How to start loving food, your body, and your life in 2019

I’m really coming into this “other side” of my journey of taking my power back from food and learning to love my body, and I have to say it’s a completely different world over here.

I never thought I would see a day where my mind wasn’t cluttered with overwhelming thoughts of food or how my body looked to other people. I just thought that it was normal-that it was the way I was supposed to behave around this stuff-that being healthy meant a constant journey of weight loss- and that life was meant to be lived day in and day out working to achieve some perfect aesthetic before I was allowed to experience happiness, love, confidence, and fulfillment.

I was always waiting. The future me with the abs and perfectly sculpted legs would have confidence. THAT girl would finally be able to start living her life.

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I remember when i decided that wasn’t true. After 17 years of being told the same story over and over again about how to behave around health and having a body, I finally WOKE UP to the fact that what I was doing wasn’t working-The dieting; restricting/bingeing, counting calories, portioning out my food sizes, tracking every meal, weighing myself..and then of course working out until I was sure I burned off almost all of the calories I ate.. I was in total FEAR of food and my body..I felt so much anxiety, guilt, and shame around my appearance and my eating behaviors...and I realized that I wasn’t ever going to move from that space unless I started THINKING differently and believing different things about myself and what I was worth in the world.

I was putting in all of the work physically, but I wasn’t getting anywhere because I was continuing to perpetuate the story I told myself-the one that we are all told-that I would never be good enough.

That doesn’t just go away with abs and well-toned legs.

So I took the leap and LET GO of the rules; expanding my awareness to deeper levels of health and wellness, and working on raising my vibration from a victim stuck in this toxic box, to a full blown powerhouse with freedom, confidence, and the mindset that I get to be whoever and whatever I damn well please.

And almost a year and a half later, here is what I now know to be true about living a healthy and happy lifestyle-FREE from the control of food and self-loathing..

  • RULES DON’T EXIST- When it comes to food and your body, RULES DON’T EXIST. You don’t need to count calories or portion sizes, or track everything you eat. Creating a space of rules and restrictions in our approach to health is a resistance to how our bodies naturally function..and our bodies will fight us back. We end up trying to control things we aren’t meant to control which creates stress chemistry (lowered calorie burning metabolism), keeps us disconnected from our inner wisdom and natural cues, and limits us from experiencing pleasure.

  • Anything that suggests you are broken and need fixing is a no-go- Anything that offers a quick fix, or that offers weight loss as a solution to your happiness and health problems. You are not on this earth to lose weight and pay bills. If there is weight on your body that shouldn’t be there, there’s a good chance there is a lot more you need to focus on than just what you’re eating and how you’re moving. Fad diets will just create even more disconnect from what you really need, and who you are trying to become..and will continue to cause more disordered eating and body hate.

  • Learning to listen to and trust your inner wisdom is the only way to actually make our bodies work for us-Without rules, how can we possibly know how to be healthy? Well, you don’t know it yet..but you know. Your inner guide has all of the answers. The problem with our current culture is that we are taught that without outside resources we would have no idea how to behave around food and our bodies, but it is a lie. The truth is we don’t trust ourselves ONLY because we are taught to fear it. It takes practice, but once you can let go of the rules and start will understand.

  • You need to start practicing mindfulness (in every aspect of your life)- Mindfulness means slowing down, being aware, and appreciating the present. We have become a society of fast, busy, convenient, distraction, and doing everything on auto-pilot. This causes (at least) a low level state of daily stress, and leaves our calorie burning metabolisms only functioning at 40-60% capacity; meaning we aren’t digesting, muscle building, or burning calories like we should be (among many other things). When we aren’t mindful, our body can’t function properly for us; we end up overeating, we end up eating things just to “have something in our bodies”, and we don’t receive pleasure out of things. Our bodies thrive in relaxation mode. So START PAYING ATTENTION. Start embracing the present moment without distraction, and start taking more time to eat and do everything else throughout your day (the time is there, I promise).

  • The only real guideline around food is that you should eat as many whole/high quality/nutrient dense foods as possible- We are inundated with processed foods, and most of us have a diet full of them. So if you want to make a change, stop focusing on what you can’t have and start focusing on what you can have. Instead of going “all-or-nothing”, focus on slowly incorporating more high quality foods into your life. Little by little you’ll notice that you automatically start enjoying those foods more than the processed ones, and it will be a lot easier to choose the feel good foods over the taste good foods.

  • EXPERIMENTING IS KEY- This will help you become more in tune with your body wisdom. All of the information we have out there can be crippling. It’s hard to know what is actually good for you. Even science can be manipulated, and we still have access to old science that doesn’t even apply anymore. So you need to take any information thrown your way with a grain of salt. Just because you hear “it works!” or “this is absolutely the BEST way to do things!” don’t take it at face value. Most of it is just marketing anyway. So my best advice here is, if you want to change something along your health journey and you see/hear of something that peaks your interest..try it for 2 weeks WITHOUT expectation of a tangible result. Focus on how it makes you feel. If it feels good, then great..keep going. If it doesn’t quite align with you then move onto something different. You should never be attached to something working just because you’re told it will. This is YOUR body, and it will tell you what’s up.

  • You need to create goals that support who you want to be, what your want to do, and how you want to FEEL in your life..not what you want to look like. Pretty straight forward

  • You need to focus on creating a lifestyle that will work to lead you directly to your desired outcome. Don’t rely on changing you body as a vehicle to get you there-you’ll just keep driving around in circles. When you’re constantly focused on “fixing” yourself before you allow yourself to live, you’re just bringing more of that energy into your space. Time to act “as if” you are already where you want to be. You’ll get there a lot faster, I promise.

  • Drink Water- Everyday, and plenty of it.

  • Moving your body in ways that feel good to you is the only exercise “rule”- Exercise should not be a punishment or a means to burn a certain amount of calories. You can go all out if it makes you feel good, but it’s also not necessary. Again, there are no rules here. When you choose your activities focus on how you want your body to support the things you want to be able to do in your life. That’s it.

  • Practice gratitude daily- Period. Twice a day at least.

  • Personal growth is a necessity- Learn something new everyday. Do something/listen to something/read something to expand your consciousness daily.

  • It is crucial to find some way to express/mange your emotions- Although we have been taught otherwise, we are emotional beings. It’s just a fact. A lot of the health issues we face right now are a result of suppressed emotional energy. We have been taught that emotions aren’t relevant and need to be dismissed. Sooo stop doing that. Emotion is normal, and it needs to be released or we will continue to develop bad habits to distract (binge drinking, drugs, frequent binge/emotional eating etc..). Start talking to someone you trust. Start journaling. Find support groups..whatever it might be, it is SO important and we are coming into an age where there are more and more resources for things like this. You are NOT ALONE.

  • You should start having conversations about things you love, and stop having conversations about the things that are keeping you stuck-Stop focusing on negativity. What we give energy to we attract more of. If you continue to talk about how gross your body is, you’re going to continue to attract more circumstances and people that validate those feelings. If you want to learn to love your body, start finding support and resources to help you love your body, not circumstances that support you hating it and trying to fix it.

  • Evaluate your surroundings- This ties into the last one, but you need to know how important this is. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with..this includes the collective people you follow on social media. When you are first opening up about the things you are struggling with, of course it is important to surround yourself with people who can resonate with you so you feel supported and understand that you’re not alone, but eventually you need to step up from that energy into an energy that supports where you want to be. That is the only way you will grow. If you have people or circumstances in your life that don’t feel good or are limiting you, change it. It’s not always easy..but it’s necessary for evolution.

    (My 3 part Food Freedom and Confidence Power Project free training dives more into this. Click here for access)

  • It’s important to start replacing negative thoughts with positive ones/Change your story- We have basically been programmed to believe that what everyone else says is true. We have all dealt with our own individual circumstances that have shaped our beliefs, and we all have been exposed to collective beliefs that we have taken on as our own. For awhile these beliefs serve a purpose. They keep us safe. But eventually they become limiting and keep us from achieving our desired life. If you feel like a lot of your beliefs are negative, it’s time to start changing that conversation in your head. It’s time to create new beliefs that will help you start moving forward. Any negative thoughts about yourself or your worthiness are UNTRUE, but unfortunately most of these things are on autopilot. Start incorporating affirmations into your day, or mindfully replacing any negative thoughts with something positive. It’s difficult to do at first; it almost feels like you’re lying to yourself..but with practice and consistency you will notice that it becomes easier, and after awhile the positive will be more autopilot than the negative.

  • Filling your cup daily means feeling better and showing up for your life in a more energetic and aligned way- Speaking of limiting beliefs. We have been taught that the harder we work the better, and that self-care isn’t as important or should come after taking care of everyone else in your life. This is so untrue. We can’t pour from an empty cup. Pleasure in our lives is so important, and it is necessary for us to experience fulfillment. Make sure you are doing things that light you up and that make you feel good daily so you can give more quality time and energy to the other people and things in your world.

  • Nourishment is not just what food you put into your body, but how everything in your life makes you feel- To be properly nourished we need to focus on how everything we do, see, eat, say, touch, and think makes us FEEL.

  • You need to find a way to connect and surrender to your higher power- There is something greater working for all of us. It’s time to embrace it. You have a source guide, and the faster you start to learn how to connect with it, the faster you will be on the road to getting everything you want out of life. You are not required to believe in God or Buddha or the Universe, but you do need to believe that there is something out there that is always supporting you. What do you have to lose anyway? Understanding that you actually don’t have all of the control is pretty freeing if you ask me! Surrendering means flowing. If one of the “normal” higher powers doesn’t suit you, find something symbolic that makes you feel aligned with your innermost desires, and pray on it daily. Thank your higher power for the blessings in your present, and the things you want as if they are already yours, and start trying to see every circumstance in your life as either a lesson, or an opportunity for growth. Everything is working for you, and in divine timing.

This is it! These are the things I have been practicing in my life for the past 15 months that have launched me into a deeper level of authenticity and awareness, and that have helped me conquer my battle with food and my body. At the end of the day it all comes down to making sure you are caring for not just your physical body, but for your mental, emotional, and spiritual realms of being as well. I am now experiencing a level of confidence I didn’t know existed, I am able to actually focus on my present experiences, I have been able to create clearer boundaries for myself and my life, I no longer play victim to toxic situations, I feel supported in everything I do, I am embracing and honoring my body and my core values, and I’ve been able to discover my purpose and start working in full faith towards my dream life.

I hope you know that YOU are worthy of all of these things too, and I hope that you will take the initiative to start practicing some of these things in your life RIGHT NOW.

You are so loved at all times.