non-weight based motivation

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    • #12637

      Hi Gillian et al,

      This is my second time engaging with this course material and my first forum post.

      I wanted to share that the first time I followed the course back in May/June I learned that weight loss is really a side effect of changing my thoughts about choice, motivations and desire etc. Finding non-weight based motivations was hard for me. But despite this, I began to eat differently, finding it easier to choose healthy things and say no to unhealthy foods, without a sense of denial. However, I checked my weight regularly – hoping to see “results”. I started to lose weight. I was pleased. And guess what…. Almost instantly I started overeating again! Probably because I returned to feeling a sense of deprivation, and also fear about not being able to maintain this loss. My motivation was, below the surface, still weight based.

      I had a break from the course for a few months. But, over Xmas I overate a lot and spent a good amount of time feeling bloated, lacking in energy and feeling bad about my lack of control and my dependency on food. I realised that whatever my weight, I no longer want to feel these things. Thus my non-weight motivation has strengthened to the point where I am not weighing myself at all and I’m tempted to throw my scales away. Again I am finding that I am eating differently (through choice hopefully, and not compliance!) When thoughts about possible weight loss or gain start to enter my mind, I direct my thinking to how energetic I’m feeling, or how pleased that I’m not bloated, or how fantastic that I am choosing to eat things that align with my values (healthy). I suspect that I may have shed a pound or two. However, this is no longer my focus. I really do feel better for eating better food. I realise how destructive the weight based mindset is for me…. and also so pervasive – constantly lurking below the surface! I also realise that as much as I yearn for it, there is a part of me that really fears weight loss too!

      So I am hoping that this time, what I am doing will be more sustainable in the long term.

      I loved the advice to take baby steps – choose one thing to change at a time. I am spending time observing my different over-eating habits (eg – must always have seconds at dinner, it’s ok to overeat if it’s something “healthy”) and choose one habit to continue to work on at a time.

      I also really loved the advice to not completely stop overeating. To eat less, imperfectly. This seems to take the pressure off! So even if I do eat more than I anticipate, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just something that happened (I realise that I actually enjoy overeating sometimes – so to not feel guilt about it.)… tomorrow is another day.

      I hope this post is useful to others. It really does take time to reprogram the brain, with all it’s absorbed beliefs about food, weight, body shape etc.

      I’d be interested to hear about other people’s experiences.

    • #12640

      Hi Annabelle,

      Your post came at exactly the right time for me, as I’ve just been thinking about how very hard I find it to have non-weight motivation! So… thank you very much indeed for posting it!

      I notice that weight-loss motivation is still there for me, even though I’ve tried to take on board Gillian’s wise words that it really isn’t as effective as non-weight motivation. So it was super-helpful to read what happened to you, and that regular weight checks turned out not to be a motivator after all. And it’s inspiring to notice what has been effective for you. I must admit I can’t bring myself to throw the scales away just yet, but… as you say, the whole idea of baby steps is helpful and realistic, so… work in progress!

    • #12641
      Sophia G.

      Hi Annabelle,

      Thanks so much for posting this. I found it really useful. You said so many useful things, in a nutshell, that I find really helpful. Several different things, like when you said that you realised that no matter what your weight, you no longer wanted to feel bloated and all the other drawbacks. It really pointed out in a way that gets through, from your own experience, that actual weight is in reality irrelevant, that other things are more important no matter how much we get carried away by our size sometimes. Thanks for saying about baby steps, or small steps. I need to remember when things get hard, one step at a time, rather than immediately getting worried. As you point out, it takes time to reprogram our brains.

      And so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

    • #12642

      What a great thread, and thanks to Annabelle for starting it.

      There’s no way I would continue to teach this theory of weight vs non-weight motivation if I didn’t get this kind of feedback confirming what a huge difference it makes.

      It’s a shift in priorities and absolutely to be expected that weight-loss is still “lurking beneath the surface” as Annabelle puts it.

    • #12643

      Hi Annabelle, Caroline, Gillian, Sophia

      This rang so true for me too – on my second run at the course, I paid a lot more attention to non-weight motivation, which previously I had kind of seen as less important than choice and working through desire. That has made all the difference, and now 18 months or so down the line, I have lost weight and that has not led me to start overeating again, as it would have in the past. So yes, I would say just as crucial and worth spending time very actively on non-weight motivation.

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Louise.
    • #12645

      Caroline and Sophia – Happy to share my experience – so glad it helped things to drop into place – it felt good when I got that understanding myself.

      It’s still early days for me…. this latest phase is only a matter of weeks. I hope it lasts! I’m a bit concerned it may not – so, Louise – good to hear from you – finding success 18 months down the line! This is reassuring.

      Gillian – yes, a shift in priorities. It doesn’t mean I won’t lose weight, but as it is not my focus, I am on less of an emotional roller coaster around food which has so many benefits in itself!

    • #12701

      Fantastic post Annabelle. I could have written the beginning part myself. Like you I started in May/June but over Christmas put on weight. I felt awful physically – bloated, high inflammation, tired, depressed etc etc. It panicked me to get back in my cell and start to restrict and deprive myself. But within days of being in the cell I broke out. I realised through constant revision of the course and reading Gillian’s book I do have a choice. I have strengthened my non-weight motivation too through my overeating at Christmas. I don’t like feeling sinusy and low energy and all the indigestion. I still feel I have a long way to go but I also feel I have come a long way. I’m not quite there with the scales but I feel it is the next step because for me I’m keeping my cell door open and I need to shut it for good. So glad you posted this, it helps me to know how others are doing.

    • #12715

      Hi Mo, Glad you found it useful. I’m also finding that even if I do slip off the wagon and end up back in the cell, it is far easier to move back into healthy eating. A lot less guilt I guess and far less significance made of it. I’m interested to see how this continues to unfold. I also find it useful to keep reviewing the materials. I absorb more each time!

      • #12720

        I agree Annabelle, I’m finding it easier to move back into healthier eating. I think the guilt is diminishing but not quite there yet.

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