Ditching Dieting for Good

Regardless of if you're a vocal anti-dieter or if you're currently trying the newest diet trend that will guarantee you to lose 10 pounds in two weeks I think this post is something that you should stick around to read.

I've been doing a ton of research and began really digging into diet culture and our relationships with food over the past few weeks.

I've learned a lot.

And I've realized that most of us are really deep in the dieting mindset and it's messing us up, myself included.

I don't really talk much about my relationship with food publicly. I go back and fourth on doing so and what's stopped me to this point was thinking that I had to share the evolution of my relationship with it from the beginning. For some reason I just didn't think about sharing what's happening with my life right now. It was always a share everything or share nothing mentality. Go big or go home. It never could be sharing about what's up right now and then maybe in the future sharing the other things that lead me here. Well, it could never be that way until today.

Today is a day where I'm going to change that and get real about where I'm at with food.

Why?

Well, I don't know. Maybe you care or maybe you don't. I think that a lot of us are in relatively similar situations with food and I want to talk about it because it's really important. I think we need to create conversations to help uplift each other either by sharing a bit of light on a struggle or letting each other know that we're in the same boat and we have each other to help build an ark.

I've been really working on getting away from a high carb vegan diet. I got sucked into it a few years back and I claimed it to be the "best diet/lifestyle" but I've come to realize that isn't the truth for me. I was saying that and believing it at the time because I thought it would bring me whatever I was after; fitness, weight loss, happiness, success, etc. I believed that if I did that then I would achieve those things that I thought I wanted.

And then something shifted.

I started to feel restricted in certain ways and was tired of living my life around that lifestyle. I would go out to eat at Chipotle and feel bad about it because the food had oil in it and in the high carb movement oil is not seen as healthy.

And even though I don't particularly view oil as a health food, it's not something that I want to feel bad about. I want to be able to not use it at home if I choose but also be able to go out to eat and not feel bad about doing so.

I'm not just saying the high carb lifestyle was the root of my problems. I had my fair share of struggles leading up to that point. The only thing I did though was transfer an issue I had with food previous to that which became an issue I had with oils and fats.

So here I am eating a healthy amount of calories and a primarily plant based diet. I'm exercising a decent amount and at a "good" weight. It all looks great from the outside but what isn't seen is the issues I developed around oil and fats. Once I started fearing certain foods, I knew that something had to change. That's when I realized that the high carb diet was a no go for me. I didn't want to have this type of relationship with food. I missed peanut butter and I missed avocado pudding. When you're brainwashed into believing that these things should only be "sometimes foods" it really takes something away from you. Life without a decent amount of peanut butter and avocados in the same day just to be slim, no thanks.

At that point I didn't realize what I know now. I was drawn to that diet because of weight loss. That's the number one seller of any diet and that's why so many people come to join the high carb movement.

I truly believe that any type of food restrictions are red flags unless they are based on allergies or ethical connections.

If you go out to eat and can't have oil in a dish because it is "bad for you" then you do not have a healthy relationship with food. It is as simple as that.

Balance. Moderation. Food freedom. Body acceptance. They all stem from a healthy relationship with yourself. That relationship involves trust, kindness, understanding, confidence and intuition. And honestly, that relationship is hard to develop.

That's where I'm at right now. I'm trying to build that relationship. I'm trying to trust and accept myself. Health matters to me and healthy is what I want to be. It's just important to remember that health looks different on everyone. You are the only one who knows what makes you feel best. You are the only one who knows what your body is craving and what it needs. It is so hard to listen to that with all of the external messages entering our heads. But as hard as it is, it is an extremely important step towards truly loving yourself at whatever size your body happens to be in this moment.

Life is in a constant state of flux. Remember that you need different things during different times in your life. Sometimes all you'll want is salads and other times you'll eat half of the cookie dough before it has a chance to reach the oven. Both are valid. Both are okay. Those things will ultimately guide you in the right direction. When we try to control our food we block out that intuition to provide ourselves with what we need.

And that's not something I am interested in doing anymore. I want to treat my body the way it deserves. I want to be in touch with it in ways that a lot of people miss out on because they're trapped in diet culture. I want to provide myself with what I need and I want to grow a beautiful, loving relationship with food and myself.

I'm not sure how that's all going to happen because trusting yourself is scary and letting go of any restrictions around food makes me nervous. But I think that sharing this post is a good start.

Some things to note though: I am still vegan and will continue to be vegan. I don't see that as a restriction. I can easily eat any foods that non-vegans eat through delicious substitutions. That is the only thing that I want to remain constant. And sure, I'll still probably eat the same way that I do now. It'll be a bit different though. More baked goods because I enjoy them. Guacamole at Chipotle because it's tasty. A scoop of ice cream here and there because ice cream is one of my favorite things.

And this is where I'm at with everything. I don't know where I'm going. I think I'm on a path to a good place though and I'm ready to share it with you.

Are you ready to let go of a fear or restriction you have around food? Join me in the journey by commenting down below to let me know. I'm looking forward to connecting with you and doing this together! xx

Why I'm Against Dieting

Hi friends! Today I wanted to talk about something I highly discourage and am completely against. Dieting. Why are we talking about this today?! Well I experienced something yesterday that inspired me to write this post and I feel as if what I have to say is important. I know that this post is kind of lengthy but hang with me here. I promise that everything that I have to say is important and comes straight from the heart. So yesterday I walked into a juice and smoothie bar that I haven't been to before. They're fairly new so I figured that I'd check them out and grab a juice before dinner. I walked in and the guy started talking to me about the weather and other random things. I asked him what he recommended that I order (mainly because I'm not good with decisions) and he said to me, "Well are you trying to skip a meal and you're looking for a juice replacement?" I told him that I wasn't trying to skip a meal and was just looking for a juice to have before dinner. He recommended a drink so I just went with his recommendation, got my drink, and left. It was a really nice day in Pittsburgh yesterday so I walked around outside while I drank the juice and thought about my conversation with the worker. I know that he's probably an awesome guy and didn't mean anything by what he said. In fact, he probably gets questions similar to what he asked me every single day and just assumed that I was looking for something that I could "replace a meal" with. But I'm not looking for meal replacements, ever. Meals are extremely important. Every single meal is important.

This simple question that a worker in a juice bar asked me escalated in my mind to the point that I began thinking about people who do skip out on meals and diet on a regular basis. It makes me sad. So sad. I'm sure that you know many of these people or perhaps, you are one of those people. Either way, I don't want to you to think that I'm trying to attack or insult anyone with what I am saying. I want to help. I want to share my viewpoint on things and give you a different perspective.

Dieting is not healthy. Plain and simple.

There are many different ways to diet and many different diets to attempt. I think we all know that though, so I'll spare you the specific details of various diets. For the most part each diet is done in an attempt to lose weight and "be healthier." A lot of people see dieting as limiting portion sizes and/or skipping meals. Dieting is not done out of health and happiness with one's self. It stems from a negative thought or mindset.

Before I go deeper into this I want to clarify that the type of dieting that I am talking about is diets that occur because of hatred and unhappiness with an external appearance. I consume a plant based vegan diet, but I am not on a diet. I hope that makes sense.

Basically anywhere that you go where there is socialization involved there will be someone mentioning a diet or weight loss. Family functions, work, a night out with friends, an overheard conversation in a fitting room, even some strangers will mention it to you in the aisles of the grocery store. It seems as if everyone is obsessed with losing weight and looking great. Is that the case? No. There are many people out there that aren't concerned with dieting and weight loss. But sometimes it seems as if those people are few and far between.

What's the deal with that? Why the diet craze? Well people are running to the fast food drive thru's, buying diet books or plans, and spending a majority of their day's sedentary but expecting to be healthy.

Listed below are some things that I've learned throughout my journey and experiences involving dieting. I truly believe that if you adapt a healthy mindset and begin to look at yourself and your relationship with food in a healthier way then everything will fall into place. Having a healthy, loving relationship with yourself is possible for everyone who is inspired to take the steps towards living in balance.

Self Love Help

Being skinny doesn't equal happiness or health. One person can limit their intake and consume a diet consisting of processed foods but still be skinny while another person can eat intuitively and consume a predominately plant based diet while maintaining a fit body as well. Which one do you think is healthier? I think we all know the answer to that. Being skinny doesn't make someone healthy.

Everything in moderation. There is so much guilt associated with food. So many of us will decline a piece of cake at a birthday party or eat the cake and then regret the choice later. The cake isn't bad. Cake is okay to eat just like everything else. (As long as it's vegan and no animals were harmed!) It's the mindset that we have towards food that is the problem.

Calories are not the enemy. They really aren't. Calories are energy. Your body needs energy to function. I think that a lot of us have gotten into the calorie counting cycle at some point. It's not good. It can make you become obsessive and deprive yourself of foods whenever your body is hungry. Also, a lot of the popular calorie counting apps that are used don't recommend nearly enough calories to be able to live on successfully for a long period of time.

I just put my information into the My Fitness Pal app to see what it would recommend for me to consume each day. It told me 1,300 calories. I don't count calories now and don't see it to be necessary in general every day circumstances but I am very confident that the app is telling me to consume way below what my body runs on and needs for long term success. Eating when your body is hungry and stopping when it is full is much more beneficial than trying to count calories and skipping a meal or snack if you go over your limit for the day. Practice intuitive eating, so many benefits from it!

There are no "bad" foods. We look at specific foods as good foods and bad foods. There are no bad foods. Sure, some foods are a lot healthier than others but if we have the mindset that cookies are bad then when we eat cookies we will associate them with guilt. There should be no guilt involved in consuming a cookie every now and then. Cookies are great! By eliminating the "bad" foods mindset you free yourself from the guilt and regret of treating yourself every once in a while to a yummy treat!

Hating yourself is not okay. No one wants to spend time hating themselves. We need to stop putting ourselves down and resenting our bodies no matter what we feel is "wrong" with them. Nothing is wrong with them! All bodies are great and if we focus on things that are awesome about ourselves (and there are so many!!), then we begin to have a healthier mindset. Starting to remove the hate and negativity that you bring upon yourself is a very freeing and beneficial thing. If we stop focusing on everything we don't like then those things will no longer seem as bad as we once believed them to be.

The number on the scale doesn't matter. I want to scream this from the rooftops and tattoo it across my forehead. The number on the scale does not matter. It doesn't. I don't weigh myself and have no intentions of doing it anytime soon. That number doesn't tell me anything that I need to know. For dieters it's a way to measure the "success" of the diet and if the number isn't lowering then it most likely makes them feel as if they are failing.

Body weight fluctuates so much throughout the day and depends on so many factors. Measuring your success or self worth via the number on the scale is not a way to become healthy or happy at all. Drop the scale! Take progress photos instead. Your body is constantly changing and evolving and it's current state depends on so many things which is why progress photos are so much better. They can even be fun to take and compare too!

Surrounding yourself with positive people. If I spend my time surrounded by people who constantly pick apart their appearance with negativity or are always trying new diets then I find that I become a bit uneasy around them because their negativity tries to become a part of my mindset. But when I surround myself with people who radiate self love and positivity then that brings out the best in me and inspires me to work towards things that I want to achieve. The ones that you surround yourself with are a reflection of the way that you see yourself. I want you to see yourself as positive and filled with self love, not spending your days dieting and living in a self conscious state. You deserve much more than that!

Loving yourself is most important. I saved the best for last. Once you love yourself, everything else falls into place. You wouldn't tell your friends or loved ones the negative things that you say to yourself, so why does it keep happening to you?! You deserve to be happy and spend your days living in a way that makes you the best possible version of yourself. You are capable of so much and if you take the time that you spend on negative thoughts and trying out new diets then you could spend that time on so many other things that will help you achieve your dreams or be successful. So much is possible once you drop the negativity. Work towards it and it will become your reality.

Self Care Quote

I hope that if you're a dieter or if you know someone who is struggling with dieting that they are able to read this and try to make some changes in their lives to become better versions of themselves by healing themselves with self love and health. Consuming plant based foods along with the occasional chocolate or cake, exercising because it's enjoyable and fun, dropping the negativity and diets, and ultimately loving yourself is possible. I believe in you and as long as you believe in yourself as well, then you can make it happen! I am grateful for that experience at the juice bar. I am glad that the worker asked me that question because this post was inspired by it. Let your experiences throughout the day fuel your mind to create things that will be beneficial to you and others as well!

If you're ever feeling as if you want to make this happen but don't know exactly how to start or where to go from your current position never hesitate to email me and I will try to help you out in any way that I can. Sometimes we all need a little help, so let's do this together!

How I Started Losing Weight After I Stopped Dieting

Let's face it; most of us have tried a diet regime at one point or another in our lives. Atkins diet, Grapefruit diet, South Beach diet, NutriSystem. Maybe you've counted calories religiously or cut carbs out of your diet. There are many, many unhealthy ways that people go about losing weight and sadly a lot of people will go to extremes just to see the numbers on the scale decrease. Diets usually start off well for the first couple of days or so but then it all goes downhill for the majority of people. When you follow a diet plan you're usually depriving your body of important nutrients that it begins to crave or you're not allowing yourself a certain food, which only makes you want that food even more than usual. Once you start to crave something then it can result in nutrient deficiencies and/or binge eating.

This is a vicious cycle that a lot of people are stuck in. They never find themselves losing the weight that they want to and some even begin to gain.

I have people asking me what my "secret" is. How do I maintain a healthy lifestyle? Do I count calories? What am I cutting out of my diet? How often do I exercise?

It's taken me a while to get to this point with myself because for a long time I was guilty of being an avid calorie counter, restricter, and over exerciser. But I have found peace within myself and no longer count, restrict, or over exercise which has brought me nothing but true happiness and contentment with myself.

Here's how I did it:

Don't put any foods off limit- I used to have certain foods that I wouldn't allow myself to have or I'd only allow myself a small amount of things like cakes, cookies, pizza, etc. Not allowing myself to have these foods made me want these foods much more than I'd want them if I didn't put them "off limits."

Now I allow myself anything. If I want a cookie, then I go get a cookie and I enjoy it. If food is accessible to you at all times it really doesn't become that much of a specialty and you'll find yourself not craving it as often.

Incorporate whole foods into your diet- Throw away that box of "mashed potatoes" and go pick up a bag of potatoes at the store. Boil those potatoes and mash them yourself. When buying actual potatoes and not a boxed version you know what goes in to your body. You're not feeding yourself spoonfuls of preservatives and chemicals, you get quality whole foods instead.

Incorporating whole foods into your diet can change you completely. You'll see your energy levels go up, your mood will become more positive, and you'll learn a few new skills in the kitchen!

Exercise- When I say that word I know that some people cringe. Hang with me here.

All you have to do is find an activity that you enjoy. If you hate running, then please don't force yourself to run every day. There's no fun in that! There is an activity out there that you'll enjoy and will benefit you. Try new things! Maybe you've always wanted to give tennis a shot. What better time is there than now? Even if you enjoy taking a walk to the park to read a book, that's better than nothing!

Plus, after you begin eating more whole foods, you'll have all kinds of energy to exert into something!

Love yourself- I believe that this is the most important one. If you love yourself, you'll want to take care of yourself. You'll make sure that you give yourself enough rest each night and enough food each day. You'll take time to do things you enjoy, but you'll also work hard and succeed in things that are important to you.

I began doing those things and I lost 10 pounds in 3 months. I wasn't even trying to lose weight either. I look better. I feel better. And most importantly, I'm happier. I take care of myself and I enjoy taking care of and inspiring others as well.

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Get rid of the dieting, restricting, and self hatred. You only get one body and one life. Don't waste time being miserable. Start to accept yourself and take care of your body. You'll see the best results of your life. It may not be easy at first, but once you start you'll see that it's truly worth it and you won't look back.