I have mentioned this in some of the other parts of this maintenance series but it deserves its own because of the importance of this. Even as somebody who is in industry and coaching others… I still personally struggled here. Again, my backstory… I’ve spent a lifetime dealing with obesity and diet mentality. I have not known a life outside of either until just recently on a personal level. And you can read in the other parts of this series a little bit more in-depth to the ins and outs of what I’ve gone through, but I wholeheartedly believed that once I was done and I got to where I wanted to go, that was it. And I don’t even coach people that way but I have believed it for myself still.
The truth of it is we can never not pay attention. Mindless means mayhem when it comes to weight management.
I mean… Let’s be honest. That’s how most of us got to the point of needing the diet. It wasn’t because we didn’t know a bunch of things. We generally know what to do. We just weren’t really paying attention. We weren’t really trying to work on the implementation of things. We were just going through the motions mindlessly. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a part of life. Sometimes we’re needed in other areas more than anything else but afterwards, we still have to come back here. This will always be someplace that we have to come back to if not find ways to manage better when we can’t pay as much attention.
Over this last year… I have not meticulously tracked every day. I did however in order to get to the body building stage. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t paid attention though. I did. I worked on other things. I paid attention to having a protein on every plate. Each day I sought out two to three fruits or veggies. My water and my activity are just part of who I am now.
Do all of these things happen every single day? Not at all.
Do they happen most days? Most definitely.
After longer bouts where they don’t happen, do I course correct quickly? Sure do!
I know this sounds just as daunting as first walking into a dieting phase when you have to suddenly start to pay attention to a multitude of things, but what we practice is what we maintain and master. And I want to leave this last part of the series with a little bit more because of my passion for mindfulness and mindful eating practices, but also to pass on the things that I had to learn the hard way that could make things easier for the next person. That really is why I am in this business. I took the harder route for a lot of things and I swore that it had to be easier. I was determined to make sure that it was easier for the next person and then even easier for the next person after that. I continuously hone my craft hoping that it saves the very next person a little bit more than it has the last.
My biggest mindfulness takeaways to help with the transition to maintenance are…
- Simply pay attention to what food is going into your grocery cart and entering your home. What you have in the house is creating your food environment.
- Try not to look at food with labels or categories. Break free from the thought processes of diet food and non-diet food… Healthy and junk… Good and bad… This is part of the diet culture that got us to this point. We see these different foods in a black or white ideology but the reality of it is they each provide us different things and they each serve different purposes. And none of those things have to lead us to a point of emotional responses like guilt and shame.
- That leads me to this one… Find ways to cope. Food is tied to so many emotional things because we are emotional beings and it gives us life. We use food to celebrate happy moments. We use food to bring the people we love around a table to break bread. Food is the greatest connector that we have. Where our emotions and their tie to food lead us astray is when it is the only means of coping. Food is not a reward for a job well done. Food is not going to fully & solely comfort us from a loss. Food is not a source of punishment because we didn’t do something that we should have. Look deep into yourself. Find your way to a therapist. Broaden your horizons when it comes to learning how to be in this world as an emotional being.
- Food is not going to not matter when it comes to weight management. There are certain habits that we may have had prior to our dieting phase that tend to creep back in like eating the couple of bites left on your kids’ plates instead of scraping them into the garbage. Those are still calories being consumed. If you want them and you’re still hungry, go ahead! But be intentional about it. Scrape them into your plate. Sit down. Enjoy them. They are bringing calories AKA energy into your body.
- If you ever find yourself slipping, don’t turn a blind eye. It’s not going to be better if you just avoid it. Instead, nudge yourself back into some of the practices that helped you with your dieting phase. Go back to tracking your food so you can audit the amount of food that you’re consuming and readjust your visualization of your portion sizes. Go out for an extra 30-minute walk to increase your activity. Set up a habit tracker for a week or two to ensure that you are still practicing the things that make you feel good instead of getting lost in mindless moments.
I could most definitely keep going here. This really has been such a huge and life-changing passion that I have gone head-first into mindfulness and mindful eating. But truthfully as somebody who has battled with diet mentality and obesity for over 3/4 of my life, mindfulness and mindful eating is the first thing that has ever made sense. If you’re looking for more information, check out my other blogs on mindfulness and mindful eating. Feel free to message me! I really am so appreciative of you getting to this point and coming on this journey with me.
Full Maintenance Series:
- Maintenance Part One: How I Screwed Up
- Maintenance Part Two: Losing the Leanness
- Maintenance Part Three: GAH! THIS IS FOREVER
- Maintenance Part Four: How I wish I would’ve started
- Maintenance Part Five: My pants need to fit!
- Maintenance Part Six: Do I even know what I am doing?
- Maintenance Part Seven: Mindless Means Mayhem