For generations, women have had dieting pushed on them. As a mass group we have long accepted that the way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. Fantastic logic and far be it for me to argue, but the problem lies in the putting it into play in our lives. I have spent the majority of my life researching weight loss and made it my life’s mission to figure out why some dieters make significant life changes leading to a healthier weight and yet others (the majority) simply spin in attempt after attempt—never losing it for long and struggling with self esteem and hope. I belong to this last group—I doubt I am alone.
I joke that I started a new diet every morning for over 20 years which is 7,300 daily attempts to stick to a diet, and with only one fleeting success in my 20’s. Until one day I woke up and just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t put myself through that torture of promising myself I would stick to a diet and then stuffing my face by that evening. The mental toll on my self esteem was too much. So I quit dieting cold turkey and went searching for an answer to the question ‘How do I achieve my natural weight without struggle and restriction?’ Enter weight coaching.
Now, as a ‘lifer dieter’, I had tried every single diet known to mankind that promised me the solution to my supposed problem; but when I discovered weight coaching, I realized I had been trying to solve a problem with the wrong tools—or at least with half a tool set.
Traditional dieting is right in the sense that you need to take in less food (usually) and move more to burn some calories—but that’s where their story ends. It’s like ‘Do this and if you can’t do it you are weak and have no willpower.’ So we get all excited—pay money for the book or program and by day two are digging our nails into our skin to stop from eating a box of cookies. Weight coaching enters the picture to answer why you can’t stick to the diet without struggle and pain, and with that information the changes needed to your diet are within your reach. You see, the brain is a funny little character and once you understand a few truths about your wonderful mind and how it works, change becomes so much easier.
I want to give you relief right now so I am going to share with you one of my favorite tools I use with my clients. When I discovered it—it totally changed my life: it is the Tasting Food Worksheet (what a concept.)
This is best done with a food you avoid keeping in your house because you know you will want to eat it all. This worksheet is designed to take the ‘charge’ away from food and help you come to peace with all food and hopefully stop seeing food as having power over you. Sound good?
Let’s get started.
How to Really Taste Food
Find a time you can do this alone with no TV, radio or phone to distract. Get a piece of paper and a pen.
- Sit down with more than a serving of the food you are tasting
- Look at the food for about 30 seconds.
- Then smell the food for a few seconds.
Answer the following questions on paper.
- How hungry are you right now on a scale of: -10 starving to +10 extremely full?
- How much of the food do you honestly want to eat?
- Write down two words to describe what it looks like and two words that describe what is smells like.
- Take your first bite.
- Write down what the texture is like, what it tastes like, what the after-taste of the bite is like and what it feels like to chew it. (You must write it down.)
- Take another bite.
- Does this one taste as good or better than the first bite? (Write down your answer.)
- Repeat steps 5 – 7 (Keep repeating steps 5 – 7 until you no longer want to eat anymore or you are finished.)
What did you discover? Did you find that yes, you really enjoy that food? Or did you discover that yes, you enjoyed a couple of bites but then it wasn’t as enjoyable? Did you eat as much as you wanted to at the beginning? This is not right or wrong—just great information for our brains to file away.
Weight coaching is learning to eat with awareness and is a huge shift in how to think about weight loss and dieting. Releasing the drama and stress of weight loss and replacing it with curiousity, kindness and understanding is the key to achieving long term weight loss.
Kathie Marshall is a Certified Weight Loss and Exercise Coach that has worked with hundreds of women to help them release all their excess weight. Kathie writes a popular blog about her own weight loss adventure and lives in Langley BC with her husband and daughter.