I hope where ever you’re reading this from you’re having a wonderful day. And thank you for stopping in to read my latest post on healthy living. I was chatting to a friend the other day who inspired me to write this blog post and to share with you four sustainable ways to stop being on a roller coaster of diets.
I am extremely passionate about this topic. Because way back in the days (eleven years ago) I was on a constant diet. I was at the gym every single day for over an hour sweating my butt off (there’s is nothing wrong with the gym, if you are using it for the right reasons) and then coming home eating boiled up chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Or sucking down a protein shake and taking green tea tablets to boost my metabolism. Or I would skip meals/eat less because I thought it would help me to lose weight quicker.
Another reason I am extremely passionate about a no diet philosophy and helping you to not be on a diet is because of the way it made me feel. I was anxious about food; I felt stressed when going out for dinner, and my relationship with food turned into an eating disorder. Every Monday I was on a new diet. After binging on the weekend (because I could have a cheat day) I would feel so freaking guilty that I was back on the internet searching for the ‘right’ diet to go on that would strip the 2-3 kilos that I put on (even though it was fluid) And due to dieting I lost my period for two and a half years. The doctor at the time told me how lucky I was to not have a period! And at the time I thought that too. I am glad that through Primal Living I know better and am aware of the importance of having a healthy menstrual cycle. She is no longer my doctor.
So after speaking with my friend, who is going through a similar situation I went through it deeply touched my heart and inspired me in wanting to share with you four simple and sustainable tools I did to stop dieting and to have a really wonderful, healthy and sustainable relationship with food.
1: I stopped reading the magazines that are all about losing weight
Yep, I totally ditched them. Any magazine that was marketing on the front of the cover “Lose 5 kilos in 14 days” and “detox for one week and lose XXX kilos” I totally removed from my purchases and mind. Not only did I save money, but this simple strategy worked. Why? Because it allowed me to start to understand that if I need to have a sustainable relationship with food I need to literally stop putting myself on any short term diets that simply focused on losing weight. I wanted my new focus to be on the long term and my overall health and well-being. One of my goals was not to have a unhealthy relationship with food and with my body when I got older. By ditching these magazines I started to find other and more nurturing ways to have a healthy nutritional lifestyle. And that was……
2: I turned to eating food from nature
This is a big one. I remember growing up watching mum and dad grow their own food. We ate meat and three vegetables most night of the week and the vegetables came from dad’s garden (where he is still out there growing food) However as I got older and moved away from home and supported myself I thought that buying food wrapped in a box and labelled ‘healthy, real and fresh’ was the way to go. I was wrong. My weight would fluctuate all the time. Eating more boxed food than real food from the garden patch did put me on the daily scale weigh in regime and to be honest daily anxiety about it all. But as I got more curious about a natural and sustainable way of life and worked as a personal trainer and in health food stores I started to realise that natures foods that come undressed, in their raw natural state, straight from the farm is the key to maintaining a healthy body weight. It was a light bulb moment. The other benefits of eating real food straight from nature is that I automatically avoid the preservatives, refined sugars, carbohydrates and other additives that come with food in a packet. I stopped thinking about it. Instantly by turning to nourish my body at each meal with fresh fruit and vegetables and any other whole foods that I fancied I realised that I stopped worrying about what was in my food. The stress started to go away. I started to have what I call food freedom and it felt so damn good! Next came this……
3: I started to grow my own food
I have only been growing my own food for the last three years. Before that I had zero experience in growing food. I remember when I lived in the city and had a small balcony and tried to grow tomatoes. I grew them but they looked very sad. Maybe it was because I forgot to water them.
Every single day I am learning more about how to grow food. I am not going to lie here, growing food takes time, patience and can be hard work at times. However the benefits outweigh these few little pain in the butt issues.
Growing food is extremely rewarding. It is rewarding because you’re taking control of your own health. It is rewarding because you can go out into your garden or backyard balcony and pick a few things to have for your next meal. Another positive of growing your own food is that you are fully aware that the food you’re growing is organic and chemical free.
Oh and growing food is so much fun for your children. Seeing a seed pop its head up out of the ground for the first time is pure bliss! So I highly recommend it if you’re not already doing it and give growing food a go. Just grow one thing. Choose the one vegetable that you love to eat and grow that. I got some great advice off a farmer once and he said, only grow what you and your family love to eat. Keep it simple whilst going back to basics. I love it!
And if you only have space for some herbs…..than just grow herbs and for the rest of your food that you need to eat, so you can be free from being on a diet is buy fresh whole foods either off your local farmers market or the fresh food section of your local supermarket (avoid those aisles at all cost). Too much crazy unknown ingredients down there! Next I did this…….
4: I stopped seeing food as the devil and seeing it as a way of life
I used to see food as good or bad. But this is a problem to see food that way. Because it plays with your mind and it can keep you in a dieting, spiralling situation. For example, if you put food in the ‘good’ category or the ‘bad’ category and you head out to a friends birthday and have some cake that is full of all this refined ingredients and then you eat something else that you tell yourself is ‘bad’ (because it is not on your 14 day diet plan) I guarantee that you would have left your friends birthday bash feeling so bloody guilty that you start talking to yourself in such a negative way. “Oh I shouldn’t of eaten that, that was bad of me” or what about this one “I wish I could just stay on my diet”.
Here’s one that I used to tell myself “Well I might as well eat more of it and start again on Monday, I have ruined my diet anyway” Does this sound like you? Don’t worry if it does and don’t feel at all feel guilty. I want you to show towards yourself some well deserve love and kindness. Remember I was like that too. and If I can change the way I speak to myself and my eating to take back control of my mind and my health you can too.
I started to see food and appreciate food as a healing way of life. I was tired of being on a diet, tired of worrying about what to eat (in case I would gain weight) and tired of being a slave to food. So when I ate I asked myself a simple question “Is this meal going to make me feel healthy and happy or feel sad and in pain afterwards?” And overtime by asking myself that little question I found myself choosing more and more foods coming straight from nature. I found myself reaching for more whole foods. And I literally felt like I had broken out of prison.
I started to see nutrition as a way of life, not some quick fix. And as I tyoe this today I can feel so proud to say that for the past eleven years I have not dieted. And it is all because of implementing a Primal Living mindset. By just asking myself that simple question above helped me to change the way I eat and have a sustainable and healthy awareness of food. The other bonuses of that is I stopped weighing myself, stopped all diets and stopped worrying about what to eat.
If I do eat food that will end up making me feel sick and in pain I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. Because I know that as soon as I start choosing whole foods again, real food from the vegetable gardens, from nature I am straight away back on track with zero guilt.
I hope I have given you a few ideas to help you to adjust the way you see food and your health. Whether you’re wanting to lose weight, feel comfortable and love the skin you’re in and or want a healthier relationship around food know that you can. You can have all this whilst enjoying delicious and yummy food. Start with implementing one of the tips above and you too will be off the diet train.
And here is a delicious recipe to get you started. I made this today after picking and eating broad beans in my garden. Picking the broad beans made me hungry so I decided to grab a handful of them and walk around the garden to see what else I had. I ended up picking cabbage leaves (because my cabbages are not quite ready) kale, rainbow chard and marjarom. It was so simple, so quick to make and as always so good for me.
- A handful of broad beans (un podded)
- A large handful of kale, chopped
- A large handful of rainbow chard, chopped
- A handful of marjarom, chopped
- 2 large cabbage leaves, chopped
- 2 tbs tahini
- Handful of organic pumpkin seeds
- Handful of walnuts (or any other favourite nut)
- In a frypan, add a tbs of butter and let it melt. If you are dairy intolerant add coconut oil.
- Add in the podded broad beans (prepped earlier)
- Cook for 1 minute
- Add the other greens and cook just until warmed through. No more than 3-5 minutes.
- Serve with a few good tbs of tahini, pumpkin seeds and nuts.
- Season with himalayan salt and cracked pepper.