Six Tips (That Don’t Include Dieting) To Help You Achieve Your Health and Weight Loss Goals

Wellness  / 

It’s the New Year! TIme to make resolutions! Turn over a new leaf! Flip to a new page! But we’re all still a little stuck in Blursday; homeschooling, Zooming, and just trying to keep it all together. Who has the time to work on improving their body image or diet? You do. 


Audrey Zona, powerhouse founder of Zo Healthy, Certified Eating Psychology Coach, and Wellness Promoter has put together Six Tips To Help You Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals in 2021. And the best part? Fad diets aren’t really a part of the equation: 


“Most people overeat because they have underlying issues which cause them to use food as a coping mechanism, as a “pacifier” of sorts. When we begin to understand and unravel what’s going on deep inside, and deal with old limiting beliefs, old stories, past traumas and an ineffective, outdated diet mindset, we can begin to make positive lifestyle changes.

So, how do we start? 

First, we should give ourselves the ultimate gift of self-care and make an appointment to see our doctor. A thorough examination and blood work can help determine if our weight, lack of energy, afternoon crashes, mood swings and any other fun issues that make every day a health adventure, are physiological and/or hormone related. Two things to remember: we can’t solve a problem we don’t know exists and also, if there is an issue, it doesn’t automatically mean medication. There are plenty of people who are pre-diabetic or have high blood pressure who are able to manage their health through careful food and exercise modification. The trick is to catch the issue early and then commit to doing the work to fix it.

Okay, we’ve gotten a clean (or clean-ish) bill of health, what next?

Well, if only we could figure out what’s stressing us out (wild laughter as we all wave our arms around at everything).

Sadly, being in a constant state of stress puts the body and nervous system in Sympathetic Mode, which is fight-or-flight. Our modern day world is so intense, we think we’re running from a tiger most of the time, but we aren’t! Our bodies don’t know the difference between that tiger and the 100 “urgent” work emails that require a response, the carpools, the dinner your family apparently needs every single night and the laundry that never, ever ends. Most women are in this constant state of stress, which unfortunately spikes cortisol, blood sugar and insulin causing the body to store fat. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, essential oils, and connecting with nature are all wonderful tools to help bring your body into Parasympathetic Mode so you can rest and digest. Yes, being in Parasympathetic Mode will help to body to digest its food leading to better energy balance and a more efficient metabolism.


Right, so our everyday life is definitely stressing us out. Now it’s time to dig deeper to understand what’s really toxic in our lives. We are often unaware of the ways our emotions drive our decisions around food. Excess weight is merely a symptom of something much larger and more profound. Our weight is trying to tell us something.  Many of my clients start out by saying they aren’t emotional eaters. But after a few weeks of being present to their behaviors, they report back that they found themselves looking for something to eat after arguments, tough work meetings or exhausting bedtime routines. They had never put the 2 things together! Once there’s an awareness of our behaviors, we’re all capable of change. Awareness is the first step towards building new habits and changing the wiring of our brains.


But want to take a wild guess who’s often the most toxic person in our lives? Yup, our own selves. Toxic, negative thoughts about one’s body will also put it into a state of stress. It’s devastating to constantly berate oneself, hate one’s body and deprive oneself in order to lose weight. It doesn’t work and truthfully, it feels awful! We have never been taught to give ourselves the love we give to others. It’s time to ditch the toxic and love ourselves. Imagine treating ourselves with the compassion, empathy, respect and care that we give our children, families and best friends. Imagine being kind and intentionally loving to ourselves every day. Imagine cheering ourselves on, saying and thinking beautiful, encouraging things. WOW! What a difference this would make for body, mind and spirit. 

Once we start to feed ourselves healthy thoughts, it’s also time to start feeding ourselves healthy foods. Here’s a secret – eating and enjoying food will assist in weight loss. Shame over what, when or how much we eat will not. We need to understand our hunger and learn how to work with our appetite. We, as a culture, have been taught that in order to lose weight, we must restrict food and deprive ourselves. Instead, we should be fueling our beloved bodies with the nutrient dense, gorgeous, delicious food in the proper proportions to satisfy our hunger and keep us at our best. And when those “cravings” hit? We need to take a moment to understand them rather than pushing them down or feeling bad about them. Are they real and our body’s way of telling us it’s missing something? Or are they a desire for some other pleasure in our lives? 


Here’s the other trick. We need to put ourselves first. Not all the time. But at least a few times a day. We need to meditate on a daily basis so that we can slow down, pause, breathe and listen to our bodies. We need to love our bodies enough to feed and care for them well. We need to prioritize work and workouts that make us content, feel and sleep better, and breathe easier. We need to let ourselves feel. Feelings won’t break us. We think they will, but they won’t. However, pushing down pain never allows it to surface and heal. So it remains trapped in our bodies, often quite literally, in the form of illness and extra weight. Once we become our own best friends and champions, we can make more skillful decisions around our health. Because we will see ourselves as someone of value and worth the trouble. 


I’m reminded day after day that most people don’t spend much time reflecting on their habits or their psychological health. It’s time to pay more attention to ourselves. Stop neglecting ourselves. Meditate, breathe, sit in silence, connect with our emotions. Turn inward. WE have all the answers, we just have to listen! It takes daily commitment, hard work and a belief in ourselves. But I promise, if we do the work, we will experience incredible joy on the other side. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy New Year!”

Audrey Zona
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