Questioning The Weight Loss “Rules” | Weight Loss Coaching

Questioning The Weight Loss “Rules”

We all have certain beliefs about the “rules” of weight loss. Learn how questioning what you assume to be right and wrong can help you get unstuck and move forward in your weight loss journey.In the world right now there seems to be this intense sense of “right” and “wrong.” It can sound like: “I’m right, this is right, this candidate is right, this policy is right, this belief is right, this behavior is right, and everything else is wrong.” It can feel as if there’s not room for dissent, or even discussion.

When we think in absolutes and we decide we’re right and someone or something is wrong, we close the door on discourse. We shut down curiosity. We turn our back on learning

We see this happen in the world and we see this happen on our weight loss journey. Rightness implies wrongness on the “other side.”


The need to be right

Our strong need to be right usually stems from our fear of being wrong and our desire to control outcomes in order to avoid unpleasant emotions. Right can be synonymous with goodness, justice, and correctness. It appears to be a good, beneficial, and noble thing.

But, I want you to pay attention to how you feel when we’re talking about right and wrong applied to you and your weight loss. 


How does being “right” feel?

When you believe that it’s right to eat salad but you want pizza for lunch instead, how do you feel about you? 

When you believe it’s right to stay away from cookies and then you eat cookies, how do you feel about you? 

When you think it’s right to be a certain weight number or to be “thin,” and you don’t think you are, how do you feel about you?

That feeling is the message. It is the signal telling you whether believing something is right or wrong is helpful and useful to you on your weight loss journey or not. 

You’ve probably heard the saying; “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

You might be thinking that believing foods, actions, or weight numbers are right or wrong is necessary to get you motivated and moving towards your goal. But, the truth is, when you look at how those beliefs make you feel, they are much more likely to have you moving toward the pantry than your goal because they feel terrible. They reinforce weaknesses — and that is a recipe for more eating.


Sneaky “should” statements

We have these beliefs about right or wrong behavior and results that are pretty straightforward. Eating salad is right, counting calories is right, eating bread is wrong. 

We also have some beliefs about right or wrong that show up in the form of “should.” 

Any “should” statement implies the concept of right and wrong as well. “I should be under 200 pounds. I should be able to eat what’s on my plan. I should be able to lose two pounds a week. I should be able to resist chocolate.”

This means that being over 200 pounds is wrong. Eating off your plan is wrong. Losing less than two pounds a week is wrong. Answering your craving for chocolate and eating it is wrong.

How does it feel to think you are doing it wrong? That you, in your current state, are wrong? It feels terrible, right? 


Download the 10-page guide on how to lose weight without all the food rules. You'll train your brain for weight loss instead of constantly jumping from one diet to the next! Plus, the 24 Hour Method to stop feeling so overwhelmed about losing weight.


Entrenched beliefs

You likely have quite a few entrenched beliefs, or background beliefs, as I sometimes call them. They are often things like: “I can’t lose weight, I’m a big girl, losing weight is miserable, food has control over me, weekends are hard, or food is rewarding.”

These are all just things we have heard, picked up along the way, and are choosing to believe are true without question.

We choose to believe these things are true in order to create a framework for our world and make sense of it. We want to know the “rules” so that we can remain acceptable to the tribe. We want to know how to govern ourselves.

So, we piece together a guide based on collected information from outside of us and then we take it in and choose what to believe. 

What we choose to believe dictates our actions. What we choose to believe is what creates who we are and how we show up.


Choose your rules

The key here is that we choose. Ultimately, no matter what the rules are, what is offered to us, we choose to believe what we want. 

We are the deciders as to what is right and wrong to us, and we act based on what we decide.

There are rules about how fast you can drive your car in a given area, but you choose to believe that is true or not, and then you behave accordingly. There was a time where I chose to believe the speed limit was a suggestion and as a result, I spent a year on probation. It’s maybe not the best choice.

There are rules — more suggested than concrete — about what a woman’s body should look like. They vary from culture to culture, group to group, but right now, you probably have in your mind some unspoken idea of what is right and wrong about your body when you look in the mirror.

Based on those “rules” you choose how much you love or despise yourself and how you treat yourself . How different would your weight loss journey be if you asked yourself, “What if something else is true? What if I’m mistaken here?”


Question the rules

Asking “what if” here is, in essence, changing all those periods at the end of your beliefs to question marks. 

“I can’t lose weight? What if something else is true?”

“I should be able to eat what’s on my plan? What if I’m mistaken here?”

“Food has control over me? What if something else is true?”

Can you feel how that opens the door to possibility? You begin to explore the idea that there may be more than one definition of right. You begin to see that there are other options of what you could believe. 

We are not chanting mantras that we don’t believe. We’re not even trying to believe something else. We are simply cracking open the vault of right and wrong to explore the possibility that something else, in fact, exists.

You don’t have to give up your belief. You can still choose to believe you’re right. 

But, having entertained the other options, you then get to hold on to your beliefs because you love them and you want to keep them, not because you’re afraid of not being in control.


Beliefs about weight loss timelines

Take your beliefs about weight loss timelines, for instance. If we believe the “right” thing is that we should be able to lose two pounds a week or that this process should take six months how will that affect our progress?

Here is a “what if” question that I think is helpful in this situation: “What if it were scientifically proven that…”

For example, what if it were scientifically proven that it will take three years to lose the 50 pounds you want to lose? Imagine that we went to a very official, expert doctor who did some groundbreaking new research. He did some magical calculations and he told us that it will take three years to lose 50 pounds and we believed him. 

How differently will you show up at three months or in six months if you knew it was a three-year process rather than a six-month one?

We have no ability to predict the future with 100% certainty, which means that it’s really in our imaginations. We imagine that it will take six months to lose 50 pounds. We decide that is true and then we feel terrible and behind and hopeless as it unfolds differently than that. 

So if we imagine something different about the timeline and we decide that it is true, how differently will we show up for ourselves right now?


Download the 10-page guide on how to lose weight without all the food rules. You'll train your brain for weight loss instead of constantly jumping from one diet to the next! Plus, the 24 Hour Method to stop feeling so overwhelmed about losing weight.


Try on the opposite belief

When I find myself holding onto a belief that isn’t serving me I also like to ask myself: “What if the opposite is true?”

Stretching your brain to come up with ideas of how the opposite of what you are believing is true creates space for some compassion and understanding. I think this is super helpful especially when we are thinking about other people with different or opposite opinions.

Ask yourself: “How is what they believe — that is the opposite of what I believe — true or right in their mind?” That can stretch you to see another person’s point of view.

This can apply to you and your future self. You might have very different beliefs about yourself than your future self will have. Try to think about what she is believing that is opposite of what you are believing. 

What does she believe about herself when she looks in the mirror? What does she believe about her relationship with food? You’ll likely find that it is nearly the opposite of what you are currently believing.

We are always using our imaginations to create our experience. Why not put them to work creating forward motion, new feelings that drive us closer to our goals, and coming up with all the other possibilities? 

Let’s put question marks on the end of all our beliefs about ourselves by asking “what if?” Watch and see how it moves you forward on your weight loss journey.

If you need help working through your thoughts about food rules, download my free 10-page guide to learn my approach in depth.

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Natalie brown certified life and weight loss coach

Meet Natalie

I spent over 2 decades battling my weight and hating my body, before I found a solution that worked FOR GOOD. I lost 50 pounds by changing not just what I eat, but WHY. Now I help other women like me get to the root of the issue and find their own realistic, permanent weight loss success. Change is possible and you can do it. I can help you.

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