Trust me if you asked me about any of the fad diets, I could recite the full diet “fight” song.  I’m kidding, to a point.  I am 40 years old and had been a prisoner to food, diets and the image of my body for as long as I can remember. The hardest thing for me to fully grasp is that until my inside was right my outside would never follow.  The link between mind, body and soul freed me from the carousel that I was on and couldn’t get off when it came to my relationship with food.  I want to be clear; I am not a dietitian, I am you.  I have dealt with the ups and downs of body-image, dieting and being a prisoner to food.I am here share with you the top five things I have done to release myself from the prison of diets and food.

Step One

STOP DIETING, yes you heard me right.  Stop! I have tried every fad diet there is: Keto, Paleo, counting macros, plant-based, vegan and the list goes on and on.  I will say this they all work for the short term.  Yes, I was able to lose weight for that cruise I wanted to go on or that photo-shoot I wanted to have but I could never sustain the weight loss nor could I sustain the diet.  The reason, I am human.  That’s right I said it.  When I was eliminating foods and told myself I was on a diet guess what, food was all I thought about.  I thought about what I could eat or what I couldn’t eat.  I would think about the times I can eat, how I would eat, what my cheat meal was going to be.  These questions consumed my life.  This made me realize DIETING is actually hurting my ability to have sustainable weight loss.   So, I will never be on a diet again.

Step Two

Understand your goals: this is important because someone who is competing in a fitness show like NPC has much different goals than someone who is just trying to make it through the day and get in a workout between school or a corporate job.  There was a time that I competed and my food needs were completely different then they are now.  The reality is that most people just want to feel good in their clothes, be at a healthy weight and still be able to socialize at a dinner at times.  If that is the case do not try and follow the life of someone who is competing for medals in the NPC or any other fitness competition.  Once I didn’t compete, I had to realize that my body needed a different way of living and a different relationship with food.

Step Three

All you need to focus on is calories in to calories out.  A calorie is energy and guess what we NEED energy to survive so stop feeling guilty for eating.  As you eat you naturally burn calories but it may not be enough to lose the weight you are hoping for.  The key is to use more than you eat.  I know, you expected some great science here, but it is that simple.  Do you know what that means?  It means that you can enjoy your life and just be smart with your food choices and portion sizes.  I tend to stay with whole foods that I can pronounce everything on the label.  Then if I go to a party, I will eat some pizza or candy etc.  I don’t overthink it.  I am not a prisoner to the food that is around me.  The food around me is just another part of my day.  That leads me to point four.

Step Four

Change your mindset and habits to RELAX about food.  I will take my own journey for example; I have always thought about weight and food.  It consumed me, my life, my mind and gave me a very unhealthy relationship with food.  This was all mental, you would think it was physical but no it was my body programmed by the habits I had created when I ate food or dieted.  HOW do you break that?  It’s hard, it was very hard, but I had to realize that food was controlling my life and that I wanted a break.  So, I took it slow, each day I would schedule one hour to not think about dieting or food and the next day I would add a little more time.  The day after that add some more time.  I was creating a new language for my brain to communicate with my body and soul.  See the link between the three; mind, body and soul?  Our habits and the way our brain communicates through neurons impacts how we associate the world outside with the world inside of us.  I had to recreate the habits and the language in my brain in what I thought about food.

Step Five

Move!!!! Yes move! I don’t care if you dance, walk your dogs, pick up bottles of water, go to the gym, hike or any other form of movement.  If the math is that calories in to calories out makes you lose weight it’s not rocket science that you have to move to burn calories.  Get out of the mindset that you have to go to the gym for five hours to really workout.  You can do WHATEVER makes you happy.  I am going to post many more blogs about what you can do in all types of situations to get some cardio or full body moves in.