It was never my style to try to convert clients or friends or anyone to super healthy diets. I remember being exposed to this plenty as a nutrition student and for a hot minute I absolutely was a bit carried way with my health kick. Phew, glad that phase is over. I understand the diet mentality and all the rules and games it comes with. Breaking up with it I promise is the best thing you'll ever do. And not to say this is the "RIGHT" way to eat. It's just a free way to eat. A joyful way to eat. A way to eat that I truly believe in.
Like I tell my clients, breaking up with dieting is like breaking up with a boyfriend. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll go back to him even though he treats you like crap. But eventually, you’ll get over it. You’ll meet someone else and wonder how you were ever with someone who made you so fiercely doubt your self-worth, who made you feel like you needed fixing. You’ll find food freedom and you’ll never look back. Now I want to tell you a few things I did and that I've witnessed others do that can help you get to the mindset that is so worth the journey.
Quit weighing yourself. Just throw the scale in the trash. I gladly offer to babysit my clients' scales, free of charge! I know that feeling of "needing" to know your weight, but truly for what? Your self-worth is not up to the scale. You likely wouldn't even notice the weight fluctuations if it wasn't for the scale. The numbers game is just not worth playing.
Clean out the closet. When I was eating really "healthy" all the time, I wasn’t at my natural set weight. Letting this true weight become established is one of the most compassionate things your can do for your body. It is worth the challenge to stop fighting your body. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good. Our bodies are meant to change. If we fail to change along with the natural progressions, then we are setting ourselves up for constant discontent.
It's okay to not clean your plate. If eating something super satisfying isn't something you're used to then of course it's easy to finish every last morsel (maybe even in record timing!). It's natural to want what you can’t have. As you start eating things (ahem, your favorite foods) on a more consistent basis, it will become so much easier, even natural to listen to your fullness cues and stop eating, even if there is food still on the plate.
Let someone else make food decisions. I hear a lot of my clients say things like " I just wish I could eat like so and so. They eat so normally." Lose the control and follow the lead of "normal eaters." Go to the restaurants your friends or significant other chooses. Explore the menu. Try something new. Can be scary yes, but it's about getting out of that comfort zone that's holding you hostage.
Let the rules go. Work on letting food back in. Do you really not like dairy, or is it something telling you that you don't like dairy? Make your food choices for YOU. The mind body connection is so important with overcoming this. We can actually affect how we metabolize food and absorb nutrients just by the mentality we have when eating it. Think about actually enjoying ice cream without any guilt whatsoever, without thinking about how you’re going to adjust your gym routine tomorrow to compensate. Ah, the beauty!
Get real with exercise judgement. Move when you want to move. Let it be on your terms. If you don't want to work out for a week, don't. It's okay to have lazy days and it's okay to engage in physical activity that doesn't make you sweat. Pushing our bodies to extremes, not listening to them, and having stress about missed work outs honestly probably outweighs the pros to the exercise in the first place. When things don't feel like a punishment, you will likely naturally want to experiment with new activities. You may even discover a new hobby!
Surround yourself with like-minded people and media. They say you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Fill your life with people that inspire you. If the gossip magazines are triggering, don't buy them. Assess your social media content. Unfollow the people who just don't add value. Ignorance is sometimes bliss, especially in this case. Out of sight, out of mind.
Stop the overcompensation. I stopped telling myself I wanted something super duper healthy Monday morning just to make up for a weekend of ample eating and drinking. Sometimes we need to break from the rigidity of routine. If eating the same thing every day is your safety net (maybe because you know exactly what’s in it, including the calorie count), challenge yourself to eat out! Life is about balance and truly engaging in it will bring you so much joy.
Live this life for you. Don’t let it pass you by for all the wrong reasons. Eat like no one’s watching!