For all the ladies who are constantly on diets, worrying about their weight, feeling anxious around food, and flat out living in a miserable disordered world around body image this one's for you. (and so is this complimentary Body Love Survival Guide if you haven't downloaded it yet.)
Let me just say the tag line before I even begin.
Food is NOT the enemy, RESTRICTION is.
As women, most of us struggle with the desire to be "thin." (fit, skinny, flat abs, you name it.) In our eyes, THIN = WORTHY + ACCEPTED. What do we do in order to try and attain this nearly impossible body to maintain without feeling crazy?
That's right! WE RESTRICT.
Restriction is one of the top reasons for DISORDERED RELATIONSHIPS WITH FOOD. When you can't have something or won't allow yourself to have something that you want you are now entering the world of the forbidden. What that means to me is now food is put on a pedestal. In some form we have made it our "god."
When we are in a constant state of restricting the body gets more and more desirable for a food that you might not even love as much as you think, because it's "forbidden" you want it that much more. You think about it, you dream about it, you count down the days until your "cheat day," you can't even stop talking about it. It seriously gets ridiculous. You know why? Because if you just ate that "special something" in the moment that you wanted it, a small portion would most likely satisfy you and you would move on. You wouldn't obsess over it because you know that it's always available to you.
For anyone interested in taking this on, I challenge you to this:
Think of your absolute favorite food or dessert. One thing that you just love to your core but you NEVER allow yourself to eat because you either don't trust yourself around it because you will eat yourself into a coma OR you are a chronic dieter who restricts and binges OR you are just flat out scared to eat this food, known as a "fear food."
Once you have the food that you have chosen... I want you to eat that food every single day for 7 days (14 days if you really want to experiment). Don't worry about the portion size just ALLOW. The first day, second, maybe even third day you might totally go over board and eat way too much BUT by day 4, 5, 6, and 7 you may just feel differently about this "god like" food. Since you know that you will be eating this food every single day you might possibly be more inclined to eat a smaller amount because you know you will just be eating it again tomorrow. When our brain knows this it's like our body can relax. We don't need to eat ourselves into a food coma because we don't know when we will ever get to eat it again but rather we will have a feeling of being relaxed knowing that this food will be there again the next day.
If you are scared to give this challenge a go I encourage you to push yourself. You may change your entire relationship with food in 7 days OR begin your journey to a healthier relationship with food where you can eat what you want and still live a healthy life. Balance is a beautiful place to be.
Take my word for it! In the above picture, that was me on the left. I was in the middle of my photo shoot. I had flat abs, fit, lean, pretty much a body I desired. I may look good but DAYUM do you know what it took to get there? Well let's first start off by saying it took my SANITY. I was living on shakes, chicken, brown rice, and veggies. I was working out like crazy, eating perfect bland healthy meals that never satisfied me. Food was never a joy and every single day all I thought about was burning calories, eating my regimented nutrition plan, and not to mention my social life was completely shot. I was always tired, thinking about food, and didn't want to be around food I couldn't eat.
This was restriction to the max!
In my past I had severe anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia etc... so getting ready for a photo shoot was seriously playing with fire. I was spiraling right back into a world that was one of my darkest times. The fact was, I would do anything to be thin, even if I had to sell my soul. It was intense stuff.
Literally not even a minute after my photo shoot was done, I headed straight towards the food. As you can see in the picture above on the right side was the beginning to a 4 day binge. I had been so deprived that literally for the next 4 days I put myself in a sugar coma. When I say literally I mean it. My body couldn't handle the amount of sugar I was putting in it so I would pass out.
Restriction was one of the main reasons of my craziness. Of course it wasn't everything, clearly I had issues but what I know today is that RESTRICTION IS NEVER THE KEY TO GETTING THE BODY YOU WANT, because even if you get the body you want the question is, will you be able to maintain it for life? Is your mental health suffering? There are many questions to ask yourself, to see if all this diet crap is worth taking your happiness and your short experience on this planet.
I know for sure that it's NOT worth it.
Today, I eat what I want. I have a much better relationship with food. No, my body doesn't look like the one from my photo shoot but heck I don't even care. I've had so many incredible experiences in life because I healed my disordered eating. Life's soul purpose is not just to diet and exercise. We are obsessing and focusing on the wrong thing. I hate to say it but it's just a fact. At the end of our life will it really matter what your abs look like? If you were 10lbs heavier than you wanted to be? When we die, our bodies die with us, it's our soul that lives on.
Let me just say this because I can hear you ... You may be thinking, "well I'm way more than 10lbs heavier than I want to be. I'm actually in a position where it's damaging my health." Ok got it. This will blow your mind. Dieting and restriction is not the answer. We are doing it all backwards people! In order to actually get your health back on track you get to do it completely opposite. STOP the dieting, being a journey to loving yourself, restore your relationship with food, heal things from your past that are affecting you still today (I believe everyone should have a therapist, I do, just sayin.) Once you heal your demons you will heal your relationship with food. Another thing to knock you off your rocker...
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE FOOD. IT NEVER WAS AND IT NEVER WILL BE.
Mental health will help your physical health and vice versa. Trust me. I've learned through my own recovery.
SO in other words, I believe if you are happy, healthy, and have a life full of love and adventure that's all you need. Your body is just a home for your soul, so treat it well.
As a beloved resource of mine that I've created just for you... You are more than welcomed to download my complimentary Body Love Survival Guide. I share with you my greatest resources on how to begin to love your body, love yourself, and love your food.
2016 Copyright Lauren McAulay