I spent the better part of my young adult life going from a diet to the next with intermittent episodes of “what the f#$%, nothing is working, let’s eat…”. I was basically existing between the space of ultra restriction and binging. I could go for 2 weeks on a Master Cleanse easily. I could commit to eating a non-fat diet for a month. I could also do a fruit juice cleanse for 3 weeks, but guess what. They either didn’t work at all (juice cleansing made me put on 10 lbs, I turned into super-biatch, and couldn’t focus on anything…), made me feel awful, borderline eating disordered, or made me really hopeless. I also realized that I’d never get rid of my thighs that my mom simply called “strong legs”. So, I would stop it all and then just jump into the fridge head-first and devour whatever I wanted. Yeah, that also didn’t work. So, lets’ just say, I know that space very well that exists between ‘diet land” and “let-loose land”. The restriction creates a perceived safe space of control and limitations. And the act of not following any diet rules allows you to feel free.
The truth, however is, that neither is a happy space to live in because neither is something you can keep up for an extended period of time….unless you’re eating disordered, of course. In the book “The Untethered Soul”, which by the way is a life-changer, so order it if you haven’t read it yet, the author Michael Singer describes how we let the pendulum swing so hard to one side (that would be you going our for a few drinks and a burger and then a midnight pizza) to only realize that it makes us feel unbalanced (that would be you waking up feeling like death, feeling bloated, disgusted and out of shape…). The feeling of imbalance is so uncomfortable for us that we seek out extremes to correct the imbalance and let the pendulum then swing really hard to the other side (That’s you going on a 5-day juice fast because you realize you totally overdid it the other night).
Ultimately, health exists in that space between the two extremes. It’s called BALANCE and surprisingly, it’s elusive and hard to catch. Some people look for it in the gym. Others in nights out with friends. Others in travel, and yet others in wild shopping sprees. We all have a way of balancing out the extremes in which we live. It’s a lot simpler though to find balance. How?
You start in your own grey matter. You decide that past extremes haven’t gotten you to your happy place (why not take out a pen and paper and jot down every extreme attempt you’ve started and what came of it. If you sustained anything for longer than a month, I want to hear form you!) You realize that if you want anything for life, you have to work at it consistently. If you want a paycheck every month, you gotta show up at work. If you want a fulfilling relationship, you have to work at it, every day and communicate and share, and be there with open arms and an open heart. If you want a healthy body that turns heads, you have to treat it like it is the most precious thing you own. Because it is. Ask anyone who has a terminal illness. Ask anyone who is dealing with a disease or has an injury or simply just has a cold for a few days. It’s not a good feeling, so the sooner you recognize that it is the consistent effort with which you take care of yourself that creates balance, the easier it will be to eat well, exercise and get enough rest. It will be your life, not a 30-day effort. It will be normal, a daily ritual, a habit, something so deeply ingrained that you wouldn’t dare to do anything else. Yes, it sounds so easy and it can be, if you just put in a few decisions about what makes you feel your best. No, it’s not the juice fast or the 15-hour workout day. It is … well, you actually already know, but you’ve been too focused on going for the big magical promises of change that made you forget to listen to your gut.
Here’s my client’s email about wanting to do something extreme to make some last minute changes in her body before a wedding. See for yourself:
I was thinking since I’m going to a wedding a week from tomorrow, I could do some kind of NutriBullet cleanse next week? I’m home all week, and only have one dinner meeting out that I have to go to.
What do you think? I could do something extreme like all three meals with NutriBullets, or NutriBullets and then real dinner? No dairy, no alcohol? I realize I won’t lose weight before the wedding, but maybe I’ll feel better?
Before you get into this extreme diet mindset and plan a cleanse, think about it:
The reason you want a detox or a cleanse is to undo the food overdose you had or are having now. If you now let loose on food and booze just because you know you will clean it up in an extreme cleanse, you are continuing a vicious cycle of dieting and overeating. That’s the worst thing you can do for your metabolism in the long run. For your mind that isn’t the best either. You also will continue the discomfort you feel when eating foods that aren’t great for your system.
The time is right now to eat clean, no matter what. Why do you need two glasses of wine if you can have one and be fine with it? Why not say right now: my diet is MY responsibility and I will not leave it up to circumstances to decide what I eat. You are in charge, no matter the situation, location, or mindset. Your ultimate goal is balance, not another diet, not another cleanse, just YOU taking care of you because you want to feel good about yourself and like the skin you’re in. And, you don’t have to wait til next week, but you can start right now and feel awesome. It is entirely up to you to say: I’m worthy taking care of my body and I can say no to things that don’t serve my body or make me feel worse.
Stop wasting time feeling awful because you’re using food to socialize. You can do that in so many ways: you’re charming, warm, outgoing, engaging and good at what you do, so food and alcohol doesn’t have to be taking center stage. It’s you. The better you feel about yourself, the more you’ll glow and exude what you want to represent for your clients.
So, what’s the plan of attack?