Whole Health Judgment and acceptance are human conditions. It’s just how we’re wired. It’s very easy for us to judge, but not so easy for us to accept. We do this with every other part of our lives, so why should we be surprised that we do this with food, weight loss, or fitness? We don’t think of judgment and acceptance as being related to food because instead we’ve been trained into thinking that our relationship with food is about carbohydrates, calories, exercise, and nutritional plans. But judgment and acceptance make up key parts of our overarching food story: if you’re constantly stuck in a judgment cycle, you’re not able to work through to a place of acceptance and change. Here are five of the biggest roadblocks in your goal of long term weight loss, and how to clear them by stopping the judgment and increasing acceptance. Roadblock #1: YOUR PERSONAL FOOD STORY Your food story tells you that you should feel badly, that you should judge your relationship with food. It is a disempowering story, a negative story, one that makes us feel less than and poorly about ourselves. Becoming aware of this negative storyline and its lack of truth. This story was written for you by others. Write your own. Roadblock #2: SOCIAL STIGMAS The second biggest roadblock is social. You know that friend who always wants to grab drinks after work? Or that aunt who always asks when you’re going to drop the weight? Family and friends will unknowingly sabotage and trigger you back into your old belief system, to your old story. Roadblock #3: ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS Your environment can be a roadblock. It’s the matrix telling you how you should feel badly for wanting something unhealthy, but also how you deserve something unhealthy. It’s the six fast food restaurants on your commute to work, and the commercials you listen to while driving. These things make it difficult for you to not judge your relationship with food. Roadblock #4: LACK OF SUPPORT Lack of support from others can make rewriting your food story more difficult. This is a big step, and you need all the help you can get. If you don’t have a network of people with like-minded perspective and goals, long term weight loss can be especially challenging. Roadblock #5: UNSUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS Most of the weight loss and wellness industry is designed to sell you a gimmick, a fad, something that you can do for three months before you can’t handle it anymore. These unsustainable programs are focused on selling the next magic bullet, not taking on the vital work of changing your inner story, getting rid of judgment, and increasing self-acceptance. How To Clear The Roadblocks To Long Term Weight Loss Personal growth is hard and it takes time. It’s not just about just “doing it”, just getting off your ass, or just saying no to certain foods. If you’ve been trying to reach your long term weight loss goals like this, you know it doesn’t work. So let’s talk about how we can actually move through this harder part of the journey so that you can come out the other side with some truly permanent, solid change. Let’s address these underlying issues and empower you from the inside out. Here are some things you can start doing today to change your food story and increase acceptance: BE AWARE OF YOUR INNER CRITIC To do this, you must be present in your mind and body. Slow down, take a breath, be with yourself long enough to connect and truly identify the thoughts, feelings, and emotions happening within you. Pay attention to that inner dialogue. Prayer or meditation can be great ways to encourage yourself to slow down long enough to hear your own story. HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOURSELF Once you are aware of your inner critic, you can consciously talk to yourself to engage with those feelings and questions happening in your head. So when your brain says, “I really want chocolate,” instead of shutting it down, go deeper. – Ask yourself: Why am I feeling like I want chocolate? What do I really want? How am I really feeling? What need is not being met? How will I feel if I have the chocolate? How will I feel if I don’t have the chocolate? How will I feel if I do something else? This is a very powerful tool. It will help you realize more about your food story, where the fallacies are, which parts of your story need to be rewritten. WRITE IT DOWN Another great tool and technique to help with judgment and acceptance is to write your thoughts down. The goal is to get the conversation out of your head and into the real world where it can be analyzed. Record your voice, send yourself a text, write yourself an email. Or keep a regular journal, one that isn’t focusing on what you’re eating but rather how you feel about what you’re eating. This regular recording helps you become aware of the inner conversation is going on. And again it gives you a chance to work on the judgment acceptance cycle. FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM . As we discussed earlier, not having the right support is one of the biggest roadblocks to long term weight loss. Even if their intentions are good, people who shame you for your food story, or who don’t respect your journey, or who are constantly trying to push the next “quick fix” into your life are not helpful. You need to surround yourself with a support system who actually understands what you’re trying to do and wants to support you in that work. Awareness Is The Way Forward We’re trained from a young age to think about acceptance and judgment in the wrong way. We’re taught that judgment is bad, and that acceptance means giving up. This feeds into our food story and how we approach our relationship with food. Friends, family, peers, diet books, nutrition supplement companies—everyone has fed into your food story, how you think about judgment and acceptance. The goal is to create awareness. Once you are aware of how you view judgment and acceptance, once you understand your own food story, you will be able to implement real change that will lead to long term weight loss. It won’t be an overnight process, but it will be a lasting one. You will practice it imperfectly for a long time, but imperfect practice is what it takes. Start clearing your roadblocks to long term weight loss today! Written by: Ian Rubin, MA CPT, CHC Owner & Founder, Wellness Success Coach Ian is passionate about helping people find their most well selves. After struggling with his own wellness, Ian jumped from jobs in supplement sales to diet consulting to personal training. He eventually decided to use his knowledge to help people to achieve their best self in a whole way. This meant going beneath the surface to find the source of his clients’ struggles and supporting them in reaching their wellness goals.