Why do all diets fail?

Did you know that at least 95% of dieters gain all their weight back? And in most cases, you gain it back with INTEREST… ie: worse off than you were before you started the diet!

I’m not even talking about your typical fad diets. I’m talking about meal plans,  reasonable diets, clean eating, etc. Anything that tells you when to eat, or what to do and imposes certain rules can be considered a diet. (Yes… even my nutrition packages– although I try hard to keep ALL rules out of them and keep it about creating new habits around meal prep). If you lose 5-10% of your weight on it; you have an EXTREMELY SLIM chance of keeping it off long term. By long term, I mean for life. Not just 6 months, or a year, or 5 years. And isn’t that the point? When you aim to reach a certain goal, don’t you want to stay there?

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough willpower, or motivation, or discipline to follow through with a healthy eating plan or a diet? Do you feel like there is something wrong with you? That you can’t stay consistent long term?

I’m here to tell you definitively that that is NOT the case. There is absolutely nothing wrong you, and EVERYTHING wrong with the “health” and fitness industry. This industry is worth billions of dollars because it’s designed to keep you coming back for more. Can you say that you have gone on ONE diet, met your goal, and then stayed there forever.. period? Do you know anything that has? Or have you lost and gained the weight over and over again trying new diets, exercise gadgets, fitness regimes.. etc?

I’ve been noticing more and more how prevalent failure is in the dieting industry, and I really want to change that. I know why we aren’t succeeding, because it’s where I still struggle too. 

We don’t address our actual issues such as dependency on food for comfort, coping or emotional reasons.

If you experience any of the following issues with food, there is more going on than just “not being able to stick to a diet”:

-feel out of control around food
-feel guilt or shame around eating certain things
-have periods of binging or restricting
-have an obsession with clean or healthy eating 
-have intense cravings for certain foods
-eat to numb out
-eat when you aren’t hungry
-eat past fullness the majority of the time
restrict yourself when you are hun
gry
-eat when you are sad, bored, happy
-feel the need to “work off” food
-label foods “good” or “bad” 
-count calories, macro’s or feel the need to control your intake of food 
-constantly on a new diet or exercise regime
never feel satisfied or happy with your current body

and many more.

Guess what. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE FOOD, OR THE DIET, OR YOUR EXERCISE. You aren’t failing because of lack of willpower, or because you aren’t on the right plan for you.

You are failing because you aren’t addressing the emotional reasons behind your eating.

I know the dieting industry will have you believe that if you just go vegan, or cut out dairy, or try whole30, or go paleo… You will lose all the sugar cravings! Never need to diet again! Lose weight effortlessly! Every new diet will fill you with hope and promise.

It’s simply. NOT. TRUE. 

As much as you don’t want to hear it, you will gain the weight back if you don’t address what’s going on in the inside. That little voice inside your head is going to rebel at some point. When you go through a stressful time, when you go through a life transition, when you just can’t stand eating chicken and broccoli any more. Some people can last longer than others before their “Inner Rebel” starts getting louder and louder. Have you ever reached a certain breaking point on a diet/meal plan/etc where you just want to say FUCK THIS I’m tired of the arbitrary rules!? Then you finally go eat whatever you like and find yourself right back where you started?

This is so so normal. You are normal. You are human. We are not meant to tell our bodies when to eat, what not to eat, and let an app tell us how many calories we should be eating.

We are meant to enjoy and love food and our bodies.. and eat when we are hungry for food. It sound so simple, yet it’s the most difficult thing in the world. With hyper-palatable foods (ie: manufactured foods full of sugar, fat, anything addictive) increasing cravings and fake food everywhere we turn, it’s no wonder we are confused. We are bombarded with messaging EVERY SINGLE DAY, about how to change our bodies, what to cut out, the new “evil” food to avoid and what new exercise fad to try.

If we put all that time, attention and effort into figuring out WHY we are drawn to the food in the first place, and healing our relationship with food and body we would NEVER gain the weight back. We would finally have a healthy relationship with food. If we exercised for enjoyment instead of fat burn, we would all move way more often.

Have you experienced the yo-yo dieting cycle? Are you sick and tired of it? I am as well, which is why I’m working on an intuitive eating program to help heal your relationship with food- so please stay tuned! It will hopefully be launched for June!

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic, I am interested to hear!

 

5,4,3,2,1… GO

Ok, so I can’t take credit for this idea because it is from Mel Robbins, check out her TedTalk here and the podcast that I learned this from here. Seriously guys, LIFE. CHANGING.

I’m discovering that I can apply this rule to absolutely anything in my life and it’s supremely helpful. Getting stuff done, working on binge eating, making plans, stopping pressing snooze.. You name it!

Here is the essence of the rule broken down:
When you know you need to do something (ie: make a phone call, go workout, get out of bed, reply to that e-mail, write a blog post..) you simply count down in your head or aloud 5,4,3,2,1– AND GO DO IT. No second guessing, no debating with yourself. You just fucking do IT! (excuse my language).

In her book she describes the science behind it including interrupting those thought patterns that typically send you into procrastination, or a binging, or anxiety. You are able to essentially re-wire your brain and start training yourself to develop new habits- namely being a badass go getter.

I know this sounds incredibly simple. It is. But that doesn’t make it easy. It’s all about ignoring how you “feel” about the said thing you need to do and just doing it. Once I learned that it really changed the game. I realized I was really holding myself back from only doing things when I “felt” like doing them. Of course I don’t feel like working out most days, or making doctors appointments, or hopping out of bed when my alarm goes off. But put aside your feelings, count down from 5- and GO!

I recognize that feelings are important and we should always notice them, but that doesn’t mean that even though you “feel” like staying in bed all day that you should. And just because you don’t “feel” like working out, means that you just let yourself off the hook and sit on the couch all night. When you have goals, and things you want to achieve- you are going to have to do things when you don’t feel like doing them! 

This can also work in reverse for when you find yourself doing something you “shouldn’t” be doing. (I tend to avoid using statements like should, and shouldn’t.. but you know what I mean). Let’s say you are about to drive to the store for all out out binge-fest. Buy everything you’ve been craving. Deep down, you know that this isn’t really going to help anything. What’s been working for me has been counting 5,4,3,2,1- BREATHE. And just try to relax my body, because when I get wound up and ready to go into “binge mode” I’m usually not deep breathing or relaxing at all. So I breathe, listen to my thoughts and go do something else instead.

So, take a listen to the podcast, and read the book because she is amazing! It is the simplest tip in the world, which is why I think it works so well. Try out it out today on that thing you’ve been avoiding. Deep breathe– 5,4,3,2,1— GO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growth & Comfort Zones

I had a bit of an eye-opening week this past week, with moving out of my home (essentially homeless right now) and into the new gym, my life has been anything but routine.

I am such a creature of habit. I love having my meals prepped, my food ready to go, my “stuff” organized and in one spot. Currently I have a selection of clothes at Jordans, a pile of laundry at my Mom’s, the rest of my closet in my car, 20 boxes at the gym, and all my pantry items at Jordan’s. AH!! I thought my head was going to explode this week trying to eat healthy. I did my best, but eating out everyday definitely takes a toll, and not having my regular snacks available at work (and being there 14 hours a day) I found myself getting starving and binging on junk (specifically a bag of chocolate chips I kept in my car.. whoops). This totally reminded my about the importance of meal prep!  Get food READY so you don’t need to stress- you’ll save time, money, and energy by eating better foods. 

Anyway, I wanted to talk about growth and why it’s so important to push yourself out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. When I think about pushing out of my comfort zone, I think about doing big scary things- but that’s not actually what’s helped me improve in life.
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Pushing out of your comfort zone is a series of baby tiny step
s that eventually lead to something GREAT. Looking back on now starting this studio, I realize all the tiny steps it took to get here.

First, I dared to dream. I knew what would be the ultimate goal and I didn’t let nay-sayers bring me down- I knew what I wanted to achieve, but did I even really think I could do it? Umm.. hell no!
Then, a whole lot of time passed but this studio was always on my mind. It started with just starting a Facebook page for my training business which took some guts for me. I still was slightly ashamed of my “fitnessy” posts and didn’t want to annoy my friends with it.
After I finally bit the bullet and made it one afternoon, I realized it wasn’t that hard.

Then, I started training people in my bedroom (yep) and outdoors in the park. (In fact, one of my clients that trained with me at a random park late at night in the dark is still with me, every single week.. 3 years later!)

It started growing with a small series of things.. I had an idea for the nutrition packages and even though I didn’t feel experienced enough, confident enough or ANYTHING enough to launch it- I did! And the response has been amazing ever since.

That led me into the 12 week challenge- a small idea that has helped a lot of people, and when I think about it I get a little teary eyed.

These series of small steps like starting an fitness instagram, going out on a limb and doing the “Fitmas” Challenge has slowly built my confidence up enough to realize- hey I can get a studio space!

It started so small, and the more I pushed myself out of my comfort zone the more you realize you can do.

The amazing part- is even once you reach that goal you thought was so unattainable at the time, there’s always more growth that can happen. I want to do so much more and that’s going to take more pushing out of the comfort zone.

Also, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment this week when it comes to motivation and “feeling like it”. YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO FEEL LIKE IT! I was always waiting for motivation to strike, or the “get up and go” feeling which is let’s face it.. rare. Once I realized I’m probably only going to “feel like it” about 5% of the time- I realized I need to PUSH MYSELF out of my comfort zone the other 95% of the time. To making those tough phones calls, to tackling anxiety, to replying to e-mails, to meeting new clients, to working out, to getting up early and not pressing snooze. As Nike would say- JUST DO IT.

The momentum you create from just doing it anyway- even if you don’t feel like – builds upon itself. It creates confidence, self efficacy, and most importantly growth. Then before you know it- your comfort “zone” just keeps getting bigger and keep doing more.

So, dare to dream about what you want.. and then start taking those tiny steps out of your comfort zone to get there. EVERYDAY try to do something that you don’t “feel like” doing. I certainly didn’t feel working out this afternoon or cooking dinner tonight, but I still did it and that feels pretty awesome.

Health at EVERY Size?

Have you heard of the health at every size movement? Health at Every Size (HAES) is a movement that claims to “support people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control).” Proponents aim to improve the standard of living for people who are overweight or obese by promoting healthy lifestyles and anti-discrimination efforts.

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This has recently been coming up a lot in my daily conversations and life, and especially today with a more recently disturbing conversation. A lovely friend and past client of mine is currently in training to become a personal trainer. After working out with me and learning to love the process she wanted to help people herself, which is AMAZING. What’s not amazing is the attitude she was subjected to in class. While taking the first course you need to become a trainer, fitness instructor, or ANYONE in the fitness industry (ie: all of us in the industry have been through it) she was immediately horrified that the instructor put a photo of an average size women up on the screen – and said that the “world is turning in mutants, and gross”. He didn’t blur out the women’s face or anything. Then the whole class (about 25-30 people) all said chimed in, “gross and ewww”. The instructor PUBLICLY FAT SHAMED a completely random women while knowing nothing about her health history.

This absolutely sickens me to my core. I thought that the world was turning a corner in the health and fitness movement, but when I hear something like this I feel like absolutely nothing has changed. This instructor is teaching all future fitness instructors, personal trainers and fitness professionals to ridicule and fat shame anyone that is struggling with their weight. How horrifying is that??

As fitness professionals we should be absolutely following and supporting the health at every size movement. Size has basically zero indication of a persons overall health. I for one was a whole lot UNHEALTHIER when I was thinner.  Did you know that on average “overweight” people live longer than “normal weight” people? And that no study has ever shown that weight loss prolongs life? And that biology dictates that most people  will gain back the weight even if they stick to their diet and exercise. Fat isn’t the problem- dieting is the problem. We need to kick diets to the curb and stop shaming different bodies. The fact that 67% of women are “plus sized” (another term that we should do away with.. how about normal sized?) and are shamed for it is mind boggling to me. No body should be shamed- fat, thin or otherwise.

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Why do we constantly put “thinness” on a pedestal and try constantly to change ourselves? Society has created this belief that thinness = happiness but it is simply UNTRUE. Happiness comes from doing what you love, making connections with people, loving your body (regardless of size). Imagine what a better place the world would be if we started to respect all different body types in the media?

I feel sad that my friend has now quit this course due to the attitude in it and has put her dream of helping other women on the side. We need more body positive role models, especially in the fitness industry! S0 lets start encouraging trainers to get their facts straight- your clients don’t need to lose weight, they don’t need to go on a diet and they don’t need to look like you. They need to find happiness and confidence within themselves. I hope that I help my clients feel more confident, strong, and happy in daily life by realizing how much you can do- not like they need to lose weight to “succeed”. I don’t even care if you never work out, and eat whatever the heck you want. Are you HAPPY? Energized? Living your best life? Sleeping well? Connected with those around you? Loving yourself? Free of injuries / aches and pains? That’s what I want everyone around me to find. Exercise because you love your body; not because you hate it!

 

 

Living with Intention

Are you one of those people that get excited about the prospect of a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate? Or are you of the variety that thinks it is a little ridiculous to treat the end of 2016 any different than the beginning of 2017?

I definitely fall into the former. I love setting weekly, monthly, yearly goals anyway- so the beginning of a new year for me bring so much gratitude and growth. Since I keep a journal almost daily- it’s very interesting for me to look back to last year and see where I was mentally. I definitely think we have the capacity to completely change our lives in one short year. If you think back to how quickly 2016 flew past, you can probably agree. Imagine if we lived every single day of 365 days with intention? Imagine what you can accomplish!

I’ve personally found that starting each day with “intention” to be an amazing way to begin my morning, and has created a lot of change within my life; taking it one day at a time. If you could create one new habit this year- I highly recommend this one. Basically, when you get up in the morning set aside 10-20 minutes to write out your intention for that day. Now- I definitely don’t mean a “to-do” list that causes you anxiety the minute you wake up. I mean think about how you want to feel today. An example of my morning intention would be “Throughout today I feel joy with each passing moment. I’m full of gratitude for my clients and ready to inspire change. I’m full of energy, and feel a calming peace throughout my mood and my day”.
And then I’ll take that intention and visualize my day for about 5-10 minutes. We all have a rough estimate of how our days are going to look- so I take myself from beginning to end of each hour of my day and how it’s going to feel to realize my intention from start to finish. (This is basically a form of mediation). By already living your day with your intention through your head- you really set yourself up for success.

This little trick has helped me really expand my business, fall in love, strengthen friendships, create mental change, and find a new zest for life and get past those fears that you can hold you back.

Do you live each day with intention towards your goals? Or are you letting your day run you? Take back your personal power with this exercise and watch your life start to unfold- just how you want it to.

Any thoughts? Do you guys meditate or visualize or journal?

Do you “guilt” eat?

This is part of my new series of helping you to overcome binge eating and find a happy balance with food. I’ve written a lot about this on my blog because it is definitely the biggest thing I’ve had to deal with and I remember how helpless I felt. I just wanted hope that there was a way out. Perhaps you aren’t as deep into it as I was and you just struggle with the occasional binge here and there; but I hope this helps anyone and everyone who has ever struggled with overeating and guilt around food.

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The very first thing that I have to mention, is that if you aren’t eating enough; your body is automatically going to be craving food and leading you towards EATING whatever you can get- so none of the stuff below is going to work until you are getting your nutrition in check. To start, aim for at least 2000 calories/ day and getting in 3 balanced meals and 2-3 snacks in. You should feel satisfied and energized and NOT starving! For some people who have past or current eating disorders; 2000 calories may seem like a lot. I challenge you to add up how many calories you eat in the course of a binge (for me it was usually at least 3,000) and then divide that up over every few days or how often you binge. When I realized that the calories I was taking in during a binge COMPLETELY negated any low calorie days in between I realized I need to up my calories majorly to keep me full and HAPPY. As soon as I upped my calories and ate more, I binged less and ending up losing weight. (Not that this is about weight loss, but I know for some of you this may be motivation and if it gets you to eat more, that makes me happy!) Secondly, I don’t want calories to be the focus here and have only used these numbers as a rough estimate.

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Once you start eating enough and getting in all your nutrients- you need to start focussing on your BRAIN. In my opinion, the main cause of binge eating has NOTHING to do with self control, willpower or being a “sugar addict”. It has to do with the thoughts swirling around in your head that control everything! Once you start changing your thoughts about food and your body- you truly change your life.
Step 1: Get in tune with those thoughts. You can’t start changing them until you know they are there! Ever find yourself midway through a massive binge and you had no idea how you even got there? That used to happen to me all the time. Once I started practicing more mindfulness I could start to see the triggers. Whenever I was feeling tired or overwhelmed I noticed I tended towards all or nothing thinking. It was either “sit here and focus and do all your work” or “fuck it I’m going to buy chocolate and sit in bed and hide”. Once I had the option to say “fuck it!” you can guess what I did 90% of the time. Now I’m learning to recognize those thoughts and find a better balance. I now shift towards more grey thinking as in “Ok, I’m not really feeling motivated right now, so why don’t I give myself an hour to read my book and relax guilt free, perhaps have some chocolate mindfully and then come back to it?” Listening to your thoughts can allow you to create more options that you didn’t see before. This also comes in handy if you are one of those people that as soon as they “slip up” on a diet- you just figure that day is ruined and eat everything in sight so it’s gone. When you think about this logically it’s actually so NUTS that we do this! A good analogy is if you get one flat tire- instead of changing it and moving on down the road- you slash the other four and end up stuck on the side of the road all day! So if you find yourself labelling foods “good” or “bad” and when you eat “bad” foods you just want to eat them all- challenge your thinking. Is that what you really truly want? To sit on the side of the road all day with 4 flat tires? Or do you want to ENJOY that delicious dessert and move on with your day without obsessing over food? I think all or nothing thinking is extremely common in people that struggle with addiction or eating disorders. Here is the thing- perhaps with other addictions such as drugs/etc you can be “all or nothing” when recovering. With food- you are never going to have that option- so you might as well learn to live in harmony with it, rather than constantly fighting with your brain and cravings. You are going to spend the rest of your life eating, so lets make it joyful and satisfying shall we?

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This brings me to my next suggestion… Erasing GUILT around food. I have gotten so much better at this, but I definitely still find myself berating myself for wanting dairy queen or feeling bad if I want 2 servings of dessert. We need to take the GUILT AND SHAME out of eating. Here is the cycle when guilt & shame are included:

Wake up and have a “healthy” breakfast (again- labelling good and bad foods.. which we want to avoid). You feel pride, a sense of control. 
Getting hungry an hour later- you’re feeling annoyed and like you already had enough food so why are you hungry again? (judging yourself, and your hunger signals is never good)
You force yourself to wait till lunch because you think you don’t need more food (deprivation)
You forgot your healthy lunch at home and go out- you are starving by now so pizza looks amazing. You know you “shouldn’t” but it just looks so good…
Wolf down two slices of pizza while barely tasting them- and continue to feel guilt around your lunch “that wasn’t the most nutritious option, I should have had a salad, ugh why did I do that, I feel sick..”
Feeling hungry mid-afternoon but since you ate pizza you don’t think you should be snacking on anything.
You get to the end of the day after feeling like garbage all afternoon and decide “Screw this! What’s the point in going home and making myself a nice dinner? I don’t deserve it. I already ruined things by eating that pizza. I’ll just pick up something on the way home and start again tomorrow. “

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Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Now imagine if we took the guilt and judgement and shame OUT of this equation:

Wake up and have what you are craving for breakfast. Two slices of toast, 2 eggs, avocado, yum! You eat till satisfied and go on with your day. No judgement over how big or little the breakfast was. 
Getting hungry an hour later- oh! Well guess I’ll have an apple right now, that sounds good. I’ll enjoy this nice juicy apple. 
Lunch time rolls around- You forgot your healthy lunch at home and go out- you are starving by now so pizza looks amazing. You eat pizza. That’s all. 
Afternoon- feeling pretty hungry again and need a pick me up- I think I’ll have a handful of nuts, and ooh a latte sounds delicious! (No judgement, just enjoyment) 
Dinnertime: I am craving that healthy lunch I left at home, perhaps I’ll have that and a nice glass of wine to go with it! Feel satisfied and enjoyed every bite.

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Can you imagine being person #2? Where you just eat what you like? Enjoy it? Don’t obsess over food all day? Well, the first step in becoming person #2 is to start actually recognizing your thoughts. Trust me- no matter how crazy you feel around food right now- it is possible for you to be able to simplify eating and enjoy every bite.

I’ll leave you with this, start listening to your thoughts and identifying triggers. This does take time and I’m not saying you are magically going to become someone who barely thinks about food all day and “forgets to eat”. (Who are you people??) but, you will start noticing patterns, thoughts, and perhaps this will help you with the next step of enjoying all foods guilt-free. Try not to place restrictions on yourself. The more you give yourself UNLIMITED FREEDOM the less pull any food has on you. It’s pretty crazy but the best feeling in the world when you realize the food doesn’t control you!

Comment below any questions, or thoughts you have with this- I would love to hear it!

Tara

 

Food: Then & Now

This post is somewhat of a reflection on my past eating disorder and hatred towards myself. I actually forgot how bad it truly was until I found one of my old journals and read some entries from a few years ago. Here’s a small sample…

September 2013

It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m WIDE awake and my mind is racing and I’m super anxious and feeling so panicked. I don’t know what’s going on but all I want to do is cry.  I feel all fucked up about my body (I hate it, and none of my clothes fit and I feel like a fat disgusting COW) and I hate that I have no one to talk about it with. I can’t remember the last time I actually felt good in my body. My self esteem feels like it’s at complete rock bottom. I wish I had someone to just grab my face, look me in the eye and tell me I’m beautiful and wonderful. I’m crying just thinking about it. Will that ever happen?

October 2013

I’m feeling super down lately, I just don’t feel happy because I can’t get my nutrition in line. (Read: nice way of saying I can’t stick to the diet of the week). Obviously my binge eating is a bigger problem than just diet, it just keeps getting worse and worse. I don’t know if I should be more strict with myself? Or the complete opposite? I feel so lost. I feel like I have an inkling of what I want my life to look like but no idea how to make it happen anymore. I really just want to feel happiness again and not have binging and purging control my life. I threw up over 20x today – I feel completely out of control around food and in life. I just binged today because I could. It’s habit. No other reason. (Read: I didn’t see the reasons because I was binging to push the emotions and feelings away). How can I stop? Will I ever stop? What if this is my life forever? I just keep thinking one thing will come along and cure me, but I’m realizing its a combination of things. It’s just so much WORK it is exhausting. I want to snap my fingers and be recovered.

Basically my journal was a mixture of one day of depression as above and then another day full of hope and excitement because I found a new “diet” or “meal plan” or “cure” and I’m going to be great! I will be skinny and happy and confident again! I look back and it fills me with such sadness. They are filled with measurements, the food I ate that day, what I weighed, what I will do when I’m skinny.. etc. They are not filled with memories, vacations, fun times, friendships, or memorable moments. It’s food, diet, body and constantly trying to change myself.

I am not writing this post to garner sympathy from people. I am writing this post because I want people to see that they are NOT ALONE. I know so many people experience hating their bodies and maybe they think I don’t understand because I’m generally pretty happy and confident these days. Trust me, I know what it feels like to grab your stomach and literally want to cut it off. To cry when you look in the mirror. To be filled with such hopelessness and feel so lost in what “to do” that you can’t even face it and it just turns you right back towards the food again. To avoid friends, family and social situations because you don’t want to face the food. To secretly binge and purge at parties and dinners, to eat until you feel so sick you cannot even move. To be filled with such disgust for yourself you don’t know how you could ever be deserving of the life you want to live.

But here is what I also know: I know what it feels like on the other side. I know what it feels like you never weigh yourself again, to go days without even thinking about dieting, exercise, or how you look. To check yourself out in the mirror and think “damn! I am look fucking great!” (ps.. I weigh the same now as I did when I hated myself.. ironic much?) I know how it feels to eat without guilt, to not constantly second guess yourself, to forget how many calories are in things, to not even worry about the nutrition label. I know how it feels to just straight up love yourself and skin you’re in, UNCONDITIONALLY.

I remember I had a therapy session one day and she asked me what I thought life looked like without my eating disorder. I still have the image in my mind. I described to her that I woke up and wore whatever I wanted, without fussing about how I looked, and spending hours to find the perfect outfit to make me look “thinner”. I would be out for lunch with all my best friends and having a glass of wine, eating a burger and fries and laughing so loud and with so much joy that people turned around to look at who this radiant, happy confident person is. I glowed.

I’m here to tell you that this life can come true. You can lead your life without an eating disorder. You can be radiant, and happy and not worry about food or your body. You can just be. You can be free from the restrictions of dieting, and can find your own self worth through so many other things than shaping your body. You can have your dream career, you can leave chocolate in the house without being worried about eating it all, and you can live the life you’ve always thought was out of reach.

So how do you get there? Well, there are many things… and I hate to tell you that the biggest thing you are going to have to do is learn for yourself. We are all different and different things may speak to you vs. what spoke to me. I know I spent years searching for the “answer” to stop binging. I’ve learned it’s a cumulative effect that takes time. You probably don’t want to hear that, but I believe its true. It takes hard work, self-reflection, self-improvement, mindfulness and a lotta tears. I can tell you it’s so fucking worth it though. Everything that I had to go through led me to this wonderful life; and now I want to help anyone and everyone that ever felt as hopeless as I did.

On that note, I am going to start a blog series of all the things I did that helped me find my happiness, stop my self-loathing, and end binge eating for good.

Follow along and maybe these tips can help you find your dream life too!

Tara

 

The Set Point Theory

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Have you ever heard of the set point theory? A lot of people have trouble accepting this theory because it seems like a “cop out” to weight loss. The Set Point Theory states that “Everyone has a  [weight] set point and, just as you have no control over your height, eye colour or hair colour, you also have no control over what your set point will be. Your body is biologically and genetically determined to weigh within a certain weight range.”

How do you feel when you read this statement? I can tell you that when I learned this when I was in the midst of my eating disorder I was outraged. Stay at the same weight forever? There is no way I’m accepting myself at this weight!! My goal ever since I can remember was to weigh 125lbs and I think I achieved that for possibly a day before binging my way back up to my original weight and then some.

Now I’m fascinated by the set point theory because it’s been proven to me time and time again. Do you know where you body naturally feels most comfortable? Usually it is a range within 10-20lbs. I can tell you mine exactly. It’s about 136-140lbs. How do I know this? When I was obsessed with weighing myself I would write it in my journal every single day. I look back over years and years of journals- and EVERY TIME I would go on another mission to lose weight- that’s exactly where I was. From Grade 9 to the age of 27. That’s almost 14 years of being in the same weight range while starving myself, over exercising, purging, being happy, letting go of dieting, dieting again.. and so on and so forth. All to end up at the exact same weight I was unhappy at years ago. Isn’t that madness? I wish I could go back in time and tell myself- YOU ARE PERFECT AS YOU ARE. Start loving and accepting your body now and you won’t waste 15 years of your life on this STUPID fucking goal of weighing 125lbs. My weight goes up and down if I try to force it or if I’m binging a lot, naturally. But it always settles around the same number when I normalize my eating habits. Have you ever noticed this happening to you? I think I really learned this when I went travelling and really stopped trying to diet. I went for a few runs while I was away, drank (a lot) almost every single night, ate out for every single meal.. And in 3 months I ended up gaining.. 3 whole pounds. WHAT!? Turns out when you just listen to your hunger, and fullness and enjoy living each day your body just does it’s thing and regulates your weight perfectly! I ended up at 136lbs after that trip after starving myself down to 133. My set point is right here.

I believe everyone has a healthy weight range set point where they feel their best. Where they eat lots of nutritionally dense foods and enjoy working out- and also enjoy wine and chocolate whenever they want to, without guilt. Since we are conditioned as a society to constantly be “dieting” or improving our bodies or being a “work in progress” this can be hard to accept. But the truth is, 95% of every dieter gains the weight back and then some.  So what if you started accepting your body right now. Accept that it will end up naturally where it is supposed to be when you stop viewing food as the enemy? How would you start living your life differently?

Here are the facts behind set point. When you go on a diet and start you lose weight- your body automatically lowers your metabolism, produces the urge to binge, & your appetite will increase over time. (For some this may take a lot of time and why it is quite common for Anorexics in recovery to swing over to binge eating disorder once they start eating again). It will conserve energy, and do whatever it can to stall the weight loss process. The body is so good at slowing down metabolism that you will need to continue eating the same low amount of calories just to stay where you are- and the set point will still make your weight go up! This is a fight that a dieter can never win at.

This also goes the opposite way! When you gain weight- your metabolism increases in attempts to normalize weight. Your body is brilliant at this process. You may also find when you are listening to your body your hunger decreases when you gain weight past your set point.
There is one thing that I know to be absolutely true- your set point is much stronger than your willpower. So why keep fighting? Put all that energy towards love and acceptance to where you are. Finding a way of eating that feels amazing. Take weight loss out of it and let your body settle where it will. Imagine this- you go on “just one more” diet- lose 30lbs through sheer willpower and then a year later you are right back exactly where you were and then some? I’ve seen this happen many times. Now imagine if you just let yourself be for the next year and you ended up at a perfectly healthy, happy weight as a result- without even TRYING. Doesn’t this sound more appealing?

Let me know what you think about the set point theory, and here are some resources for you to check out if you are interested!

https://medical.mit.edu/sites/default/files/set_point_theory.pdf

Understanding Weight Set Point Theory (and diet-induced metabolic damage)

Ditch the Scale & Practice Body Acceptance Instead

I train SO MANY BEAUTIFUL, SMART, INTELLIGENT, AMAZING women who insist on continuing to measure their self worth by the scale. It makes me want to rip my hair out and go over to their houses and smash their scales once and for all!

I understand the attachment to the scale, TRUST ME. I’ve so been there. Taking off all my clothes every morning, making sure to pee first; don’t you dare have a sip of water or take a vitamin! Don’t forget to take off earrings and hair elastic! Oh, and stand on the scale a certain way with my weight in my heels because that somehow seems to make the number smaller. Do you hear how ridiculous this sounds? This was my reality everyday, and sometimes twice a day, because if I did a sweaty workout I would probably lose some water weight- yippee!  I was so attached to the number. Regardless if I woke up feeling energized, happy, leaner in the mirror and proud of my appearance- if I stepped on the scale and god forbid the number went up even 1/2 a pound it would send me into a state of panic. What if I ate too much yesterday? I shouldn’t have had that bite of cheesecake! Why didn’t I push myself harder in the gym? Why didn’t the number go down? I can’t keep this up! I’m so tired- this number should be going down!

YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S ACTUALLY OCCURRING IN YOUR BODY. I know everyone knows the whole “Muscle weighs more than Fat” saying but I think a picture is worth a whole lot more. So here are a bunch of pictures demonstrating that you can get leaner, smaller, fitter, faster- WHILE GAINING WEIGHT, staying the same, or losing only 1-2lbs. Imagine if these ladies stepped on the scale everyday and just saw the number go up? I bet they would have given up instantly and not be in the amazing shape they are today. You can find all these amazing women on instagram and try searching the #screwthescale hashtag to see more of these amazing results!

Now that you’ve seen that you can see results without the scale budging or going on an upward trend – I want you to take it even further.

Start practicing body acceptance. 

This is so hard for so many women. You feel that if you accept your body in the state it’s in right now then you have to give up on all those dreams of hitting that number you’ve always wanted, or the body shape you’ve always aspired to. This is untrue. Just because you are accepting your body in its current state and loving it as much as possible, doesn’t mean that you don’t want to still work towards better fitness and health. Instead of focussing on changing your body- I challenge you to love and accept it today. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how much you love your tummy, or your curves, or that body part that you’ve always wanted to change. Because this is you RIGHT NOW. All you have is this moment. Stop waiting for a year from now to wear a bikini, dance around naked, be confident in front of your parter. The only time you have is now- so it’s time to start loving and accepting your body TODAY. The more you can practice body acceptance- the happier and more confident you will feel- trust me!

Think about why you want to lose weight. So you can feel more confident, happy, outgoing, look better in clothes? These are ALL things that you don’t need to lose weight to achieve. You need to change your mindset. You can become more sexy and happy and confident in your skin without losing a single pound. I absolutely guarantee you’ll also find longer lasting happiness and health by changing your mindset to a one of body acceptance than one of withholding on life until you look a certain way. When you lose the weight- you won’t magically become more confident or happy. It all happens up in your head. I cannot express this enough. When I started LOVING my body everything changed for me. I’m now the same weight I was years ago- but so happy and grateful for this body- whereas years ago I was miserable, hating myself, and punishing myself with exercise and food restriction. All for the exact same weight! I wasted years of my life hating my body and I can’t stand any one else experiencing this.

Start living everyday like you are in the body of your dreams. Because this is your body, and it’s done so much for you. Love it and appreciate it everyday. Please don’t wake up when you’re 90 and look back on life and think about all the things you didn’t do because you didn’t feel confident enough, thin enough, good enough. Your body is a vessel that can do anything it sets its mind to- and that’s the key. Change your mind and change your life! 

How to reduce alcohol consumption!

Hello beautiful readers!

If you know me in real life, you’ll know that I love my wine. Is there anything better than a glass of vino and long chats by the fire, or a glass while you cook? Maybe wine isn’t your cup of tea and you’d rather unwind with a beer, cider or cocktail. Either way, alcohol for most us is part of a social routine. It’s easy to fall back on alcohol for lubricant in social situations and it can easily become a habit. As I began a new relationship I definitely noticed I was drinking a lot more because it’s so lovely to sit down with your partner and a glass of wine and snuggle up– before you know it the whole bottle is gone! (Just me? Awkward).

As part of my “no sugar” week I also tried to reduce my wine consumption. You’ll know I’m all about that balance so eliminating it completely didn’t seem sustainable for me. I’ve been keeping it under 1-2 glasses per week for a few weeks now and I’m honestly shocked at how much better I feel, leaner I feel, and stronger I feel in the gym. (This may be obvious, but I never really drank more than 1-2 glasses in a sitting so I didn’t think it was affecting me that much). I’ve picked up some tips along the way that really help ease your way into reducing alcohol and still feeling like you are part of the party!

Step 1: Volunteer to be the designated driver. This ones obvious, but once you are hooked into that its automatically easier to say no and not get persuaded into have a glass or two. Plus everyone loves having a driver!

Step 2: Bring something to drink instead. This one was huge! I think the whole thing about drinking is feeling social, and part of the group. If you are sitting there with nothing to drink you feel awkward and out of place. I’ve been bringing Kombucha, or Perrier and lemon to social gatherings and filling a wine glass with that instead. I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing out on a thing! Or you can make a wine spritzer and cut your wine intake in half by mixing half and half with Perrier/ ice. Just a tip: skip the Green Kombucha unless you want to get a whole lot of weird looks and comments about why you are drinking some sort of green slime (… me on Thanksgiving).

Step 3: Figure out your “Why”. This is so key. If you don’t have a strong reason for anything you do it’s so easy to question yourself or get persuaded by peer pressure. At first when I tried reducing wine it was HARD and I just sat there feeling uncomfortable wondering why I didn’t just have a glass. What the harm? This is where our thinking gets us into trouble. I know that if I had “just a glass” every time everyone around me was drinking in the past few weeks it would have added up big time. After I made it through the first week and felt AMAZING it made it so much easier to stick to my guns. I honestly haven’t been craving it at all and after the weekend I was sooo excited to get back to no sugar and no wine. (Truly). If you are getting excited about health changes and the difference you are seeing in your energy, sleep, and body- THAT is when the huge changes happen, because it no longer takes effort. We are creating new habits! So I encourage you to figure out WHY the heck you are doing this or the first to put a little pressure on you will make all the sense in the world.

Step 4: Give it a try. Set a goal for a certain period of time- perhaps 1 week to start. Or 2 glasses of wine in a week to start like I did, so you don’t feel totally left out of the social situations. I’ve realized in the past few weeks that if your goal is weight loss, or improving your physique- giving up the booze makes an insane difference. I’ve always felt great about where my body is at if I’m drinking moderately, but I’m amazed at the difference giving it up makes. I was listening to a great podcast the other day on alcohol, and I think we need to be honest with ourself what our goals are. If you really want to see results, you may need to make a few more sacrifices, and I think alcohol should be the first to do when you want to buckle down. Make lots of room for NUTRITION and filling foods in your diet to feel your absolute best!

Hope you enjoyed this post, let me know if you have ever tried giving up alcohol before. How did it feel? What worked for you?

 

Tara