Archive for the tag - weight loss

Weight Loss Vs. Fat Loss.

Dear Davey,

I’ve been reading your fitness blog for a few years now, and I’ve noticed that you don’t use the terms “weight loss” and “fat loss” interchangeably. Why not? What’s the difference?

From,
Austin

Hey Austin,

Todd-McCullough-Bro-Yoga-Shirtless-Red-Bathing-Suit-05132014-01Thanks for being a loyal reader – and for such a great question.

Weight loss and fat loss mean very different things. Weight loss is a reduction in body weight. It’s the result of decreased energy intake and/or increased energy expenditure. That is, fewer calories come in than go out. But it’s worth noting that the weight can be pretty much anything. If you lose body fat, you’ve lost weight. But if you lose muscle or body fluids, you’ve also lost weight. Every time you pee, you lose weight. Someone could chop off your arm and you’d lose weight.

While weight loss is very general, fat loss is very specific. And when people typically talk about weight loss, they really mean fat loss. Fat loss, by definition, is a reduction in body fat. This is a much wiser and worthwhile goal than just losing weight; after all, who wants to give up their hard-earned muscle mass?

When you create a calorie deficit by decreasing calories going into your body and increasing the calories going out of your body, you’ll definitely lose weight. It’s science. But to ensure that you’re losing primarily body fat and not muscle, it’s important to continue with a challenging strength training program. By engaging in a strength training program (lifting weights, doing push-ups, etc.), you signal to your body that it still needs muscle. As a result, less muscle and more fat will be lost.

Not only will that extra muscle keep you strong and look good, but it also helps keep your metabolism up. Muscle takes a lot of energy to maintain; by keeping muscle mass on your body, you’ll actually be helping your fat loss goals.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re looking to shed excess fat, download Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program and get started today!

Whey Protein BEFORE Working Out Burns Fat?

Dear Davey,

A friend of mine mentioned that eating protein before you workout is a smart idea because it burns more fat. Is there really any truth to this?

From,
Sean

Bryce Thompson by Rick Day 16Hey Sean,

Your friend is likely referring to an often-cited Michigan State University study that was published in 2009.

When we talk about protein, it’s often about the role it plays in muscle growth – and the emphasis is often on post-workout protein consumption. For example, we know that consuming whey protein after a heavy strength training workout can help improve results.

But for the aforementioned study, researchers examined the role of pre-workout protein consumption on something called resting energy expenditure (REE). REE is the amount of energy, usually expressed in food calories, required for a 24-hour period by the body during resting conditions. For many of us, this measure is especially important because it can account for 60% – 75% of your total energy expenditure. If you increase REE, you burn more total calories – and, in theory, store fewer calories as fat.

In Michigan State’s study, experienced lifters were given either a whey protein supplement or carbohydrate supplement 20 minutes before working out. After 24 and 48 hours, REE was measured and compared to the baseline. While both supplements increased REE 24 and 48 hours after the strength training session, the whey protein supplement resulted in a much higher REE at the 24-hour mark compared to either the carbohydrate supplement or the baseline.

Keep in mind, increasing REE isn’t the same as burning fat. To make a very long story short, weight loss is achieved when you consume fewer calories than you burn. REE increases calories out, but that’s only one side of the equation. And weight loss isn’t the same as fat loss. What we call weight loss is really a combination of fat and muscle loss; to minimize muscle loss, continue with a challenging strength training program.

In other words, it’s a bit more complicated than your friend implied. But there is truth to his statement. If you want to incorporate the findings of this study, consume whey protein before working out. Keep in mind, post-workout whey protein and carbohydrates are also recommended for maximized results.

Love,
Davey

P.S. For everything you need to know about losing weight, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program and get started today!

Exit The Weight Loss Pity Party.

pity-partyToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella.

“I look so fat in this dress!”
“It’s so hard to lose weight.”
“I’m a hopeless case.” 


Sound familiar?

While we all need to vent our feelings, staying stuck in negativity isn’t venting at all. Rather than releasing emotions, it stirs up your frustration and poisons your mind and body. Your weight-loss journey becomes harder than it needs to be when you weigh yourself down with pessimism and join in negative conversations with friends. But when you make the decision to end the complaining, your journey—and your body—become lighter.

See For Yourself

Every word you think and speak produces a physiological reaction in your body. Try this simple exercise and notice what happens:

Get yourself comfortable and take a few deep breaths to settle yourself. Now, with your eyes closed, repeat the following phrases silently to yourself while noticing the sensations in your body:

“I hate my body.”
“I feel disgusting.”
“I’m a loser.”  

Now, bring your attention back to your breathing to clear those thoughts from your mind.   Close your eyes again, and repeat the following while noticing the sensations in your body:

“I am gentle with myself.”

“I am kind to my body.”

“I am strong.”  

Open your eyes. Most people notice some tension in their body when they say the first set of phrases and a relaxing sensation with the second. What about you?

A diet of toxic words and self-abusive insults harms your body and dampens your spirit. But when you make a conscious decision to feed yourself loving words, your spirit lightens and your body relaxes. You stop fighting with yourself and open the way for a peaceful—and more successful—weight loss journey.

Word Power


To release weight with less effort, be mindful of how you speak. Stop repeating unkind, disrespectful words to yourself and replace them with encouraging and kind words. I know… this may feel hard to do at first because you are so used to talking to yourself in a negative way. Changing any habit takes time. The important thing is to make the commitment to speak to yourself with compassion and then make it a practice that you develop. For example, if you catch yourself speaking disrespectfully to your body as you look in the mirror first thing in the morning or try on outfits for a special occasion, apologize to it by saying:

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me for speaking to you that way.”    

An apology to your body reminds you of your commitment to speak to yourself with kindness. Then, give your body a supportive message such as, “I intend to take good care of you” or, if this feels natural, “I love you” or “I want to love you.” You can also gently say the following words as a kind of mantra to infuse your body with calming energy: peace, love, ease, relax. Think of these phrases and words as anchors to help you stop, shift your focus and regain your confidence and strength.

Exit the Pity-Party

I know… we can all fall into complaining sessions with friends. And to a point, venting helps. But beyond the initial bonding through shared experiences or just needing a friendly ear to release frustration, complaining with others serves no useful purpose. If anything, these conversations weaken you. They taunt you to the cookie jar by justifying the limiting belief that, “Everyone agrees with me that it’s hard to lose weight, so what’s the point?”

But remember this: YOU are the point. Your health, your future, your dreams.

And when you join in toxic complaint sessions with friends and co-workers about how hard is to lose weight, how difficult it is to avoid sweets, or how impossible it is to find the time to exercise, you lose the point of you and your health. Reclaim your power and commit to no longer participate in negative conversations, in your head and with others. When you find yourself with people eager to jump on the complaint bandwagon, practice this: Say nothing, change the subject or, when possible, leave.

As you release the habit of complaining and speak supportive, encouraging words, you lighten your mind and heart. And when your mind and heart feel lighter, your weight loss journey becomes more peaceful… helping your body become lighter as well.

____

P.S. If weight loss is one of your goals, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program, co-written by Diane Petrella. By building a stronger relationship with your body and through proper nutrition and a strategic exercise program, you’ll create lasting and sustainable weight loss with ease.

How To Lose Your Stomach Pooch!

Dear Davey Wavey,

I’ve started bulking at the gym to build muscle. I’m consuming 2,900 calories a day and I’ve made great advancements. But there is one problem. There’s a little pouch around my navel and I’m not a fan. I do your HIIT sprints once or twice a week and I’ve been eating well. I’m skinny by nature but this thing has always been there. Do you have any tips for getting rid of it?

Thanks,
Danny

best-way-to-lose-belly-fat-for-menHey Danny,

Ah – yes, that pesky pooch! It’s actually a very common problem and something about which I get tons of emails.

First things first, if a small pouch on your lower abdomen is your biggest problem, you’re doing really great. In fact, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of most people, especially considering that two thirds of Americans overweight.

Second, it’s going to be hard to lose the pouch while you’re bulking. Increasing your mass requires consuming more calories. Losing excess body weight means cutting calories to create a calorie deficit. In other words, building muscle and cutting fat are difficult to achieve simultaneously (unless you’re a beginner). Once you reach your desired musculature, my suggestion would be entering a “cutting” phase by reducing your calorie intake. You won’t be adding additional muscle mass during a cutting phase, but you can reduce the amount of fat on your body.

To cut that last five pounds from your midsection, follow these steps:

  1. Take a hard look at your diet. Because you only have five pounds to lose, your diet may already be pretty clean. But look for some areas where you can cut calories – including sugary drinks or fried, buttered or battered foods. Also be aware of your portion size. Reducing the portion is an easy way to cut calories and create the needed calorie deficit.
  2. Try HIIT sprints. If you can, perform HIIT sprints three times per week. I do 15 minutes of alternating between 1 minute balls-to-the wall uphill sprints and then 1 minute jogs. This gut-busting exercise will boost your metabolism and incinerate extra fat while minimizing muscle loss.
  3. Continue strength training. Many people looking to lose fat stop lifting weights. This is a huge mistake. By lifting weights, you show your body that you still need your muscle mass. This will ensure your body breaks down fat for energy and not hard-earned muscle.
  4. Be real. Everyone has a little bit of a pouch – even the models you see in magazines. In their case, it just gets photoshopped off. For some people, the pouch is the result of stretched skin from weight loss. It can be the result of pregnancy or sagging skin. For others, it’s largely genetic. Sure, do what you can to lose that last five pounds from your midsection – but also be realistic!

For many men, the lower abdomen is the very first place to gain weight and the very last place to lose it. Though you can reduce the pooch through diet and exercise, you might also find that it’s not worth the time, energy and effort to accomplish this cosmetic result.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re looking to improve the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, I recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

10 Commandments of Weight Loss.

JESS3_Twinkies_hostess-moses-twinkiesThough we all have different bodies and different metabolisms, there are some constants when it comes to achieving effective, sustainable and lasting fat loss.

  1. Thou shalt not starve. Believe it or not, starving yourself is the least effective way to lose weight long term. That’s because it dramatically slows down your metabolism as the body tries to conserve calories. Once you do resume eating, the pounds will pack right back on.
  2. Thou shalt eat smarter and move more. If fat loss could be summed up in one simple commandment, it would be this. By eating smarter, fewer calories go into your body. By moving more, increased calories are burned by your body. This combination of healthy eating and exercise creates the calorie deficit needed for weight to be lost.
  3. Thou shalt not fall for fad diets. When it comes to weight loss, there are no shortage of marketing gimmicks promising quick fixes. Don’t rely on marketing; rely on science. And though the science of weight loss isn’t as sexy as popping a pill or eating only cabbage for a month, it’s effective and sustainable.
  4. Thou shalt eat carbohydrates. Though they get a bad rap, carbohydrates are used by our bodies for energy – and can help you power through a difficult workout. No carbs means no energy, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Instead of cutting carbs altogether, move from simple carbs to complex carbs.
  5. Thou shalt strength train. Don’t fall into the “I only do cardio” trap. By including strength training in your workout routine, you’ll ensure that you lose mostly fat – and not a combination of fat and muscle. Retaining your hard-earned muscle doesn’t just look good; muscle keeps your metabolism cranking.
  6. Thou shalt not have endless cardio workouts. Cardio is an important component of any routine, but people looking to lose weight often spend endless workouts on the treadmill or elliptical. Long cardio workouts can actually result in muscle loss and belly fat.
  7. Thou shalt understand the difference between hunger and appetite. Hunger is your body’s need for food, while your appetite is really more about cravings. To help determine hunger levels, score hunger and fullness using this scale.
  8. Thou shalt eat lots of fiber. Most of us don’t get enough fiber, but this is especially true for dieters. Fiber takes a long time to digest. As a result, it helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
  9. Thou shalt read nutritional information. Ignore the subjective marketing hype of product packaging; instead, go directly to the objective nutrition information and ingredients. Pay special attention to the serving size, calories, sugar and saturated/trans fat.
  10. Thou shalt stay hydrated and well-rested. Your body needs water – and drinking enough of it can help lessen hunger. Nine cups per day are recommended for women and 13 for men. And last but not least, getting plenty of rest is an important ingredient for weight loss. It keeps cortisol levels down and gives your body plenty of time to rebuild and recover from workouts.

Do you have anymore commandments of weight loss to add? Share them in the comments below! And to lose stubborn body fat once and for all, download the Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Why People Want You To Be Fat.

no-480x360If you’re changing the way you look and feel by making better nutrition and fitness choices, you probably have a few great cheerleaders in your life. These people can provide encouragement and help you overcome challenges. But not everyone is rooting for your success.

You’ve probably heard things like:

  • “Just skip the gym today.”
  • “You don’t like my cooking? Is that why you won’t eat this?”
  • “Exercising is fine, but I think you’re obsessed.”
  • “Everyone else eats this – but you have to be different.”
  • “Oh, I’m sure one piece of cake won’t make a difference.”
  • “You know, most people who lose weight just end up gaining more back.”
  • “I think you’re losing too much weight.”

Rather than support you in your success, these diet saboteurs want to bring you down. Whether they’re friends, family, coworkers or a significant others, it’s important to understand their motivation.

Sometimes, it’s about power and control. If you stay overweight or out of shape, your partner may think that you’re less likely to attract attention from other people. With fewer options, this gives your partner more perceived control. But as you lose weight and attract more attention, your partner may feel control slipping from his or her grip. Ultimately, your partner may fear losing you to someone else; your partner may believe that you’ll leave him or her for someone more attractive.

In other instances, it’s about self-denial. When you lose weight and become healthier, it puts other people in an uncomfortable position of confronting their own weight issues. Your success becomes a personal assault on their own weight, and so they fight back by trying to sabotage your results. If you fall off the bandwagon, it makes them feel better about their situation.

Sometimes, the biggest saboteur in our life is ourselves. You commonly see this with people who have been sexually abused. If they lose weight, they may become more attractive and thus experience more unwanted attention. Sometimes, people have a fundamental fear of being perceived as beautiful. In these instances, it’s important to work with a professional.

Understanding what motivates diet saboteurs is an important step in transforming these toxic relationships. If you suspect your partner is afraid of losing you, have an open conversation. Communicate. Talk to your family and friends and let them know why this is important to you and why you want their support.

Have you ever experienced a diet saboteur? Share your story in the comments below.

 

Reducing Body Fat While Increasing Mass Simultaneously: Is It Possible?

Dear Davey,

Can I reduce fat in my mid section while also increasing the size of other muscles simultaneously?

Regards,
Abishek

shirtless-guys-pics-GymPaws-Fit-Guys-339x480Hey Abishek,

Your question is actually very common. To answer it, there are a few things you need to know.

To lose weight and reduce body fat, you must be in a calorie deficit. That is, consuming fewer calories in food than you are burning.

To build muscle or gain mass, you must be in a calorie surplus. That is, consuming more calories than you are burning.

As you can see, the goals of reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass work against each other. That’s why most personal trainers will focus on one goal and then the other. For example, a good personal trainer will most likely start a client on a program that results in fat loss while preserving muscle mass. Then, the trainer will switch gears and create a program to increase muscle size. The strategy will be different for both.

You also need to know that it’s impossible to spot-reduce fat. Fat comes off according to its own agenda. It may come off your chin, your butt, your face… In fact, for most men, the stubborn midsection is the last to shed fat.

Having said all of that, there is some research to suggest that you can both lose fat while gaining muscle. This is especially true for brand new exercisers. It’s quite common to see some fat loss and muscle gain occur simultaneously during the initial months – but this effect reduces over time.

Here’s the bottom line: Even if it’s possible to simultaneously lose fat and increase muscle mass, it wouldn’t be an efficient process. You’ll have much better results focusing on fat loss and muscle preservation first, then increases in muscle size later. That’s my recommendation.

Love,
Davey

 

 

Are You Afraid to Lose Weight?

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

psycho-screamDo you fear you’ll never reach your weight loss goal? Are you afraid you won’t maintain your weight even if you do? Do you feel uneasy when you think about how your life will change when you’re thin?

If you can relate, take heart. Fear is natural. When you learn to free yourself from fear’s grip, you confidently move forward and lose weight with ease and grace.

For many, fear is an uncomfortable yet familiar companion along their weight loss journey. Fear undermines your belief in yourself and stops you from having the life and body you want. When you believe your fears, it’s extremely hard to stay on track with your goals. But you can learn to give fear no power by replacing fear-based thoughts with thoughts of strength and determination.

For example, Jeannine wanted to be thinner but a fear of failing immobilized her. So whenever she thought about eating more nutritiously or exercising, one excuse after another appeared. When she looked below the surface, she realized her “excuses” protected her from feeling defeated. After all, if she didn’t start, she couldn’t fail. When she committed to challenge her fear, change began. It took time and effort, but Jeannine persistently used the strategy described below to shift her self-talk to words of encouragement and determination, and ultimately took charge of her weight-loss journey to reach her goal.

Reclaim Your Power

Your desire to have a thinner, fitter body is much more powerful than any fear you have, I promise. And your fears aren’t that unique or special either. Ask anyone who walks into an exercise class for the very first time or who attends a work function with lots of treats if fear ever tries to derail them. You bet it does. Change can feel scary!

But, you can access your power by thinking thoughts that support your success. Begin by making a conscious decision to no longer allow fear to control you. This decision helps you break the association in your mind between releasing weight and being afraid.

The first step is to recognize when fear arises. I’ve observed three types of fears that trigger anxiety and stress about losing weight. Can you relate to these?

1. Fears that stop you from getting started.

Sometimes the fear of failure immobilizes you from the get go. You fear repeating a pattern of disappointment and focus so much on past failures that a picture of defeat blocks your image of success. You don’t even try or you try halfheartedly. For example:

“I’ve failed before, I’m afraid I’ll fail again.”
“I’m just a hopeless case. I’m afraid I can’t do this.”
“Nothing’s worked in the past, I’m afraid this won’t be different.”

2. Fears that stall your progress.

As you become thinner, anxieties emerge regarding self-worth. The closer you get to your goal weight, the more vulnerable you feel because when you lose weight you also lose the emotional protection it provides. You stop moving forward. For example:

“I’m afraid once I’m thinner…
…I still won’t feel attractive,
…I still won’t find a boyfriend,
…I still won’t like myself.”

Becoming thinner can also trigger fear for those who experienced childhood sexual abuse. For example:

“I’m afraid when I lose weight men will find me attractive and that scares me.”

If you were sexually abused and have never received professional support, please consider doing so. Professional guidance helps you develop the inner resources to lose weight while feeling emotionally safe. To find a psychotherapist in your local area you can use this therapist finder tool at Psychology Today.

3. Fears that sabotage your success.

You’re close to reaching your goal weight, or you reach your goal weight and your mind fills with worries that you won’t keep the weight off. For example:

“I’m afraid I’ll gain back the weight and I’ll be disappointed again.”
“I’m afraid I don’t deserve this.”
“Who am I to be thin and attractive anyway?”

A Fear-Busting, Confidence-Building Strategy 



Whether fear prevents you from starting to lose weight, blocks your progress during your journey, or challenges your confidence once you’ve reached your goal, here’s a process to take command of your thoughts so you move forward:

1. When a fear-filled thought enters your mind, simply notice it. Ground yourself by taking several deep breaths until you feel even a slight sense of relief.

2. Then, create emotional distance between you and fear by talking to it. For example, confidently say, “Oh, there you are again, fear.” This helps you acknowledge fear but not be ruled by it. Since fear also weakens your body’s energy, it helps to physically reposition your body in a confident stance. For example, pull your shoulders back and hold your head high.

3. Finally, affirm your desire to release weight by firmly saying, “No! I will not let myself be afraid. I am capable of doing this.” Repeat several times to deepen your resolve. You then use a fearful moment to strengthen rather than weaken you and your mind and body respond with positive, uplifting energy.

4. Whenever fear-filled thoughts come in, repeat steps 1-3 to deepen your confidence and belief in yourself.

Use this process as necessary. Some fears require additional strategies to target the root cause and release them completely, so seek out help with deeper self-growth work as needed. Be patient and keep encouraging yourself with confident, determined self-talk. As you develop the habit of replacing fear with thoughts of confidence and strength, you free yourself to create the healthy, vibrant body you want and deserve.

Lost 40 Pounds In One Month…

Dear Davey,

I’ve struggled with obesity since childhood. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve been paying more attention to my body.

In the last month, I’ve managed to lose 40 pounds by not eating. I know that you need to eat to survive, but I want to continue getting results. What advice do you have?

Thanks,
Jason

Smaller_Plate_Wont_Help_Your_Diet_Research_ShowsHey Jason,

Thanks for the email.

I have to say, you are playing a very dangerous game – and, it’s one that you’ll inevitably lose without a dramatic change in your habits and the guidance of professional help.

Despite all the science that demonstrates otherwise, many people resort to starvation as a weight loss technique. As you’ve discovered, it does yield initial results; if you stop eating, you’ll lose weight. But the problems with this approach are many.

For one, you’re slowing your metabolism. Your metabolism determines how many calories your body burns on a daily basis. Because your body is starving (generally 1,000 calories or less per day), it will do everything it can to reduce its calorie consumption. Eventually, you’ll need to start eating again – and, when you do, your metabolism will lag. With a reduced daily calorie burn, all those extra calories from food will be packed on as fat. The resulting weight gain, in many instances, exceeds the initial weight loss.

No to mention the dramatic impact of nutritional deficiencies.

We also know that diet AND exercise are required for best results. By just practicing one or the other, you’re selling yourself short. Though diet alone can result in weight loss, exercise is required to ensure that the lost weight is mostly fat and not muscle. It takes a lot of energy to maintain muscles – and our bodies are very efficient machines. If you’re not using your muscles during periods of calorie restriction and weight loss, you’ll be quick to lose them.

You mentioned that you’re paying more attention to your body. That’s important. But don’t just pay attention to how your body looks; pay attention to what your body is telling you. If your body is hungry or weak or tired, then listen to these crucial messages – and act on them. Feed your body with the foods it really craves, like a delicious, colorful salad or some lean meats and vegetables. As you fuel your body with nourishing foods, pay attention to how your body feels.

I’d also suggest giving yourself the gift of professional help. It is absolutely worth your time, money and effort to work with a nutritionist, weight loss specialist or healthcare professional. After all, you only get one body. Let’s keep it in a good, working condition.

Love,
Davey

Forgive Yourself and Lose Weight.

Love-Yourself-FirstToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Your relationship with your body is one of the most important relationships that you’ll ever have. And I’m going to share the number-one thing you can do to honor that relationship and create permanent, lasting results.

Forgive yourself.

Yes… this might sound simple, but if you’re like so many on a weight-loss journey, you can be relentless when it comes to self-criticism and contempt for yourself and your body. When you let go of the guilt and shame about how you look or how you’ve treated your body, you enter a world of love and positivity that helps you create the healthy body you want and deserve.

A self-forgiving state of mind helps you more easily release negative judgments of yourself. You’re then less likely to act on those feelings by hurting yourself and your body. You’ll naturally want to take better care of your body. You see, when you learn to love yourself unconditionally and forgive yourself more readily, you’re likely to eat healthier foods, give your body the movement it needs, and talk to yourself with greater compassion.

On the other hand, when your body is filled with the poisonous energies of self-contempt (and I know you have experienced times like this), you’re more likely to turn to food for comfort or self-punishment. The negative feelings can quickly lead to a very old and familiar sense of being out of control or a victim.

As you begin to develop the habit of self-forgiveness you will notice significant changes in your physical health and in your ability to no longer rely on food for comfort. And when you feel that love for yourself and your body, you might, for example, be less likely to skip Zumba class in order to head right home after work and watch TV.

So, how do you forgive yourself?

It takes patience and persistence. Here are three heart-based exercises to help you open to the healing power of self-forgiveness, love yourself more and bring peace to your mind.

1. Be Willing to Forgive Yourself

Self-forgiveness starts with a willingness to release guilt, shame and self-hatred. Open the space for this healing energy to enter your mind and body by setting the intention to do so.

Simply say to yourself right now: “I want to forgive myself.”

Additionally, write these words down on paper several times:

“I want to forgive myself. I want to love myself fully and treat myself with loving kindness.”

This may seem like a very simple process. It is. Don’t equate simple with ineffective. A sincere and deliberate intention to stop berating yourself, and to forgive yourself when you do, helps you take charge of your life, feel less like a victim, and stop the cycle of emotional eating.

2. Wrap Negative Thoughts in Love

We all fall into old patterns. So the next time you slip back into less than healthy eating or exercise habits and berate yourself with unkind words, turn to your heart for comfort.

For example, instead of dwelling on those negative thoughts and feelings, remind yourself you can stop. Take a deep breath. Then, focus your attention on your heart and at the same time think of a beautiful memory or someone you love. I learned this exercise from the Institute of HeartMath and it helps you feel calm very quickly. Then, say this affirmation to yourself or out loud while keeping your attention on your heart:

“I release these thoughts and feelings (or shame and guilt, etc.) into the arms of Love and I open to loving and forgiving myself.”

Directing your attention to your heart infuses your words with calming, heart-based energy. It is as if you are wrapping your self-contempt in a blanket of love.

3. Connect to Your Heart, Literally

Become quiet. Place your hand on your heart. Feel your heart beat. Now, while keeping your hand on your heart, say to yourself:

“I totally and completely love and accept myself with all my problems and all my limitations.”

Feel into this process. Repeat several times daily.

This exercise helps you connect with the loving energy of your heart. Your heart doesn’t judge you for overeating or for talking harshly to yourself. It simply keeps beating on. Feel that beautiful, consistent heartbeat and know that you are loved by the pure energy within it.

Practice the above steps faithfully and you’ll begin to create a lightness of spirit within you.

Be patient and have faith. Over time you’ll notice that the love you give to yourself on the inside will be reflected in the ways you care for yourself and look and feel on the outside.

Will you practice self-forgiveness?