Do You Need To Change Your Diet, Or Do You Just Need To Change The Way You Look At It?

I think that a big part of my year long journey of not dieting or cleansing is much more of a mental re-frame as opposed to a change in my diet and lifestyle habits.

My Sizzurp

My Sizzurp…then, now, and foreva!

I’ve promised myself that I would spend an entire year not dieting or cleansing. The body always is cleansing: breaking down all that we consume, assimilating what the body needs from it, and eliminating what it cannot. No matter what you eat and drink, the body goes through this process of cleansing. The more healthy your choices, the easier it is for the body to cleanse. Unfortunately cleansing has become a substitute word for dieting for many. Even I got to a point where it was difficult for me to distinguish between the two.

My intention to stop engaging in diets, cleanses, and detoxes was to stop the back and forth and overall fixation on what I eat and how thin I am or if I’m back to my prepregnancy body. While I know it’s totally possible for woman to get their prepregnancy bodies back, I also realize that there are many factors that come into play with this, and that a woman who doesn’t have strong emotional ties to food will probably have an easier and more smooth transition back to her prepregnancy body than someone who does have those strong emotional ties. Or a woman who has help with her baby, or is going back to a job or life that bears semblance to her life before becoming a mom may have an easier transition as well (just speculating). For me, my life has gone through such huge changes that it makes sense that my diet needs some changes, not just for purely physical reasons but also emotional and psychological reasons as well.

I love cleansing and detoxing. It changed my life and gave me a body I never had before, not as teenager, nor at any time in my youth. What bothers me is that I was too blind and perhaps a bit naive to see that while it started out as something that made me feel incredibly free, it actually became more of a prison for me as I held myself to higher and higher standards in terms of how lean I should be, how perfect my skin should look once I engaged in this lifestyle and enthusiastically began to spread the word. Getting my certification in nutrition and colon hygiene only made me take myself and my appearance even more seriously. My dark side was really showing itself but I either didn’t want to see it or just felt so overwhelmed by all of the pressure I put on myself that I didn’t see any other options besides that ugly, annoying word: PERFECTION.

Perfection doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but I think it does more harm than good when you have an idea of what perfection looks like and you are hell bent to achieve it no matter what the consequences are. Why did I take my appearance so seriously but not the things that really mattered like my work, or my relationships, my writing, or how much fun and spontanaity I brought into my day to day life?

Perhaps focusing on what really matters most will be what brings me the freedom I seek along with seeing the truth behind my diet and lifestyle choices.  Am I abstaining from certain foods for empowerment, or am I abstaining them because I feel I must? Am I engaging in certain types of exercises because it makes me feel energized and good in my skin, or am I doing it as a sort of self punishment in order to look a certain way? Empowerment is always the answer when it comes to health, I believe. If something makes me feel genuinely better about myself, that is good, if something makes me feel bad or like I’m lacking, then it probably doesn’t have my greatest health in mind.

So today I’m going to be share what matters most to me,  and what empowers me, with you. There is only one mention of food in there. ;)

1. Connecting with my family
2. Writing
3. Reading
4. Learning about things I’m passionate about
5. Making delicious, healthy food
6. Going for long walks with my daughter
7. Watching funny shows and movies with my husband
8. Napping with my husband and daughter
9. Connecting with like minded others however I can
 photo-53

I think those nine things are a great start. I know I will add to this list as times goes on, but these are the basics.

It’s been two months now that I’ve been un-dieting, and I have to say that I am feeling more at peace with myself than I have in a long time. It’s almost like I’ve come to a deep understanding of what I need and what I want in my life, and that has lead me to feeling more present with myself and with others, and that’s always a really wonderful feeling.

Actually, I believe that’s the purpose of all of this cleansing and healthy living stuff. ;)

Deep down, I’ve always believed that!

So now I’d love to hear from you. What sort of things do you find to be empowering, and therefore healthy? I think it’s great to have food related things be a part of that empowerment list but I’m curious as to what else makes you feel great about yourself. Please share in the comment section below! 

Much Love,
Marlena

Responses:

  1. You looks great and I absolutelly agree with you. How much did you gain during your pregnancy ? I have seen many in many post mention pregnancy weight gain:-), but I guess you do not have any pound from that time. I am pregnant right now and enjoy food as much as I can of course healthy choices but I do not limit myself.

    • Hi Misa! Congrats on your pregnancy! I gained about 50 pounds during my pregnancy (I wrote more about this in my pregnancy posts shortly after Ale was born in April 2012). I think it’s great to eat whole, organic foods and not limit yourself, even if it means you gain more weight than you’d like. Your body knows best. Losing the last ten pounds of baby weight became a bit of an obsession for me which is why I’ve promised myself a year of no dieting or cleansing. I’m learning it’s much more about the way I see myself and food than about what I’m actually eating.

      Great to hear from you! Wishing you and your family the best! XO

  2. This is a great article and much needed in our society as we have become obsessed with ourselves in so many ways that many of us have lost focus of the things that matter more then what we look like or what posessions we have our status etc. Thank you for this truth (:

  3. I entirely agree with you on this! Cleansing (in the sense of taking it up a notch from the body’s usual process) is a tool we can use rather than the be all and end all. One of the things I always go back to when people ask me how I do it, is to say find something(s) you love as much as food and balance out your time with all that. It’s funny to think that something so liberating as learning about food and what works best in our own bodies can so easily become all-encompassing, when it could also so easily be the thing that sets us free to focus on all the other good in life.

    • It’s so weird, Em, but it’s like I JUST realized I can use cleansing as a tool when it feels right or when I feel motivated and excited to take it up a notch for a few days, a week, whatever. It’s like I’ve always seen things so black and white and always been so all or nothing I felt like I had to be all in or not at all. It’s been quite exciting to shed that feeling. I’ll be posting about that more this upcoming week!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that finding something that you love just as much as food and balancing your time with that is excellent. I’ve realized that for me it can be as simple as keeping lots of good books around me :)

  4. Marlena….so well written. You have been such an inspiration to me in my many trials and tribulations these last 6 months with my diet your support and guidance has been awesome. Your writings are great for women and men and there is so much to be taken from them. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Dad! I’m glad that you get a lot out of what I share here. And I’m always happy to help. :) You’re doing great!

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