“I’m thinking if we just work on a meal plan, I can snap back to my healthy eating,” a client I’ll call Lisa emailed to me.
We were in the middle of our work together.
I call this the muddle.
It’s a guaranteed pit stop on the way to transformational change: it’s time for new and unfamiliar habits. With unknown outcomes.
Lisa was feeling a mix of emotions that add up to uncertainty and quickly escalates to feeling out of control.
A meal plan looks innocent enough. Yet I know that when my clients want too much structure, they’re feeling out of control.
This triggers something like this tape in her head:
Why am I not further along in my work with Ali?
(change always takes longer than we think).
I trust Ali but I don’t know if I’m ready for this?
(this is often what ready feels like).
I’m back sliding!!!!!
(change isn’t linear).
I invested a lot of money in this, F@#$!
(Yes you did! And I wouldn’t take you on as a client if you didn’t have the chops).
The logic I could have retorted back with wouldn’t have helped. Because we’re all emotionally driven.
Enter your Facebook feed of Isogenix and 21-day fixers who are trying to sell you on their multi-level marketing (MLM) products with before and after pictures.
And if you’re like Lisa and aren’t where you “should be now, for summer,” these plans aren’t just a quick fix. They offer certainty. This feels like relief.
Yet, they stunt the very growth you need to have a lasting truce with food.
I believe MLM sellers genuinely believe they’re helping (and probably wouldn’t read into their offerings what I do). And they can be if you’re new to nutrition.
But for most of us, this isn’t our first nutrition rodeo.
So what you actually need is to transform the very emotions stirred up by the quick fixes! This emotional transformation is the mysterious gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it.
This is a skill set that can be taught. It’s what I teach in Truce with Food. Equally important, it restores confidence in your own power..
As Naomi Wolf said in her book, The Beauty Myth,
I shared with Lisa why, on a deeper level, all those Facebook ads tempted her.
With a bit more coaching, Lisa bravely concluded, “If I don’t work through this, I’ll have this same conversation with myself in six months.”
Lisa chose to bet on her greatness. She chose her ability to be with the quick fix temptation and choose a different path.
Two weeks later, sans a meal plan, Lisa is back to healthy eating. What shifted?
She’s working on creating more space in her schedule as her new habit. She discovered from earlier in our work that when she has breathing room in her day she can better handle the emotions of life.
If you’re in a place where you can’t stomach any more extremes, I challenge you to a weight loss media detox in April. See what you discover about your own power.
P.S. The summary? Meal plans and quick fixes offer certainty when you’re feeling vulnerable about your weight. But these vulnerable emotions are what you need to transform to bridge the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it! Commit to a weight loss media detox in April and build a healthy mindset to remember your power.