If you are ready to END yo-yo dieting and get on a path to sustainable HEALTH then this post is for you! Each week I plan to release a new post sharing more about my life and + my passion on everything health and wellness. Being vulnerable and open has NEVER been easy for me, so… as I continue to push myself to reach my goals, that means inevitably stretching outside of my comfort zone and breaking down emotional walls.
With that said I really am excited to start sharing with you guys because I have SO much that I want to give my perspective on + loads of valuable information that I know will help you lead a healthier life!
When I decided to start blogging a million topics popped into my head but ultimately it was easy to choose this one as my first post. I think it is SO needed right now and a topic that all women can relate to. It’s also near and dear to my heart because I was trapped in the “diet” mentality myself for years constantly striving to maintain a certain image of beauty which like most women was completely unrealistic and NOT sustainable in the least.
It all began at the age it does for most women-adolescence.
Growing up, I was always thin. I got tall really quickly (I’m 5’9) and had a really fast metabolism so I could pretty much eat ANYTHING and not gain a pound. I know what you’re thinking. Poor me, right? It wasn’t until middle school that I even gave any attention to my frame.
At age 15 I moved to a new school and there was a group of girls that teased and taunted me calling me “Barbie,” spreading rumors that I was anorexic. Because of this I made a point to eat extra shitty around them to prove that I wasn’t trying to be skinny and that it was natural for me. But of course, the cruelty of bullies exists no matter what size you are… they will find a reason to make you feel like complete shit.
This phase passed as it typically does and I grew more and more confident in myself as I grew into my body. Fast forward to when I was 22 and the SAD (Standard American Diet) I was eating began to catch up to me and I saw some weight start to creep on.
This was the first time in my life that I noticed weight gain and I had a fierce desire to get it off and FAST. And this my friends, is what lead to a 3-year cycle of yo-yo dieting, restrictive/binge eating and over-exercising that destroyed my hormones, metabolism and thyroid health.
Of course, everyone is different and 10 pounds of weight gain might not be a lot to one person but to a young, impressionable girl that was easily influenced by society this was completely devastating. So instead of looking within and eating foods in their whole natural state I began researching every diet known to man to lose the weight.
Paleo, Mediterranean, Atkins, Keto, Raw Vegan, Starch based, low carb, no carb, high fat, high protein, tracking calories, weighing food, oh yes, I did it ALL. Looking back I can’t believe how I functioned like that. Completely imprisoned by the diet mentality and putting labels on my way of eating as if it was the Holy Grail.
Youtube was also a huge part of this. There were health gurus that claimed their way of eating was magic and that if you ate these exact foods and followed these exact macros, you would miraculously lose weight and feel amazing. I believed them wholeheartedly and jumped from diet to diet in search for the PERFECT way of eating.
I remember about a 2 years ago when I was going through a Keto phase and my macros looked something like 80-90% pure fat (mostly coming from bacon, sausage, cheese and butter…grosssssss) 10% protein, 5% carbs. I was at my lowest weight since middle school, felt weak/tired, was breaking out like crazy, lost my period and had to increase my thyroid medication.
Even with all that happening and my body going into total meltdown mode, I remember thinking how amazing this diet was and reading every book and article that I could get my hands on trying to convince myself of the benefits. WOW… looking back I cannot believe how out of touch with my body I was. I mean 5% carbohydrates?! How did I even function??!
I developed orthorexia (a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet) from years of eating with this restrictive mindset and it completely ruined my time out to eat with friends or my husband, holidays, social gatherings, etc. Instead of just being and enjoying my time in the present moment, I was constantly thinking about what food I could or could not eat, bringing with me pre-prepared food or starving and leaving early so I could binge out on my “health” food when I got home.
Just because a person looks completely healthy on the outside does NOT mean that they have healthy thoughts and habits. Many women are literally manifesting anxiety disorders to maintain or get to a certain weight and that is NOT ok.
Diets and labeling yourself to a certain way of eating can put you in a box which soon can turn into a jail cell. The stress that is created around maintaining this new diet alone is enough to send your cortisol levels through the roof which completely inhibits your bodies ability to let go of stored fat so it can be counter intuitive.
The ugly side of dieting that can take YEARS to reverse include:
- Muscle wasting
- Mood alterations
- Slowing of metabolism
- Hair loss
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Hormone Imbalance
And this is just a few of the dangers of fad dieting all of which I have experienced at some point in my life… yikes.
Can you lose weight fast on a diet or detox? Absolutely.
Is it sustainable long term? Nope.
Will you gain the weight back and then some when you stop dieting and start listening to your bodies cues? Most likely. I certainly did, but it was needed and I am learning to love my body at its natural weight instead of trying to constantly manipulate it and that feels SO good.
So instead of labeling myself vegan or vegetarian or high carb, I’m learning to eat intuitively and TRUST in what my body is craving, nourishing it with mostly whole foods. And this my friends, is a mindset that I’m still trying to engrain because If anything I’ve learned nothing good happens overnight and having patience is key to real transformation. This is just the first chapter in my healing journey.
Here are a few tips to break free from the diet mentality:
- Don’t skip meals
- Eat when you hungry and stop when your full
- Don’t rely on liquid meals. Your body needs substance from whole foods
- Practice the “Magic Plate” for each meal which is evening out your macros so you receive a portion of healthy fat, protein and carbohydrate at each meal. This also helps to balance your blood sugar and reduce cravings.
- Tune into your how your body is feeling when you eat certain foods and start a food journal to find what works for YOUR body.
**I’ll be doing a deeper dive into intuitive eating in my next post**
I still have days with negative self-talk where my mind wants to resort back to its old methods of CONSTANTLY striving for perfection and willing to do anything to reach that, but now I see those thoughts without judgement and let them pass realizing they are lies that I will no longer let control me.
Friends, there is no magic diet but beware because society would like to tell you different. Every week there’s a new and improved way we should be eating. So instead of getting caught up in all the hype and reading through the fitness magazines at check out (still guilty from time to time) I’m giving myself patience in realizing that there is no one size fits all way of eating. Break free of the Yo-Yo dieting trap.
Body peace, self-love and intuitive eating are now my focus and for the first time in my life I know I’m on the right path for ME.
Still I’m thankful for this chapter in my life because it led me here. Through my years of researching all things health, I have learned SO much along the way and found that food does have the ability to truly heal both physically and mentally. More on my healing journey and the POSTIIVE aspects of food in a future post.
I hope that this gives you inspiration in letting go of labels that you have placed on yourself. If there’s any inner dialogue of deprivation or restriction going on inside your head, please know that you can overcome that negativity, break free and get on your own path to healing.
Ok- I’m done with my rant so if you have any questions on this topic or would like more guidance please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my 1:1 sessions as I would love to chat more and guide you in your own health journey to END yo-yo dieting.
Penaranda, M.D., Jason A. Gourmet Farms, Gourmet Philippines, 2014. Accessed 8 June 2017
Nutrition for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know About Fad Diets, American Academy of Family Physicians, Mar. 2017. Accessed 9 June 2017