Lost & Found

Been There, Done That

As someone who has been on both sides of the spectrum: in stellar shape and then, somehow, actually terrified by my own reflection in the mirror, I’ve come to an empowering conclusion: semantics matter when you’re looking to manifest change in your life – especially when it comes to weight.

There are countless books on dieting (many of them not worth counting! – but that’s not the focus here. The focus here is something I didn’t realize until recently: there is a key word perpetuated via advertising, media, and marketing – as well as health care practitioners, parents, and, tactless (or caring :) ) friends, that has played a major part in tripping all of us up. Actually, there are two.

The first word is “dieting.” I don’t use this word, because it has become a marketing ploy, misused, and diluted in its effectiveness. Most people hear the word as “die-at”ing, and instantly begin to fret about not only how much deprivation is in store for them, but also about how much the sheer arduous nature of this ginormous chore will kill them. In reality, aren’t we simply following a new nutritional plan? Doesn’t that sound far more grown-up, responsible, and beneficial? Well, a whole food plant-based nutritional practice sure is – on many: physical, emotional, spiritual, economic, and environmental levels.

While a handful of books propose solutions that work on their own merit, we are still perpetuating a negative cycle of sadness and disappointment with a word we carelessly toss around – especially in the English language. Since our thoughts become things, and we want to make our thoughts good ones so that our lives are full of good coming to and flowing from us, this word is, ultimately, of no good use to us.

The Deviant & Deceptive Word

What is this deviant and deceptive word that has played a major part in tripping all of us up, in all its clever forms?

Lose. When we lose something, we become at a loss. Losing means having less; being without. Aren’t we supposed to have more? When something is lost, we automatically seek to get it back or find something to replace it. Why would we want to get back excess body weight (fat) that we’ve arduously deprived ourselves in order to lose? Won’t we just want to lose it again? Once we’ve lost it, won’t we naturally assume that we then need to either find it again or find something to replace it? Crazy, right?

Why not simply get rid of it? Then we don’t need to feel or belief that we’ve lost anything. We didn’t need it in the first place, why would we want it to return.

Consider how we think and speak, as well. If we change our verbiage from “diet” and “lose” to “nutritional plan” and “getting rid of,” with regard to how we nourish our bodies and in reference to unwanted and excess fat, we’re putting ourselves on the path to attaining a healthful goal. Better still, we can visualize and focus on the body we want to manifest, while making it a point to switch out “foods” that work against us with foods that enable our body and mind to function optimally.

This ties in nicely with…

Making Better Choices

While completing my Masters at RIT, I found myself sitting in front of a computer 18-24 hours/day, eating what was convenient and comforting, nodding off occasionally in class due to exhaustion, etc. – grad life :). One day, I actually looked in the mirror and recoiled; WTF! So, I threw on some walking clothes and hit the pavement to do some thinking – I do a lot of thinking when I walk and the more I’m into what I’m thinking about the faster I walk, so it’s a win-win. During that walk I asked myself, “What did I do before I moved to Rochester, NY from Burbank, CA that had me lean, toned, active, and doing a Victoria’s Secret black bikini justice 18 years prior?

  1. I was moving more – I was perpetually vs. strenuously active, and didn’t sit down to work, but rather met people at a variety of venues; and
  2. I rarely, if ever, ate addictive foods.

I didn’t crave food back then. I just ate it, and what didn’t get eaten at my many meal-based meetings (business and casual), I had packaged up and gave to the first person in need I encountered on my way home. I ate when I was physically hungry, and only until I was comfortably full. Food wasn’t comfort; it was nourishment.

The first thing I did, was cut out ALL addictive foods. Yep. I got rid of them. You see, my research for my thesis, “Girls Living Healthy” was teaching me so much about what really goes into processed foods and foods made with animal products that I truly wanted to get rid of them – not lose them. They provided no benefit to me on any level.

Remember, I was sitting, daily, in front of a computer, completing homework and, researching and writing my thesis. Yet, by getting rid of ALL addictive foods – alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, meats and dairy, processed “foods” (white flour, pre-made boxed/frozen meals), sugar, I got rid of 23 excess pounds in 3 weeks. No way you say? Way!

These addictive foods were causing excess inflammation (water retention) and poorly functioning body processes that caused me poor sleep, soreness, and excess fat storage. And, yes, these three issues – sleep, soreness, and fat – were also exacerbated by sitting at a computer as long as I did in big chunks of time without breaks, as well as contributed to one another (poor sleep tends to add fat, excess fat puts excess demands on joints making them sore, etc.). However, when I became conscious of what needed to be changed and got rid of the primary culprits preventing the change I desired, I soon found myself rid of a substantial amount of excess weight and discomfort, and sleeping better.

Of course, that was just the beginning, and there is more to creating healthier nutritional and life habits. Still, it facilitated a jumpstart and motivated me to change my nutritional plan, and my lifestyle permanently. Check out Why We Are Vegan’s article series about Food Addiction.

So, the next time you want to make significant changes in your nutrition, lifestyle, or anything else impacting your life in a less than favorable way, consider getting rid of what you truly don’t want – what doesn’t benefit you, rather than “losing” it. After all, if you do not want it now, you probably don’t want it later.

Self Talk: Talking To and About You

Because loving and taking care of yourself is key to your thriving on this planet, consider changing the words you use – written, spoken or thought – with regard to the end results you desire. While you’re getting rid of what is no longer desired, affirm and speak empowered, to yourself and aloud, when sharing your goals with others. “I am reclaiming my body” (or your life or your career or, or, or…). “I am becoming the person I dream of being.” “I am enough.”

The words we speak to others – as well as ourselves – come from our beliefs that lead to the thoughts expressed through them. Believe in yourself. You ARE enough. Speak kindly and encouragingly of and to yourself and others. The benefits will be many, including – but definitely not limited to – helping you get rid of unwanted weight in all areas of your life.