Of all the memories I have from my childhood, there’s one my mom and I still joke about today: her atkins diet phase. See like many girls my age, I watched my mom do the atkins diet. Meat, cheese and eggs were a regular dietary choice and carb was a four letter word in our house. The diet lifestyle, always trying the next thing or having some temporary restrictions, was a regular in my house. As an adult, I understand it a bit more. We all seem to be living these lives wanting to look and feel our best. But over the last 6 months, I’ve realized just how toxic the diet mentally can be.
Now I’ll be the first the admit I’m not perfect. There are plenty of days that I don’t adore what I see when I look in the mirror. I think we all have those though. And sure there are days, weeks, and even months were I’m not eating the best and supporting my own well being. But ditching the diet lifestyle and getting off the yo yo train is something we can probably all benefit from. So today I thought I’d share why I made the change.
I Wasn’t Listening To My Body
One of the biggest goals I’ve had for myself in the last 6 months is to really listen to my body. I know intuitive eating is a bit of a buzzword. But it’s kind of what I’ve been moving towards. If my body needs more carbs, I want to hear it tell me it needs more carbs and listen to that craving. If my body is really needing some extra protein, I want the freedom to eat it. Subscribing to a certain diet hasn’t given me or my body the chance to really function at its best.
It takes time to learn your body’s cues and what you really thrive on. My skin is a massive indicator of how my digestion is handling something in my life. So instead of limiting or eliminating certain foods because of xzy diet, I try to focus on eating the foods that make me feel good. Some days, salmon, chicken or eggs sound great and other days I’d rather not have anything to do with animal products. But now I can honor my body by ditching the diet lifestyle and listening to what it’s saying. It’s a game changer.
I Wanted More For Myself
I turn 29 this year which means I’m slowly creeping up to 30. And do I really want to spend the rest of my life trying to lose that last five pounds or hating my body? NO. I’ve learned so much about myself in the last few years. From moving my entire life back to a place I never thought I’d live again to losing my father to surviving a near category 5 hurricane, it’s safe to say a lot has happened. And at no point in any of those times did it matter how I looked or what the scale said.
I didn’t want to spend my life feeling guilty for eating bread or cake or having wine. One of my favorite things to do with my friends is try new restaurants or just catch up over a glass of prosecco. And while my friends fully know I have dietary restrictions because certain foods actually cause me pain, I still want to enjoy the things I eat. I remember being in high school and carrying around a spray salad dressing in my bag for when I ate out. Or the days I would eat as little as possible to see if I could fit into my smallest jeans. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THAT. And friend, I don’t think you do either.
I WAS LIVING MY LIFE ON PAUSE
Whether I meant to or not, I spent years of my life living in a pause mode. And somehow, someway this idea crept in that if I got the perfect body, hit a certain number or was just a certain person it would all fall in place. I would meet the man of my dreams and have 2.5 babies in a beautiful home location tbd. But here we are however many years later and nope.
I didn’t want to wait to do all the things in my life because oh if I lose 5 pounds then that might not fit so why buy it. Or oh if I lose x amount of weight, maybe I’ll meet my person. Here’s the thing: no matter what the number on the scale, your jeans or your shoe size says, you are still you. And if whomever you’re dating can’t see that, then there’s a bigger issue going on. Don’t let a diet lifestyle keep you from going after the things you really want. You are so much more than your ability to count calories or track macros my sweet friend. And living our lives on pause isn’t doing either of us any favors.
I WANTED MORE FOR THOSE AROUND ME
Have you ever realized that children hear EVERYTHING you don’t want them to hear? No? You sure? Okay. Well fun fact: they do! So when you’re speaking negatively about yourself all the time, they hear it. Or when you’re talking about your new diet and how it’s going to change everything, they hear that too. I didn’t want my diet lifestyle to be the thing that people absorb from me.
It’s why there are no posts about weight loss on the blog. If you ever hear me telling you about how you can lose 10 lbs, it’s probably an April Fool’s joke. It’s always been more important to me that you care for your mental health as much as you do your physical health. And sister walking around looking at foods that you think you can never eat or are bad for you isn’t doing either of us any favors.
LOVING YOURSELF HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SCALE
You know what I don’t do anymore? Weigh myself. As Marie Kondo would say, “It doesn’t spark joy.” There’s nothing good that has ever come from my relationship with the scale. And letting one little thing determine my mood for the day or even the week isn’t worth it. But that’s just what works for me.
I spent years living in a diet lifestyle that focused on counting calories and tracking my weight. But were those carefully counted calories filled with balanced nutrition? Not at all. I ate way too many english muffins with nutella & peanut butter and not nearly enough whole foods. Except the scale said I was small so that meant I was happy right?
Your body does so many amazing things for you. And trust me when you live with a 90 year old you learn to appreciate the ability to lift your arms, walk or even drive yourself places. There’s so much of you to already love like you are now. Being 20 lbs heavier or lighter won’t change the things you don’t like about yourself. Do the work. Deal with the problems. And maybe just maybe consider ditching the scale for a while. You are so much more than the number it tells you. Remember that.
I WANTED TO LEARN WHAT BALANCE REALLY LOOKED LIKE
Remember that nutella and peanut butter phase? There wasn’t much balance happening there. So many years of saying I couldn’t have something or shouldn’t have something meant I would eat WAY more than I really needed when I did have it. Instead of just having a bowl of cereal or eating a few cookies, I’d progressively eat the entire box within a day and not much else. Now I’m not shaming. We all have times were are diets aren’t perfect or balanced. But I didn’t want my diet lifestyle to be the reason my relationship with food was so messed up.
For me balance these days means I’m focusing on eating meals with a bit of fiber, fat and protein (thank you Kelly Leveque). Do I order fries with my salad at dinner sometimes? You bet. I just try not to do it all the time and only when I’m really craving them. Balance for me without a diet lifestyle means saying yes to everything but when I’m really craving it. Instead of eating things just to eat them, I get to truly enjoy them. Could I eat cookies all the time? Sure. I just also know that not enough protein, fat and fiber means I’m going to feel extra tried and off. So when I’m craving cookies, I’ll have them. I just don’t eat them all day every day.
I ACTUALLY WANTED TO BE HAPPY
Ditching the diet lifestyle for me meant finally letting go of this unrealistic pursuit of happiness. I talk about living a healthy lifestyle on the blog a lot. And I think that looks different for everyone. If you follow my instagram stories, you’ll get a glimpse at what I’m eating, my daily workouts and places I’m exploring. You’ll know I keep a chocolate section in my fridge, love my current workout routine and enjoy a glass of wine with my bestie at least once a week. But the other thing you might notice is I’m happy.
Slowly but surely I’m learning how to make choices that help me feel my best. I’m building a life for myself that doesn’t revolve around the number of calories I can eat in a day or avoid carbs. I get to enjoy the foods I eat and I’ve ditched the guilt in the process. It’s amazing.
I WANTED TO BUILD A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Now I think this one has to be uniquely tailored to you. It’s also something that can take time to figure out. And because I feel like this is a question some may ask, I want to get this out of the way. You might say but Savvy you practice intermittent fasting, avoid gluten & dairy and have been fasting something different every month. How is that not a diet lifestyle? So let me put in perspective.
Intermittent fasting for me has been a game changer in helping with my skin. Even my esthetician can tell the different in how my acne reacts when I’m letting my body have time to digest. It also helps me keep my snacking habit in check and prevents me from feeling tired all the time. IF is more about making me feel my best and healing my gut than it is a weight loss tool in my life. As for the other stuff, I don’t eat certain things because I’ve learned my body doesn’t enjoy them. And fasting has been a great way for me to be more mindful of habits in my life while also challenging me to get creative.
All in all it’s taken me some serious time to get here. I’m not perfect and I know that there are some days where I’m not going to be feeling so positive about my body. But building a healthy lifestyle that supports me mentally and physically is more than worth it. Ditching the diet lifestyle is one of the best things I’ve done for myself. And if you’re tired of living on the yoyo wagon, I hope today’s post will help you too. Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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