Why I No Longer Care About Being Skinny
All my life I wanted to be skinny.
I thought that being skinny would make me happy. That fitting into a certain size jeans or looking a certain way in a bikini defined my worth.
So from an early age I tried every diet imaginable. I restricted, deprived, over-exercised… and then inevitably binged out on wings and pizza because all of that restriction made me feel so delirious.
And then I would count calories. I bought everything “low calorie” or “low fat” no matter what is was. During my “skinniest” period in college I would drink a smoothie from Jamba Juice in the morning, work out for two hours, and eat a turkey sandwich in the afternoon, so proud of myself at my self-control.
Little did I know how deprived my body was. How full of toxic chemicals it was. How I was actually training it to do the opposite of what I wanted.
I will admit that when I signed up to try out nutritional cleansing a little over two years ago, I had the same goal in mind: skinny, skinny, skinny. I saw a picture of my friend with abs, I wanted abs, so no brainer.
When I started the program, the weight and inches melted off quickly… I was skinnier than I had ever been before! So I should be happy, right? Nope!
I found ways to question it, to make it wrong; I found reasons why it wouldn’t be sustainable, why I would gain it all back. I was overlooking the fact that I had so much energy! I woke up feeling well rested and my focus and productivity was off the charts.
At the time, none of that mattered. All that mattered was how to get and stay skinny.
Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back on what I went through with my body for 29 years I see two major reasons why I got stuck in the cycle and why no dress size would ever make me happy.
The first was physical: I didn’t understand how my body worked. I didn’t see it as a system and food as the fuel that was telling my body how to operate. I saw my diet as calories in, calories out. I saw a piece of food by how much fat and calories it had and not how much nourishment it had or what instruction it would give my body when I consumed it.
The second was mental/emotional: I simply didn’t love and value myself. I didn’t see who I was as a person as being distinct from the body that I walked around in. And because I didn’t, I couldn’t imagine how anyone else could either.
The combination of these two things was the source of endless amounts of pain and suffering in my life. The struggle, the emotion, the hatred I had for my body and the disgust I had at myself for not being able to control it dictated the decisions I made, affected every relationship I had from friends to family members to romantic interests, and even sent me fleeing 1,400 miles overseas to live in another country.
But as we all know, you can never escape yourself.
That is why I am so thankful for nutritional cleansing. It opened the door for me to start learning about how the body works as a system and what foods send it what signals. It allowed me to create health for myself—not just skinny—and provided me with the support, community, and personal development to start excavating the scary mental stuff and writing a new story about my worth.
In two years I have done some deep learning, and here is what I know to be true:
1) “The biggest single input that you have for your health every day is what you eat.” (Dr. Mark Hyman) Food is far more than just calories. It literally gives directions to your body. Sugars and starches tell your body to slow your metabolism. Trans fats tell your body to increase inflammation. Omega3 fatty acids tell your body to reduce inflammation. The list goes on. And calories in, calories out is not the way to define our health. The best way to achieve optimal health and energy AND to lose weight is to eat the most nutrient-dense foods possible in the proper proportions. This is not an easy thing to do because it requires a lot of study, thought and meal preparation. That is why I love nutritional cleansing. The products take a lot of the guess-work out of it, and there are detailed instructions about what kind of foods to eat and how to prepare them.
2) The system is rigged against us. It is not your fault that you have been drinking Diet Coke for 15 years thinking that it was good for you. First of all, research shows that sugar is a biologically addictive substance. So the majority of Americans are walking around as addicts and not even recognizing it. Furthermore, the food industry and the FDA designed it that way. They want you to be in the dark. This is no conspiracy theory, just basic economics. Companies make sugary/starchy foods that keep you wanting more, you buy more, the company gets more rich and more powerful and the economy is boosted. The agro industry pumps more pesticides and herbicides onto our fruits and veggies and more hormones and antibiotics into our livestock. They don’t respect soil cycles, all in the name of getting more food that looks good out more quickly. But it means that our food has fewer nutrients and more chemicals. It is also a total fallacy that it is more expensive to eat healthy. (Check out the Environmental Working Group’s “Good Food on a Tight Budget” manual for hacks to eat as healthy as possible within your food budget.)
3) Food works fast. After just a few days of putting the right things in your body you will see results. And that is not a bad thing. We are taught that any program where you lose weight quickly is a scam because it is all “water weight” and you will gain it right back. But that is such a half-truth. First of all, water weight is the result of inflammation, so if you lose a lot of water weight on a program and then go back onto a diet that causes inflammation, of course you are going to get bloated again. If you use a program for 10, 21, or 30 days, and then go back to your previous habits of course it isn’t going to be sustainable for you. It goes both ways. Just as food works quickly to heal and balance your body, eating the wrong stuff will pretty quickly cause you to feel like crap again. It’s all about the instructions you are giving it.
4) Finally, your value as a person has nothing to do with what the body you are walking around in looks like. Our bodies are just containers for our souls. We want them be healthy and to work for us so that we can be the best humans that we can be in this world, but without our spirits they have no meaning. They have no depth. They say nothing about who we are.
This year, I committed to eliminating the word “fat” from my vocabulary (when not in reference to the nutrient). I will not call myself or any part of my body fat because fat is a fallacy. It is an interpretation. It says nothing about who I am, but does loads to make me feel bad about myself and limit my personal power and potential. So I am done with it.
What started as a program to make me skinny now is far less about “bikini ready” than it is empowerment. It is way more an emotional, spiritual, and life transformation than it is a physical one. The reason that I advocate for nutritional cleansing and for life coaching is for empowerment—to light up each person who has the courage to try something different to create a more full, healthy, happy life.
It is my absolute passion, purpose, and pleasure to work with others—through nutritional cleansing and life coaching—to help them learn to nourish and love their bodies. There is so much research on how community enables change (friend power, not will power), so whether you are looking to make positive physical change or positive mental change, I have your back. Our nutritional cleansing community is hundreds of thousands of people strong worldwide, and we are cheerleaders, running buddies, and accountability partners—whatever you need. And I as a coach am committed to being the consistent support, partner, and hand to hold as you navigate the murky waters of finding your value and your worth.
It’s never too late to get started! If you are interested in learning more about nutritional cleansing, send me a note here. If it is life coaching you are interested in, sign up for a free 30-minute consult here to learn about what is possible for your life. If I am lucky enough for you to choose me to be part of your journey, I will put my heart and soul into you.