When you learned your trade or went to college, did you expect to know everything after a few lessons or a few months? Both involve practice and maybe even apprenticeships or internships. Changing your brain or body only happens over time with practice. Why, then, would you expect to begin your journey with “normal” eating and immediately lose weight? Can you say unrealistic expectation?
Mind you, I’m not promoting weight-loss here and my fervent wish is that dysregulated eaters put their energy and focus on following the rules of “normal” eating, changing irrational beliefs about food, eating and appearance, learning life skills, and resolving any issues that prevent them from being comfortable with themselves and in their bodies. However, I recognize that many of you would like to lose weight for any number of healthy and unhealthy reasons.
Toward that end, for those of you who have healthy reasons for wishing to shed pounds—such as getting around more comfortably—please (for the umpteenth time) think about weight-loss as the end of a long process. It is likely, but in no way certain, that you’ll shed pounds if you eat “normally” and exercise or stay physically active on a regular basis. Many people do. Even if you don’t, think of it this way: you’re eating more healthfully, taking better care of your mind/body, have improved your life skills, and have increased your self-esteem. All this happens even if you don’t drop a pound.
Many clients complain that they’re eating “normally” and staying active, but when I ask if they’re doing both consistently, they usually answer no. They’re doing these things sometimes, on and off, kinda sorta, when they remember, etc. Have you ever learned anything new or changed a habit through a slapdash, start-and-stop process? I doubt it. At the vey least, you need to do the new behavior far more often than the old one to succeed. The reason that many people fail to become “normal” eaters is not because they’re failures, but because they’re not eating by the rules often enough. And they’re not yet fit because they’re not exercising regularly. Both come with time and practice.
The body takes time to adjust to improved eating and activity habits. It needs to re-regulate. This is not going to happen in a few days or a few weeks, so don’t even begin to contemplate weight loss (if you must contemplate it all, which I do not recommend), until you’ve been doing “normal” eating and keeping your body moving regularly and consistently for at least six months. Yes, six months. Not two weeks from now for a wedding or a cruise, but half a year from now—for a lifetime.