The path I needed to go on to get here:
Name a diet and I’ve tried it. I spent years in a cycle of self hate and self destructive eating, a walking calorie encyclopedia and diet club veteran. What started as a way to lose my teenage puppy fat turned into years of dysfunctional eating, severe body image issues and an eating disorder. But in my mid-twenties I had a huge wake up call. In a bid to ‘lose the last stone’ I had stripped my diet back to almost nothing but cottage cheese and rice cakes. I get sad thinking about the social occasions I skipped because I didn’t want to 'ruin my diet'. I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self all the things I've learned now. It would have saved me a lot of tears.
I didn't know what it was at the time, but I had this nagging feeling that there must be another way. I wasn’t living my life and I promised I would learn to love my body whatever it looked like and never go on another diet again. I walked out of my last slimming club and never looked back.
It was hard. But it was REVOLUTIONARY.
Thanks to women’s magazines, social media and societal pressures we have forgotten to appreciate how amazing we really are. (Trust me, when I trained to be a massage therapist I learned all the biology of the body that I’d never appreciated before.) If diets worked then there wouldn't be a billion pound industry (and growing) and we'd all be thin.
Diets do not work. Fact. (I'm using the word 'diet' interchangeably, it could be a lifestyle plan, juice detox or shake plan. If the end goal is weight loss - it's a diet babe!)
The diet industry relies (and profits) on us feeling shit about ourselves.
The diet industry sells us false happiness for future dates that will never come. And it'll never come because diets don't change your thoughts.
Every day there’s a new quick fix out there. Are we meant to be eating fat? Carbs are evil? Do calories count anymore?! Fruit is full of sugar, right?! No wonder we’ve all lost our confidence around food!
But do you ever actually listen to your body? I definitely never did. We've given all the power back to external forces who tell us we're not good enough (including that voice in our heads!)
Even when we think we have a balanced view of food I’ve found clients are often ‘accidentally dieting’ by labeling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. How many times have you used the words 'naughty' in relation to something you've eaten and then berated yourself after you've eaten it?
You are measuring our worth by the wrong scale.
You are so much more than a number but by living by the scales you are placing all your happiness in a piece of metal. Diets rely on willpower and this by it's very nature is limited. When you slip up it's easy to fall into 'f*ck it window' where you give yourself permission to binge on all 'forbidden' foods until you're 'back on track' again, sound familiar?
This cycle leaves us hating our bodies and blaming ourselves. It leaves us feeling a failure, says to us that we're not good enough and because your social media feed is full of photos of success stories there must be something wrong with you.
Quite frankly, this is total BS.
At the very least dieting is a waste of time and energy, but at its worst they can ruin lives through eating disorders.
Imagine living from a place of 'hell yes' instead of putting things off until an imagined place in the future. Imagine looking in the mirror and liking what you see - regardless of the number on the scale. Imagine saying f*ck you, I love my body and no one is going to change that.
Getting rid of diet mentality is hard. But it's the beginning of a path to body confidence, happiness and freedom. I promise, once you're free, you get to spend your brain power and energy on all the other things more fun and important.
I’ve relearned how to listen to my body. And I've released the power food used to have over me. Food is just food. I let my body tell me when I’m hungry and when I've had enough. Sometimes I want a salad and sometimes I need mashed potato. That's balance. That's real life babe! And I want the same for you.
I know love my body, I don't care if it meets a beauty standard or not. I can get undressed (or even get naked) in a changing room, I can wear a bikini and not give a f*ck what people think of me. I'm grateful for all my body does for me.
And I want the same feeling for you.