If you wish everything was as easy as gaining weight, raise your hand. Raise your other hand if you know that you’re in a complicated relationship with food and/or your body.
If both your hands are still down, ask yourself if you’ve ever felt guilt after eating a "bad" food?
I’m here to remind you there is no such thing as “bad” food. And that wanting to be skinnier will only keep you in the same patterns.
When life gets crowded and confusing, we fall into a people-pleasing mentality in which we forget our unique essence and quickly lose sight of what will really matter to us at the end of our lives.
We believe weight loss will equate to joy gain. But it won’t.
I just spent four years studying nutrition science and personalized nutritional therapy. For the five years prior to that, my life was a series of addictive “weight-loss diets” infused with junk-food binges, torturous daily workouts, and all-consuming body image obsession. Been there, tried that; nothing worked.
Today, I’m one of those annoying people who has “found my natural weight,” never craves sugar, stops eating when I’m full, restricts nothing, and has lived to tell the story. Eww, I know.
If I were Oprah, this is what I would know for sure: one day of your life spent obsessing over food or your body is one day too long.
Here are my five steps to finally accepting yourself and loving the home you will have for your entire life:
1. Address the real issue.
Abdominal fat is not what’s keeping you from being confident and happy. So, what’s the real problem? In what area of your life do you feel trapped? What are you silencing with food?
It might be just low-grade boredom, or maybe it's boredom of life, or your partner, or your job. What's the thing you know will make you happy that you’re too scared to fail at? Have some real talk with yourself about what’s making you compensate with food.
Spend some time here. It could take a year or two — but don’t let it! Turn around now and face the real issue.
2. Stop everything.
Stop running (literally), stop pushing, stop counting calories, stop planning how to avoid "temptation."
Your obsession is keeping you in this doomed cycle. Letting go can seem very scary, but you will soon see that where you are now is more out of control than anything that lies ahead.
If you want a change you need to make a change. Stop overeating and overexercising and overcompensating. It’s not working for you.
Try that thing everyone’s talking about where you do nothing. It’s called meditation. And it can actually help you lose weight by reducing stress/emotional eating, lowering cortisol levels, and improving sleep, which is known to cause weight gain.
3. Eat food. Often. And face your fat phobia.
You’ll always be sorry for what you said when you were hungry. Surrender to real food; it’s the only thing that can save you.
Eating big, colorful, delicious plates of plants and proteins is what will make you lose weight and keep it off. And ADD FATS! Eggs, nuts, olives, oils, and avocados won't make you fat, and they won't give you heart disease.
Dr. Mark Hyman is about to launch his book Eat Fat, Get Thin. Check it out and learn how to make friends with fats. They keep you full, slim you down, and heal your life.
4. Practice flexibility.
Being adaptable is a super skill. Notice how taking a step back and loosening your grip over everything in general (or just one specific area of your life) feels for you.
Yoga helped me a lot with this new notion. Through playful free physical movement and flexibility, my mind followed the lead and became less rigid and more curious. Curiosity helps you stay unattached to outcome and be less dependent on rules (that are only made to be broken).
5. Connect with yourself.
If you’re constantly in a battle with your body, there’s a disconnect between you and yourself.
You might be trying to bridge that gap with food, or some other compulsive pursuit that increases dopamine levels like excessive exercise "to stay thin," eating a treat "to feel better," smoking pot "to chill out," or having sex "to feel wanted."
What you’re truly seeking is the only unlimited, unconditional connection available to you: the connection with yourself.
You don’t need more rules, more resolutions, more abs, more time. You need more you.