One day my mom came to pick my son up and she attempted to casually ask my opinion on a popular diet/workout program that some of her friends do. The fact that I did not burn the house down shows immense growth on my part because she and I have had this conversation often. I sat there wondering why she still wasn't getting it and then she said "but you won't tell me what to eat, I don't know how to lose weight". And that is when it struck me, none of us are getting it. We are overstimulated by the media, marketing, and even our friends with how we're supposed to eat, look, and feel. In honor of my mother and in honor of all of you I am going to share one of the greatest secrets in the industry. The moment you let go of the diet mentality you will end your struggle with weight and food once and for all. You see, we are practicing a diet mentality even when we are not dieting. Like my mom, so many people will tell me they don't know how to eat yet they will fret over something "bad" they ate for hours after; these same people will label their food and themselves good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, should and should not, yet they'll say they don't know how to eat.
Some research suggests that we learn human psychology as early as nine months old, I think it becomes blaringly apparent in middle school when we really start being aware of the wants and needs of others. An important lesson we learn at that age comes with our middle school crushes, people want what they can't have. Dieting has that kind of an impact on our psychology. Dieting is what has kept you from reaching your goals. Dieting is what created your vicious cycle of lose and gain, success and failure. Dieting has a 95% FAILURE rate, yet we still believe we are the problem. You should eat whatever you want. In fact, you should give yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever you want.
In order to truly give up this diet mentality you are going to have to first let go of the idea that the next big thing is going to be your meal ticket out of this (pun intended). You have to let go of all hope that someone is going to hand you the magic formula. Once you've got that down, you should get angry. Get angry that you have been told, shown, and convinced that you are the problem. I get it, I really do. I spent the majority of my life in a bad relationship with food and I had the immune system to prove it. Once I started mending that relationship I started mending my immune system (and my emotional being) too.
So what do I eat now that I've mended that relationship? Whatever I want. By listening to my body and actively paying attention to it I found that I feel best when I eat three meals a day. I feel best when I eat things that had once walked, swam, grew or flew. I feel best and my skin looks best when I drink water. How much water, you ask? The answer to that starts with how much water do you drink now? If it is none, start with one. If it is one, start with three. It is the belief that you have to overthrow your entire life and give up everything you love that has held you back.
You can't do it because you love food? I love food, too! Food is amazing, it can be fun and artistic, it's delicious and it has the ability to bring people together. I want you to love your food, I just want you to learn to let it love you back. Don't be so hard on hunger either. When I am hungry I eat, no conditions, no questions asked. Hunger is not something to be embarrassed by, annoyed by or something you should would to suppress. Hunger is a primal instinct, and you cannot override that (at least not long term); and why would you want to?! It should be celebrated that our bodies are so amazing and capable that they can relay the message of need to us.
If you are still sitting there thinking I am crazy, think of it like this: I have no skin in this game. I will make exactly zero dollars off of you giving up dieting and eating regular food. I've got nothing to gain except surround myself with people who have learned to live better, happier and healthier.
Sweat & Smiles,