I’m revisiting an old post from last year that contains a message that has resurfaced in my life. In both recent interactions with clients and coworkers, as well as some resistance I’m feeling in my own journey, I have found these words to be a helpful reminder. I’ve added new insights and reflections gathered along the way since last October.
It’s been in the past few years that I’ve become anti-diet convert.
… and trust me, I am never going back.
When I finally reached burnout, I had been dieting so long, I didn’t know how to NOT restrict my food. In my mind, food was either good for you or bad for you, healthy or not healthy, and eating the latter of either of those categories left me feeling shameful, judgmental, guilty, and like a failure. Giving in to cravings, or deviating from anything but a perfect diet meant starting over the next day; back on the wagon, clean state, get under control.
Diet, food, and weight loss was how I knew if I was succeeding in life or not.
Restriction had become a way of life for me, and it was so deeply ingrained that even now, months after I thought I had overcome my attachment to dieting, I still find ways to restrict. There is still an ever present voice in the back of my head that is desperately trying to hold on to control because getting smaller feels comfortable, because I am safe when I am adhering to my food rules, and because there is a very big fear tucked in my closet around being a bigger person again.
It takes a lot of presence to remind myself that my old ways of counting calories and carbs, weighing and tracking food, exercising at every opportunity, hiding records of my measurements in a drawer, food rules, and guilt are a waste of so much energy in my life. That by restricting myself I am restricting my potential, and by giving in to guilt and shame I make those things real in my life.
All for what?
Happiness? Health? To feel good about myself? Or more likely, to hold on to an identity that I’ve created for myself as “thin”, fit, health nut, someone who succeeded in weight-loss…
But realistically… do any of those behaviors sound like ways to feel happy, be healthy, and build self-acceptance and love?! Do any of those behaviors honor who I truly am??
I know, deep down, what actually DOES build happiness, health, self-acceptance, love and an all-around awesome life:
IT’S ACTUALLY WORKING ON THOSE THINGS.
And also becoming aware of what is holding you back from accepting them. Taking on the tough lessons, and being willing to change, and flow – even when it feels so much safer to hold on to your beliefs and identity.
If you want to be happy, work on being happy. Face and let go of the resistance that is it keeping it from you.
If you want to be healthy, honor your body and mind with some love and respect, stop starving it and working it to death already!
If you want to feel better about yourself, become aware of your words, your thoughts, and your actions and use that awareness as opportunity every day.
When I stopped putting all my potential for happiness, health, and self-love in image, I discovered the path for truly discovering those things. A path which I still make the daily choice to travel. When I stopped wasting my thoughts, time, money, and energy on dieting, and striving for some outrageous standard for health and beauty, I could focus on what I wanted my life to really be about:
Empowering others, using my gifts, celebrating everything, giving love, listening, laughing, smiling, exploring, creating, and sharing!
Dieting didn’t just restrict my food, my image, my value… it restricted my potential. When I resist expanding physically, I resist expanding and growing in other aspects of my life as well.
Pursue what makes you happy, do what makes you feel vibrant, and learn to celebrate everything that you are…
You deserve to live this life to its fullest.
P.S. If my words resonate with you, or you yourself are also struggling, I’m here for you.