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How to celebrate your progress

Custom Made Stained Glass - Suncatchers

It’s easy to get discouraged when your goal feels too far away. And that’s why it’s so important to celebrate your incremental progress.

In our year-long Weighless program, we throw a little virtual confetti every time our members hit milestones such as losing 5, 10, or 15% of their starting weight.  And one of our members recently came up with a fantastic idea for taking this a step further. 

When she reached her 5% milestone, she bought a beautiful sun-catcher and hung it in the large window of her master bath. When she reached 7.5%, she bought another smaller one and added it to the window.  She’s already got her eye on a larger one for when she reaches 10%.  And the other night, in our group meeting, she told us: 

“My plan, when I reach my goal, is to have one custom-made, maybe with a bright red cardinal, for the very center. It’s going to be a while, but I figure I’m not going anywhere, so I’ll just enjoy the periodic additions to my collection.”

How brilliant is this?

Every morning, when she steps into her bathroom to get ready for her day, she is greeted by this heart-lifting display, signifying what she’s accomplished and reminding her of her goals for the future. An ongoing, tangible celebration of her decision to be someone who weighs less. 

I want you to steal this idea!

Step 1: Think of something that would bring you genuine pleasure–ideally something that you could enjoy in an ongoing way.
Step 2: Set an incremental goal.
Step 3: Post a comment below and tell us what your goal is and how you plan to celebrate.
Step 4: When you reach that milestone, reward yourself!  (And send us a picture!)

Are you coping too well?

A lot of us use food as a coping mechanism. 

We’re eating to cope with stress, fatigue, boredom, anxiety, anger, grief…did I mention stress?

This might be OK — after all, coping is good, right? Except that all that “coping” is leading to unwanted  consequences. We gain weight or we can’t lose weight…and that is creating stress, fatigue, anxiety, anger, grief. 

Maybe we actually need to do less coping. 

If you stopped using food to “cope,” maybe you’d be compelled to make changes that made your life less stressful, boring, or exhausting. 

And maybe that’s the difference between coping and self-care.

So, here’s a question to consider: Is self-medicating with food allowing you to tolerate things that maybe you shouldn’t be tolerating?

What about your life might you be moved to change if you stopped “coping”?

What to focus on first

Now that our newest members are well underway on their year-long journey to weighing less, Brock and I have been thinking hard about how we can help EVERYONE in our community create a healthier body and life.

And I’m excited to tell you about a new tool that we’ve created: something we think you’ll find super useful

It’s designed to give you clarity and laser-focus on your next action steps. The steps that will move most quickly toward your goal. Because overwhelm generally leads to inaction.

Check it out here.

What’s your weakest link?

Like any complex task, maintaining a healthy body weight requires an assortment of skills. But here’s the thing: You’re probably a lot better at some than others.

We’ve put together a quiz (actually, a scientifically-validated assessment) that evaluates your current abilities in 6 different skill sets associated with maintaining a healthy body weight.

You can use this information to zero in on strategies that will strengthen your weakest links. (We’ve also provided some of those strategies.)

Take the quiz and get your personalized action plan here.

For added accountability and support, click the link at the end of your results to let us know what you’ll be working on!

What our members lost this year

In a few weeks, we’ll be saying farewell to another group of Weighless graduates. These are the folks, remember, who began their year-long Weighless journey just as the world entered a global pandemic shutdown. 

Some of them were front-line workers: health care professionals, teachers, essential service providers..  Some lost their jobs. Some had their adult children move back home. Some got — and recovered from — Covid. 

Suffice it to say, the year was not without its challenges.  And yet they persisted. Many, in fact, expressed how grateful they were to have a structure and support that helped them rise to those challenges without sacrificing their goals or self-care.

And speaking of goals, 64% of those who finished the program lost more than 5% of their starting body weight. (25% lost more than 10% of their starting body weight!)

And that wasn’t all that was lost. They also lost bad habits, negative self-talk, and a host of other unhelpful thoughts and behaviors.

If you’ve ever wondered if you have what it takes to become someone who weighs less, I hope you’ll take their triumph as inspiration. None of them were any stronger, or smarter, or less stressed or busy than you. They just showed up and did the work. And look what they have to show for it!  (What might you have to show for it a year from now if you made the same leap?)

What you can do right now

I’ll let you in on a secret: The trick to talking me into a big project (like writing a book or hosting a conference or chairing a committee) is to ask me a year ahead of time.  Because although I always feel waaayyy too busy in the present, I somehow always believe that I’ll be less busy in the future.  

Do you share this delusional thinking?

I think that’s why so many people put off taking action on their health or weight. We tell ourselves that once this work project/tax season/kitchen renovation/pandemic is out of the way, we’ll have the bandwidth to focus on building a healthier lifestyle. 

But of course, our lives never really get less busy. A new project or challenge will come along as soon as this one is in the books. Meanwhile, the costs of not taking care of ourselves accumulate and compound.

And the truth is that we don’t really need to spend more time on the problem in order to solve it. We just need to spend the time we’re ALREADY SPENDING on it more productively.

Instead of complaining about all the things standing in our way, we can move just one of them out of the way.

Instead of endlessly researching our next step, we can take imperfect action right now.  

Instead of talking about how discouraged we are about our lack of progress, we can identify one small action that will move us in the right direction. (You’d be amazed at how quickly THOSE things start to accumulate and compound.)

Think of a goal or objective that you’ve been putting off, waiting for a “better time.”  There really is no better time than today. What small step can you take before this day is over?

When the people who should have your back don’t

One of the key strategies in the Weighless approach is to engineer an environment that supports the changes we are trying to make.  Trying to eat less junk food? Stop bringing it into the house! Want to be more consistent about movement?  Bring a yoga mat and some hand weights into the TV room and turn streaming time into strengthening time. Trying to avoid going back for seconds?  Put the excess food away before sitting down to eat.

(In the year-long Weighless program, we devote whole weeks to hacking our habitats!)

But what if the person you live with isn’t on board with the changes you’re trying to make? What then?

This is a very challenging — and very common — situation.

Keep in mind that when people close to you are unsupportive of your efforts, it’s probably more about them than you. The new habits you’re trying to build may make it harder for them to justify their own unhealthy choices. 

Sometimes, you can negotiate some compromises.  Sometimes, you just have to use the challenge as an opportunity to strengthen your own resolve and skills. And having a supportive community can definitely help. 

I have some additional ideas in this video. If this is a situation you’re struggling with, I encourage you to watch it. (It’s about 7 minutes long.) 

I know what to do. Why don’t I do it?

When I was first practicing as a nutritionist, I worked with a lot of people who had health problems related to diet. They were overweight. They had high blood sugar or high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

They (or their doctors) believed that they just needed someone to tell them what to eat and what not to eat. But as I quickly learned, the problem for most people is not that they don’t know what to do.

They know what to do. They just don’t know how to get themselves to do it.

They know that after dinner snacking is resulting in unwanted pounds. They just don’t know how to break the habit.

They know that they are eating a lot more sugar than is good for their bodies. They just don’t know how to stop.

They know that prepping healthy snacks or getting more exercise would be healthier. They just can’t seem to be consistent.

Now, not knowing how to do something is nothing to be ashamed of. But so often, even when people go looking for help, they tend to look in the wrong places. They look for something that will provide motivation or accountability. They look for someone with a new and different solution. They look for someone who will tell them what to do–only louder.

But none of this answers the real question: How do I change my behavior?

And this is the question that the year-long Weighless program is designed to answer.

Of course, as nutrition and fitness professionals, Brock and I have created a program that will help you figure out what eating and movement patterns work best for you. But much of the weekly curriculum and group coaching is devoted to helping people understand why they do the things they do and how to change the things they want to change.

Enrollment for the year-long Weighless program is currently closed. But you can get a jump-start on our approach to behavior change by tuning into our Change Academy podcast. And if you are thinking about joining the cohort that will begin in the Spring, be sure you’re on our mailing list.

New Year’s Intentions

It’s a new year–and a time when many of us like to set intentions for things we’d like to do or achieve in the coming year

But for members and alumni of the year-long Weighless program, this process feels a lot different than it used to. The reflections they’ve been posting this week in the member’s forum have been so inspiring to me–I  have to share some of them with you, too: 

“I have not had a New Year’s resolution related to weight since I joined. I’m still working on the healthiest me I can be, but there’s no big change to dread. Just keep on moving forward.”

“What a mindset change this program is! While I still have health related “goals”, they’re more like things I want to explore and additional habits I’d like to experiment with. So the goals end up being more like mindset shifts and habit changes rather than simply hitting a number on the scale by any means possible.”

“I realize looking back just how much I have changed! My outlook on health, eating, and activity is VERY different it was 2 years ago. and for the better.”

“I liked starting the new year with things already going for me and knowing that I will keep adding as time goes on. I also know that small changes that build upon things that are already in place have the chance to be permanent.”

“I was able to take on a 30-day yoga challenge and aspire to reading one book a month in 2021–because I don’t really need any new tools for weighing less.  I already know them and know I can lean in a bit more when I feel like I’m not making progress. It’s more of a habit than a resolution.”

I particularly love that last one, because it underscores how much energy we can free up for other things when we stop focusing on losing weight and start learning how to weigh less.

If your goal for 2021 is to lose weight, it’s not too late to convert that into a goal of becoming someone who weighs less. We’re here to help.