Client: Well [insert diet ‘o the moment] is what’s worked for me in the past.
Me: Define ‘worked’?
Client: I was able to keep the weight off longer than any other diet.
Me: And how long was that?
Client: About a year.
Me: And that’s what it means to ‘work’?
If you bought a car and it only drove for a year, would you consider that a good purchase?
What if there was a wrinkle cream that made you look ten years younger, but all your wrinkles came back after a year, plus lots more, did that cream work? Would you recommend it to a friend?
Let’s get real about how we define working.
If it’s giving you a metaphorical fish each night for a while then abandoning you to starvation it doesn’t work.
If it gives you the physical changes you want but they are short lived and cost you mental well-being it doesn’t work.
If it seems to work in the short term (and a year is short term, unless you plan to have a very short life), but is designed, in it’s DNA, to malfunction then it doesn’t work.
What works is what is sustainable.
What works is what allows you to be you.
What works is what supports your whole well-being— mind, body, and spirit.
Please don’t fool yourself into thinking this diet or that diet or the next diet or the diet of the moment or that ‘way of eating’ that’s popular right now and ‘has lots of community support’ is going to work.
Diets can’t work long term because you are not a robot. You are a living, breathing, feeling, sensitive, and food-requiring human.
Diets can’t work because they trigger very primal physical warning reactions that starvation is imminent. They deliver this warning to every system of your body and well, that sense of impending threat doesn’t make a body or heart or spirit happy.
The good news is that diets are totally optional. You don’t have to go on one and you don’t have to go on another one ever again.
You get to, instead, choose what works. Works as in the dictionary definition of functioning effectively.
That’s taking all the baby steps it takes back to a trusting relationship with your body.
That’s treating yourself like you’re on the same team, not at war within.
That’s choosing happiness over thinness.
That’s reclaiming pleasure as your birthright and an essential part of being well.
That’s getting clear about what you’re trying to feed every time you eat when you’re not hungry.
That’s learning to sooth and experience your anxieties in a different way than numbing through restriction or consumption.
There is a way that works.
I’m not saying that it’s not totally terrifying to give up the pseudo-comfort and false promises of the next diet. It is. It is scary as all get out.
But I choose what’s scary and what truly works over what’s safe and fails every time (despite promising “this one’s different!”).
I created Feast to teach this better way, but there are lots of ways you can start walking a path that’s not a dead end.
- Commit to practicing self-compassion with the same dedication that you brought to dieting.
- Work with an intuitive eating nutritionist to help shake off all those crazy food rules.
- Explore what it might mean to see yourself, in this body, with love.
- Take up a movement practice that’s rooted in joy instead of obligation, suffering, or fear.
- Read Intuitive Eating
- Buy clothing that feels good to wear in the body you inhabit today.
- Set the intention to talk to yourself as you would a your daughter or good friend.
- Unfollow on social media anyone or organization that promotes dieting or the ‘thin-ideal’.
- Try to spend at least as much time having fun as you spend thinking about food and your body.
- Or, you know, you can join Feast. It’s powerful stuff.
“My thoughts turn to something I read once, something the Zen Buddhists believe. They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well- the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.
I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living, and about how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself.” from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
There are a few times in our life, if we’re lucky, that we can palpably feel that we’ve become what we were becoming. This isn’t to say we stop growing, changing, maturing, just that there is an arrival of sorts.
When I started my business four and half years ago (on 1-1-11), I very much felt like an acorn that intimately knew the oak tree she was becoming. But she wasn’t there yet. I didn’t start things off as the oak tree. I couldn’t. I had to live my way to her unfolding.
I had to coach, teach, sit with, circle, and guide so many hungry women. I had to make mistakes. I had to taste things that didn’t taste good. I had to risk being seen. I had to open to receive praise and affirmation. I had to let it be easy and to let it evolve in the ways it wanted to evolve.
And today, as I reintroduce myself to you, I can feel my deeper roots and the broader expanse of my branches. I know the heart of my work. I know the fingerprint of my magic. I know the trimmings that needed to happen to that the best parts of me could shine. I know not to aspire to be a different kind of tree, but rather to embody as much of my own self, my own suchness, as possible.
A website, if you let it, is so much more than pretty dressing or a means to deliver information. A website, I believe, can meaningfully narrow the distance between you and me. The internet age is a time filled with a lot of pseudo-connection, but I believe a good website married to honest words does bring us closer.
So if you want to know who the oak tree is that I’ve become have a look around. Watch the video on the about page. Read the words I’ve written about my work. Browse the testimonials those who have worked with me have shared. Check out Feast, the best thing I’ve ever created. Let’s get reacquainted.
And while you’re exploring perhaps today is a good day to reflect on who or what you are becoming?