By the time clients come to me, they’ve tried everything. Low carb, carb-cycling, low fat, sugar-free, Paleo and vegan. They own all the Jillian Michaels DVDs, yoga gear, at least one dusty treadmill and have every milestone trinket that Weight Watchers gives out.
But they’re still overweight, miserable and frustrated as hell.
Part of them fears that they’ll never get a handle on this thing. The other part just wants to sit down and eat ice cream.
The thing is that, while they feel like they’ve tried a million different things, they’ve actually only tried one thing (they’ve just tried doing it a million different ways), and that’s fighting with their body.
They’ve restricted, starved, pushed, tortured and neglected their bodies for – in many cases – decades. And they believe that, when they fail to reach their goal, it means they just have to push harder and restrict more.
This could not be farther from the truth and it’s actually their commitment to this approach that ensures that they will never get what they truly want, which is an easy, stress-free relationship with food.
The reason this approach always fails is that your body loves you too much. Let me explain…
When you severely restrict calories, your body responds by assuming that food is scarce and slowing your metabolism so as to burn as few precious calories as possible, saving you from starving to death.
When you burn the candle at both ends at work and home and then torture yourself at the gym or in that cross-fit class, it responds by flooding your system with the hormone cortisol, which helps you respond to the stress but also packs on belly fat.
When you constantly judge, hate, criticize and blame yourself throughout the day for the way you look and the choices your make, your body perceives that stress as a potential danger and diverts all energy away from digestion and absorption of nutrients, causing you to overeat because you’re not getting the nutrients you require.
The truth is that you simply cannot hate your body into changing.
The ONLY way to create healthy, lasting change in your relationship with food is through love.
You need to love your body enough to not want to starve it, but rather to flood it with whole, nutrient-dense, delicious foods made up of all the protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and micronutrients it craves.
You need to love it enough to let it rest when it asks, saying “no” to the cross fit class when you’re tired and opting for a gentle walk or restorative yoga class – or even a nap – instead.
You need to love it enough to appreciate everything it does for you each day and, when it comes to you with a killer sugar craving, paying attention and asking “what’s really going on, sweetheart?” just the way you would if you found your child sitting on their bed in tears.
Your body isn’t an adversary to battle and wrestle into submission. It’s your temple, your home and your dearest love. It deserves your attention, patience, gratitude, and compassion.
And, the beautiful irony is that, the moment you start to truly offer it unconditional love, nourishment and support, is the moment it will respond by losing the cravings, dropping the weight and giving you the vibrant energy you’ve been seeking all these years.