What I Did In Bed Last Night
I drake a McDonalds strawberry milkshake. While watching Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Why you may ask? Well, I would just love to tell you, and here goes.
After over 20 years of struggling with it, I have overcome the diet, self-sabotage, self-guilt cycle. I say it loud and proud, I have broken free from the diet culture cycle *pats self on back*
What Would It Feel Like To Stop Fighting With Yourself About Food?
As a nutritionist, there's an expectation that I would never "do that to my body" or "eat garbage". High fat, high sugar, food dyes, OMG. How could I?
How much would you love to go back to when you were 16 (or whatever age that was for you) and first started dieting, restricting, overly working out or commiting calorie counts to memory. While time travel isn't possible in this physical realm at this time (that I know of), what is possible is to put an end to that cycle, TODAY.
Here's How I Did It
I decided that I will no longer feel guilt or shame about what I eat. Period. Green salad, fab. Fries and mayo, fab. As long as it feels good in my body, satisfies my hunger, and meets my needs I'm here for it. If it doesn't and I eat it anyway, well ok so I don't feel good. I notice that, I acknowledge that and try not to do it again.
Here's How I Know I've Said Girl, BYE, to The Diet Cycle
The biggest change is in what I do AFTER I eat. Say I ate, I don't know… an entire row (box) of Oreos. And let me know if you can relate to this, in the past, I would relive how many cookies I ate, I would count the calories (in my head, I KNOW how many calories are in each of those delicious little sandwich cookies and how many are in the entire box. I swear my brain is 50% calorie values and 50% 90's Hip Hop and R&B lyrics). I would shame myself with how could I… If I only… No wonder I am…. The list goes on.
Now, here's what I think. Damn, that was too many cookies. They didn't even taste good after the first few. I feel sick on Oreos. And that is the real shame here, Oreos are delicious and no not deserve to be on the outs with me and my body.
If That Sounds Like You
And you want to get out of that cycle, here's what worked for me*.
1. I decided that what was doing wasn't working
2. I decided to try something new
3. I started to NOTICE. Here's what this means - every time I started to think OMG how many of those Oreos did I eat? That's XYZ calories. I would out loud (because that works for me), NOPE.
4. Then I would think of something else. To take the guess work out, I picked one thing to think of. For me, it's "I am perfectly healthy".
5. And just like that, on Jan 2nd 2021, I didn't need to do that at all. I didn't need to change what I was eating or what I was doing, I only changed the way I thought and felt about it. As I lay in bed, enjoying my shake I thought - "this is the life"
Important to note that just because it worked for me, doesn't mean it will work for you. Take what works for you, and leave the rest. Trust that you know best and if something feels like it's for you (or not), then it is.
Also important to note that on that day, that shake felt absolutely right to me but it's not about the food, or the location, or the time of day. It's about the feeling of knowing that whatever you're doing is exactly what you're meant to.
I Now Present To You The Key Takeaway...
You can apply this method to anything - diet, exercise, mindfulness and sleep. Just start by noticing.
Did you know you can get benefits from just 4 seconds (yes SECONDS) of exercise? Not saying that's for you, but that's to show how a small change can make a huge difference. It doesn't have to be this massive, overwhelming undertaking. And in fact, I would recommend against anything that is too drastic because more than likely it won't be sustainable and is probably rooted in some diet culture mentality we want to move away from anyway.
Also want to say that professional help in the form of a trusted doctor, or therapist, if that is available to you, is so important. This is not a substitute for professional help but rather an option to consider in addition to whatever support you're currently working with.