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Most of us are on a journey with food. Yet most of us don't realize one critical thing:
Itâ€™s not just about weight loss.
In my dieting heyday, Iâ€™d try just about anything to lose weight.
Back-to-back spin classes. Going as long as I possibly could without eating. And when I did eat, I ate so-called â€œhealth foodsâ€ that were really just chemical crapstorms in disguise.
All these techniques had something in common: I believed they were healthy â€“ or, at least, I didnâ€™t care that they werenâ€™t â€“ because they involved cutting calories, exercising, and eating stuff that tasted like chalk dust on cardboard.
Where did we get the idea that liking our bodies had to involve so much suffering?
I guess I thought losing weight was the one and only thing that could make me LIKE MYSELF, and that whatever I did to get there had to make me miserable in the process.
I justified what I was doing by pretending I was doing it in the name of Health â€“ as if health was only about weight loss, no matter how you managed to shed those pounds or inches.
Itâ€™s no surprise that my body was as toxic as my thoughts on my own health and body image.
I dealt with acne, sallow skin, eczema, horrible sleep, mood swings, self-destructive behavior (a form of self-medication?) and total confusion about what I really wanted from life.
When I stumbled upon (and fell in love with) the Paleo way of eating, it took me some time to quit trying to fit a real food lifestyle into an obsessive dieting mindset. I still WANTED to count calories and carbs. To agonize over fat grams and punish myself with exercise. I thought I HAD to.
I was stuck in a toxic, food-is-the-enemy mindset.
But when I finally let that go, and realized that real food was not just an easy â€œplanâ€ to stick with, but that it could balance my body and mind, suddenly I realized:
Itâ€™s not just about weight loss.
Itâ€™s about HEALTH. And the REALLY earth-shattering thing?
You donâ€™t necessarily gain HEALTH simply by losing WEIGHT.
Losing weight may make some people healthier, but for most of us, focusing on HEALTH FIRST will give us more long-term success, more mileage, more happiness, and yes â€“ MORE WEIGHT LOSS in the long run.
I remember how hard it was to believe that in my dieting days. But now, more than six years later, feeling happy and content in my own skin, I can honestly say: letting the weight loss obsession go was the BEST thing I ever did.
In letting the weight loss obsession go, I gained everything EXCEPT weight. I gained self-worth. I gained great skin. I gained restful sleep. I gained a LIFE BEYOND OBSESSIVE BEHAVIOR.
If youâ€™re struggling to let the calorie-counting, the self-judgment, and the obsessive behavior go; if youâ€™re not quite sure how to quit the obsession with weight loss while trusting that health comes first, believe me: Iâ€™ve been there. And Iâ€™m here for you!
You donâ€™t have to STOP trying to lose weight. You just have to START doing a few other critical things first. The rest will fall into place.
Here's where to start:
Focus on nourishing your body. This will give it the raw materials to shed weight healthfully, which will enable you to avoid a lifetime of crazy backslides and nonstop hunger.
Take the punishment out of the equation. Food is fuel for everything from weight loss (sound counter-intuitive?), clear skin and a happy life; and the cleanest, most delicious, most nourishing food is a JOY to eat.
(It ainâ€™t no sad little bowl of Fiber One and soy milk sprinkled with Splenda. Itâ€™s no Diet Coke or 100 Calorie Pack. Itâ€™s no Slim Fast shake. (Thank goodness.))
REMEMBER that the best food is WORTH enjoying, and enjoying guilt-freeâ€¦because the good stuff (from healthy fat to appetite-regulating NOURISHMENT balances the appetite AND the mind ... all while they fuel your Awesome.
(Hey, even high-quality, full-fat ice cream can do that! Just make it the good stuff, free of gunk and full of natural ingredients. And NO GUILT!)
The bottom line: shift your focus, and youâ€™ll get what you want.
If you need more help â€“ specifically, if youâ€™re a woman looking for more inspiration for your weight loss journey â€“ watch for an email from me on Tuesday, October 7 about a powerful (FREE) tool I was involved in creating.