Here’s the secret Experts’ advice nobody is giving you:
“You are what you eat”: you’ve heard this saying before right? We hear variations on this topic all the time in the mainstream media, from friends, family members and even professionals in the field. We are constantly told that the only way to lose weight is to change or restrict what is on our plate and find ways to burn more calories than we take in. This, we are told, is the most fundamental premise for weight loss and one that is grounded in scientific evidence so therefore can’t be escaped. If the truth was this simple, however, if it was only a matter of basic math, counting calories in versus calories out and adjusting accordingly, why is it that even the smartest and most successful of individuals out there, those who know more than just basic math, even individuals who have accomplished so much and overcome huge challenges, find it so hard to accomplish this feat?
I know why. Not because I’m particularly smart, quite the opposite. I’m simply fortunate to have been put in a position where I had to make this discovery for my own sake. For the sake of my own health and wellbeing. I then also had the pleasure of witnessing its profound implications on the health and wellbeing of over 500 professionals we have had the pleasure to work within our 20+ years of combined experience across 5 countries. And yes, the secret I’m about to share applies, to every single one of our shifters past, present (and future, I’m sure); although it manifests itself in a unique way for all of them.
The truth is that the secret solution to all your food-related and therefore weight-related challenges and difficulties can NOT be found on your plate. I know right, how controversial a statement is that, for a nutrition coach to make?! Confusing even! Why do I even bother with sharing all those tips and information around healthy eating, you may wonder? How can this be true, when we’re continuously told that “we are what we eat” and, as I myself have said before, you cannot outrun a bad diet? Let me clarify then: I’m not saying that what you eat is irrelevant and you should pay no attention to it. All I’m saying is that it is NOT the most important thing to pay attention to and shouldn’t be your starting point when wanting to lose weight or simply get healthier. I repeat, it should NOT be the thing you pay most attention to or the starting point of your efforts towards improved wellbeing.
This is because the secret to achieving permanent results is NOT to be found on your plate. It is, instead, to be found in your head. It revolves around what I call the “psychology of eating” or, as we define it in our proven methodology, the Focus pillar. I can “see“ you rolling your eyes, but please hear me out: I’m not going to go too emotional or metaphysical on you. I simply invite you to consider that what you may need to investigate first and foremost is not so much WHAT you eat but instead WHY you eat it and HOW you eat it.
Here’s one thing I have discovered in my personal and professional experience: we are ALL emotional- eaters and there is NO getting away from this. If you’re a human being, then rest assured that your emotions are playing a major role in your eating habits, whether you are aware of it or (most likely) not.
Emotional eating is not something only women experience during a breakup or at “that time of the month”. And It doesn’t only manifest itself with chocolate cravings or ice cream eating in front of a sad movie. Those are only some of the ways in which our emotions affect our eating choices but there are SO many more and I can assure you: you have your own! We all do. All humans. This is the reason why we are the only mammals on the planet who struggle with overweight and obesity. I mean, have you ever seen any other animal eat past their physiological needs and gain extra weight (other than the poor domesticated animals WE feed?!). Our emotional makeup is way more intricate than that of any other species on this planet: this is what makes us so special but can also often become a double-edged sword. Our emotions, feelings, memories from the past, beliefs about the present and the future condition our behavior in ways that we are often unaware of. This, of course, includes our eating.
Whether you need wine and cheese to treat yourself after a long day, or can’t resist a warm croissant on a Sunday morning. Whether you simply can’t help a sweet snack around 4 pm or have to clean your plate at every single meal past the point of fullness. Whether you lose your appetite when you’re stressed or head straight for a few pints and a kebab. However, this may show up in your life, let’s just call it what it is: emotional eating (and drinking). Yes gentlemen, you also do it! It’s not just one for the ladies. If you have emotions, they’re bound to affect your eating habits in one way or another. There is NO getting away from this (other than becoming emotion-less, which as masculine as it may sound, it is probably still not recommended).
This doesn’t mean that we should all go ahead and make an appointment with a psychologist although I see absolutely nothing wrong with that at all; it does, however, mean that, when starting on the journey towards weight-loss, improved health, better fitness or for some people even weight gain, we should always start by exploring and training the Focus pillar before we even start taking a look at what is on our plate. Or at least at the same time as we do improve what’s on our plate. Because both areas are worthy of attention but for as long as you neglect the Focus pillar, for as long as you remain unaware of how your feelings, emotions, memories, and beliefs condition your eating patters, it won’t matter what changes you make to the food on your plate.
You could work with the greatest professionals who give you the most bespoke, scientifically sound and ideal nutrition plan and you will find your own, unique and special way to mess it up. You will either stick with it with sheer determination and will power until you lose the weight, only to put it ALL back in less than half the time it took you to lose it, or you will self-sabotage from the get-go and give up before you can even see the finish line because you were feeling too deprived; or you will live on the painful rollercoaster of diet-on, diet-off, swinging from one extreme to the next without ever finding balance…You get the idea.
All those instances which look like examples of “Food problems” are actually, at the very root level, Focus problems. In fact, as I always say to our shifters, 99% of your Food problems are Focus problems: They’re symptoms of the fact that you’re simply not spending enough time exploring your very own Focus around Food and creating strategies that allow you to transform your mindset at its core. You’re only asking yourself “What should I eat” instead of also asking “why do I eat what I eat? how do I eat? etc”.
The more time, effort and energy you spend re-training your Focus, the easier you will find changing the food on your plate and effortlessly sticking to your new, healthier habits. Weight-loss will then become a by-product of these efforts and will, therefore, be yours for life. Because you didn’t simply change what you eat. You transformed who you are and once that happens, let me tell you, there is simply NO going back to the way things were. #maketheshift