Before becoming a health coach, I weighed 40 pounds more than I do now and I had a typical American-style diet. I would have a bagel with milk or tea for breakfast, a sandwich with juice for lunch (side of chocolate chip cookies), and then some kind of meat with potatoes or pasta for dinner. I tried many different approaches to a healthy diet before finding what worked for me.
Now, as a health mentor, I want to share with you how I was able to become that girl who can eat whatever she wants without any health or weight issues:
1. I started with a macrobiotic diet.
There was a point in time when I was so absorbed with trying to understand the science behind nutrition that I even thought it was better to eat factory-made, processed protein bars than a banana (protein is better than carbs, right?). The first time I finally grasped the meaning of health is when I left the science behind and looked at what I was eating at face value — and that happened with macrobiotics.
Macrobiotics is about the philosophy of how to eat in harmony with your condition and with nature. All foods are made up of energy that is either expansive or contractive, and the idea is that if you avoid the foods at either extreme, you will take a lot of stress off of your digestive system, which allows your body to focus on healing. Following this way of eating made me realize that instead of focusing on losing weight, I should strive to refine my body's cycles (digestive, sleep, menstrual, etc.) and once that health was restored, the weight fell off and my body has been able to handle modern ways of eating for pleasure, like going out to restaurants with friends or having dessert without guilt.
For breakfast, I would either choose a carrot and apple juice or oatmeal. Lunch would be a bean patty with brown rice, cooked veggies, and pickles. Dinner was a stew, like curry with brown rice and pickles.
2. While I stopped following a macrobiotic diet, I still follow its principles.
Macrobiotics helped me overcome emotional eating and my intense cravings for sugar. I finally felt like I could hear what my body was telling me for the first time.
But I must tell you, doing macrobiotics based on the traditional vegetarian recommendations of brown rice, seasonal vegetables, and miso soup, in the modern world, is a challenge. It's doable, but not all of your friends or family members are going to be on board.
My body transformed within three months, and I continued to eat in a traditional macrobiotic style for two years just because I enjoyed it. After the two years, I found that I was craving more animal products so I explored eating the foods I used to have before my macrobiotic adventure, to reevaluate how I wanted to live my food lifestyle. Even though I wasn't eating macrobiotically in the traditional sense, I could still take the principles and apply them to any situation. This includes chewing well, having seasonal foods, and eating until you are 80 percent full.
Today, my breakfast might be some Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts, or a smoothie. For lunch I have a chicken patty with lots of veggies and miso soup for digestion. I had a wonderful blueberry tart my friend brought over in the afternoon. Dinner was a special meal with family of steak with cooked veggies.
3. My experience with this style of eating led me to become a health coach.
The reason I became a health mentor is because I want my clients to know that trying to train yourself to eat a perfect diet and have a perfect exercise routine isn't the ultimate goal. Eating foods like kale or going to yoga are not all-or-nothing changes. Rather, eating foods like kale and going to yoga are tools that you can use to learn more about yourself; they are tools to help you discover what it means to actually feel good, and to build a body that is strong.
Eating perfectly is a means to rebalancing your body, and once you have strengthened your system, your body has a voice stronger than that devil on your shoulder. And what's even better is that your body starts to crave the foods that make it healthy, and the junk food you used to adore loses its appeal. It's like that bittersweet moment when you reunite with an old friend but realize that you've grown apart.
There are some parts of my current diet, such as dairy and wheat, that I might tell my clients to avoid if is creating an obstacle for their healing. But for me, I am healed and I can enjoy foods without adverse effects. If there is a time in my life when I feel out of balance, I know exactly what to do about it. Life is good!