Why Do High Achieving Women Often Struggle To Lose Weight?

“How is it that I can be super successful in my career, in total control of every area of my life, but I struggle when it comes to my weight?”

It’s a very, very common frustration.

Most clients I work with are stereotypical high flyers. Think résumés jam-packed with goals set,  achieved, celebrated.

For many of these women, their weight is the “last piece of the frustrating puzzle”, so to speak.

So why doesn’t a weight loss goal work the same way, as say, a professional or sporting goal?

There are a couple of key differences.

And just so we’re absolutely clear – when I talk about weight loss, I’m not talking about losing a kilos, achieving your goal weight then re-gaining it all back again. I’m talking about long term – “forever” – weight loss, the kind where you never need go on another diet again.

In most cases, harder + faster = quicker

With most goals, when you work harder, faster, and are more focused – you typically get swifter rewards.

But ‘forever’ weight loss doesn’t work like that.

It’s like when you hang your Christmas lights in December, and you find them in the box all tangled up.

The harder you pull at the knotted mess, the faster you try and untangle them, the tighter the knot gets. Grrrrrr!

Weight loss can be a bit like Christmas lights.

Here’s why.

The 2 ‘logical’ misconceptions

The Law of Deprivation: Often with weight loss, our logic is “if cutting back a little helps me lose a little bit of weight, then cutting back a lot will really speed things up, right?”

Logical in theory – yes. But does it work? Nope.

The very act of deprivation sends your incredibly clever body into the starvation response, which makes it even harder to shift the weight.

And, the more you deprive yourself, the more unpleasant the journey becomes, so you’re unlikely to stay the distance. And, depriving ourselves adds fuel to your night time cravings.

For example, you’re restricting yourself during the day because you’re “being good”. But hour after hour the pressure builds, until the evening, when you “can’t handle it any more”, you crack and give in to your cravings.

True or true?!

Law of the Deadline: It’s common in traditional goal setting to give goals a deadline. I often have clients who’ve previously given themselves deadlines, like “four weeks to lose 12kgs before my cruise”. They thought that the urgency would spur them into action. But did it?

Again, nope. Every day that ticks by – with the target looming closer – they start to freak that they “haven’t made enough progress”, which leads to them quitting in exasperation.

So, what’s the answer?

Patience, grasshopper.

As much as I’d love to give you a magic pill or a secret code…..the answer is patience and persistence. It’s about changing your daily habits and creating a lifestyle that supports your wellbeing in the long term.

Let’s go back to the tangled Christmas lights. Instead of rushing, yanking, pushing and pulling, it’s important to take the opposite approach.

Slow down.
Be patient.
Gradually unravel the wires.

This is not a race.
Take your time.
Be the turtle.

This isn’t about achieving a goal then piling it all back on again. It’s about becoming the kind of person who manages their weight naturally.

The 5 things you might want to do:

1. Abandon deadlines and aim for steady progress. Progress wins over perfection every day of the week. Forget aboutstarting on Monday“.

2. Make small changes to your eating and exercise that you know you can and want to live with for the rest of your life.

3. Be flexible. If something doesn’t work – oh, well. Learn from your mistakes.

4. Be patient. It might take longer than you thought, but it will be worth it.

5. Keep on keeping on. When you stumble (becuase trust me you will – its’ ALL part of the process!) pick yourself up, put on your big girl knickers and keep on keeping on. No. Matter. What.

The paradox of long term weight loss is that going faster and pushing harder simply does NOT work. As difficult as it may be for the success-oriented high achiever in you, the answer is to go gently.

Love etc, Avril

PS: Ms High Achiever, if you’re sitting there reading this thinking, “I knooooooooooow all of this, I just don’tdo it!”, feel free to drop me a line. Hypnosis can help you do the doing that you know you need to do to lose weight.

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Are You Accidentally ‘Super Sizing’ Yourself?

Are you an “extraordinarily disciplined individual”?

If not, chances are you eat more than you think.

Or, so says Dr Brian Wansink of Cornell University.

In his fascinating book Mindless Eating, Wansink research shows how normal weight people underestimate their food intake by about 20 per cent.

But get this – people who are overweight – underestimate the amount they eat by more than 50 per cent.

Yup, read that correctly – 50 per cent!

It seems that many of us are accidentally supersizing ourselves, without even realising.

Rather appropriately, he describes the gap between what you think you eat and what you actually eat as the “mindless margin”.

Portion creep

“Portion creep” is a huge trap. It’s the relentless upsizing of portions which has occurred over the last several decades.

For example, you might tell yourself, “Oh, I only had a muffin for lunch” or “I only had a bowl of cereal for breakfast”.

But research shows there’s a huge variation in what a ‘portion’ is these days.

These days, one muffin can feed a small nation and pack in nearly as many calories as an entire meal did in our parent’s generation.

A bowl of cereal could contain anything from the standard half-cup to two cups, depending on the size of your bowl and your appetite.

But in our minds, it’s still just one serve. Our brains focus on the number of serves – not the amount – which is where we lead ourselves up the weight-gain-garden-path.

You can see how fast food outlets have rather cleverly taken advantage of this.

In the 1970s, McDonald’s had one size of fries – what’s now known as “small”. The rationale was that if people wanted more, they could always order a second portion. But people didn’t because they felt greedy asking for two portions.

However, when the McDonalds marketing team introduced the bigger portion of fries, it suddenly became psychologically easier for us to order and eat way more.

Portion creep has become very popular. You don’t need to look far to see that enormous portions are now the new ‘normal’ – from cafes to pubs to our homes.

So what can we do?

The good news is we can resist the portion creep with a little bit of awareness.

A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way…

1. Use a smaller bowl or plate. You’ll eat less, without feeling deprived, because you will still have a “full” plate.

2. Cut muffins, slices and cakes in half, and share the ‘em, or leave what you don’t want on the plate.

3. Also, don’t be fooled by “value” deals. Only buy what you really want to eat. While you might feel that you need a huge portion to get good value – it’s erroneous. Value deals and upsizing have an enormous cost – it’s just that we just pay with our bodies and health, instead of our wallets.

So why not start listening to your own body and use these tips to become more mindful aware of how you might be accidentally super sizing yourself?

Love etc, Avril

PS: If you’ve forgotten what that “full” feeling feels like, hypnotherapy can help. Why not give me a call, c’mon over….

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How Our Self-Talk Lies. Or, How To Stay Stuck, Overweight + Exhausted.

Sounds crazy, but we all have a voice in our head.

“What the………??? I do………………???”

Yup. That voice!

If you’re like most women, we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to losing weight – all because of the nasty things we barrage ourselves with every day.

Recently, a client shared how her voice started criticising her from the moment her feet touched the floor in the morning.

It had all sorts of accusations.

“Geez, you lazy cow, you slept terribly, now you’re really behind the eight-ball, you’re so blinking unorganised, you’re just a fat, disorganised disgrace, you’re terrible mum and one day the how world will know…..”

On and on it went.


How exhausting.

Food as self-medication

Unsurprisingly, the only time she found peace and quiet from that voice was when she was
1. asleep
2. eating
3. after her third glass of wine.

With that barrage of self-loathing – in her own head – is it any wonder she regularly self-medicated with ‘comfort food’ to anaesthetise herself from that mean inner voice?!

And she’s not alone.

Many clients come to me with a fierce battle of mean thoughts, self-loathing words, and emotional stuff from their past which keeps them stuck in the cycle of self-sabotage.

Well-intentioned negative talk

Turning your self-talk around is absolutely essential if you want to shift the extra weight and have a more joyful existence.

How on earth can you become the shape and size you want to be, when part of you is working against you? You can’t.

Perversely, this negative self-talk is well intentioned. We think that if “I berate myself enough, I can ‘force’ myself to shift this weight”.

But it’s impossible to hate yourself slim. How can you become the shape and size you want to be if your internal world is angry and self-destructive?

We’ve already seen how thoughts, although calorie-less, have the power to make us fat here and here.

Shifting negative and nagging self-talk to a more positive chatter, is an absolute must. Here’s a step by step plan of what to do when your inner critic gets on her soap box.

Love etc, Avril

PS: The bottom line is this…If you’re unhappy with your weight – and you’re not getting the results you seek – there’s a good chance your self-talk is sabotaging you. If you’re ready for some kinder self-talk, why not c’mon over and have a chat…..

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