5 Tips To Escape Dieting At 60+
At what point in your life do you stop dieting and start living? Learn how to reshape your thinking while maintaining a healthy weight with these five tips.
An older black woman measures her stomach with a tape measure

I first came across this book, The Weight Escape, a few years ago. After scouring for a process-approach to healthy eating, finding this book was a delightful relief. Finally, authors who speak like human beings, give practical advice, share their experiences, and apply mindfulness to healthy living.

It’s an odd cycle. Every year, around the holidays, we are flooded with magazines, marketing and social pressure to eat rich food. Online and in stores, we see images of smiling people, eating and drinking with abandon. Then, come January—it’s time for diets, exercise and resolutions.

In the summer, the magazines are filled with diets, swimsuits and ways to get in shape. At the same time, ads show pictures of fat-laden BBQ’s and tasty beverages.

Perhaps it works to sell books, plans, food replacement powders, and most importantly, hope.

But as a wise person you know better. You’ve been watching this pattern for decades. There must be a more balanced approach. There must be a better way. And, in fact, there is.

The authors of The Weight Escape offer a self-inquiry method based in mindfulness. In it, Dr. Russ Harris, Ann Bailey and Joseph Ciarrochi share specific exercises and personal stories. They explain step-by-step, how to shift out of self-destructive patterns that may have made it hard to live at your healthy weight.

Here are 5 key concepts to get out of dieting and into optimal well-being.

01. Identify Your Values

Instead of focusing on specific meal plans, spend time focusing on your values. Values means what is most important to you. The range includes but is not limited to: self-care, fitness, health, beauty, authenticity, creativity, loyalty, loving relationships, kindness, service and finding purpose.

By identifying your values, you’ll get to the innermost core of what matters most to you. This is called intrinsic motivation. It is what gives you an unshakable confidence and intrinsic motivation to define and achieve your health goals.

02. Recover Your Emotional Well-being

If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you may have been successful, unsuccessful or had mixed results. In fact, past experiences and emotions may be clouding the way for moving forward. Negative feelings such as self-doubt, sadness, anger or resentment can get in the way of your success.

By learning specific mindfulness-based exercises, you’ll gain skills to feel your emotions, embrace changing moods…and recover your inner strength.

03. Escape Negative Self-Talk

For many of us, even the word or topic of ‘diet’ brings up groans, moans and negative criticism. If a past effort didn’t go as planned, you know exactly what this means. “I can’t lose weight.” “I have no discipline.” “I tried before and it never worked.” “I’m too old.” “I’m too lazy.” “I don’t like to exercise.”

As expert psychologists put it, we all have experiences of self-criticism. Many of us know how we feel when self-criticism meets up with judgments from other people. Perhaps a family member has criticized our diet, exercise, shape or state of health.

By learning how to escape the pain of negative self-talk, we can create a safe-space for ourselves. This is where we’ll truly experience progress.

04. Define Your Inner Goals

Intrinsic motivation is about building goals based on your values. In other words, what matters most to you. Losing weight, maintaining your ideal weight, staying fit and active are powerful incentives. These can make a dramatic difference in the quality of life we experience at 60 and beyond.

To find your deepest motivation, define what matters most to you. Do you want to walk, bike and hike with your partner? Do you want to easily lift and play with grandkids? Do you want to move with balance, ease and flexibility?

By examining your motivation and values, you’ll have an easier time making decisions in the moment. When faced with a drink or dessert you crave, you’ll know why you’re making a healthier choice.

05. Defuse Your Reasons

Do you make excuses for not losing weight? Do you have excuses for not exercising? If so, you are not alone.

One of the biggest reasons people give for not exercising is: not having time. We have time for work, television, checking social media. But not enough time to walk, bike or do yoga.

Believing our own rationale is a favorite activity. We all do it—sometimes. The good news is we can learn to defuse it. We can learn how to separate from what is called ‘fusion.’ In other words, believing our own story.

By noticing and naming our thoughts, we add room. You might call it a gap or a bit of space.

In that gap of mindfulness, we can see what the mind is ‘selling’ us and we can choose to ‘buy’ something else. When the thoughts no longer dominate, we are free to choose a healthier action.

Assistance Club Summary

The #1 Take Away: Escape dieting and start living your values.

If you’re fed up with diets, meal-plans and will power based systems that leave you stressed out, you have better options.

With mindfulness-based methods, you can develop the skills you need. Escape dieting and make health-affirming choices that will work in your 60’s—and for your entire life.

If you're interested in picking up your own copy of The Weight Escape from Amazon, click here!