I have been a yoyo dieter for all of my adult life. It all started with the first diet book I ever read “Stop the Insanity!” written by Susan Powter. It was 1993 and I was 17 years old. From that point on, I was obsessed with dieting and tried all the diets as they came up through the years; Atkins, South Beach, Body for Life, and the Cabbage soup diet (I still can’t eat vegetable soup since I did that one) to name a few.
I spend TOO MUCH TIME counting calories and TOO LITTLE TIME enjoying food for TOO MANY YEARS.
Isn’t it ironic that the book that started it all STARTED THE INSANITY?
STOP THE INSANITY!
Change happens out of desperation or inspiration. I came to the realization that my behaviour around food wasn’t working for me. After blogging for 3 years about food and exercise I realized that I was on a vicious cycle of dieting and no matter what I did it was NEVER GOOD ENOUGH. Feeling deprived and frustrated I would go back to my old ways and decide to “start again on Monday” only to go on a two week “indulgence” phase that would lead me through a shame spiral and make me eat more.
I was tired of writing the same story so I decided to do something completely different.
I STOPPED DIETING. I removed ALL RULES around food and I started to learn to trust myself.
It took some time.
It was scary as the “rules” around food was every thing I knew. I did lots of research around food and tried different things. Not diets, just trial and error to see how my body would react. Sometimes I would go back to my old ways, but I removed the shame around it as there were no rules to this game. Eventually I was FREE. Free of the shackles of the rules, the deprivation and the pain. Never would I ever say I would NEVER eat that again.
That changed everything.
How did I do it?
Here are some guidelines that I followed to get to where I am today, free of the diet mentality:
#1 - I found my “WHY?”
Throughout my life I dieted because I wanted to be thin. I spent endless YEARS trying to change my body into something it wasn’t. But I could never get “there”. I always wanted more.
When I decided to change WHY I wanted to eat well, everything changed. I decided I wanted to FEEL GOOD and have ENERGY and I wanted to perform better in the gym and in LIFE. It wasn’t about changing my body (although I knew that would be a nice effect of eating well). Once I had a purpose to eat well, it was easier (most the of the time). Instead of feeling deprived and pushing through, I felt a pull to eat well and take care of my body.
#2 - I accepted myself, AS IS
In the past, I remember thinking “When I am thinner I will be happier/able to do a pullup/have a life (insert your reason here).” Everything changed when I decided to be happy with me now.
I accepted my body AS IS and I decided that it was time to take care of it and love it and cherish it and to make the right choices. It was only when I accepted myself that the real changes started happening. I stopped focusing on getting thin and focused on improving myself inside and out and living in parallel to with my goals and dreams.
#3 – I focused on PROGRESS not PERFECTION
The best diet is one that you can do for the rest of your life. A lot of people start by making rules around food, drink and exercise. EAT WELL, EXERCISE MORE and FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES.
Generally a diet starts with DEPRIVATION and CALORIE RESTRICTION.
I call it the RESOLUTION EFFECT. Making a bunch of changes all at once. It may work for some but the problem is that willpower is a limited resource. If you change too much, too fast you are likely to encounter some problems.
You wouldn’t run a marathon without training, and if you did, at some point your body would break down.
That is what happens with the RESOLUTION EFFECT. You make too many changes, lump them all as one, and if one of the wheels starts to fall off it creates a domino effect.
There are no rules to this game. It isn’t about perfection.
When I switched my paradigm to making CHOICES not RULES, EVERYTHING CHANGED. It was about feeling good now, and making the best choices I could to live in parallel with my goals and dreams.
#4 – I became GOAL-DRIVEN rather then EMOTION-DRIVEN
I wrote out my goals and read them out-loud two times a day. I set myself up for success by scheduling meal prep, groceries and meals in my agenda. Whenever my emotions would take over I would think to myself “Is this choice bringing me closer to my goals?” If not, I would take 5 minutes to think about it.
I embraced eating well and feeling good, and the more I lived in parallel with my goals, the easier it became.
Progress lead to increased motivation.
I chose WHAT I WANT MOST (a healthy life) over WHAT I WANT NOW (a piece of cake). Sometimes the right choice wasn’t the easy choice, and I wasn’t always successful. However, I soon realize that living in parallel to my goals and making the right choices filled me with joy and pride and increased motivation.
And I liked that feeling. I was getting stronger and living the life I wanted for myself.
There is no better feeling then knowing you are making choices that are bringing you closer to the life of your dreams.
#5 – I removed shame from FOOD
I started to see food for what it was. FOOD. I decided that if I was going to eat the cake, I would enjoy it and move on. I didn’t murder anyone, I ate a piece of cake.
Shame usually comes to me when I am not living in parallel with my goals, and when I make the WRONG CHOICES that bring me further away from my goals and dreams.
THAT WILL HAPPEN. THAT IS O.K.
I learned to remove the shame and MOVE ON. Make a better choice next time.
#6 – Removed FAILURE from my vocabulary
I saw every failure as an opportunity to grow and learn and change. With every failure I grew stronger, not weaker. By doing that I became unstoppable. I couldn’t fail only learn and grow and become stronger. I learned that failure is not the opposite of success. In fact, it is a stepping stone to success.
#7 – I KNEW MY MISSION AND MY PURPOSE
My mission was to become the strongest and healthiest version of me so I could help others do the same. Once I knew that, I became unstoppable. I knew that I wanted every day to be the BEST DAY EVER and for me that meant being active and eating well and living in parallel with my goals and dreams.
If I had a bad day I would go to bed and review my goals and wake up and try again, and again, and again.
That is about it. No recipes, no rules.
My "MIRACLE DIET" wasn't a diet at all. It was a PARADIGM SHIFT. It was a MINDSHIFT.
A mind shift that made me excited and purpose driven about my health and my life. To be the strongest version of me I had to live in parallel with my goals and dreams.
YOU CAN DO IT TOO, NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE.
This is your life. You only have one. It is time to STOP THE INSANITY and start living your life on YOUR TERMS.
Only you can make the change. You are in control. What would you do if you knew you COULD NOT FAIL?
Do something today to get closer to that dream and become UNSTOPPABLE.