We spoke to la Flamme, who is the founder of Pleasurable Weight Loss, a feminine approach to losing weight, about how to redefine the way we think about weight loss to make it sustainable and actually enjoyable. Change the way you diet and exercise and you’ll change your body.
SheKnows: What is pleasurable weight loss, and maybe more important, can weight loss actually be pleasurable?
Jena la Flamme: Weight loss actually has to be pleasurable or it isn't sustainable. We're either in stress mode (when we store fat) or relaxation (when our hormones are optimized and fat burning is turned on). Stressful diets are crazy. Anything that's stressful will put you into a stress response. Additionally, most women are lacking pleasure — both while they eat and in their general lifestyle. Pleasurable weight loss is about finding those things that are pleasurable and using them create a healthier lifestyle. It starts with a mindset and then it becomes physical.
SK: Why do a lot of women have so many issues with sticking to a diet or healthy lifestyle choice?
"True pleasure is to find what gives you pleasure now, in a day, in a week, in a month, and a year."
JLF: They're lacking pleasure. We've been raised to think of pleasure as a reward for hard work. It's a once-in-a-while treat, rather than realizing pleasure is a biological requirement. Additionally, a lot of people really feel guilty about pleasure. They don't go the extra mile to find out what does give them pleasure. If you've grown up in a stressful environment, pleasure can feel really foreign.
Through evolution, all organisms have evolved to move toward pleasure and away from pain. We're metabolically programmed to get the sensory experience of eating and if we don't get that sensory part, our body is still hungry. We think we can control the body, but our body is stronger than our mind, and in terms of evolution, it’s older too. Don't back your body into a corner because your body's been so deprived of pleasure while you eat, and make it a priority to have a really pleasurable meal.
SK: Is it bad to have a stringent exercise and health routine, since for a lot of us exercising isn’t hugely pleasurable?
JLF: Stringent for who? If your body is having a good time out of it versus "Oh, I hate it, but if I just read a book on the treadmill or listen to my iPod it’ll go by faster,” it’s going to be more productive. You're not going to lose weight pleasurably by sitting on the couch. But the feminine body might prefer dancing, yoga or tennis or something playful and active. There's got to be something that will work if you're curious enough to find something that will work.
SK: How do you find that activity that works for you?
JLF: Use your curiosity to find these pleasurable activities (pole dancing, hula hooping, finding ways to connect with other women), and stay open to what's in your neighborhood, what's convenient, and what your friends are into — trial and error [is a large part of it].
SK: A lot of people have already given up on their new year's resolutions to be healthier — what can they do to get back on the horse?
A lot of times, [women’s] pleasure often gets lumped into one area — food. To make eating more pleasurable and to facilitate weight loss, use these actionable tips:
JLF: I would say rather than focusing on the [individual resolution], shift your focus from the goal to the environment (or what I call the ecology). Imagine you have a rainforest plant and it says, "Hey, I want to live in the desert," but then it withers and dies. Why? There wasn't a support system that would support its goals.
What will support your goals?
SK: Are exercise trends detrimental?
JLF: I always tell my clients to "diversify your pleasure portfolio." If you find something you love, don't leave it behind because of the herd. One definition that I use is to define true pleasure and counterfeit pleasure: "True pleasure is to find what gives you pleasure now, in a day, in a week, in a month, and a year" versus “Counterfeit pleasure: I ate a pint of ice cream; I drank a bottle of wine — but in an hour you have a sugar headache; in a day you're bloated; in a week, you've gained 5 pounds.” Have a long-term view of pleasure and look for things that give you sustainable pleasure.
More weight loss tips for women
The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and the author alone. They do not reflect the opinions of SheKnows, LLC or any of its affiliates and they have not been reviewed by an expert in a related field or any member of the SheKnows editorial staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on the Site are not a substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on SheKnows. SheKnows does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.