What is your body asking you for? Is there anything else your body would like you to know?
Click here to download a worksheet with prompts to record the conversation between you and your body.
Tool 2: Talk to your body
Thoughts about your body are really an ongoing conversation. Just like when you’re talking to a person, the words and tone you use have a powerful impact on the response of the other.
Imagine you’re talking to a small child who’s agitated, scared or frustrated.
My guess (having got this wrong about 10,000 times in the past with my own children!) is that child is soothed with supporting, reassuring, loving and calming words. Shouting, demanding and trying to control tend to result in everyone becoming more activated and frantic.
Replace the idea of speaking to a child with speaking to your body, and you might recognise how feeling frantic, stressed and defensive can lead right back to food.
Instead, try speaking to your body with soothing and reassuring words. Experiment to see which phrases calm it most.
Here are some examples:
“I promise never to starve you again.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll get you something to eat as soon as we get home.”
“I’ve noticed you’re hungry. I’ve got a snack ready in the car.
“I know you really want that. Let’s think about it and come back another time if you still want it then.”
Tool 3: Find the foods that feel best in your body.
Your body will respond better to some foods than others.
Discover how to identify those foods in episode #005 of The YoYo Freedom Podcast: How to find the foods that work for you.
You can stop restriction and yoyo-dieting and also reach a weight that’s perfect for you.
Wanting to look after your body, to feel more energised and alive, doesn’t have to be harsh, restrictive or diminishing.
Support, reassure and nurture your body and it’ll become calmer and less anxious about food.
Rather than panicking because, “if I don’t eat it now, I’ll never get another chance,” you’ll begin to feel less triggered.
Experiencing that freedom around food and your body is what YoYo Freedom is all about.