I dieted for 22 flocking years! Twenty-two. What a waste of a my best years. What a waste of my energy. What a waste of my spirit.
The deprivation. The disconnection. The depression. The constant feeling of failure.
The scale that owned me. The mirror that mocked me. The cute clothes that shunned me. The wagon I jumped on, and off until I just wanted to drive it full speed over the side of a cliff.
I wish I could tell my 17 year old self to steer clear of the dieting trap.
I wish I had known that the confusion I found myself in, and the fad diets I found myself on, were all designed to fail me, and make me a slave to the outside world.
I wish I could tell my 17 year old self to run as far from conventional nutrition advice that I could.
I wish I knew that those diets were designed to make me care more about my appearance than my character. They were designed to make me feel like my looks would dictate my happiness.
They were about superficiality, not substance. And maybe that is the real reason I hated myself on a diet. Aside from feeling deprived and disconnected, I never felt like myself.
I wish I could tell my 17 year old self that feeding my ego would never really change me, while feeding my soul would transform my life.
Here are the 8 unexpected changes that I have experienced since I turned my focus from weight and diets, to health.
- I became a learner. A devoured books about food, health and mindset. I sought out unconventional information. I surrounded myself with people and doctors that were talking a different language. I discovered a new conversation, and engaged in a new way of thinking about food, my body, my thoughts, my attitude, and my emotions that determined my wellness. You see, when you start doing the challenging inner work, when you open your mind to learning new things, you realize how much you don’t know about the world and yourself. It is humbling to realize that a belief you held tightly to for your entire life was untrue, or could simply be shifted to create a new story. It is fascinating to realize how your beliefs and thoughts create your reality. It is empowering to find out that you can create yourself, and become whomever you want to be no matter what your past is. It is enlightening to break free from a culture that breeds so much unhappiness, anxiety, and disconnection.
- I improved all of my relationships. I literally fixed my miserable marriage. If you want to know just how broken that marriage was read my blog “How I stopped hating my husband.” My shift to respectful and nourishing eating transformed the relationship I had with myself. Suddenly it wasn’t about gorging, then starving myself because I hated my body, it was about respect and nourishment because I loved my body. And when the foundation of your self is based in love and respect, it becomes the base for all your relationships.
- I became more mindful and present. Or maybe I should say, I became aware of how mindless and not present I was in my life. This is the attribute that requires the most conscious effort for me today.
- I became a grateful person. I am so grateful for delicious healthy food, clean water, my kitchen/home and my local grocery stores. I know that sounds crazy, but it isn’t when you stop and really think about it. Half the people in this world are starving, the other half is trying to lose weight. Yes, you need to really think about that. We have major consumption issues in this country. We consume too much stuff, and we are consumed by that stuff. Many have everything they need, yet they are not happy, so they seek to acquire more. When in actuality, life is about experiences and relationships which are the first things to go in our faithful pursuit of big houses, fancy cars, and designer clothes. I recognized that I was so lucky to have access to healthy food, clean water, and a home to cook in, and I had no right taking that for granted, or complaining about anything, when so many people in this world have so little.
- I became more compassionate and forgiving. This is remarkable. I spent a life time trying to do everything “right.” I followed all the school rules, church rules, and life rules. I did what I was told. I rarely made waves. I rarely questioned anything. This made for little flexibility in my life. It also made me hold myself to an unattainable standard. Funny thing happens when you try to be perfect. You expect everyone else to be perfect too. When you follow certain life rules, you expect others to do the same. In this scenario, there is little room for mistakes, and differences, which means there is no room for growth. So I traded in my perfection identity for growth and the evolution of the self. And this began by recognizing my own faults, and taking responsibility for the things I chose to think about, and the emotions I chose to feel. Lo and behold, I was perfectly imperfect, and forgiving and compassionate towards myself. And when you are forgiving and compassionate towards yourself, you guessed it, that translates in how you treat others.
- I am in awe of the human body. Most people spend their time fighting disease, or worrying about disease, or just feeling like shit. I spent a long time never connecting all the dots between what I ate, what I thought, and what I felt, and what resulted within my body. The more I studied and learned about the human body, the more I understood the ecosystem within us and outside of us. I don’t think of disease as some scary genetic disorder I may get. I look at our most common diseases as a disruption within our ecosystem. The body is not functioning as it should which leads to dis-ease, or lack of ease. And I believe in many, if not most cases, we have the power to reactivate our systems to work as they should.
- I am in complete awe of the natural world. I am mesmerized by it’s beauty, it’s force, it’s wrath, it’s magic, and it’s selfless attempt to sustain our lives. The fact that this may seem strange to people astounds me. The fact that we do not realize that we are an extension of the earth, and that we are all one big natural, beautiful, synchronistic ecosystem, upsets me. The fact that both our bodies, and our planet are crying out for help, and we are ignoring them, infuriates me. I am not sure what more needs to happen to prove that we have lost our way. When I discovered true health, I became aware of the intimate connection we have with our environment. I now see how we affect our environment, and how our environment affects us. Every food culture has its roots, literally, in the land in which they reside. Unfortunately, America’s food culture is rooted in stress, mindlessness, disconnection and our lifeless food that is produced for profit, not health. The bottom line is that I care deeply for all of creation, and I know there is nothing more important to prioritize. WE are nothing without our health, and we are nothing without this planet. Feeding your soul, means feeding the soul of the earth. Because when we truly nourish and respect ourselves, we are also nourishing and respecting our planet.
- I became powerful, passionate and fearless. I spent 22 years thinking health was about weight, and going on countless diets in order to look a certain way. I was externally motivated instead of internally motivated. Which meant I was doing it for external reward, affirmation and validation. Then one day I shifted from weight to health, which had far more meaning for me. I went in pursuit of knowledge. I became curious and I questioned everything I thought I knew. I questioned my own identity, to reinvent my self. Slowly, I started shedding the cultural weight, illness, attitude, fears, and mindset that has been on my shoulders for decades. I realized food was SO much more than calories, fats, proteins and carbs. Food became about my health, my intentions, my family, my relationships, my energy, my vibrance, my passion, my purpose, and my planet. I realized it all was so much bigger than me, and my vanity. My choices matter and affect the world. My choices affect my children’s health, lives, and future. My choices can help save the ocean, animals, bees, butterflies, and the planet. My choices matter, which means I MATTER.
You and your choices matter too. And you are so much more than a number on a scale.
Of course, I lost weight on this journey too. And I completely healed my allergies, IBS, migraines, and chronic sinus infections. I rarely get sick any more. And as great as these physical results are, they honestly don’t hold a candle to the rest of it.
You see, when you continue to feed your ego, no matter what the results, you get everything associated with your fragile external shell; emptiness, highs and lows, insecurity, low self-esteem, and a desperate need for external validation and approval.
When you feed the soul, you get everything associated with your soul; fulfillment, meaning, authenticity, confidence, fearlessness, pride, and a strong sense of self. The world stops affecting you like it did. People stop influencing your happiness, and YOU have the power to change everything and anything, every single day of your life.
Maybe you are like I was, you hate yourself on a diet but you know you are not at your best. You want to live life to it’s fullest, and you want to raise healthy kids that care about things that matter. You want to break free from the dieting trap.You want to live more authentically, fearlessly and powerfully.
I invite you to take the road less traveled. I invite you down my path starting September 14. While most weight loss programs focus only on how much you physically shrink, I focus on changing your mind, and your personal growth. Find out more about my Healthy Life Club here.