The reason I don't just give my nutrition clients a meal plan to start is because our eating habits have so much to do with our mindset. Your mind is what sabotages your diet, not your body. Handing someone a precise meal plan to follow may work for a short term period but if you really want to make a long term lifestyle change then you have to let go of your limiting beliefs. Reclaiming your freedom from the food police, the demons that keep you in body shame and the never-ending self-attacks requires you to give up those negative mental thought patterns.
Letting go of the old will allow you to create space for the new, positive and encouraging thoughts! Are you ready to let go of your limiting thoughts and begin to eat without fear, guilt or shame? Getting to that place doesn’t happen when you continue to hold on to habits, beliefs and people who are keeping you down, over and over again into your own worst nightmare of negative patterns.
Here are 10 of the most important things to let go of TODAY in order to live a life of intuitive, healthy eating without calorie counting, food demonizing and body shaming.
1. Let go of seeking perfection
Perfection doesn’t exist. Perfectionism is simply the control freak inside you expressing itself in all your actions. Stop trying to be the one who will be absolutely flawless. Instead, revel in your beautiful imperfections, focus on your good parts, and play with the infinite freedom that comes with knowing that no matter what you do, you will never ever reach perfection.
2. Let go of fat shaming yourself in the mirror
Whenever you notice that you’re standing in front of the mirror for too long and releasing all kinds of negative thoughts and words about your body, take a step back from the mirror to stop. Break the pattern by making yourself look away. There is NO use in body-bashing. There is nothing to be gained by comparing your body to a body you used to have or the body of someone you admire.
And if you have the opposite problem and feel too ashamed to look at your body in the mirror, stop and pause. See if you can be vulnerable with yourself for just five minutes to look in the mirror and appreciate your body. Look at it through the eyes of compassion and love, appreciate all that it does for you every day. Look deep into your eyes in the mirror and know that you are worthy of acceptance and love.
3. Let go of reading diet books
It seems quite logical to get rid of diet books and even more logical to not buy any more of them. But there’s this temptation to get just one more book...and maybe one more...and one more because this might actually be the one.
It won’t be. The thing is every single diet book has contradictory information that is all backed by science and research - how is that possible?! Following a diet is never going to work because you are living in deprivation of one thing or another. It is more important to follow intuitive and mindful eating practices to allow your body and mind to truly thrive.
So, give your diet books away (yes, all of them, they will trigger your diet mentality at some point) and make space for more nourishing books, more soul-filling items or simply more space.
4. Let go of diet products
Diet products ARE NOT healthy. Please, read that again. If it says sugar free then it is most likely made with acidic artificial sweeteners that wreak havoc on your body in a variety of ways. If it says fat free then they probably had to add a bunch of sugar to help make it taste better. Once you allow scientists to tamper with your food and add chemicals to them, you are no longer eating healthy food. The “real deal” is always better than diet products, just eat in moderation. It's okay to have a treat, just don't make it a daily habit. Try to let go of the diet mindset and begin to eliminate the message that you don’t deserve to experience real pleasure from food. Eating healthy can be extremely satisfying.
If your taste buds are used to the artificial taste of diet products, give them time to readjust. If food fears come up. work with them in order to move to a new level of healing. If you still have diet products in your fridge, throw them out – you can’t have them if they’re not there. You’ll soon see that non-diet products aren’t the devil they’re made out to be. Start looking at all natural and organic products that have no chemicals in them at all and you will be feeling better and finding way more satisfying options.
5. Let go of being disconnected from your body
Healing your negative body image means reconnecting with your body.
Do you feel what your body feels like or do you see your body as just a thing that you don’t want to live in?
Do you listen to your body and honor its needs or do you use it as a machine and push it to do whatever you demand of it?
The more you embody your body and perceive all the sensations that are floating through your body, the more you’ll be able to let go of the belief that your body’s worthiness lies in being skinny. Take some time to explore your body with intuitive movement. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees and just slowly start stretching and moving around. Explore the ways your spine moves, your shoulders, your hips, and begin to connect with your body with curiosity and appreciation.
6. Let go of mindless eating
Gosh, exact portion control is a nightmare! How does a plan, your scale, a dietitian or whoever controls your portions know how hungry your body is and how much nourishment it needs on any given day? The moment you decide to “only eat this much”, you are working against your body (and are training your mind for a future binge).
Stop weighing your food. Stop trying to limit your portions to an arbitrary rule of yours. Instead, feel into your body and begin to be in communication with yourself. How much do you need? How much do you want? When do you have enough? You can only find out by eating, never ever before the actual act.
I realize I do guide people on portion sizes to help give them a general idea of what would be ideal calorie wise but ultimately, you need to be mindful when you are eating. Turn off all distractions, look at your food and appreciate the meal before you and all the people that must have been involved to get it from the farm to your table. Chew slowly and appreciate all the tastes and textures.
Eating slowly allows your body to register the volume of food you are eating better and your body will be able to send you a signal of when you are full. When you gulp down food in five minutes it is often way too much because your body didn't get any time to tell you to stop.
Plus, digestion begins in your mouth so the better you chew your food, the easier the rest of your digestion process will be. If you ever see pieces of food in your stool, that means you are not chewing nearly enough.
7. Let go of the belief in good and bad foods
There are no good or bad foods. Food is not moral. Period.
Food is necessary for life, for our survival, and our well-being. Yes, you may talk about food in terms of it having gone bad or being rotten, but that’s it. Other than throwing out moldy onions, there’s no sense in talking about food in terms of being good or bad.
Consider this: every time you tell yourself that you’ve eaten bad foods, you hear ‘I am bad’, ‘I am a bad, disgusting, weak person and should be ashamed of myself’, ‘I am going to die fat and I’ll never be able to heal my insane relationship with food‘, ‘I am baaad.’
Doesn’t help your self-confidence a lot, does it? Practice compassion with yourself! I tell my clients to follow the 80/20 rule. If you eat healthy 80% of the time then you can feel free to indulge 20% of the time. And I purposely use the word indulge, not eat bad! That means out of 21 meals a week, 4 could be indulging on your favorite foods that may not be completely healthy or good for you but they bring you some sort of joy or comfort, or being able to enjoy social obligations guilt free.
The trick is, you need to eat even more mindfully at these meals. Allow yourself to slow down and treasure every bite and you will enjoy the meal even more. It will also give your body more time to tell you when you are truly full instead of following a mindless habit to always gobble down half the pizza.
8. Let go of the constant barrage of “shoulds”
How often do you tell yourself that you should eat healthier, that you should move more, that you should not eat candy or enjoy your food?
The more you should yourself, the more pressure you create, which always backfires in some shape or form. Let go of “shoulding” yourself and instead adopt a kinder, more loving language that’ll uplift you and empower you to be the person you truly are.
I know I feel privileged to eat healthy, not everyone is provided with the same healthy eating choices in their homes. Simply living in a big city gives me access to a wide array of ingredients that aren't available in rural areas so I am always grateful for the opportunity to make and eat a healthy meal.
Taking good care of my body makes me feel proud of myself, it helps my self confidence levels, and it simply makes me feel better. I have more energy, I am more organized, and I am in a better mood. I focus on all the positive things I gain from eating healthy and it has become an effortless habit.
9. Let go of needing approval from others
We often want to lose weight because we believe that it’ll give us someone's approval. We believe that life will be so much better and that others will accept us so much more easily if we only have a body that appeals to their sense of beauty.
That’s a bunch of bullshit.
If others can’t deal with your weight or your body, it’s their issue, not yours. Don’t shrink to make them feel better. Don’t hurt yourself to get the approval you really don’t need. Don't feel the need to explain yourself to them. Your body is YOURS. Nobody else should be commenting on it in any way shape or form. No matter if someone has lost weight or gained, unless you are paying someone a true compliment - their body shape and size is none of your business and vice versa. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
10. Let go of wanting to be anyone but yourself
You are YOU and that is glorious. There’s a reason you are who you are. There’s a reason you have the body you have. Focus on all your good parts and find acceptance.
Don’t darken your own light by wishing to be someone you will never be. Don’t take away from your own glory by trying to fit into someone else’s jeans. You are wonderful just the way you are – even if you’re a work in progress.
If you’d like to let go of certain thoughts, behaviors or things that keep you stuck in diet prison, book an initial Discovery Call with me and we’ll get to the bottom of what’s really going on and how you can – once and for all – break free from these patterns.