On a beautiful summer’s day not so long ago, I was boarding a flight to Croatia with my best buddy Cat. Three gruelling months of fighting to reach a seemingly impossible number on my bathroom scales had come to an end, and I’d finally managed to land at my goal weight which was absolutely essential if I wanted to stroll down the beach in my bikini without feeling like Mr. Blobby. After an exhausting stint of dieting, restraint, religious gym sessions and the world’s most tedious ‘Squat challenge’, I found myself sitting comfortably in my seat, flicking through my duty-free mag with a huge grin on my face. GREAT SUCCESS. I only gone and dunnit! And no, it wasn’t easy – but for this feeling? One hundred percent worth it. While I sat daydreaming about my absolutely fantastic body, the air hostess approached Cat and I with two meal choices. Option 1. A bloody massive baguette, or Option 2. A rather sad looking salad, about the size of my big toe. Naturally, I opted for the latter… I’d been so ‘good’ up until now – I wasn’t about to blow it right before my much anticipated bikini reveal. That would be absurd. Cat, however, reached for the bloody massive baguette. But as she sat next to me innocently chomping away without a care in the world, so effortlessly slim, yet totally unruffled by her carb laden 475 calorie lunch… I frowned in confusion.
“Haaang on a minute” I thought to myself, as I glared at her mouthful of bread with an overwhelming spate of food envy. How come, for the past 3 months, Cat has eaten whatever the hell she wants? How come, she hasn’t even SNIFFED a treadmill, and yet she is a gloriously healthy, natural weight? How come, I have to slave away, kill myself, lose sleep, wake up at 4am and run a half marathon, all before nibbling on 3 almonds for breakfast. EXCUSE ME GOD? HI, HELLO. YES IT’S ME. I’D LIKE TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY. HOW EXACTLY DID I END UP WITH SUCH A RAW DEAL? I immediately jump to the conclusion that the answer to this horrendously unfair question could be found in the fact that her metabolism is four times faster than mine will ever be, and that I must struggle to live with this appalling information for the rest of eternity.
Let’s consider for a moment, the absurd mantra that I’ve willingly adopted for the past decade: “I am not naturally slim, I have a very slow metabolism, and I will always struggle to stay at my natural healthy weight.” Subsequently, (as our thoughts create our reality) I have fluctuated between 8 and 10 stone for what feels like an eternity. I’m either strutting down the street in a skin tight dress having starved myself for months, or I’m wearing 4 jumpers at one time and I’m downright offended at the mere suggestion of a sleeveless top.
So, my curiosity had finally got the better of me, and I decided to do some digging. I needed to know what was ‘wrong with me’. Why my naturally skinny friends who NEVER dieted found life so easy, and why my sorry self could try so hard – yet fail so miserably at keeping the weight off. As I ploughed my way through articles and books, I soon realised that it wasn’t ME at all. I was a serial yo-yo dieter, and I was living my life fully immersed in what I like to call ‘The Triangle of Doom.’ What I realised is that it wasn’t my lack of will power, or my helplessness around donuts that was leading to my forever fluctuating weight. I wasn’t the problem at all, but how I was going about it couldn’t have been more wrong. So, here you have it… the three stages of the self-sabotaging and incredibly viscous dieting cycle, which will without a doubt result in a life of severe frustration and unhappiness:
STAGE 1: The Diet. The faddy, nonsensical, false promises of the newest craze. I’ve done them all. Slimming World, Weight Watchers, 16:8, 5:2, Dukan, Atkins, Paleo, South Beach. Blah Blah Blah Blah. No wonder the diet industry is worth £2 billion in Britain alone. I’ve spent my entire life buying it in to this bullshit and I can vividly recall planning to save for my Aloe Vera Gel Cleanse while floating around in my Mother’s womb.
During this stage I’d usually find myself surrounded by tubs of X-TREME 3000 X SUPER STRENGTH BLOW YOUR SOXXX OFF fat burners and diuretics, stirring a cocktail of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper with one hand, all the while dutifully logging the grand total of…wait for it… 26 CALORIES! (Gasp) in to My Fitness Pal with the other. I’ve calculated that if I only eat 500 calories a day, I can lose about 4 lbs a week. Plus if I exercise enough to burn 500 calories a day, I’m essentially eating nothing, so basically I could lose double that and by next June I could achieve my lifelong dream of crumbling in to a rather sexy pile of dust. And this time, by the way, it’s forever. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice. A life of hunger, YAAS. I am powerful and in total control. I set my screensaver to a photo of a rib cage for inspiration.
STAGE 2: The Binge. (This is where my bulimia stemmed from.) All that restriction, and then BOOM. It all becomes too much as it’s TOTALLY unattainable…Suddenly I find myself wanting to gnaw on inedible objects such as my desk chair, which as of late is beginning to look disturbingly appetising.
At this stage I’ve almost reached my goal weight of 2 Stone 7lbs and my collar bones are looking reassuringly sharp. But I’m fucking hungry. And when I say hungry, I don’t mean peckish. I mean I’m lying in bed listening to the sound of my famished stomach churn in agony as the ungenerous handful of chickpeas I devoured an hour ago have, much to my amazement, failed to touch the sides. I shuffle in to the kitchen and lift my bony arm, with just enough strength to retrieve the jar of chocolate Hob Nobs I so tactfully hid from myself three weeks ago. I nibble the edge of one tiny little biscuit, and before you can say McVities I’m in a heap on the floor clutching an empty tin with crumbs in my eyebrows. I’ve blown it, so why stop now? I forage through the cupboards in search of more snacks, inhaling anything I can get my hands on. Before long I’m sprawled out on the kitchen floor cracking eggs on my chest and rubbing peanut butter in my eyes. “FOOOOOOOD. OH how I’ve missed you old friend. Promise me you’ll never leave me like that again.” I desperately weep.
STAGE 3: Ahhhh… The Guilt. To beat oneself up. A hell of a lot. This is the part where all of your hard work goes down the drain, and you take a swift nose dive from super-slim-starving-Goddess who could park a bus between her withered thighs, to nothing more than a chubby worthless mess – all in a matter of minutes. You’re faced with several options and must either throw up the lot, go for a RIDICULOUSLY long run, and/or cry whilst planning which diet to try next.
“I am a fool. A fat failure. A horrible mess of a human being who doesn’t even deserve to live because that last bingeing sesh has landed me RIGHT BACK where I started and all my clothes are covered in Nutella. I want to crawl under a rock and fester for an eternity. Nobody come near me.” I turn my phone off, wrap myself in my duvet, and sob, occasionally coming up for air through the small opening near my face. I peer out at the cruel, cruel world from the safety of my artificially constructed womb, and finally begin to gather my thoughts. Once I’m done feeling sorry for myself, I reluctantly reach for my laptop and Google the Dukan Shopping list with my sticky trotters. “There there” I tell myself, “Tomorrow it’s back to a life of tuna and cottage cheese. You got this.” And that all familiar wave of excitement comes over me once again… “This time it will work” I whisper from the depths of my bed cave. And so The Triangle of Doom ensues once more.
Sound Familiar? Kind of? Okay. There are a number of reasons that this RIDICULOUS pattern ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT WORK. Yes, you may lose weight in the short term. You might drop 3 dress sizes in 4 days by eating one single strand of All Bran, every hour, on the hour. But what about your poor body? It NEEDS food. It NEEDS love. It NEEDS nutrition to survive. Yo-yo dieting is absolutely lethal. As is starving yourself. As is making yourself sick. IT CAN LEAD TO A VERY EARLY DEATH. Do you want to die early? NO. Do you want to be slim and healthy and happy with no stress for the rest of eternity and consequently slip away in your sleep at the grand old age of 105? ME TOOOOOOOOO.
Restricting, starving, bingeing, crying, punishing, comparing, winging, passing up events for fear of feeling too ‘fat’, never being quite ‘good enough’. This paralyzing existence is the polar opposite of wholehearted, magnificently blissful, free living – and isn’t that the dream? For me, dieting is the equivalent of shuffling through life in a sodding straight jacket with duct tape over your mouth and tears in your eyes, all the while nodding your head and giving everyone the thumbs up, desperately trying to pretend that everything’s okay.
So, I’ve managed to pick apart my own brain and come up with 10 reasons why whichever crazy diet you’ve chosen to torture yourself with, simply will not work. And the 10 wonderfully effective solutions for overcoming each of them.
I genuinely dread the thought of looking back at my precious life and realising all I really cared about was a number on a scale. Argh! It’s not okay, it’s not fair on you, it’s not fair on your body, and it’s definitely not fair on your loved ones when you snap at them because you haven’t eaten since that Snack-A-Jack you so generously treated yourself to last Tuesday. So, after much soul searching, a lot of digging, and a very honest word with myself, I’ve come up with the top 10 reasons why dieting just doesn’t work for me, and the solutions I’ve used to overcome them. Unlearning years upon years of conditioning, and undoing all those rules that have been so heavily drilled in to my subconscious was genuinely so hard. But I know many of us make the same mistakes, so I’m trusting that I may be able to shed some light on where you could be going wrong and inspire you to make some really wonderful changes too. I REALLY WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY, so I write this from the heart – and I truly, truly hope it can help you in one way or another.
Your mind is everything, so we must begin here. “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind that created them.” You can thank my boy Alberto Einstein for this little gem. I’ve become pretty reliant upon this principal ever since discovering its wonderfully important meaning, and I frequently refer back to it in times of struggle. We’re starting here as this is a concept you must grasp before we can dive any further in to the reasons behind exactly why a life of yo-yo dieting is destined to flop. Let’s consider your weight loss journey from my least favourite corner of the Triangle of Doom. ‘The Guilt’.
“LORD ABOVE, I AM OBESE.” You howl with a face full of Quality Street. You glare at your outrageous Christmas belly as it spills abundantly over the waist band of your favourite reindeer pyjama bottoms. You’re met with that all too familiar impending sense of doom, and the harsh reality of gaining a whole 7lbs from one pretty impressive Boxing Day binge sends you in to a guilt-ridden frenzy. And so begins the diet.
Now, we’re already off to a terrible start. The initial thoughts which caused you to panic and subsequently plunge headfirst in to the latest over-glamorised diet craze, stem from a mind-set that’s polluted with thoughts of lack, fear of not being good enough, self-loathing and shame. And if your thoughts create your reality, we can see that by beginning your ‘weight-loss journey’ with the belief that you are not good enough, it’s only natural that you’d attract further feelings of inadequacy. Thus, no matter how much weight you manage to lose – you’ll always end up wanting to lose that little bit more. If you think you’re not good enough now – you never, ever will be. It’s a recipe for disaster. Excuse de pun.
Approach this situation from an entirely different perspective. Choose to adopt a brand new frame of mind. If you’re anything like me and have been yo-yo dieting and calling yourself ‘fat’ repeatedly for the past decade, then your usual frame of mind is doing you absolutely no favours. Let’s try doing the very opposite instead…Let’s approach this from a perspective of love, kindness, patience and forgiveness.
So, just take a deep breath. Look down at your belly and ask, “Alright belly. What you sayin’? I love you very much, and you do a great job of keeping me alive, but I’m not feeling too healthy right now. How’s about we chill out on the over indulgence and make a team effort to make some loving choices about what we eat? Sound good?” It’s not the end of the world. There is no need to cry or swiftly come to the conclusion that you absolutely must starve yourself from this very moment on, and despite what you may believe, you aren’t all of a sudden worth any less than before you ate all 14 of those mince pies. There are plenty of far gentler ways to go about this that do not require torturing yourself. Understood?
Out flow all those thoughts of shame, and in pour the gentle feelings of forgiveness and love. Now, we’re off to a promising start.
So, you’re casually scrolling through Facebook when you stumble upon a photo-shopped ‘before and after’ image of Tracey from Burnley who lost 14 stone in a day. “Wow she looks fantastic. What’s this then? Juice Plus eh? Hmm.”
STOP RIGHT THERE. STOP IT. HELLO. YES YOU. STOP. NOW. HALT. If I could reach my arms through this computer screen and shake the life out of you I would. This is a brainwashing marketing ploy that preys on the weak, vulnerable and insecure, and then very convincingly promises a ‘brand new you’ in only 3 weeks’ time, all so you eagerly pour over half your months wage straight down the drain, for a glossy pamphlet and a box of sodding Slim-Fast milkshakes. Even with this awareness it’s so difficult to avoid buying into the bullshit, particularly if you’ve got a big event coming up and you must to fit in to that dress because that man’s gonna be there and you need to look shit hot ASAP. I think we all know that struggle too well.
If you have Instagram I’m pretty sure you’ll have stumbled upon countless depressing images of young, incredibly slim girls with their effortless tans, wearing their teeny bikinis and straddling palm trees in the Bahamas whilst pointing to bags of Boo Tea’s ‘28 day Teatox’ as though it’s the holy grail of weight loss aids. Yup. This seriously strong laxative tea is the most recent scam I’ve personally fallen for.
And does this allegedly mystical slimming potion do the trick? Sure, if your end goal is to have a flat stomach for all of one week after enduring an agonising stomach ache and far too much time with your pants round your ankles. Oh, and please be warned that if you do end up falling for this rip-off, (despite my best efforts to advise you against it) make sure to wrap up because its super laxative powers haven been proven to stop the pill from working. Google ‘Boo Tea baby’ and see for yourself.
Please don’t invest in faddy diet plans. These companies don’t care about you, they care about doing whatever it takes to make as much money as possible. Allow me to enlighten you, completely free of charge. You are paying to be manipulated, cheated and mislead. All that fancy packaging and the promise of a brighter future? Lies. If you want to throw your money at something that is guaranteed to fail in the long-term, be my guest. But please open your lovely eye balls and appreciate that you’re essentially trying to buy willpower and self-discipline, all for a temporary ‘solution’ that even the most focused and persevering person on the planet would struggle to tolerate for much longer than six months. In her wonderful book ‘How to Have Your Cake and Skinny Jeans too’ (An absolute must read for my fellow yo-yoers) Josie Spinardi states that, “Out of every 200 people who start a diet, only ten of them will successfully meet their weight-loss goals. Only ten of them! Out of those 10 people, only one of them will keep the weight off over time. That’s a failure rate of 99.5%. We would never rely on something with such dismal credentials in other areas of our lives. Let’s look at this objectively – if an airline had the same track records, would you fly with them?” Nope… no you wouldn’t.
I know, this sounds insane. Surely the harder you try, the more likely you are to succeed, right? We humans have this funny little way of believing that everything in this life must ‘come at a price.’ We have to sacrifice, struggle, and beat ourselves to death before accomplishing anything we consider to be remotely worthwhile. This is so absurdly wrong. Trying too hard will result in your entire LIFE being focused around your weight; counting calories, working out your micros and your macros, weighing out your bloody broccoli, obsessively measuring your hips and religiously checking your pedometer. It’s TOO MUCH; soul destroying, neurotic and totally unnatural. Not to mention, what you’re actually doing is the very opposite of having control. Whichever diet you’ve chosen is actually controlling you and the majority of your decisions. If you think frantically worrying about what on EARTH you’re going to order at Pizza Express for the works Christmas do, without breaking your carb-free diet, then you are far from in control. Stop being a prisoner! Relax! Your body will effortlessly find its way to your ideal and healthiest weight if only you would stop trying to interfere and let it.
Bodily functions such as breathing air in to your lungs, or the beating of your wonderful little heart, are involuntarily and subconsciously controlled by your brain. Even while you’re snoozing away…Incredible right? Your body has an incredible intelligence that knows exactly how to keep you alive…all without a second thought from your conscious mind. In just the same way, your internal biological systems knows exactly how many calories you need for fuel in order to survive. What’s more, your body has an ideal naturally thin weight and is designed to be as lean as it possibly can – without any guidance from you at all! You have an inbuilt system of hunger, appetite, and satisfaction which takes care of all of this for you. By counting calories, depriving yourself and then subsequently bingeing, you are quite literally interfering with all of these natural processes and preventing them from doing their job. Which they’re pretty bloody good at.
Let go. Shift your focus. I spent a looong time battling with my weight, but once or twice when I’d been so caught up in other things such as travelling, getting a new job, starting a new relationship or focusing on the more important things in life, I’ve found myself to be ‘weirdly thin’….for no apparent reason. I once genuinely booked myself a Doctor’s appointment, sat my ass down on the chair and said, “Hi, I’ve actually lost about 14lbs without even trying and I’m worried I might be dying.” LOL. DYING. I’d spent so long assuming weight loss was the most difficult task in the world, that when I let go, put down the rule books, stopped trying so hard and allowed it to happen naturally because I was so distracted, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. I had my thyroids tested, bloods taken the lot. All because of my mistrust and lack of faith in nature. Obscene. Let go. Focus on other stuff. Get a new hobby. Figure out what it is you love, and go do that. You’ll return to your ideal weight without even thinking about it!
This is one of the main reasons behind why your diet just won’t work in the long-term. Restriction is all about psychology. Every ‘diet’ cuts something out. It labels certain foods as good, and certain foods as bad, and therefore allows these labels to determine how you feel about yourself – which gives food power over you, and we really, really don’t want that. Hear me when I say this… YOU ALWAYS WANT WHAT YOU CAN’T HAVE.
Let’s take for example, the realisation that you absolutely just have to split up with your boyfriend; you’ve had enough and your mind is made up. You decide that you’ll break the news tomorrow… Only he calls you that very night and breaks up with you first. SORRY WHAT?!
You no longer have the control, HE made the decision, and now you’re left desperately wanting him back…for no other reason than that you suddenly ‘can’t have him’. Same for food dude. If you tell yourself that crisps are off limits, those Chilli Heatwave Doritos are gonna laugh at you until you break out in a sweat and eventually give in to your ridiculous vow to never lick a crisp again. And, you won’t just eat a couple, or a standard one person sized packet. You’ll get your hands on one of those big ass family size sharing bags, rip it open, and inhale the lot. How silly. You’ve quite literally handed all your power over to the food you’re forbidden to touch. This is important to know: Every single diet has an equal opposing binge. They cancel each other out. All that effort, and then all that guilt, for the same tedious results….and back to square one we go.
You are free. You are allowed to eat whatever the hell you choose. Own that power. If you want a Snickers, guess what? You can have one! Recognising this choice gives YOU the control, and removes the kryptonite effect surrounding whichever food group you’d previously ruled out. Simply knowing that you are allowed to eat a Snickers, will naturally make you less inclined to want it. Plus, by allowing yourself to eat whatever it is you crave in moderation, you’ll escape those torturing feelings of restraint. If you’re at work and everyone’s gathered around eating birthday cake for Carol’s 30th, and you’re stood there awkwardly nibbling a plum whilst desperately wishing you could eat the cake, you’re far more likely to get home feeling incredibly deprived and head straight to the fridge for a good old fashioned binge. It’s okay to give in to temptation every now and again, it gives you balance!
Rather than cutting out certain foods, try adding other foods. This is a POSITIVE way to change your habits. I’ve found that by focusing on introducing more plant based foods in to my diet, less of the sugary snacks manage to worm their way in… all as a by-product of ADDING MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF. Focus on adding, not on taking away. Easy peasy. If you do make the decision to cut something out – don’t do it for your weight. Do it for your health, or for moral reasons such as veganism. For example, I often avoid dairy because it’s full of nasty hormones, and bread because it gives me a pretty itchy neck rash.
Here’s a fun fact that might just crush your soul… When I first heard that having a slower metabolism does not cause, or contribute in any way to weight gain, I was lost for words. So who am I gonna blame now? Hmm. Perhaps there’s a devious little gremlin hiding under my bed, impishly feeding me handfuls of MnM’s as I unknowingly snooze away? Or not. The ole’ snail of a metabolism was my trusty go-to excuse. Without it, I had no choice but to face reality. Having a ‘slower metabolism’ just means that you will get hungry less often since you need fewer calories to maintain your naturally healthy weight. Hear me now, and feel the pain… The only reason you gain weight is because you are taking in more calories than you actually need for fuel. Simples. This is maths my friend, and the only way to create this surplus of calories (which yes, will go straight to all those lovely places you’d really rather it didn’t) is by over eating. Over eating occurs when you stop eating for fuel. This can also be referred so ‘Non-hunger directed eating’ and happens when you find yourself eating without being physically hungry, or eating beyond being comfortably satisfied. Easily done. Today I’ve eaten about 12 biscuits, for the simple fact that I’m tired, on the blob, at work, and could really do with a cuddle. But now that I actually recognise the fact that I’m non-hunger directed eating – I do it way less often.
Another example you might be familiar with is when you’re out for a meal with your mates, wine flowing, plates of food everywhere you look, you’re ABSOUTELY STUFFED TO THE BRIM, you have risotto coming out of your ears, and yet you continue to subconsciously pick at your friend’s plate of pretty unappealing cold chips. Just because they’re there. There are so many different reasons why we do it, and recognising them is the first step towards breaking the habit.
Hunger directed eating. It’s brilliant, natural and it actually works LONG-TERM- would you believe it! It’s all about mindfulness. Try saying THANK YOU for every single little piece of food that passes your lips. Take the time to look at it, smell it, notice it, think about how it was grown, where it came from, its journey to your plate.
Stuffing your gob whilst vacantly trawling through the Daily Mail as you frown longingly at Rosie Huntington-Whitley’s legs won’t leave you feeling very satisfied. Have you ever munched away while watching your favourite TV show, only to look down and discover that someone has eaten your entire plate of food while you weren’t looking? Yeah dude, there’s no one else home. Me tink it was you. You may feel full, but if you haven’t paid any attention to your food then you definitely won’t feel content. You’ll be right back to the fridge looking for something else to satisfy that weird empty feeling. Recognising when you are ACTUALLY hungry, and only eating for fuel…stopping when you’re comfortably full, and eating what you truly crave… that’s the answer.
Yes. I know. You want to lose 10lbs by yesterday. And you’re standing in the mirror prodding your thighs wondering what you’d look like if only you’d started 6 weeks ago.
This is why we begin the faddy diets that promise you will lose a stone in a month. Yes, it might just be possible, if you really bloody try. But is it attainable? Not in the slightest. Every single time I find myself at my ‘goal weight’, the first question I ask myself is, “I wonder how long it will last this time?” Because never in all my years of yo-yo dieting, have I managed to stay at ‘that’ weight for longer than a few months at a time.
Slow da fuq down. You have time. If you’re unhappy with your size, or you feel as though your diet isn’t as healthy or nutritious as you’d like it to be… The worst thing you can possibly do is crash diet your way to a weight that you won’t be able stay at for very long. It’s so pointless. Make changes slowly, changes that become habits, habits that are easy and manageable. Do one thing at a time. Be kind to yourself! There’s no rush.
If you introduce new behaviours such as buying organic produce, only drinking filtered water, yoga, more plant based foods, going for long walks etc. one at a time, (as a pose to abruptly hurling yourself in to a protein only diet and seven gym sessions a week) they will be FAR more manageable, and soon they will become second nature. The simplicity of living a healthy lifestyle will come with an ease you could never have even imagined after years of killing yourself dieting. This is thinking long-term.
Look, if you aren’t happy now, you won’t be happy ‘when’. Self-love is something that you cannot diet your way towards. When you truly love yourself, those points I just made above about a restrictive and impatient approach to food and weight loss will cease to exist. Respecting the wonderful instrument that is your body, and treating it with loving care and affection because it is your HOME will become your main priorities. And guess what? The bi-product of this…without even lifting a finger, is finally resting at your healthiest, natural weight. WAHEYY. Why ever would you want to starve something that you love? You wouldn’t starve your Mum, or your dog. Why starve yourself?
Stop being a dick to yourself, and stop it today.
Sometimes it’s difficult to hear how severe your negative self-talk really is – Especially as it’s programmed so deeply in your subconscious and you’ve made a very strong habit out of looking in the mirror and calling yourself a mess. A great way to assess just how harsh you’re being is by catching yourself out when it happens, and writing it down. Then, when you recognise these self-sabotaging comments you can flip them around and give yourself compliments instead. In doing so you’re actively reconditioning your thought process, and while it may take some practice, it really does work.
If you’re standing in the mirror scowling at your ‘armpit fat’, stop yourself in that moment and focus on a body part you really love…grab your boobs in delight or admire your ass and thank it for being so fantastic. Your body is nothing short of a miracle and without it you couldn’t be here, treat it like one and practice MARVELLING AT ITS GLORIOUSNESS!
Another thing to consider is your judgment of others. I used to sit on the tube and heartlessly insult random people in my head, always looking for the worst in them to make myself feel better. Your thoughts about and behaviour towards others is a reflection of how you’re feeling on the inside. The second I decided to knock my negative self-talk on the head, and made a conscious effort to be more positive and kind, my thoughts about others were totally transformed, and I suddenly found myself always looking for the best in people – because I was looking for the best in myself. Compliment others and unconditionally love and accept people for who they are… just as you would for the people you love. In the same token – please know that if other people say nasty things about you, their comments do not define you in anyway whatsoever. Try not to let their unkind remarks get to you, as the only person they truly define is themselves… and their choice of words do nothing but expose how (sadly) they must feel on the inside.
If your best pal comes to you says she’s not feeling too sexy this morning, what do you tell her? You gasp in disbelief and bombard her with compliments. “First of all, U R CRAZY!! You are like the most beautiful person I know & I would be lost without u. Heart you forever. ”
This is the shit you should be telling yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “I LOVE YOU!” every day. It’s hard to begin with. When I first tried I could barely look myself in the eyes. Now, I often meditate and send myself thoughts of nothing but love, light, goodness and warmth. All I’m asking is that you take a little time each day, to just be with YOU. Ask yourself, out loud or in your head…”Am I okay? What do I need?” It’s so important yet so often overlooked. I promise doing this every day will change your life. Amazing things happen when you truly start to love yourself and appreciate how incredible you are, for the simple fact that you even exist on this beautiful planet. Now, when you love yourself you’ll be naturally inclined to avoid refined sugar because it’s poisonous…not because it’s forbidden from your ‘diet’. But at the same time – because you love yourself, you will allow yourself to eat chocolate if you really crave it, and forgive yourself for doing so. (NO GUILT!) Because you love yourself, you listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry but stop as soon as you’re full, knowing that over indulgence will only leave you feeling sluggish and tired. And if you do overeat, there’s no need to throw up, starve or diet – it’s all good. Because you love yourself, you look in the mirror and say ‘Thank you God for my wonderful body; my heart that beats, my legs that can run, and my eyes that can see.” Because you love yourself, you are gentle, kind and you have balance. And balance is the key to happiness for your mind, body and soul.
Honestly, it took me years to wrap my head around this. I would stand in the kitchen making a stir fry with my 1 Calorie Sunflower Oil spray, swigging a Diet Coke, while my Dad would BEG me to stop. Outraged at the suggestion of eating any form of fat (‘Good’ fat? lol, sorry who?), I would have rather gauged out my own eye balls than even sniff an avocado. I was obsessed with fat free yoghurts and diet drinks. Sugar-free and low-fat foods are the absolute enemy. They are horrendous. If you’re an avid diet coke drinker please just note how it’s been scientifically proven that people who choose to drink low-calorie alternatives have a higher body weight and are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Filling yourself up on bubbles that are quite literally eroding your insides is the most absurd and self-destructive approach to weight loss.
EDUCATE YOSELF. If you want to find out more about why these foods are contributing to your weight battle and slowly killing you, then please do a little research or watch ‘Fed-Up’ and ‘Hungry for Change’ on Netflix. As well as altering the oils used for producing these horrifyingly carcinogenic ‘low-fat’ foods, manufacturers pack them full of sugar, which leads to blood sugar swings and further cravings…HI, HELLO BINGE ALERT. Not to mention the dangers of sweeteners like aspartame which trick your body in to thinking you’ve had sugar, only to realise it wasn’t the real thing and leave you wanting MORE AND MORE. In addition to the fact they cause brain tumours and all sorts of other illnesses. Consider what it’s doing to your precious internal organs! AVOID, AVOID, AVOID!!! Step away from the toxic crap.
Yeah this is a biggie. We have this weird habit of caring more about how we’ll look in our short shorts at Glastonbury Festival in 2 weeks’ time than we do about having heart problems when we’re 40, or the prospect of infertility when we’re 30. Yo-yo dieting has some serious health risks, and amongst a million others things, mal-nutrition increases production of the stress hormone cortisol which over long periods of time can lead to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. IT’S REAL BAD GUYS.
Decide what’s more important to you. Health would be the obvious choice here. Personally, I’ve spent years ignoring my health and focused solely on the number on the scale, taking the most drastic measures to keep it as low as humanly possible. Take the focus away from your weight, throw away your scales, stop Googling how to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest space of time, and start reading books about nutrition. Learn about your body, what it needs, how to treat it, how to listen to it, what to feed it, how to move it. Get as passionate about your health as you are about your weight, and before you know it… you’ll be a wonderfully healthy and natural size, with a glowing body that’s overflowing with nutrition and fully equipped to carry you safely through your long and healthy life. You can have both!!! You do not have to sacrifice your health in order to be slim!
If you’re dragging yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn, necking coffee, and spending hours in the gym HATING every second, then you’re never gonna be able to keep it up, and if you do – you’re not being very kind to yourself. Exercising is a lifestyle choice and it should feel good – because it’s so wonderful for you. It’s not something you have to abuse until you reach your goal weight, and then stop because you’re sick to death of it. I used to do this. For a few months at a time I’d run to the gym every day, get to the gym, run for an hour, mindlessly lift some weights with no idea what I was doing, and then run home, all in a bid to burn the most amount of calories possible. I was over tired, and under fed. What you choose to do is totally personal preference…Your body knows what it needs…listen to it.
Choose something you enjoy, and incorporate it in to your routine. If you find repeating the same exercise boring then switch it up, do something different each week – this will keep it fun and exciting. Wake up half an hour earlier and do yoga in your front room, find a class you love and go with a friend, walk rather than catch the bus. If you’re total fitness enthusiast, then keep doing what you’re doing. But if you find it hard to get your ass off the couch it’s probably because you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy. Experiment and play. Just move your body! Dance, skip, run, climb, back flip, do roly poleys through sun flower fields for all I care. You’re freeeee. Exercise for FUN and health, not for a calorie deficit.
So, the next time you find yourself at your wits end, beating yourself up for not being ‘thin enough’, comparing yourself to photo shopped images of ‘Instragram fitness models’, and googling the latest diet craze – please just stop and think for a minute. Try and think long-term. Ask yourself, what’s the rush? Can you approach this in a way that would have lasting positive effects on both your lifestyle and your health? How kind are you being to yourself?
I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I’ve dieted, and that my weight has stayed pretty much exactly the same for all this time. Perfectly healthy, balanced and exactly where my body wants me to be. And it’s beyond effortless. The hardest part about giving up dieting (Even though I had 8 years of proof that it simply did not work long term) was the idea of giving up the sense of ‘control’ that it gave me. If I abandoned the plan, the calorie counting and the focus on food, I was sure that i’d spiral out of control and gain a tonne of weight. But the exact opposite happened. The main ingredients here are surrender and trust. There’s no two ways about it. Let go, and let God. It will change your precious life.
You got this.
Good luck! x