You are what you eat….
I’m a big believer in this; the importance of nourishing ourselves in a way that benefits us mind, body, spirit. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and CAN be tasty. Don’t make it about deprivation. You can enjoy your food, you CAN eat what makes you happy (there are ways!) and you can eat to feel the best you can feel.
Kate Tonkin is a woman who thinks as I do. She’s out to help women understand the world of nutrition and how to kick diets to the curb! Read more on what her incredible message is:
Kate is a former veterinarian and teacher who for many years silently watched women stress about diets, worrying about weight and their bodies. She now shares her own common sense food philosophy with women worldwide. Kate transforms lives by giving women permission for food to make them happy. She’s on a quest to #bringthedietindustrytoitsknees.
What advice would you give your younger self?
When you are sad and lonely, eating more food will not make you happy. Putting your fingers down your throat and vomiting up your food will not make you happy. Oh and skip the cabbage soup diet, it will only make you angry.
DIETS ARE DEPRESSING
Have you ever signed up to a diet thinking it would be the magic solution to make you happy? Then what actually happened was that you felt worse, or felt like a failure?
Have you promised yourself that you won’t sign up to any more weight loss programs but then out of the corner of your eye you see another diet and “OOH, this one is 100% GUARANTEED TO WORK AND IT WILL MAKE ME HAPPY AND PEOPLE WILL SAY “OH YOU LOOK SO SKINNY AND AMAZING” AND I WILL FINALLY BE THE WOMAN I WANT TO BE. THIS TIME IT WILL WORK!!”.
NOT MAGIC BUT MONEY
Guess what? Diets are not magic. Losing weight is not the key to happiness. The key is transforming your relationship with food, that’s the real magic.
Years of dieting erode your natural instincts to trust your body and knowing yourself what you need for nourishment. Because after all that is what food is for, to nourish us and sustain us. Diets make us disconnected from food which makes eating complicated and stressful.
Diet companies don’t want you to have a good relationship with food because then you will stop and that means you will stop giving them money. They want you to believe that you are unable to eat without being told what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. They want you to doubt yourself.
Have you ever heard someone say anything like this:
“I tried that water fast thing and it bloody near killed me”
“I don’t really want to do a detox but I know I have to”
“I wish I could go out for breakfast without feeling guilty”
“It’s just too hard to know what I’m SUPPOSED to be eating”
This is how diets and complicated eating programs make us feel. Following a diet and all its unmanageable rules can be depressing, draining and even affect your relationships and your social life.
Dieting turns food into your enemy and filling up your headspace and time and energy with enemies leads you on a destructive path of bitterness and hate.
Once you learn to trust your body, to trust your own instincts then it is life changing. The trick is to give yourself permission for food to make you happy, for food to be your friend . As Abraham Lincoln famously said “The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend”. He probably wasn’t referring to food but the sentiment certainly fits.
When you can eat what you WANT, when you FEEL like eating … well let me just say … it’s an INCREDIBLE concept. When you can eat chocolate, not because it is naughty or bad, just because you feel like eating it! How amazing would that be?
This may sound out of reach to you if you are used to following a structured and rigid eating plan AKA a diet. However, I’m here to tell you, it is totally manageable.
You can call it fancy things like mindfulness and intuitive eating but it doesn’t need a name. It’s just food. And life. And happy.
BE A BODY FRIEND
Diets only focus on weight loss and a number that you will have to achieve on the scales before you can reach your happy place. Guess what? Being happy is NOT dependent on an arbitrary number on a scale. I spoke to a lady who had lost a lot of weight on a popular diet program. She’d reached her “goal weight“and then decided she had to lose more. I asked her “Were you happy then?” “No” she replied.
If loving your body sounds completely out of reach, start with treating your body as your best friend. Say nice things to her, dress her up and take her to places that make her happy. Do more of the things she loves doing. Try this for a week and watch your reflection change.
Treating your body as a friend will have an enormous positive impact on how your daughter views and treats her own body. She will know she is NOT broken and does NOT need to be fixed. As one lady said to me in tears “How can I be a good role model for my daughter when I am still at war with my own body”.
BUT THE REAL SECRET …
I’ve watched Embrace, the global documentary on body image five times and of all the incredibly inspirational people featured, the one I continually come back to is Nigel Marsh, founder of the Sydney Skinny. Nigel says “Get fit, don’t get fit, no one cares. Getting fit is not the point of life. The point is to be happy”.
I just love that.
No-one cares. No one cares what I am eating. No one cares about the size of my thighs. No one except me.
The point is to be happy. If you are hating on your body every day and punishing yourself in trying to change it, through soul sapping unsustainable diets or crazy exercise regimes, how can you possibly be happy?
True happiness comes from making peace with food and with your body.
Learn to love food and you’ll love life, that’s the only magic solution you’ll ever need.
BSc. BVMS Dip Ed.
Real Food Real You