It's no surprise that dieting for long-term weight loss, doesn't work. We know this by study after study showing that over 95% of people who lose weight on a weight loss diet, will gain the weight back in less than 3 years (if you can keep it off that long to begin with). Most people gain the weight back within a few months, truth be told. I have worked with so many clients that are frustrated and ready to give up all together after being through the dieting-weight loss-cycle over and over again.
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Feed Your Mind
Ok, I'm going to get a bit personal here, but I'm sure all the women who read this post will appreciate the sentiment. When I go through PMS, it's like the gates of hell have been opened. Nothing satiates me and nothing makes me feel better. Everything could be going perfectly in my life, but when that week comes, all I can think about is leaving my sweet life behind and running off to join the circus. I want to change everything and in that week, and everything I once thought was great, fails to measure up to the "code red standard of excellence". My husband's not good enough, my jobs not good enough, my performance isn't good enough, my body, my looks and in the end, me. I become good not enough.
Have you ever looked through a magazine and wished you looked like the people you saw, noticed billboards of perfect bodies as you're driving, or compared yourself to the models in the posters you see as you walk through the mall?
Have you ever noticed how perfect these models appear to be and wondered to yourself "how could I look like them"? Have you thought "I'd be happy if I only looked like that"?
Have you ever heard someone say "I'd rather eat unhealthy and be happy, than eat healthy and be miserable"?
I find it very interesting that people assume they would be miserable eating healthy foods and happy to eat foods that harm them. Although people will say something like “at least I’ll die happy” and laugh it off, I don’t truly believe that this is what they want. The last time I checked, and correct me if I’m wrong, no one in the world has ever said “I absolutely love being on my high blood pressure medication, these statins are amazing, I feel great”! People who are sick are generally unhappy about being sick and people who are healthy are generally pretty happy about their health. The phrase “I’d rather be unhealthy and happy than healthy and miserable” is an oxymoron to say the very least. I’ve never met anyone who is chronically sick or dying from a lifestyle related disease that has said how happy they were that they ate a diet that led them to where they are now. No one in their right mind enjoys being sick and feeling unhealthy.
How many times have you gone on a specific diet, lost weight, and gained it all back?
If you're involved in the stock market, I'm sure you've heard all about Weight Watchers soaring prices after Oprah took a 10% stake in the company buying 6.4 million shares and being awarded to buy 3.5 million more. The stock more than doubled in it's worth and she made an estimated 70 million dollars in just one day!
How many times do you look in the mirror and see one more thing that has fallen, drooped, or bulged just a little bit more than it did the last time you looked?
The further we get into the aging process, the faster it seems to go. Now I know that I'm only 26 years old (27 in 3 months), but I have noticed over the past few years that I, am indeed, aging... just like the rest of the world. What, I am not immortal!?
Have you ever been on a diet that claimed to be the "holy grail" of all diets? Have you ever tried so hard to lose weight, get a better body, eat as clean as you possibly could, only to find you fail?
You are not alone.
This year, as in previous years, hundreds of thousands of men and women will make a New Years resolution to lose weight, get fit, and eat better only to find they fail and go right back to their old habits and ways of life. The reason why most of them fail is for one reason alone... they forgot to change their mindset first.
What does Christmas mean to you?
The holidays are among us and there is more cheer, laughter, and love than any other time of the year in most cases. Along with a surplus of joy there is also a surplus of food, and not just an abundance of carrot and celery sticks with extra brown rice and lean chicken breasts, but an array of savoury, sweet, fatty, and salty dishes…usually packed into one delicious meal!
Thanksgiving has just been upon us, and what a beautiful chance to express and reflect on all the gratefulness that seems to escape our minds throughout the year. I love Thanksgiving because I love family get togethers, and I love family get togethers because they are always filled with good food, lots of laughs, and an overabundance of love...all in one dinner!
Have you ever finished a meal only to find yourself snacking half an hour to an hour later? You are not alone! I hear countless stories from clients who have a tendency to snack after they've finished a meal, and most often, this meal is supper. So why are we still grabbing for snacks after we've eaten? Are we really still hungry, did our bodies not get what they needed throughout the day, or is it something else? "What am I doing wrong"!? This is the frantic cry I hear ALL the time. So lets take a look as to why one might be continually snacking or feel like they need to continue eating after a meal, particularly in the evening.
Have you ever been in a situation when you can't figure out what to do? You may be starting up a business, entering into a new job, falling in love, starting to have kids, or experimenting different ways to eat. Whatever you are trying to do will always be accompanied by times and feelings of uncertainty. A lot of people (including myself) don't really care for uncertainty, yet everyone loves a good adventure. We love going on trips or vacations, spontaneity, and the thrills we get when we watch a movie full of suspense. If basically all human beings like a good adventure, then we offhandedly like uncertainty.
Now I don't negate the fact that there are those text book, A type personalities, that read the plots and outcomes of movies before they watch them, they look at dinner menus online before they go out to eat, and they read the last chapter of a fresh new novel before they begin the book, but even those people like a good adventure...they just want to know it's a good adventure before it begins.
The way we can embrace the uncertainty of life is to change the way we view uncertainty. When we look at uncertainty and we change the verbiage to something like "Life Unfolding", we can take a step back and look at the big picture. We are never going to know what's going to happen at every moment in life, but that's the adventure. Some circumstances are not fun, like experiencing illness, or the death of a loved one, losing your job, or going through a divorce, but in every situation Life continues to unfold for us.
Because I deal with people's eating behaviours, I see all kinds of uncertainty when it comes to the foods they eat and the way they consume them. I see uncertainty with the thoughts they have towards themselves or food, and I see uncertainty when we sit in a session together and I tell them to embrace uncertainty. But everyone loves a good adventure.
Eating challenges present us with a chance to view Life Unfolding in a tangible way. When I was bulimic, I used to hate myself after each episode, and although I no longer struggle with an eating disorder, I look at it now as being a teacher and a guide. My behaviours, though damaging both mentally and physically, were actually helping me at the same time. They were a continual wake up call from my body saying that it needed help. This was my experience with Life Unfolding.
What areas of your life cause you anxiety or stress because you're uncertain of the outcome?
What is the uncertainty of each situation trying to convey to you?
Most often, we are challenged with uncertainty because Life is calling us to trust, to have faith, and faith in something greater than just your own self. The interesting thing about trust and faith is that they physiologically put the body into a relaxation response (Ie: Rest and Digest), which is the exact opposite of the Fight or Flight response. When we are in Rest and Digest, we think clearly, we breath slower which increases oxygen to all organs and muscles efficiently, and we can be at our highest metabolic potential. When we are in fear or anxiety, Fight or Flight is turned on and we are no longer in Rest and Digest. Do you think your body could possibly be smart enough to try to get it into a state where it can be at it's most vibrant and healthiest place?? The answer is yes. The body is physiologically beckoning us to trust.
Stress and uncertainty will always present itself, but the more important question is how will present yourself before stress and uncertainty? Will you continue to live in fear, or will you trust that Life is calling you to a higher purpose and trying to convey a higher message?
Hello Readers!! I am happy to announce that I have officially graduated from The Institute for the Psychology of Eating and am a certified Eating Psychology Coach!! With the training from the institute under my belt and as I look forward into the future of my practice, I want to give everyone reading this a clear message of what I am all about as a practitioner, what my mission is, my vision for my practice, what my core thoughts and beliefs are, and what services I provide.
My Mission Statement
I help people understand how their relationship with food is a direct reflection to their relationship with life. To empower and enrich a deeper understanding of oneself, and to elicit powerful changes in the mind, body, and spirit.
I have this overwhelming sense of urgency to get the word out that we have been brainwashed by so many different mediums when it comes to the way we view food and the body. We have been taught to hate it, abuse it, criticize it, starve it, over-work it, and pick it apart piece by piece. The vision I have for my clients, as well as myself, is to help uncover the many lies and toxic thoughts that have been ingrained in us from a very early age, to start to discover the meanings behind the symptoms and challenges we face on a daily basis, and to equip you with simple yet powerful tools and strategies that will transform the body from the inside out.
My Core Beliefs
- Where the mind goes the man follows
- The way we eat is a reflection of how we live and vice versa
- Embracing change creates transformation
- Self chosen stress has to go
- Change comes from being more not doing more
- Quality of food = Quality of life
Where The Mind Goes The Man Follows
- Wherever you allow your mind to wander is exactly where you will go
- If you want to be successful in any area of your life, you have got to change the way that you think about life first and foremost
- Before we "train" our body, we must train the mind first
The Way We Eat Is A Reflection Of How We Live And Vice Versa
- We can tell a lot about ourselves by the way we choose food, and the way we consume food.
- By looking into this avenue, we can identify root problems we have with food and with self.
- Example: If I eat every meal as fast as I can, 9 times out of 10 I am living life at a high speed.
Embracing Change Creates Transformation
- If you cannot embrace change in life, how do you think you're body is going to change shape or health?
- Change is the flow of life. You can see this clearly and evidently through each season. The world constantly changes, it has a rhythm to it and that rhythm is change.
- The way we eat should be constantly changing and evolving through life. If you are under the impression that you should eat the same way forever, you are not going to see the change you want in your body or in your health.
Self Chosen Stress Has To Go
- Because the stress response has such powerful effects on the body, it is of the upmost importance that we rid ourselves of self chosen stress.
- Example: self deprecating beliefs, negativity, an unforgiving attitude, stressful thoughts about the body, the need to be famous or noticed, using exercise as punishment, etc...
- Stress will always present itself but the more important thing is how you present yourself while under stress.
Change Comes From Being More Not Doing More
- Change occurs when we embody, meaning when we are in our bodies. Everyone embodies differently but we disembody by many of the same ways.
- Example: preoccupying our minds with other peoples bodies or lives, comparing ourselves to others, constantly trying to change the body, ignoring the symptoms or challenges we have or by putting a bandaid on them instead of looking for the root causes, by refusing to be aware or present.
Quality Of Food = Quality Of Life
- No matter what you eat, eating the highest quality version of that food will yield powerful results.
- When we take the time to nourish ourselves with high quality food, our lives begin to reflect that quality in the way we conduct ourselves, dress ourselves, the thoughts we think, and the way we treat ourselves and those around us.
- Quality supersedes any diet plan.
- one-on-one Nutrition Coaching in person or over Skype
- Group meetings or lunch and learns for corporations
- Speaking at private events or health and wellness seminars
- Customized meal planning for individuality of lifestyle
- Eating Psychology Coaching
- Mood and food, immunity and the diet, chronic dieting, binge eating, over eating, weight gain, fatigue, macronutrient balance, meal timing, stress and weight gain, desires, sexuality, spirituality, and the many aspects of our lives that directly effect the way we eat.
I want to thank everyone for your continued support and openness to what I talk about. I know it's not as the rest of the world teaches, but I think we can all agree that what we've been doing isn't working. It's time to truly think out of the box!
We continue on with more falsehoods we've been believing for far too long when it comes to our health and well being. Here are your next two points: 5. The Perfect Diet Exists
I hate to break it you, but there is no "holy grail" way of eating. I used to spend hours upon hours of my days researching the "perfect" way to eat. What foods I was allowed to have, what foods were on my "naughty list", what carbs did to the body, how much protein I should consume... I measured everything down to the oz. and every calorie of food was accounted for, even my chewing gum.
My goal was to find the absolute perfect diet. A diet where I wouldn't crave sugar or caffeine, where I would have the energy and stamina of a teenager, where I would have the most optimal digestion and never have stomach pain, or bloating, where my skin would be clear all the time, my sleep would be the perfect 8 hours and I would always feel rested, and where my weight would just naturally float down to what I envisioned to be the perfect size and shape. This was my mission, and I chose to accept it.
What I found out was very different then what I thought I would though. I never found the perfect diet because the perfect diet doesn't exist. No matter what I tweaked or changed, or how many carbs I cut out, no matter how much dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts, soy, you name it, that I didn't consume, I still experienced fatigue, bloating, digestive complaints, restless sleep, and weight that would initially come off but go right back on again. I used to think that "If I was just more Paleo, or if I just didn't eat that piece of bread, or have those extra almonds" that I would finally achieve nutritional enlightenment, but what I found out was there is no absolute in the way we eat.
We get really down on ourselves when we can't follow a specific plan that we think will change our world forever. "Why can't I just stay on this stupid plan, why is it so hard to not have milk on my cereal instead of almond milk"? These diets seem simple enough, and basic to say the least, so why are they so unsustainable? The answer:
The one constant we have in life is change. We are continuously evolving everyday. Our age changes, our moods change, our interests change, our minds change, so why don't we allow the way we eat to change? Well you can be certain that you have changed the way you eat, and will continue to change the way yo eat. I'm fairly certain you don't drink milk from your mothers breast anymore, nor do you eat baby food...unless you're on the "baby food diet" ;)
Our diet changes when we are sick, when we are training for an event, as we age, it's dependent on our geographic location, the season... Our diets where never meant to stay stuck on one program. Staying on a specific meal plan for the rest of your life means you are resisting the need for your spirit, soul and body to evolve. You are defying your own biology when you dig your heels down and call yourself "Paleo, Low Carb, Vegan, Vegetarian", etc. Do I think any of these strategies are wrong or bad in any way, no, on the contrary I think they are all fantastic, but what if those diets weren't meant to be taken so literally. What if we are actually supposed to take components of each, experiment, have fun, and incorporate each system in accordance to where we are at in life and then move on when it's time to move on?
I encourage you to experiment with different methods of eating but not to go into extremity. Extremity in anything never works out well because we put a plug on change. We deafen to where life is calling us and where we need to accept change. Where to stay and where to move are all hindered when we go into extremes. There is no perfect diet, there is only the best way for you to eat on any given day, and that's going to be subjective to your environment and how you respond to that environment.
6. Organic Means Healthy
I am an advocate of eating sustainably and humainly raised foods. I believe in eating foods that aren't genetically modified, processed and refined, or manufactured for mass consumption. That being said, just because a food product says it's organic doesn't mean that it's necessarily healthy for you.
For example, look at Tostitos chips. They are made with hydrogenated fats and are a refined carbohydrate. They aren't the healthiest option to say the least. Now they have come out with chips that are "baked" and ones that are "wholegrain". This may make the chips seem healthier but they are still the same food. The same goes for organic labels on packaged foods. You can buy a package of cookies but organic sugar is still sugar, organic wheat flour is still wheat flour, they all have the same effects in the body.
Yes, the standard for organic is higher than its counterpart, but it's important to really read the ingredient labels on those foods and take into consideration the amount of processing that's gone into each product. People make the mistake of going into a natural food or health food store and thinking everything is fair game, everything must be good for them because it says organic. This just isn't so.
When choosing fresh produce, nuts, eggs, meat, and diary, I believe organic or locally raised food is definitely 100% the best possible option because of the nutrient value and the way the food was produced. Anything that is pesticide free, herbicide free, sustainably raised, or raw is going to have a much higher nutrient value because of the soil that those vegetables or fruits were grown in, the lack of herbicides and pesticide which strip foods of their value exponentially, and the lack of hormones given to the animals I am choosing to consume, who aren't from feed lot farms feeding on high amounts of corn that goes undigested thus fermenting in their guts. This is why I choose organic or local for these food products.
Anything that is produced for mass consumption, organic or not, is not my first choice. Again, packaged cookies or chips are still cookies and chips. Don't be deceived into believing that everything that says organic means healthy or good for you.
The more I hear about different ways to lose weight, different diets to try to find that "perfect way of eating", or all the miracle pills, powders, surgeries, and strategies to help you finally lose that weight and achieve your full potential, the more I want to take a stand. I'm done being angry about contradicting information in the health industry because it will never go away. One day you'll hear that eating low fat is the way to go, the next day low fat is the worse thing you could do. One day coconut oil is better than anything else, the next day it's not. So with all of the contradicting information we have, what can we TRULY believe?
I will be discussing some of the most common "health" claims you've probably all heard at some point or another and explaining why they can be extremely deceiving and how some them are downright lies we've been fed to keep us unhealthy, overweight, and living in fear.
1. Exercise More + Eat Less = Weight loss
This is probably one of the biggest deceptions that we've been told when it comes to weight loss. And the worst part about it is that 90% of the world believes it. Does exercise burn calories? Yes. Does eating food add calories? Yes. But we are more than just calorie burning machines. We are organic human beings who need more than just a math equation to function optimally. I want everyone to know that I am in favour of movement. The body was created to move and to move beautifully and functionally. What I am not in favour of is how so many of us use exercise. We use it to punish the body into submission when we feel we have an extra pound or two to lose, we exercise out of a place of disgust with our bodies, and we create a stress response that will end up lasting for far too long. This means that the entire time we are exercising, we are creating an even bigger stress response and singling the body to stop the production of lean muscle and to start inhibiting the body of burning fat. If we are in this state, a state of self loath, our negative thinking creates stress in the body. Because exercise is a stress in itself (even though it's a good stress), and overabundance of it is a recipe for disaster. We tend to really go for it in the gym when we feel the need to be somewhere with our bodies, so we push and we push hard. The central nervous system literally takes a beating, the psyche takes a beating, and our hormones take a beating. Mix this with a low calorie diet used to "lose weight", and you have the perfect storm.
When you restrict the body of calories or any nutrients for that matter, the body becomes undernourished on every level and has no other option but to slow down. It slows down the metabolism to utilize the little food it's being given, it slows down the immune system because we aren't getting the vital nutrients we need for it to ward off infection, it slows down the digestive tract, the reproductive system, and it slows down the rate in which we burn fat and build muscle. The body is literally just trying to survive in this state. Not only are we physically undernourished, but we are emotionally and spiritually undernourished. This is itself perpetuates the already raging stress response that's going on.
Anything that puts the body in a stress response will inhibit its ability to shape shift. Period. When I talk to my clients about exercise, I encourage them to adopt the word "movement". Exercise has a very rushed and frantic connotation for most people, but movement gets us to tune into body wisdom and what the body needs specifically each day for each individual. Does that mean I don't agree with going to a gym to workout? Absolutely not. As long as it's for the right reason. Why are you exercising right now? Is it to lose that belly fat, trim your thighs, lift your butt? Or are you doing it for the health of your body? It's ok to want to look good, there's nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward and feel sexy, but when it's done from a place of criticism and judgment, and a place of "not good enough", the body will predictably fight back. You won't lose the weight you want, your body won't change in a sustainable way, and you put your health and your body at risk for injury and disease.
2. No Pain/No Gain
I have lived a life of many struggles, and I always thought (and sometimes still do) that I've got to live life from one struggle to the next. I always thought that if I'm not struggling, I'm not making any progress, that everything has to be a fight. I found out that this was a very toxic belief that I had to purge. What happens in life when we live from one struggle to the next is our perception of success becomes dysfunctional. We then create unnecessary drama so that our situations feel more "normal" for us, and we sabotage our efforts. Consider this postulation though, life is not meant to be a struggle, but a journey.
This became very real for me when I chose to stop lifting weights. I had this no pain no gain mentality where I always had to work really hard, sacrifice my energy and time, my health, or whatever it took just to be "fit". While I continued to live in this routine, my body started to fight back and I gained weight. I would exercise even harder thinking that just a few more sets of exercises or twenty more minutes on the treadmill would do it, but to no avail. When I started to listen to what my body was telling me, I started to slow down (it pretty much forced me to). I started to walk instead of run, and I started doing Pilates. If you know anything about Pilates, you know that although it's not easy, it's defiantly not fast...it's slow...really slow. This was a big leap of faith for me to take. "What if I don't sweat each time, what if I don't feel my legs aching the next day, what if it doesn't make me gasp for air"?!?! These were all the thoughts going through my head. What happened when I finally let go? My body let go. I stopped weighing myself everyday, I stopped restricting my food intake, and I stopped compulsively exercising. I do Pilates 4 times a week, walk a few times a week, and eat food that is high quality and that gives me pleasure. This was my outcome. Needless to say, what I was doing wasn't working for me, and it would have continued to not work for me. It was only after I slowed down and listened to my body that I finally gave it the chance to change.
Another situation that this rang true for me was with the way I ate. I thought that I always had to be on some form of diet or another to truly get the body I wanted. With every diet I tried, I failed. Nothing worked sustainably, and it never would have. I started to eat foods that I enjoyed. Finally I was able to eat what my body truly needed and wanted, and what happened when I let go of my restrictions is that my body naturally gravitated towards certain foods and away from certain foods. I've always eaten healthy but I had all sorts of notions about "good" and "bad" foods. For example, one thing I found out was that my body doesn't like coconut, and that my body likes dairy. I don't care how many Paleo hacks say coconut is the miracle food, for my body, it's not. I react when I eat coconut, but when I cook with butter or cream, I don't get bloated and my tummy doesn't hurt. You tell me who's right, Paleo protocols or my body wisdom? Eating food doesn't have to be a struggle to get your body to where you want it to go. When we have pleasure (and I'll talk about the importance of pleasure in another article), the body switches from a stress response into a relaxation response. Does that mean I'm saying to gorge yourself on cookies and ice cream? No, no I am not, if you think that's what I'm saying, you need to grow up. But the body was designed to receive pleasure. The moral of the story, I work diligently at what I do, but I don't kill myself. I do some form of exercise 5-6 times a week but I don't brake my back to do it. I eat healthy, high quality food that I prepare with love, but I eat what I want and what my body says it needs on any given day. I do not follow one specific diet, I refuse to live in extremity anymore.
It's time we start putting a little more faith and trust in our bodies. It is trying to relay information to you all the time, we are just too busy to give it a word in edge wise. It doesn't matter what any weight loss or diet strategy claims, it won't work if it's going against what your body actually needs. When we put faith in our body wisdom, we activate the relaxation response and turn off the stress response. This just so happens to be the state where the body naturally lets go of unnecessary weight and is able to function optimally on every level.
I think that we can all agree that in today's society, we have never been more overweight, sick, and unsatisfied than we've ever been. We have never had the technology that we currently have, we've never had the recourses that we have, and we over consume food day in and day out. So if we have everything we could possibly need and more, why are we as humans so insatiable? When it comes to our priorities, we are a mess. We place money, fame, and ego at the forefront, and everything else that truly makes up who we are on the back burner. I noticed this while I was walking in the mall the other day. Now I have to admit, I am really into fashion and absolutely love getting new clothes, but I find my insatiability for clothing comes the more I set my first and most important priority on looking good or seeking outward approval.
While looking at Summer 2015 fashion, I noticed that Fall 2015 fashion is already coming out. In fact, they were having "sneak peaks" at Fall 2015 in May! Now I know that in the fashion industry, you have to be "fashion forward", but it's getting ridiculous. While I appreciate Fall fashion as much as the next girl, I also appreciate enjoying the summer as well and not rushing though it. So as I'm trying to enjoy and relax in my Summer attire, I'm being bombarded by consumerism saying that "I need the next best up and coming wardrobe"...for a season that's 4 months away?? This is what I call insatiableness. We are never satisfied with what we have and we are always looking for the next best thing. We are rushing forward and forever living in the future (or the past), but never being here, being in the now. How did we get here?
I guess you could blame a lot on the media, and sure, the media plays a key role, but I believe it's our priorities. The trouble we face when we simply blame the media, is that we take zero responsibility for our own actions and behaviours and pin the accountability on someone or something else. The truth is that no one can make you feel or do anything, you consciously or subconsciously make the choice to allow or permit others to make you feel a certain way or do certain things.
The outcome of insatiability can come in many different circumstances and vary according to behaviour and mindset. Someone who puts their first priority on outward approval may chronically over exercise and in turn will become insatiable with that particular action. They are never strong enough, fast enough, thin enough, etc. Their diets reflect their insatiability by displaying extremity and an eternal dissatisfaction. They can never find the "right diet" and will be forever searching of new ways to cleanse and rid their bodies of toxins they believe they have all in efforts to achieve the "perfect body" and gain the worlds approval.
We all want people to like us or "approve of us" to some extent or another, but when we place our first priority on it, we become insatiable. Money can be the same, when our first priority is money we predictably become insatiable for it. We never have enough, we always need more. What we place our priorities on will become either building blocks for our success or something that will tear down our inner peace and joy for life.
One thing that I find interesting is that when I am done writing a blog, helping a client, or having a deep and meaningful conversation with someone, I don't feel or leave "hungry". In fact, I leave full. Full of life, full of energy, full of compassion, and ready to take on the world. I feel satiated. How can that be? Because my focus is not on me. When we focus on Me, we live in our ego, and our ego is insatiable. When we focus on others, we live in our spirit instead.
At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what your priorities really are. You have to ask yourself and look deep down inside in the areas you feel insatiable. Are you forever unhappy with your body, with your marriage, with your diet, with your job? If you answered yes, then the problem is not what you're unhappy with, the problem is that your priorities are solely on you.
If you are unhappy, you've made your entire world about you. It revolves around you, the sun rises and sets on you, and you put yourself before anyone else. You blame your unhappiness on what others do or think and you make everything about you. It's time to grow up and see the world for what it is. If you are insatiable in any area, you've missed the mark.
What areas are you insatiable in?
What are your top 3 priorities in life?
Do they contribute or detract from your insatiability?
Our focus needs to be greater than just put own needs being met. We have relationships and community for a purpose, and it's a purpose that's greater than just you. You play a role in society but you aren't the be all and end all of it.
Throughout our lives, we learn lessons. Some people call them Life's Lessons and some call it Soul Lessons, the two are interchangeable. The more work I do on my inner world, and the more I work with clients, and their inner worlds, I see a consistent pattern of this particular Soul Lesson: Letting Go
At some point in time as we go through life, we will have to "let go". We have to let go of relationships that no longer serve us, beliefs that no longer serve us, behaviours, actions, jobs, careers, money, addictions that no longer serve us, and we will eventually have to let go of our lives.
If we do not let go of old ways of thinking and behaving, we forfeit evolution and we forfeit expansion. We will stay in a contracted position and ultimately start to regress. There is no maintenance, there is only progression or regression. The thought of "maintaining" something is like the thought of the "perfect diet" or the "perfect body". We can get stuck in a mindset where we think we can achieve this optimum result and stay there.
This is what happens when people try to follow a specific meal or diet plan for too long. They think that, "If I could just find the holy grail of a way of eating then I will be perfect, my health will be perfect, my body will be perfect, and I will just stay here and never leave or stray or go off my plan. All will be good and I can just maintain my perfect life".
Letting go of the "perfect diet", the "perfect body", the "perfect heath", etc, are all essential for us to evolve into something greater.
Sometimes life is asking us to let go of relationships that no longer serve us anymore. They don't contribute to our Soul's growth, and they don't contribute to our journey. Sometimes, life is asking us to let go of a job that we've worked for years that no longer serves our journey anymore. Whatever it is, it is consistently being asked of us to let go.
The Hard Part
As human beings, we like to give ourselves labels. We like to identify with positions, financial status, the friends we have, the kids we raise, the sports we play, you name it and we will identify ourselves with it. The problem with doing this though is that when we have to let go of something (which is inevitable), we also then tend to feel like we are losing our identity along with letting go. We often see this in situations like when a mother says goodbye to her children when they leave for college, an athlete going through an injury and asked to give up their sport, or the business man who has worked at his career for 20+ years and is now retiring. The mother 'loses her identity" because she identifies solely as a mother, the athlete identifies with being an athlete and the businessman identifies with his job.
If we eventually have to let go though, who do we become, what happens next?
The good news is that when we let go of what Life is asking us to let go of, we can be certain of one thing: we have room to receive, and we have room to expand. Wen we let go of labels and situations, places, people, etc that we find our identity in, we end up finding out who we really are. Your identity is not dependant upon anyone or anything but you. Who are YOU? You could say "well I'm a vegan, or I'm a mom", but that's not your identity, that's the way you eat and that's one of the things that you are, but who are YOU?
Life will always ask you to let go of labels and with the things you identify with. It's not because life is mean and the world sucks, it's because Life is asking you to evolve. We lose our jobs, our kids move out, we get injured, because Life is trying to get our attention, and it's asking us to find our true identity. When everything else seems to crumble and fall around us, Life is showing us who we really are.
What labels are you identifying with?
What kind of person are you inside?
What are some of the labels you need to let go of and what are some positive words you can start to identify with?
Some of the words I identify myself with are these:
Bold, courageous, forgiving, giving, faithful, loyal, creative, healthy, caring, intuitive, worthy, successful, a force to be reckoned with...
It's time we stop identifying with the things that will pass away, and start to create a new identity in the things that will remain forever.
For as long as I can remember, I have been on the go. Forever on a mission to "do something". I am always looking for the next goal to accomplish, the next certification to get, the next job, the next whatever. My days consisted of working out for as long as my body could stand, working for as long as my body could stand, and partying, eating, drinking, smoking, and so on...for as long as my body could stand. Almost 5 years ago I felt the urge to "rest" more. I didn't know what that looked like though. Rest? Who has time for that?! How would you get anything done? When I thought of rest, I became uneasy and agitated. Rest meant being still, and being still meant I actually had to sit alone with my thoughts and stand confronted with everything a busy schedule hid in the dark. When the body becomes fatigued, we fight tooth and nail to "fix" our fatigue problems. We will take vitamins, supplements, injections, and any other prescription drug we can get our hands on that promises us more energy. The thing about energy though is this:
Energy cannot be created, nor can it be destroyed.
This is The Law of the Conservation of Energy. We learnt about it in science class and it is a fundamental truth. If energy can't be created or destroyed, why are we synthetically trying to gain "more" energy? Human beings are not machines, we are organic and we need time to rest. The body can only do so much and the psyche can only handle so much. When we run ourselves to the ground in all manner of ways, the body fights back and displays fatigue. FATIGUE then is not the issue, its the solution. Instead of looking at our fatigue as a beautiful gift, we look at it as a problem that we need to get rid of. We fight it, resist it, and try to mask it with substance, and by doing so we cause even more fatigue.
I say fatigue is a beautiful gift because it helps us to slow down. When we are fatigued, we are forced to take a step back and look at our lives. This is a beautiful gift. When we are fatigued, the body has no other option but to slow down it's pace which then causes us to be present not only in our bodies, but in our lives as well. I have said this numerous times to family, friends, and clients, being overworked and busy is a badge of honour in our society, predominantly in the West. I was at a work function for health professionals and the trainers who were awarded with the highest esteem were the ones who worked painfully long hours and sacrificed their lives for the almighty dollar. This is success? This is health? What has the fitness industry come to? And as a health professional, I disagree now. I disagree with overworking yourself, I disagree with sacrificing your most valuable asset (your time), just to make money. Does this mean that I don't think people should work? Of course not. But I think we have been deceived.
We have been made to believe that the more we do, the more we gain. This is only half the truth. What I have learnt is that less is more. By doing less, I get more. By letting go, I gain more, by giving I end up receiving, and he I withhold I end up losing everything. I believe in being the person you were created to be, by doing a good job at what you do, following your passion, and ever evolving into something greater, being something greater each day. But that doesn't mean running your body into the ground or racing through life and missing out on it all the while.
Since I started to adopt a slower paced living style, I have lost weight (by walking and doing Pilates instead of killing myself at the gym everyday), I am able to contribute fully to my relationship with my fiancé like never before, I get more school work done, I am better at my job, I make better choices when I eat, I sleep better, my digestion is better, I am happier, I am not always hungry, and I have energy. By doing less, by moving slower, I gained my life back.
Fatigue is a beautiful gift. Without my wonderful body screaming at me with fatigue as a plea to change, my life would still be turbulent. We must not fight our fatigue but welcome it with open arms. Fatigue says "look, I need to get your attention, something isn't right, you need to heal"! I finally get why I need to rest and to stay in a place of rest. When we are asleep, the body heals. When we are at rest, the body heals. If you have any kind of unwanted symptom that you need healing from, you need to be in a place of rest. You need to get out of striving in order to get what you want and what you need. You need to let yourself be fatigued in order to heal.
Treating fatigue means treating it with honour, and trust. It means giving fatigue room to expand and to show you things about your life and about how you use your time. What is your fatigue telling you? What areas of your life are draining you and what areas of your life energize you? What areas of your life are you controlling out of fear? What feelings or realities are you afraid of if you slow down? Take the time to honestly answer these questions and give yourself permission to slow down and most importantly, give yourself permission to live.
I'm sure I can speak for most women, and more recently men as well, that dieting has drawn you in one or more times in your life. I used to religiously diet on and off for years. From the age of 18-25 I have been on some type of "special" diet. High protein, low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat, low protein, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, ketosis, pescetarian, cabbage soup, elimination diets, you name it, I've tried it.
This is my consensus, which one is the best? All of them and none of them. Which one works? All of them and none of them. Which one would I recommend? All of them and none of them (but particularly none of them). All of these diets will work and then all of these diets will fail. You will for sure lose weight, and you will absolutely gain it back. Chronic dieting (CD), is a virus that is sweeping the nations and has been "winning" for the past 5 decades.
Chronic Dieting Definition:
Someone whose world is ruled by constant, long term, on and off dieting and food restriction.
Chronic Dieting is:
Chronic Dieting demeans us, it keeps us small, affirms that we are not enough, that we are unlovable, it disembodies us, and is a waste of our Life energy. If dieting worked, why would we need to be on them continuously? "There is absolutely zero clinical or experimental or accepted research that validates long term on and off dieting as a sustainable weight loss strategy".
The truth is that dieting may seem to make sense, but we have been deceived into believing that something that causes so much harm to the body is actually good for us. CD is a gateway drug to shame, it takes us out of the present and puts us into an unattainable future. CD makes us believe we are a part of a special social club, it's like a competitive sport. It makes us feel like we have something to work towards, and yet our goals are rarely reached or barely maintainable.
CD is it's own religion. It has it's own set of rules, it asks a lot of us, it asks us to have faith, and we must perform daily rituals to meet the requirements of it. Religion of any sort binds you. Relationship is the antidote for religion, whether with soul, spirit, body, or food.
CD causes unwanted health challenges. "A great number of food and health issues, such as fatigue, poor digestion, low mood, immune problems, headaches, constipation, binge eating, inability to lose weight, and more"...
CD is anti-weightless because of protein and essential fat deficiency that usually follow the protocols. CD or food restriction puts the body into survival mode and creates a stress response. When the stress response is activated our digestion is impaired because blood is shunted away from the stomach and towards the extremities to prepare the body to fight or flee.
Increased stress means:
- Increased: cortisol, insulin, fat deposition, neuropeptide signalling for appetite
- Decreased: mitochondria number and function, thyroid, growth hormone, sex hormone, oxygen intake and utilization, muscle building
More often than not, when we CD we cut out fat because we are made to believe that fat makes us fat. This couldn't be further from the truth. We NEED fat, without any fat on our bodies we would die. We need EFA's in our diet to promote cell function, brain cognition, hormone production, thyroid support, vitamin absorption, brain nutrition, plasticity, weight management, and more. We often tend to cut out protein which leads to decreased muscle building, decreased thermic efficiency, decreased immunity, brain chemistry imbalances, low mood, low energy, low vitality, low sex drive, etc.
If you are struggling with unwanted eating habits such as:
You are in luck! One of the major keys to overcoming unwanted eating challenges is to discontinue chronic dieting. These challenges are predictable when we restrict the body's natural appetite, when we artificially feed our bodies, or when we are calorically or nutritionally starving. Something like binge eating is absolutely necessary when the body is deprived of necessary macronutrients or micronutrients.
We spend so much time and energy dieting, hating our bodies, trying to find the "right" way, all while failing to tune into our bodies own wisdom. Your body knows what to eat and what not to eat. It knows how much to eat and when to stop. We need to trust that the body knows what it's doing. When we are in a state of trust or faith, we kick the body into a relaxation response, which is the opposite of the stress response. Parasympathetic dominance takes over when we trust and sympathetic dominance takes over when we are in fear. Fear of food, fear of fat, fear of pleasure...all activate sympathetic dominance (aka: stress response).
Here are a few remedies for chronic dieting:
- No weighing yourself
- No dieting
- Adopt movement, let go of exercise
- Increased fat intake- as needed
- Increased protein intake- as needed
- Slow down with food
- Fully nourish yourself
- Let go of artificial sweeteners
- Moderate your caffeine intake
I truly believe that we are meant to live an abundant life. We are meant to have space, be able to flow, to create, to use wisdom, to embody, and to overcome. Chronic dieting is the road to contraction and will rob you of your time, energy, and life. It's time to let go of a set of rules and regulations that hold no merit for YOU in particular. You are not a set of systems and guidelines, you are a person with individuality, who needs something specifically for you. I will leave you with this question:
Where would your energy go if it didn't go to dieting or controlling your food intake/body?
*The ideas presented in this blog have been used from my studies at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and Marc David, Founder and Author. Two of his books that information has been taken from that I highly recommend are The Slow Down Diet and Nourishing Wisdom.
I've had this scratching feeling on the inside since I started my studies through The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. The feeling that leaves me so deeply moved to say something is the feeling of being fed up. I'm fed up with all the lies we've been fed and manipulated to believe around food and body, I'm fed up with mass producing companies claiming to be healthy, low fat diets, eating less/exercising more protocols, and focusing on weight loss first before focusing on what's happening inside of us. I'm fed up with a lot, but most of all I'm fed up with people hating their bodies, beating themselves up in the gym, starving themselves, not diving deeper into themselves, tricking, playing, restricting, measuring, weighing, pinching, poking, and dismissing themselves. When will we all get what life is really about? We teach what we need to learn....
I'm at fault too, no one is immune to this way of thinking and behaving, not even me, especially not me. I have been through physical, emotional, and verbal hell against myself when it comes to my body and the way I eat. You name it, I've tried it, all in the name of "something greater". Ask me about any diet, I've done it and I've put countless people on programs just like them, all in attempt to finally be happy. That's the goal isn't it, To happy? Though we continue to learn and progress in our knowledge everyday, this I know for certain:
Happiness is not in the future
Happiness is not in the extra 0-25lbs you want to lose, happiness is not in the gym putting on muscle, it's not in the new shiny car, or in a pair of skinny jeans. Happiness doesn't come when, happiness comes now. This is what we've been made to believe, that happiness will only come when .... you fill in the blank.
I've been so skinny and still hated my body, I wanted to kill myself at one point I hated me so much. I may have been ultra thin but it wasn't because I was the poster child of health (even though that's what I claimed to be). I would workout twice a day and claim to be this big health nut, but then go and sniff coke and throw up everything I ate at the end of the day just to keep my slender figure and my inner world numb. Does that sound like happiness? What kind of life is that? Do you want to live like that if it would mean you were this unrealistic size or shape?
I'm fed up with people believing that every skinny person walking around is the most happy, vibrant, sensual, loving person they can be because more often than not, this couldn't be further from the truth. Does that mean all skinny people are unhappy? Of course it doesn't, that's not what I'm saying, but I am saying that whether skinny or bigger, if you hate your body now you will hate your body then, regardless of it's shape.
There will always be something for you to pick apart when it comes to your body, always. Every time we flip through a magazine or turn on the tv we are reminded of how unworthy we are, not matter what you look like. There's always someone who's thinner, prettier, richer, taller, shorter, more symmetrical, has nicer hair, bigger muscles, a small nose, straighter teeth, whiter teeth, nicer clothes, bigger house, nicer car etc... The list goes on. When will you finally be happy?
Happiness is not when, happiness is now. If you live a life of comparison, or with your appearance being your most important goal, you've completely missed the mark and your life is as shallow as a bed pan. When will we all get past the surface and get deeper with ourselves, with our lives?
I am not immune to it either, just so you know that I know that I'm not. I'm just fed up with an unending strive for something that never comes. I'm done letting the world dictate how I should look, think, feel, act, or talk. I'm fed up with conforming for the sake of pleasing people who don't truly care for me and who have no interest in seeing me for who I truly am, which is more than my body. Your body is an expression of you, it doesn't define you. If your identity is solely in the way you look, it's time to grow up and open your eyes. Life is more than just creating your appearance, life is about creating happiness as you are right now.
When we think of the perfect person, we often tend to envision a person who gets everything done on time, always has a clean house, a perfect marriage/relationship, the perfect job, and the perfect body. We think of a person who is free from all constraints surrounding food and we think of a person that isn't affected by stress. If we were "perfect", we would never emotionally eat, we would always practice self-control and choose the right foods, and we would love to exercise and strive to have that hollywood physique day in and day out. Not only would we be perfect with our diets and exercise, but we certainly would know how to manage our emotions better. We wouldn't let the "little things" get to us, we'd laugh in the face of adversity, and any stress or conflict that came our way would be fought head on and head strong. This is the perfect person....or is it? This is not perfection, this is a fantasy.
You see, we want fantasy but what we need is reality. Reality is this: you are a human being, you have emotions and compulsions, and you have needs. We want to play out like we need nothing in life or that anything we do need, we can get it ourselves. This perfectionism mentality will always lead to self-abuse. For instance, say someone wants the "perfect body" (if there is such a thing) and goes through extreme measures to get it. If indeed the person gets this perfect body (which they probably won't because of an underlying negative body image), what have they done in order to get it? You can go to extreme trainers who put you on macronutrient and calorie restricting diets, who force their ways of exercising on you, and you could very well lose the weight, but that weight loss comes with a cost. Overtime we try to shrink the body, force the body, or restrict the body, but the body will always fight back. You can absolutely lose the weight by extreme measures but it will be with extreme measures that you will have to take or keep to sustain that weight loss. For the majority of people this is unsustainable, and for the people who can sustain extremity, they will live their lives in fear, shame, guilt, and misery over their bodies.
Perfectionism is not a badge of honour, it's a ball and chain. Perfectionism keeps you in a state of chronic low level stress because everything you do will never be good enough. There is a difference between having a mentality of excellence and striving for perfection in everything you do. Again, perfectionism will always lead to self abuse in every area of your life. In the area of eating psychology, when a person strives to have the "perfect" diet or the "perfect" body, they focus on a goal that is extremely shallow instead of making their goal instead to walk in their purpose and to live a life of fulfillment. I hear clients say all the time "I just want to feel good about myself, have more energy, look good in a swimsuit, etc.." and that's all fine and good, but these things can start to take place before weight loss occurs because these goals don't require the loss of body fat, but a transformation in our thinking. When we focus inwards, the outwards follows suit. As Marc David says, "PERSONAL POWER=METABOLIC POWER".
Start to let go of perfectionism and welcome every imperfection that you believe to be there as a vehicle to grow and learn more about yourself. Perfectionism leads to negative self talk which puts the body under stress and triggers the stress response, which in turns inhibits digestion, activates sympathetic dominance, outputs insulin and cortisol, and signals the body to store fat and inhibit muscle growth. Perfectionism=Stress. Let go of perfectionism and you inadvertently let go of guilt and shame and you will start to adopt a new way of thinking. The body will have no other option but to transform when the environment is conducive to it.