If you are like most women today –and many men as well–you have tried every diet and ﬁ tness fad on the planet in your elusive quest for the perfect body so you can ﬁnally live happily ever after. That “inner mean girl” in your head doesn’t hold back either. She is constantly reminding you of all your imperfections, and sabotaging any chance you have of ever feeling content with who you are. We are the queens of comparison and self judgment. If only we had “her” life, abs, hair… just ﬁll in the blank. We try the latest and greatest ﬁtness and nutrition plan that promises amazing results often based on deprivation – it’s just plain torture. If we just follow their plan we, too, will achieve that amazing “beach bod.” So why isn’t it working?
Believe me, you are not alone. I work with women every day who are in tears because they are stuck. The scale won’t budge, their pants size keeps going up and they feel terrible. They are usually on a cocktail of the latest pharmaceuticals that are making them feel even more frustrated, hopeless and sad. They just want to feel better and get their life back, but have no idea where to start.
How can one diet work for everyone?
Look around you. Do the people you live and work with look like you? Do they share the same ancestry, genetics, age, gender, health challenges, lifestyles and constitution? The answer is NO. Besides sharing the requisite number of body parts and organs, we are all quite different.
There is no one perfect body type or one way of eating for every body. Your nutritional and exercise needs are speciﬁc to you and will change from one year to the next and one season to the other. The body you enjoyed in your 20s will be different than the body you have in your 50s. The food that is best for you and your unique biochemical make up might make another person gain weight and feel depleted and sick. We are too different in so many ways to eat the exact same food and follow the exact exercise regimen as everyone else and expect the same results. A cookie cutter approach also doesn’t consider your personal preferences and lifestyle, which makes these programs hard to maintain.
Diets don’t work.
Giving up the diet mentality can be scary yet liberating. When we give up dieting we are breaking away from someone else’s rules and regulations and taking back our own voice and life. The fad diets and exercise routines will come and go but what your body knows and is trying to tell you will always be there.
It is time to get the incorrect and misguided messages out of your head. Treat your body with love and respect. Deprivation, calorie counting and starving yourself doesn’t work. It never has and never will.
It is not selﬁsh to prioritize your own health and happiness—it’s part of your recovery.
The answers are simple. Eat real, whole, unprocessed foods and prepare them in a loving, nurturing way, ﬁlling your body with the vitamins and minerals you need to ﬂourish and thrive. You deserve to eat well and so does your family. Start with small steps. Drink more water the ﬁrst week. Add in extra veggies or a salad the next week. Try a new recipe and experiment with new ingredients. Fill up on the good stuff as you slowly crowd out the foods that are not serving you well. Find ways to ﬁt more movement into your day and pleasure into your life. Walk on the beach, jump rope with your kids. Run if you enjoy it, skip it if you don’t. It is the small steps that create the big changes.
There are times when it is helpful to ﬁnd a reliable professional who can support you, especially if you are dealing with a chronic health condition or serious disease. I recommend an integrative or functional medical provider who will take the time to search for the underlying cause of your symptoms and disease and not just hand you another prescription. They will collaborate with you on a more personalized plan based a thorough health history and targeted labs and clinical evaluations. Your observations and feedback will guide your healing progress once you are ready to commit to changing what isn’t working and listening to the powerful language your body is speaking.
Your body deserves the best.
You deserve to feel awesome. It is not selﬁ sh to prioritize your own health and happiness – it’s part of your recovery from addiction. The greatest thing you can do for yourself and your family is to take care of yourself so you can be more fully present for yourself and for them. Sleep when you need to sleep. Move in a way that feels right and you enjoy. Eat when you are hungry. Don’t deprive yourself of all you can be and do. Don’t wait until everything is perfect, it never will be perfect for any of us. Don’t waste another day feeling like crap, that is not your destiny.
How would it feel to wake up every day feeling happy, strong, and energized?