For more than 10 years, I fought my body with all of my strength. With every ounce of willpower and with every brain cell.
What I didn’t know at the time was that this process of constantly trying to lose weight actually hurt me as a person and took a lot away from my livelihood. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough just being myself, and that I had to look a certain way in order to feel loved, safe and like I belonged. It took me away from living my life. It stopped me from saying “yes” to opportunities because I was scared that if I said “yes,” I wouldn’t be able to control my diet and exercise in the way that I wanted to.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be:
Stop trying to lose weight.
After my senior year of college, I had an opportunity to go live in Israel for six months, and I turned it down. I didn’t tell anyone this at the time, but I turned it down because I was worried there wouldn’t be “clean” food, and I wouldn’t have access to a gym.
This is just one example of the many, many times I chose my weight loss journey over living my life. I could go on and on about the dinners I turned down, men I denied, trips I never booked, and desires I never pursued.
Sometimes it makes me sad to think about all of the life I missed out on. It’s only now, as an adult, that I can take a step back and see how focusing so much on losing weight was actually the exact thing keeping me from losing weight.
I was living small, and living inside a comfortable box. Maybe that box helped me control what I ate, but that box also made me feel bored, confined and a little bit dead inside.
At some point, after googling “lose weight without dieting” enough times, I decided to stop looking to Google for my answers. Instead, I just did what I wanted to for once.
So I stopped dieting, and I started living. I had no idea what this meant for my weight, but I didn’t care. I was so scared of letting more years pass by without feeling alive, so I decided to choose my life over my weight for the first time ever.
I booked a trip to France, started dating, bought myself new clothes that I actually loved, went to Happy Hour at least once a week, and went out to long romantic dinners with my girlfriends. Soon after, I quit my job. I searched deep within myself for any seed of self-confidence that remained and focused on growing it, which started with throwing away the scale.
I chose to live fiercely and made a promise to myself to never let my weight control my life again.
The next thing I knew, I was 25 pounds thinner. My life was now exciting, adventurous, and romantic. I didn’t have time to count calories, and my thoughts were consumed with life instead of with food. Food was a part of my life, but it wasn’t my life.
I wish I could talk to my younger self and save her from 10 years of pain, confusion, and emptiness. But I can’t.
I can only keep my promise to myself to live like I mean it and work with others to help them break away from their own food and diet obsession.
So if you’re reading this and you feel like I felt for so many years, please take my advice and stop dieting. Life is short, and it’s so much bigger than your decision to go for a salad or a sandwich. Go have fun and fall in love with your life. It will do more for your health than any cleanse can do.
In the spirit of living fully, I am running a totally free Holiday Challenge from Thanksgiving to New Year's. If this idea of focusing on life instead of food is interesting to you, I’d love to have you join us.
And if you find yourself binge eating like I did for so many years, click here to download my free class on how to end binge eating.