Many of my Health Coaching and Personal Training clients seek these services because they would like to lose weight. I have lots of useful nutrition and fitness strategies to share. However, as a psychotherapist, I know that unless we accept ourselves and change our thinking at the same time, weight loss or any kind of positive change can be difficult to sustain. Changing our point of view during crucial moments can help us make great decisions. Here are three perspectives to help you get leaner:
1. Mother yourself. At the supermarket, restaurant, and during meal preparations ask yourself: if I were my own mother, what would I be feeding myself to support my body? As you eat, ask: am I nourished and satisfied or do I need more food? Use the answers you receive as a guide for what to eat, when, how much, and for approaching eating from a nourishment perspective. Unless it’s helpful, you don’t have to respond like your actual mother. In fact, if she wasn't nurturing, this is a chance to do some repair work by offering yourself good mothering in the present.
2. Date yourself. If someone treated you as you treat yourself, how would you rate him or her as a date? Do you treat yourself as well as you want your partner to treat you? Recently, I wanted to have a fun, carefree day because I had had a difficult week. I'd give myself high marks in terms of activities—a long walk in Central Park and a visit to a photography exhibit with a friend. Food-wise, I get mixed reviews. For breakfast I whipped up a delicious fruit and yogurt smoothie. I skipped lunch, (cheap date!) and had a cupcake and coffee at around 2p.m. I crashed shortly after and got tired and edgy. I would have done better by packing fruit and nuts or a hard-boiled egg as I normally do. Planning for substance and not just “treat foods” would have made me a better date to myself and would have made this day just as special.
3. Future You! Before you decide to eat that fifth chocolate chip cookie, cut to the future and regard your situation from the perspective of your future self. Maybe Future You is a day from now, or a year, or five years (whatever comes to you and is useful). Future You can ask: Is it essential that I eat this? Did I, in fact, even eat this? If the answer is no, allow your future self to support you in putting that cookie down. Maybe Future You can say what you are really hungry for and how to best fulfill your desires.
At first, it can take some effort and self-control to stop what you are doing and look at your situation with new eyes. But as you implement these points of view, they become more automatic and can appear when you need them most. You may find each outlook is particularly helpful depending on the situation—are you most needing nurturance, pleasure, or staying true to who you want to become? Using alternative perspectives can bring awareness, creativity and fulfillment to our lives.
Merryl Reichbach, LMSW, ACE, MA She is a Clinical Social Worker and art therapist with children, teens and their families. She also has a private practice as a certified holistic health counselor (graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition) ACE Certified Personal Trainer and loves integrating art, yoga, writing and dance into her life and her work.
Website: Jumping Woman Wellness