If you walk into a bookstore on any given day, chances are you’ll see a section designated specifically to diet books. The newest trend diet that promises you that you’ll drop fifteen pounds in two days or that you’ll have rock hard abs in less than 24 hours. Only cabbage soup? Microwaveable meals that are chock-full of processed chemicals and preservatives? If you've been in the ring for a while, knocking yourself out with one diet trend after another, you’re probably beginning to realize that a book claiming to zap your pounds away is not the answer.
Unfortunately we are conditioned to believe that we must be a size zero or look a certain way and apparently the media does a marvelous job at marketing these tactics to us via diet trends, social media, celebrity figures, etc. It’s no wonder that we've lost touch with our wild, human and might I add, feminine nature. How is it that no other species, but us, relies on a diet book or doctor to tell them what to eat? If you go outside right now, you will be surrounded by wildlife. Wildlife that is functioning in perfect alignment with what is truly innate to it. Frolicking in the sun. Eating what is provided by nature. Moving the body and taking appropriate amounts of time for restoration.
I’m going to share a not-so-secret secret with you: diets don't work!
Why Diets Don’t Work
1. Diets are created simply to attract us to these ideas. The more extreme, the more likely it is to have a following just for that reason. The truth is they are not sustainable over long periods of time. Our bodies are incredibly resilient, but they can only take so much negligence. Eventually your body will begin attacking itself and a number of horrible things can transpire. Weight gain, lackluster or acne-prone skin, or even worse--autoimmune deficiencies, disease or even cancer can result from not taking care of our precious bodies.
2. The key to unlocking good health relies simply on dropping the idea that you can lose weight, improve your skin, or whatever it may be, through the newest diet. The answer is to listen to your body and make a lifestyle change! This may sound strange to you, but imagine battling your cravings by actually understanding what you are craving, why you are craving, and how you can emotionally, physically or spiritually release that craving. Typically when a person craves sugar, for example, we don’t even think about the fact that we are even craving it other than the mere seconds it takes for us to swallow a candy bar whole. By making a lifestyle change you begin to realize what your trigger cravings are, what nutrients may be lacking or over-abundant and what foods or activities it will take to heal that craving.
3. If you are craving sugar, it is entirely possible that your craving has nothing to do with wanting sugar, but wanting something to give you instant energy. The downside to consuming sugar is the immediate spike in blood sugar, which ultimately leads to a quick crash, thus perpetuating the cycle of needing even more sugar. Perhaps what you really need is extra or better quality sleep at night to lessen your chances of being energetically deprived during the day. Or maybe you simply need foods that will nourish your body with vitamins and minerals that will actually give you sustained energy without the painstaking crash later on.
4. Eating food should be about pleasure, nourishment and of course fueling ourselves with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It should not be about deprivation, starvation, skipping meals, or loading up on processed, chemical-laden “low-fat” or “sugar-free” foods. Taking a more mindful approach to healing your body will help you release your fear of making a lifestyle change--which is not just about what you eat, but how you live your life. A lifestyle change requires an open mind and heart, a positive attitude and a willingness to experiment with new ideas.
5. Keep in mind that each person on this planet is unique in what is needed to heal on a body-mind-soul level. The foods that nourish one may sicken another. Get familiar with eating only fresh, organic whole foods. These are foods that are provided to us in their natural form, straight from Mama Gaia herself! Whether you choose to nutrify yourself with animals products or not is up to you. I encourage you to experiment with all whole foods and find what makes you glow and what doesn't quite sit right in your body. Keep a food journal each day and write down what you ate, how it was prepared and how you feel minutes and hours after consuming it. This will help you find out which foods trigger allergic reactions or sensitivities.
As mentioned before, a lifestyle change is not just about nutrition. It’s about your life as a whole. Take some quiet time each day to check in with yourself. A few moments of deep breathing, meditation, or reflection on a daily basis will help you relax and find inner peace. We often forget how to simply be. We focus too much of our time on being perfect and getting copious amounts of work done. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but it is completely necessary to have time to just be as well as time to devote solely to yourself! Practice some yoga, journal or snuggle up with a good book and a green smoothie.
Moving your body daily is just as important as eating delicious whole foods. Skip the judgment and do something you love! Did you have a blast hula hooping as a kid? Order a dance or fitness hoop online and release your inner goddess! Perhaps you enjoy swimming? Hit the beach and frolic in the waves or dive into a pool at your local gym! The possibilities for movement and play are truly endless. Just focus on having fun, working up a sweat and releasing the glow from within!
Another crucial factor of a lifestyle change is getting ample amounts of high-quality sleep. High-quality sleep is delicious! This kind of sleep can be described as deep, uninterrupted, soul restoring, clutter releasing, nourishing and energizing. Once you have this kind of sleep you’ll never want to go back to late night caffeine binges, midnight snacks or hours of mind-numbing television. In order to have better, more restful sleep you should skip eating late, drinking little to no caffeine or having small amounts early in the day, and turning all technological devices off a few hours before bedtime. Having nighttime rituals like yoga, deep breathing, hot tea or a warm bath might help you sink into deep, enticing sleep.
Want to know another easy tip to long-lasting health? Drink more water! Yes, water is ultra healing if you didn't already know that! Our bodies are comprised of mostly water, which we lose through bodily functions like sweat and urination, so it only makes sense to hydrate with more water in order to replenish those lost minerals. If you find drinking water to be difficult, try adding some berries, cucumber, lemon or lime slices to a mason jar and top with water and ice. You can start a challenge with your friends or colleagues to see who can drink the most water, or you can carry a water bottle around with you as a reminder.
Changing your lifestyle habits doesn't have to be hard, but it does take patience, lots of love and kindness towards yourself. This is a journey and we are all in this together. If we continue to listen to our bodies and take action to heal, then we will always be in alignment with nature and the cycle of life.