Get honest. You don’t have to tell me, but you should be able to tell yourself. I still hide evidence of food. It’s embarrassing and I don’t know why I do it. I tell myself that it is because my husband will make a comment or be upset with me but that is just another lie. The truth is that I am judging myself for my food choices. I feel that as a person that takes care of other people’s health, I should make good choices all the time and the truth is – I don’t.

What do you need to get honest about?

This is a piercing question when it comes to health goals. I often have patients say “but I have done EVERYTHING”. No. No you haven’t. It is a lovely lie – but it’s a lie nonetheless. If I have learned anything in my decade with patients it is that there is always something more than can be done. I lied to myself for 5 years about my eating habits. I gained 15lbs and just couldn’t seem to shake it. I hired more than one personal trainer, I exercised hard, I kept telling myself I ate well. I told everyone that I ate well and something else must be going on. I ran blood tests. Everything was fine. My last personal trainer was great and I went down a whole dress size, but the scale still wouldn’t budge.

Then – I decided to stop lying and make serious changes by being totally and utterly honest with myself. In order to check myself before I wrecked myself, I downloaded the myfitnesspal calorie counter app. It is not a perfect solution and I am not obsessed with the idea of calorie counting as a way to lose weight, but I needed to see if I was being honest. It turns out that I was overeating by 200-300 calories a day and that I was avoiding being hungry in the afternoons by eating a candy bar or doughnut or anything high calorie – no wonder I had put on weight. I had fixed my brain on the idea of 3 meals a day when in reality I need 4. I walk at least 6 km every day – I live in a city and don’t have a car. I exercise on top of that. I burn plenty of calories and I was still trying to stick to 3 meals and feeling guilty if I had more. I considered those high calorie foods ‘just a snack’ and so I was supplementing my normal diet with sugar…for fear of the hunger that inevitably hit because I wasn’t eating enough real food.

I stopped lying. I wrote everything down. I got honest. If I had a candy bar for dinner, I wrote that down. The weight came off. That was a year ago and I cannot believe that I let myself lie for 5 years.

Your turn. How are you sabotaging your health, relationship, or career goals? What are you doing that you know you could do better? There is a lot of guilt and shame wrapped up in this type of questioning and the idea isn’t to create more guilt and shame but to create space to be real and honest with ourselves. When we air it all out, we take away shame’s power. We can accept what we have done until this point, forgive ourselves and move on. Blame and shame have no place in your health plan. Be honest. Air shame out. Create space for true change. Choose smaller goals and work toward them one small step at a time. Stop expecting so much of yourself and make the easiest good choices that you can… one honest statement at a time.