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Guest Post: Pat Barone on Driving Permanent Weight Change July 26, 2010

I’m happy to welcome Pat Barone to guest-post for me while I’m away this week. She’s been a great inspiration to me and I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year. She’s a wonderful teacher and guide for many. Welcome Pat!

Driving Permanent Weight Change

After a lengthy destructive relationship with food, I set out to lose weight one final time.  I knew I had a lot of learning to do because everything I’d ever tried in my life, literally hundreds of diets, had not kept the weight off.

But I had put my cowgirl boot down.  I would do what was necessary to lose weight, but I wasn’t taking it back.  Ever.

The lessons turned out to be profuse:  jaw-dropping scientific data, mindbending “ah-ha” moments, and deep personal shifts in my attitude and beliefs.  Literally, everything changed for me while I was losing weight and during the 10 years I’ve maintained that weight loss.

One lesson that sticks with me actually involved my car.  One day, I stopped at a local gas station and filled up my gas tank.  A while later, my car started sputtering and acting as if the engine was going to die. The car wouldn’t accelerate and I felt as though I was put-puttering along while cars all around me sped by.

I immediately connected the lack of performance with the new gas. It would run fine for a few blocks, then start the hesitation/sputtering routine again.

It was pure frustration!  It just wouldn’t go!

I continued driving the car until it was about a quarter of a tank below full and refilled at another gas station. The problems lessened but were still there.  Again, I drove it until it was a quarter of a tank less than full and refilled again. The problems ceased.

I realized I never got emotional about the bad gas (probably mixed with water) that I bought.  I didn’t blame myself for it.  I made a mental note never to buy from that particular gas station again, I did what I could to solve the problem, and I moved on.

Deeply immersed in weight loss, it occurred to me that, if I handled my own poor body fueling as sensibly, I might not have so many issues around food.

After all, food is fuel for your body. It’s the gasoline of life. That is all it is.

It isn’t an emotional caretaker, a shoulder to cry on, or a best friend.

My own poor fueling decisions usually involve carbs or sugar that set off the carb craving cycle.  This craving cycle calls up too much insulin from the body, putting stress on it internally (even if you are not diabetic).

Would the way I handled my car’s gasoline work with my own fuel?  It might look like this:

  1. Take my energy down a quarter tank.
  2. Refuel with protein.
  3. Live life until my energy is down a quarter tank again.
  4. Refuel with protein.
  5. Rinse, repeat.

Separating eating and food from negative thinking and emotions turned out to be a huge step in changing my attitude about food.  Whenever I see myself becoming attached to a certain food, or I hear “an energy buzz” around it, I know I’m putting more meaning into that food than it deserves or I want.

Then, it’s time to take a step back and remember:  Food is fuel.

This doesn’t mean I don’t really enjoy food, all types of food:  rich and mild, exotic and tame, new favorites and old.

But I’ll take my meal without the extra helping of charged emotion, or the label of “good” or “bad”, or the guilt, thank you!

Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC

Pat Barone earned her title “America’s Weight Loss Catalyst” by coaching thousands of clients toward permanent weight loss.  Her status as an expert is heightened by her own personal weight loss success.  In March, 2010, she celebrated 10 years at her current weight, which is 75 lbs. less than her highest weight.  She regularly busts diet myths in her free newsletter “The Catalyst”, available at http://www.patbarone.com and blogs at http://www.stoprentingweightloss.com.

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One Response to “Guest Post: Pat Barone on Driving Permanent Weight Change”

  1. Pubsgal Says:

    So many good points here! I like the “bad gas” analogy. The concept of feeling the attachment or listening for the “energy buzz” of food is such a good way to describe it, because there is a different energy when a binge is happening; a binge is definitely more of a feeling rather than simply overeating. And I like that you’ve clarified that viewing “food as fuel” doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy the flavors and eating. I had always made that mistaken assumption about the “food as fuel” point of view. Thanks for sharing your insights here!


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