The Shift: Stop making new year’s resolutions and start changing your mindset

The Shift: Stop making new year’s resolutions and start changing your mindset

Around this time of year, everyone is running around like crazy.  Parties to attend, work deadlines to meet before the holidays, family obligations, and spending an inordinate amount of time online shopping for the perfect gift!  Stop with the madness already!

Maybe it’s a bit early to talk about New Year’s resolutions, but imma do it anyway!

When all this Christmas stuff is over, we get to set up new expectations in the new year of all the bad habits we want to break or all the new habits we’d like to start.  We want to lose weight, eat more vegetables, stop drinking alcohol or quit smoking.  Or there could be more interesting goals like save money for a vacation, buy a new house, travel abroad, or change careers.

According to the stats, only 8% of people ever successfully achieve their new year’s resolutions.

Well…crap!

That’s because we put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect.  Each of the goals listed above is quite lofty in its own way.  How do we keep the momentum once the buzz of the holidays has worn off?  Do you feel withdrawal from cutting out sugar or caffeine?  After a few weeks you’re cranky, hungry, and agitated.  What chance of manifesting success do you really have?

How many diets and weight loss plans have I started and regrettably ended because I lost my willpower?  Dozens of times in the last 20 years.  The featured image I chose for this blog is how I and other gym rats always scoff at the New Year’s “resolution-ers” hitting the gym as of January. Every gym regular knows those people who are attempting to make it based on willpower will most certainly fail by the end of March. Then we don’t have to wait for our favourite machines anymore and the fitness classes become more roomy again! Yaaassssss!

The best advice on achieving goals I ever got was from reading one of those free books you get with a GoodLife gym membership when you sign up.  In Living the Good Life: Your Guide to Health and Success, David-Patchell Evans writes about how “good enough is good enough”. He says perfection is something that no one should be striving to achieve on a day to day basis.  You are more likely to give up your goals or get burnt out over the long-term.  Making smaller incremental changes that become a part of your life are the best way to have them become a permanent part of your life.

There’s going to be days or weeks where you’ll fall off the wagon, but that’s ok.  You have to brush yourself off and try again.

Instead of aiming for new year’s resolutions to start making changes in your life, why not start now?  Each day I do something small to work towards manifesting my goals.  I want to be debt-free and have financial freedom.  So I read a lot of books and articles on how to do that.  I don’t do it for hours, but just enough to get a couple new ideas into my brain.

I listened to a podcast by Tony Robbins this morning where he spoke about the entrepreneur mindset. Robbins believes that 80% of success comes from thought while 20% comes from mechanics.  Tons of books have been written on the subject of changing your thinking.  Fear, which is a construct of our brain, holds people back from executing the tough stuff.  Maybe instead of taking giant leaps forward all the time, we just need to take baby steps and get closer to our dreams.

We need to give ourselves a break from being our worst critics.

It’s hard to achieve a goal and one should be praised for getting it.  Why is a reaching a goal worthy of praise? People forget how hard the journey itself is.  The journey is where we learn how to be the best parts of ourselves, through the learning and the mistakes.  We survive somehow.  It doesn’t make you weak if you don’t succeed at something.  The fact that you tried anything at all should demonstrate how strong you are.  And if you dust yourself off and try again, you are even stronger for doing so.

Success is 99 percent failure.

-Soichiro Honda

So instead of making a list of unrealistic new year’s resolutions that you may achieve a little but then give up on by March, maybe just tell yourself that you aren’t going to make them anymore.  I haven’t made new year’s resolutions in years because I think they are a waste of time and energy.  I’d rather just go on impulse and do whatever I want no matter what time of year it is.

I bought a guitar at the beginning of December 2016 and want to learn how to play it.  Doesn’t mean I’ll succeed but I’m going to give it a go.  I tried to learn by watching YouTube videos but quickly realized that my fingertips weren’t hitting the strings or frets correctly and my posture was completely off.  The strumming didn’t sound right either.  Rather than learning how to play badly without one-on-one instruction, I just figured I’d pay someone to teach me.

Like everyone else, I figured that it was cheaper and just as good to try something on my own. But unlike everyone else, I didn’t give up when I didn’t get it. I changed my mindset to accept that I am not a guitar teacher and I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s better I hire a professional to save me time and energy!

In my first lesson, my instructor helped me loosen the grip on my hands.  He watched me and taught me how to make it feel natural playing chords and strumming the guitar.  I wouldn’t have learned these tricks on my own. I’m not the expert.  Just check out the hundreds of ads on Kijiji where people have written that they bought the guitar on a whim and only ended up playing it a couple times because life got in the way. Basically, for the people who didn’t want to invest in the journey, they gave up.

It doesn’t matter to me that I become an expert at the guitar. I want to play it as a stress reliever because I’ve always loved music. When I was a child, I learned to play a variety of instruments (accordion, harmonium, sitar, clarinet and saxophone) and I remember how good it felt to play a song.  When I was 17, I stopped playing the saxophone because I hated band practice!

So why did I quit music if I loved it so much? I used to force myself to practice at least an hour and I absolutely loathed it.  Knowing what I know now, it was a mistake to make my practice sessions so long to the point that I hated practice at the end of it.  I thought I was being disciplined and everyone else in band was practicing at least an hour a day (or so I thought).  Unfortunately, it made me hate playing music so much that I ended up quitting it for almost 20 years.

Now when I practice the guitar, I don’t practice for an hour.  I practice until my fingers start to hurt too much and then I stop.  That’s maybe 20-30 mins at a time, and sometimes even less. As I build up the calluses, I know I’ll play longer. My goal is just to play what I learned quicker and better than when I started the practice.  If I achieve that, I stop when I reach my high point. It leaves me with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I’m farther now than I was before.  Good enough is good enough.

How many of you reading this were musicians, dancers, athletes once and have given up because the practice schedule felt overwhelming to you and now you have given it up permanently?

 It’s always a good idea to invest in yourself and work towards personal development.

Sometimes you have to fight yourself against yourself too.  Your inner critic is always waiting for you to fail so why not shut him/her up by changing your mindset?  Push out the negative thoughts and pull in the positive ones.  It’s easier said than done and takes practice. But that’s the Law of Attraction and manifestation for you!

Forget Monday or New Year’s Day.  Start your goals today.  Don’t think in terms of calendars anymore.

Here are some journalling prompts in case you are thinking about goal setting now:

  • What goals are you trying to achieve?
  • What have you started and given up on?
  • Why did you give up?
  • Was there anything you’ve stuck to long-term?
  • What made you stick with something longer than another goal you gave up on quickly?

In the meantime, what is your advice for those of us trying to stick to our goals: resolutions or otherwise?  Have you successfully stuck to a new year’s resolution?  Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know!

 

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Body Confidence: Part 3

Body Confidence: Part 3

A girlfriend of mine convinced me to attend a burlesque show back in June 2012.  At the time, I didn’t really have much of a concept of what burlesque was.  Like most people, I just assumed it was a more theatrical and lavish form of striptease.  While this is the case, the show I attended was presented by real women.  Wives, daughters, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends.  Women of all shapes, sizes and ages.  They strutted around in their corsets, vintage hairdo’s, fishnets and heels.  My breath was swept away as I literally started salivating the moment I walked in the room to be surrounded by a throng of exquisite babes.  I was enchanted immediately by the dancers.  They were humourous but also technical (especially those level 4 and 5 dancers).  The women teased us with their hands, eyes, props, legs, and smiles.

How is it possible for these women to be so damn confident in a room full of strangers?  These ladies were not stripping at all.  That’s not what Burlesquercise is about.  Burlesquercise was created by renowned ballroom dance coach and judge, Di Lefebvre. It is a form of fitness that embraces the beauty of women and allows them to feel confident inside and out through dance.  Women come from all walks of life and all income, age, and size backgrounds.  All are welcome and appreciated!  Once you are part of the tribe, even if you leave, you still remain friends with some of the most beautiful women you’ve ever met.  And man do they have killer curves and moves!

Immediately after the show, I signed up for Burlesquercise 101.  I was so nervous to attend that first class in the summer.  It turns out everyone was just as nervous as me!  Were we supposed to strip?  I didn’t really know what to expect.

Miss Annick was my instructor and she was a petite, fiesty brunette.  Her piercing dark eyes and calm face revealed nothing…until she opened her mouth and we all started laughing.  She made us feel instantly comfortable in our bodies by forcing us to close our eyes and then feel ourselves up.  Annick cracked all sorts of dirty jokes and we giggled our way to abs! We oooooo’d and aaaaahhh’d our way through the vowels while “zoning”.  Each zone represents a different part of the body.  Zone 1 is the hair, head and face.  Zone 2 is the breasts.  Zone 3 is the stomach and torso.  Zone 4 is the hips.  Zone 5 is the butt and legs.  Sometimes I zone just to put an extra spring in my step!

The next lesson was to open our eyes, look around the room and watch everyone else doing what we all just did with our eyes closed.  When no one was looking, we were safe.  But now here we were, women touching our own bodies and actually sounding excited and positively orgasmic doing it!  I was so turned on in fact, I rushed home and mauled my dear husband in my sweaty gym clothes, which I never had the audacity to try before!

How had I gone through my life without this course?  Why are more women not doing this?  This could literally save marriages and relationships by making women more comfortable in their own skin!  I fell in love and never stopped signing up for classes again.  My burly resume now includes 3 galas and 1 Rocky Mountain Dancesport Grand Prix performance.  I never thought I’d ever perform like that!  I look in the mirror now and smile brightly at myself.  It takes several minutes for me to behold the beauty in front of me and check out my body a few times a day.  My curves are downright dangerous and I know how to use them!

Miss Leslie and Miss Kim round out the foursome of delightful teachers.  Both are energetic and powerful dancers.  If you’ve ever seen Leslie dance with a giant headdress of ostrich feathers and sequined outfit on a hot day at a street festival, you know what I’m talking about!  The ladies crack all sorts of jokes in class!  We sweat to death with ballroom drills and Zumba warmups.  These women are not only mentors but they really try to get to know all the students.  I feel cared for and appreciated.  They hug me and ask me how I am.  They know my name!  I don’t think I’ve ever gone through that in a spin or yoga class before.

I still can’t walk in heels for the life of me…until you bust out some music and all of a sudden I’m strutting and spinning like I actually know what I’m doing.  It doesn’t even matter because the confidence overtakes any flaws in the execution!

Nowadays I get turned on by feathers and high heels.  I even feel daring enough to wear fishnets to the office from time to time.  My heart beats a little faster when I slide into a body hugging dress.  I strut in the Plus 15’s and make eye contact with strangers.  We were encouraged to practice this by our Burlesquercise instructors to improve our performance skills.

I love the power I have now with a hip sway, a sideways glance, a scarlet pout, and a flip of my hair.  It’s mastery and it’s divinity.  I am a Goddess.  Thank you, Burlesquercise for giving me body confidence that I never had without you and your vixens!

Thanks for reading this series of posts on body confidence.  My next post will take us back into the spiritual realm where we explore confidence related to mediumship and psychic readings.  Everything we experience in our lives is connected to the overall plan.  Becoming confident in one part of your life means confidence comes easier for everything that you do.

 

Body Confidence: Part 2

Body Confidence: Part 2

It was around 2009 that I started going to the Calgary Weight Management Centre in Calgary.  After hearing about these “mythical” clinics in town where health care professionals got together to help people with obesity related issues, I wanted to get a referral.  I went to a GP for that referral and booked my first appointment.

The assistant at the front desk was very sweet and took my weight and measurements for her records.  Next, I went through a BMR test, where I was hooked up to a breathing apparatus for about 30 minutes and it measured my basal metabolic rate to determine if maybe my resting metabolism was a bit slow.  I was both relieved and irritated to learn that my BMR was quite normal.  So I can’t blame a slow metabolism for my weight gain.  Dammit!  But I guess that’s also a good thing that I’m not unhealthy.  Um, I’m not unhealthy?  What?

Soon after, I met with Dr. Walji, a medical doctor at the clinic who was extremely supportive and understanding.  I had never met a doctor like that who understood that people can’t just lose weight through yo-yo periods of diet and exercise.  She told me no one actually knew what the hell they were talking about in the diet and fitness industry.  Not enough studies have been done to conclusively come up with that magic pill or golden formula that will take weight off and keep it off.  Basically, I was here to learn how to change my habits to be healthy and sustain a long-term healthy lifestyle.  All this based on…wait for it…SCIENCE!  Not old wives tales and not the garbage in the newsstands.

This philosophy was totally different from what I had become accustomed to through other programs (ie: lose 20 lbs in 3 months through deprivation, eating pre-packaged diet foods, and sheer force of will). Turns out the CWMC also un-trained me from believing that willpower actually had any merit in the equation.  People’s bodies don’t respond to willpower.  No matter how closely you stick to a diet plan, at some point all the food restrictions will come back to lead you down a night of binge eating junk food.

The health experts wanted me to call them by their first names even though they had a bunch of impressive letters after all their names.  It was very casual and comforting.

From the dietician, Rory Hornstein, I learned how to eat my heaviest and caloric dense meals in the morning and gradually taper off by the evening.  I stick to so many of her teachings now!  It was hard to unlearn years of poor eating habits and this food journal had to be the worst of it.  Thank goodness for myfitnesspal!

My athletic therapist, Grant Molyneux, shocked me at my initial appointment by declaring that exercise cannot be used to lose weight.  I looked at him like he was nuts.  This man had degrees and published books, and was a prolific marathoner, Iron Man competitor, triathlete, etc..  He was also a fitness coach for professional and amateur athletes.  Basically, he was super accomplished in the fitness world and looked like it too.  I had to give him credit for his patience whenever he gets that dumbfounded look from a patient who thinks he is blowing smoke up their butts!  His appointments were awesome.  He would have you walking on a treadmill while coming up with a fitness plan that worked with the lifestyle I was trying to lead.

The most life-changing professional I met was the psychologist, Jennifer French.  She literally changed my life.  Countless kleenexes filled up her garbage can after each session due to me crying on her couch as I delved into the abyss of my emotional eating habits and got to the root cause of my weight issues.  All the issues I had of feeling inadequate, helpless and out of control from Body Confidence: Part 1  bubbled to the surface after years of submission to be finally dealt with and purged. She let me express myself with no judgement and taught me it was ok to be imperfect.  Her strategies on dealing with stress and family were mindblowingly effective.  You don’t normally think of therapists as cheerleaders, but this lady was always on my side.  Damn the whole being emotionless bit.  She cussed to lighten the mood and made me feel comfortable during our sessions when my anger, sadness, and frustration with my lack of progress ate me up alive.  It had been six months of following the CWMC’s plan and I wasn’t losing any weight!  Yet she looked at me like I was winning and she was my biggest fan.  She taught me to quiet my inner critic as well because that sonofabitch never shuts the fuck up!

Every time I’d see the experts (at least once a month), they looked at me like I was amazing.  I didn’t get it.  Wasn’t I a failure because the scale didn’t move?  None of them even batted an eyelash at it.  These gurus saw me following the plan almost precisely and the only thing they could say to me was “Have faith.  You have nothing to lose.” Essentially, if I gave up now, wouldn’t I be undoing all the months of healthy habits?  Even if nothing changed, at least I could fall back on being healthier.

Ugh!  It was sheer agony!  I also went through months of a sitting in a support group with women who were all at various stages of their journeys.  They were all normal people with jobs and kids and stresses.  None of them in my opinion deserved the judgement they got from outsiders who simply didn’t get that no matter how hard you work at trying to lose weight, it sometimes takes YEARS to see the results if you stick with the plan.  Therein lies the conundrum: the ability to stick to the plan.  95% of people can’t.  They aren’t failures and they aren’t lazy.  Our bodies just don’t work like that and eventually people just stop torturing themselves through diets only to repeat the cycle when something bigger and better is talked about at a BBQ or around the water cooler at work.

The scale finally started moving significantly after about 7 months.  I eventually lost 20 lbs in 1.5 years.  That was not exactly the lose 20lbs in 3 months nonsense the fitness magazines are normally touting on the front cover.  Of course my success wasn’t enough.  I was still 30 lbs heavier than my 16 year old weight!  Couldn’t I just lose another 20lbs?  Why was it such a struggle?  I caved and joined Weight Watchers in 2010 after I was done with the CWMC as my wedding date was approaching and I really wanted to lose more weight.  I did end up losing 13 lbs but it was also one of those unsustainable plans that I just couldn’t stick to.  Fucking diet food that tastes like cardboard.  I stuck to low-fat and fat-free crap for years only giving it up for the first time in decades just a couple months ago.

Unfortunately, I would come to put the weight back on after I got married in mid-2011.  Again, I didn’t have the magic formula that worked for me.  The CWMC trained me to read nutrition labels, to not beat myself up when results were slow, to exercise to live longer, to educate myself on obesity research, and to basically chill the fuck out when it came to my obsession with weight loss. They didn’t want me to spend my entire life being a headcase over it.

So you’re probably asking: In all this time, where was the body confidence?  It was built from the ground up through the untraining of my shitty habits and awful thoughts that lead me down a spiral of self-loathing and self-doubt.  The CWMC saved me from myself.  Those people deserve a lot of credit.  They can see our successes when we can’t.  We are literally blind to our hard work and they cheer you on at every victory, no matter how small it is!

If you do anything for yourself on this journey, seek out the true health guides.  Dieticians, athletic therapists, and psychologists who specialize in weight related problems.  I needed the un-training desperately.  I am so grateful I went through this experience and that I still practice a lot of the things I learned there.

Stay tuned for the next post on how I learned to love my curves and fall in love with the girl in the mirror unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.  I’m still in love with that bombshell, as imperfect and bodacious as she is and I’m tired of the bullshit of trying to lose weight for vanity.  My husband loves that sexy bitch too.  Hahaha!

Body confidence: Part 1

Body confidence: Part 1

What’s the deal with body confidence?

There’s all sorts of articles on body positivity, body shaming and body confidence coming out on social media and from traditional media sources.  The damage done by previous generations about telling people they weren’t good enough as they were ended up causing more harm than good.  The type of harm that takes years of psychotherapy, medication, or abusing their own loved ones to undo…if it can ever be undone.

We think about tough love as being a good thing.  We tell our children or mentees that they need to realize that there’s something wrong and we’re not going to hold their hands for them to figure out how to fix it.  Being firm is meant to stir up this “need” inside to want to change something about ourselves so that people in a position of authority (parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings, teachers, bosses, etc) will think we are worthy of their approval.

It took me over 30 years to undo the damage of tough love and the constant message I wasn’t good enough as I was.  I wasn’t thin enough.  My face wasn’t clear enough.  My own decisions about my friends or what I did with my life could be better.  My mistakes I was told were devastating and I shouldn’t have made them in the first place.  I spent too much money on silly things (travel, joining a sorority, buying clothes I didn’t need, makeup, etc).

All I can say about these messages was that they were dead wrong.

Mistakes are worth making, that’s how you learn.  Mistakes do not denote failure.  Mistakes are opportunities for growth.

My body wasn’t meant to be stick thin. No matter how much I exercised or ate well, I was never going to get thin.  And even if I did get thin, what was the consequence?  See my previous blog post about the consequences of dieting and jumping on the weight loss bandwagon when you don’t need it.

My face reacted to my hormones and is still reacting to hormones and there’s nothing I can bloody well do about it.

My friends are my choice and in fact I never hung out with a “bad” crowd, ever.

All the experiences I had with money were based on my desires and passions.  Never a bad decision was ever made.  No decision was ever made lightly.  And if I was broke, that was also my decision.  Being in debt for a while in University wasn’t something that came out of nowhere because I couldn’t read my bank statements.

What does it mean when you are sent these awful messages?  What does that say about you as a parent or caregiver when you send these messages to your kids or wards over the course of their entire formative years?

Let me tell you about consequences of destroyed body confidence, also known in the medical community as body dysmorphia. And no, body confidence is not something regained overnight without professional medical and psychological intervention.  Self-harm, depression, an inability to make positive connections with people, and inability to be confident about your own decisions, the lack of trust in your own instincts, the penchant for chasing relationships with abusive people, obsession and hating yourself for hours a day…these are all some of the consequences of destroyed body confidence.

I’m not saying that parenting is easy and I’m not blaming or shaming my parents for what happened.  However, they won’t be getting away scot-free either.  Tough love goes both ways in my world.  It’s the coping mechanism I developed to survive and unfortunately it’s not something I can or am willing to undo.  The walls are up and in some cases they remain permanent.  Those that can be torn down, have been dismantled.  It’s my choice and it’s not perfect or ideal.  I won’t win a lot of friends over it, but that’s ok by me.  Those who stand by me are meant to be in my circle and it’s those friends I want to let in anyway.

In the meantime, I’m going to be writing a series of blog posts about how I regained my body confidence over the course of several years.  I hope you’ll stick with me in this storytelling and maybe you’ll find a similarity in your life that lets you know that you’re not alone.

Diet and weight loss can go straight to hell

Diet and weight loss can go straight to hell

My whole life I have battled weight gain.  I’ve been dieting since I was in junior high. In grade 12 I joined a gym and learned what it meant to workout 5 days a week, hard.  The lessons that I learned from personal trainers back in 1998 still linger with me today.  When I was 16, I remember I got down to 147 lbs, which I consider to be the lowest weight I ever achieved at my modest height of 5’6″.  And you know what?  I looked in the mirror and thought “I can’t believe I’m still fat.” Body dysmorphia.  I was a bloody size 6!

Since then I’ve tried every diet and exercise plan.  Weight Watchers. LA Weight Loss. Beachbody supplements.  Nutrition shakes.  Detoxes. Fad diets that work for a little while, but crush your soul and destroy your social life.  Restricting food groups.  Cut this, eliminate that.  Low-fat everything.  The struggles that I’ve endured for over 20 years in this have completely destroyed my metabolism for sure.

What I didn’t tell you about that 16 year old lifestyle is that I ate literally nothing to get down to that weight.  I remember I used to take a one cup of salad and maybe some Wasa rye crackers and cheese to school.  That’s what I ate for lunch with maybe a Quaker Chocolate Chip granola bar as a snack.  No dietician would ever stand for that sort of nonsense.  But at that time I never really knew to cook and I didn’t care much about nutrition because I was seeing results (unsustainable and unrealistic).

I’ve gained and lost weight maybe a dozen times in the last 20 years.  Why wasn’t anything working?  Why am I always in the 95% of people who fail even when we follow all the rules?

In the last few years, I started going to the Calgary Weight Management Clinic where health professionals focus on obesity research and providing tools to people to work towards sustainable weight loss.  I would meet with a doctor, psychologist, dietician and athletic therapist for 1.5 years to learn everything I could about how to be healthy.  They taught me that the fitness magazines were all trash and I should never read them again.  No fad diets were ever provided.  No new fitness trends were forced down my throat.  I was provided an opportunity to sit with a support group and understand the struggles women of all ages, income levels, and sizes underwent and for the first time I felt normal.  Each professional sought to teach me what they actually learned from their degree programs and cutting edge research in obesity medicine.  Wow!  As a follower of all instructions to a T, I was their star student.  They discussed my “success” at their team meetings and were all rooting for me!  But I still felt like a failure because I wasn’t dropping the weight fast enough and I was dissatisfied with my diet.  I felt hungry all the time.  I was eating low calorie high density foods, but it still meant I was starving.  This wasn’t a long-term solution for me.

So what the hell?  I knew weight loss was a journey but this was taking literally YEARS.  I was obsessed with nutrition and health.  Honestly I could have opened my own clinic with the amount of articles I read and the professionals I had spoken to.  But I was not looking like a fitness model.  Is it possible I never would?  Everything inside me fought off the advice to lower the calories and exercise harder.

I love food.  I love tasting new things and going out to eat.  Suddenly I decided to listen to myself.  While the experts are important and I should pay attention, I decided I wanted to hear from my body what it wanted while telling it what I wanted to see if we could come up with some sort of arrangement that worked for the two parts of me.  Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Eat whatever I want, as long as most of it is clean and whole food.
  2. Give up low-fat or no-fat food.  It sucks.  Full fat all the way!
  3. Work out as long as my body wants or walk most of the week. Dance. Ski. Yoga. Scuba dive.  Join a recreational sports team with work. I hate routines and I absolutely refuse to get into them as part of my exercise strategy.  Get this: I exercise more because I don’t allow myself to build a routine.  Fucked up?  Sure is!  But it works.
  4. Eat cookies, cake, and chocolate.  The more I allow myself to do this, the less I want to eat any of this.  What a concept!  And if I want to eat cheesecake 5 days a week, that’s my call.  I’ve done it and gotten it out of my system to never touch the stuff for months.
  5. Drink beer and wine and scotch.  Basically, this is a requirement so I don’t go postal!

Last summer, I lost 14 lbs with Nadine Dumas’ coaching over 3 months.  She was very realistic and understanding.  She taught me discipline when it came to food and her no-nonsense approach was something I really needed.  Unfortunately, my social life was a bit compromised because I was tracking my macros and couldn’t just eat whatever I wanted.

Also, what is the deal with results?  You achieve your result of losing 20lbs.  Then what happens?  You quit exercising and dieting and you gain it all back because the maintenance phase sucks almost as much as the losing part did.  It’s a never-ending battle with yourself for success and failure.  When did this cycle of violence against our own bodies become OK?

However, following the above rules I came up with myself, I kept the weight off (and the same dress size) with almost no struggle at all.  I didn’t give up my social life.  I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.

By no means is my strategy a recipe for success for others.  You kinda need to figure this stuff out on your own.  Go see an expert with a bunch of letters after their name when you are ready to make a solid commitment.  Not a GP because they aren’t trained on dealing with weight issues at all and they’ll look at you and check your BMI and tell you everything is wrong with you.  BS!  Go to a dietician, hit up a psychologist to get to the bottom of your emotional eating, or go to a specialist trained with obesity research in mind so they don’t send you down the accursed blind path of generic diet and exercise (which don’t work in my very lengthy experience with the matter).  Everyone and their dog apparently needs to lose weight in our culture.  Do it properly and do not rely on those useless fitness mags or an untrained GP to get your advice.

I follow other rules too that I learned from CWMC:

  1. No eating after 7pm.
  2. Big breakfast, healthy snacks, fibrous homemade lunch, lighter dinner.
  3. Exercising means doing anything physical.  Exercise is not meant for me to lose weight.  It’s meant for me to live long and keep diseases away as long as possible.  Basically, exercise is a prescription that I have written up for myself.  Just making any effort means I am successful and I have to stop beating myself up if I don’t hit the gym.
  4. There’s no such thing as cheating. If I want a pizza, I’ll eat a pizza.  Not the whole thing, just a couple slices to get my craving satisfied.
  5. Counting calories is a waste of time.  Calories are not built the same and calories in do not equal calories out.
  6. Looking like a fitness model is not for me.  I’m ok with that.
  7. I love my curves!  I don’t want to lose them.  Boys and girls think I’m hot!  RAWR!
  8. I don’t drink diet pop, juice, or coffee/tea with sugar.  If I’m going to eat sugar, it had better be in a cake or cookie format.  LOL

Another thing I learned literally in the last couple weeks that I’ve always overlooked about myself is that I put on muscle really fast!  It takes almost no effort to put on muscle.  I’ve always struggled with weight loss, but maybe my body wasn’t meant to lose weight.  It could possibly lose weight as a side effect of gaining more muscle.  Damn!  I’m exploring this idea now of building muscle tone to be able to participate in any physical activities my friends invite me to because my body finally got through to my thick skull when I finally started paying attention.

The idea of losing weight for vanity purposes can go straight to hell!  I just want to live my life as fully as I can but on my own terms.  I can’t believe how much time and energy I wasted on an idea that society told me should be part of my life.

And if you are interested in cutting edge bariatric and obesity research from legit experts in the field who are Canadian, check out Dr. Arya Sharma at the University of Alberta and founder of the Canadian Obesity Network, and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff  at the University of Ottawa. I follow the two of them regularly on social media because they are teaching me there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me and my decades of toying with my metabolism is a surefire recipe for a health disaster.

My takeaway from all this is that I will never diet again unless I have some sort of disease or allergy that doesn’t allow me to eat a certain food.

Let me know if you have found yourself struggling with this weight loss crap in your life.  Tell me your story.  Let me know your successes and “failures”.  I put the word failures in quotes because I don’t believe we fail at anything.  Failure is a state of mind and that’s a state of mind I choose not to accept.