The last time I dieted I was 17.
I had no idea what I was doing and no education at all on how to eat, even though I was just weeks from finishing 15 years of school and 15 years of dance training.
No one told me how to be healthy—only how to be skinny.
I despised restricting calories and not eating what I wanted. Despised! I would have preferred to eat what I wanted and throw it up, rather than not eat it at all, and so I did.
Around age 25 I was on a dance team training for a world championship in Vegas. We were number 1 in Australia, but we were all asked to diet. You see, we were too heavy, despite how many hours of dance we did each day.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t diet. And 2 weeks before the world championships, they pulled me off the team.
Dieting is not my thing! No matter the cost. Truth is, I’d rather be fat than diet. So I had no dance team, and I got fat and sick. Quite a sacrifice, hey? To give up all that just to continue eating what I wanted…
Are you any different? Are you living with your dream body to the detriment of your health and well-being? Or, are you living with a body you dislike in order to eat what you want? Funny how we weren’t taught we could have a thriving, sexy body and health all at once, hey? Do you think it’s possible?
I’m here to tell you and show you that it is. I am living this way today, and have been for the last 8 years—and so are my daughter and stepson, and their Dad for that matter. I have some tips for you how to do the same:
Eat What you Love
My family and I enjoy every meal that passes our lips. That doesn’t mean I spend tireless hours cooking while my daughter has to entertain herself; rather, it means we love simple, whole foods. Eating fresh, ripe pineapple sprinkled with coconut sugar as a whole meal, for example, or a banana and raspberry smoothie with greens from the garden. Simple. Delicious. That’s the key. This way, you’ll love eating, look forward to mealtime, and build a healthy bond with food.
Address the Actual Issue
Diet programs tell us what to eat, but lack of knowledge is rarely the reason we fail. When I eat out and order chips, it’s not part of a plan; it’s a response to not having planned anything. You may turn to chocolate when you haven’t eaten much in a day. You may turn to high-fat foods when you actually need emotional comfort. Find the issue and meet that need instead. If you can predict the issue, then plan ahead and address it instead of turning to junk food.
Eat Before you Leave the House
We know that understanding healthy nutritional options is only part of our choice—it helps to bring awareness to some other factors. Our environment is especially influential. If your home is filled with a certain food, it is likely you will eat that food. If the shops near your work sell junk, you’ll need to be prepared with better options. And your environment is social too—what are your friends, family and partner eating? Which situations will make wise nutritional choices challenging? Eating a nourishing, fulfilling meal before you head out changes the game. If you’re satiated nutritionally, then cravings won’t win. Try it.
Making Conscious Choices
Our food choices stem from our history, our stories, the advertisements we see, and ingrained habits. Stay away from advertising in all its forms, and keep awareness on yourself. We may not always be conscious of the stories driving our behaviour, but we can play with our patterns. If you’re craving junk foods, it’s more than likely you’ve not had enough nutrients or calories. Enjoy healthy foods that you love in abundance—unrestricted—and reap the benefits of a craving-free life.
I used to have a salad and a Magnum and think that one balanced out the other. It doesn’t. A standard salad is usually a piece of lettuce with a couple slices of a chosen vegetable and some fat drizzled on top. That does not suffice! That’s why I wanted the Magnum (honestly, I actually wanted 3 Magnums and allowed myself 1 to 2). Once I began eating more fruit and bigger meals in general, I completely stopped the insane self-talk and began reaping the benefits of a nutrient-rich body, and a calm mind that’s not in constant survival-mode.
All you Need is Love—and a Heap of Fruit
In the past, all my attempts at diets came from a place of dieting to be good enough. Talk about setting myself up to fail. Here’s a better way: decide from now on that you love to eat foods that nourish your every cell and desire. If you would like to read a book that explores how to apply these ideas to your diet and self-care, click HERE.
Now I’d like to hear from you! Which idea will you be implementing today?