I used to work for Jenny Craig. This is what my clients wanted:
Weight loss. A perfect body. Flat stomach. Six pack abs. Toned arms and legs (but of course not too toned).
I got it. I was pretty obsessed too. I spent a lot of my time and energy worrying about my weight.
Then I became a gluten free blogger. I traded my weight obsession with my health obsession. In my defense, I had a good reason. I had become chronically ill and was in pain most of the time. So I stopped focusing on the ideal weight loss diet as prescribed by Jenny Craig, and started focusing on the ideal healthy diet as determined by the gluten free community.
I've followed a lot of diets over the last four years. Vegan. Raw. Low-Amine. Paleo. Autoimmune paleo. I could go on...
Last week, I had a health setback and was struggling with a headache that hadn't gone away in weeks. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what I could possibly be eating that could be the culprit. Finally, I made an appointment with a fellow hypnotherapist (thank you, Sylvia!), and for 90 minutes, we worked on all the emotional gunk that was stuck in my body. By the end of the session, my headache had lessened noticeably. We hadn't done what I was hoping for, which was to find out which foods my body was reacting to and what diet my body wanted me to eat. Instead we worked on old traumas that had nothing to do with food (and some didn't even have to do with this lifetime). After my session, my headache slowly disappeared, and by the end of the day, it was gone. Over a week later, it hasn't returned.
My diet has remained the same throughout.
I'm a hypnotherapist. I know this stuff works. I know that so much of our health lies in our emotional state. I also know that diet is important. Being gluten free is imperative to my health. Believe me, I would never say otherwise.
But here's something else I know: Being stress free is just as important to my health as being gluten free. Maybe more.
And I can do stress like nobody's business. My guess is that you can too. If there's one thing I've learned about my readers over the years, it's that we know how to push our own buttons. We know our triggers, we know what we worry over, and we know how to funnel all that stress into our eating.
For some of us, that means overeating. For others, undereating. For many of us, it becomes focusing on eating the "perfect" diet. Whether it's for weight loss or health, somehow we all know how to go there when other things are worrying us. It might be a job interview, an ended relationship, or even something exciting yet scary like starting our own business. Or maybe it's something older, something that we haven't let go of. Whatever it is, we do what we do best. Turn to food.
And I'll tell you something I've learned the hard way over the years. We do not have unlimited amounts of energy. And when you use all your energy stressing over the perfect diet, you lose your energy somewhere else. When I am scared about something, I immediately revert to obsessing over food and trying to convince myself that if I could just follow a specific diet TO THE LETTER EVERY SINGLE DAY, my life would be fine. Never mind the thing I'm actually scared about.
When that happens, I have to stop myself and remember: it's not always about the food.
And so I have learned to let go of dietary perfection. I have learned that in order to be healthy, I have to slow down, tune into my body, and start listening. What is REALLY causing that headache? Sometimes it's food. Sometimes it's not. When I begin to step away from the magazines, blogs, and books that tell me how to eat, I can start listening to myself again.
That's when I remember the most important lesson of all: to trust myself.
On May 12th, I will be starting the Anti-Diet 30 Day Spring Challenge. I began to write this challenge for myself, and then realized through some conversations that many of you were also feeling the need for this.
The Anti-Diet 30 Day Spring Challenge is for those of you who are feeling frustrated, burdened, and otherwise overwhelmed by all the dietary dogma that ISN'T HELPING YOU. This challenge is for those of you who want to COMMIT to stepping away from the scale and the diet books, and who want to step into TRUSTING YOURSELF. Over the course of 30 days, I'll be sending you an e-mail every morning with a challenge that can be done in 20 minutes or less. These challenges will take you through a meditative and creative practice, day by day, beginning by tuning into our bodies, continuing on through listening to our inner wisdom, and ending by helping you to regain the energy you've lost over the years to diets.
I now put my energy towards my life purpose, and this challenge will help you to begin doing that in your own life as well.
In addition to these daily challenges, I'll also be leading a weekly mini-workshop (via internet so you can access from anywhere) in which we can go deeper into meditation and start sharing our experiences with each other. This challenge is not just about me. It's not just about you. It's about the energy that we can create when we come together and believe in each other.
I used to have trouble making it through the day. I was so exhausted I couldn't think. Now, I have energy left over, and I know that it's because I'm listening to myself in a way I never did before, and I'm tuning into my purpose. And that creates more energy even as I'm using it.
Where do you want to spend your precious energy? On following a perfect diet? Or would you rather step into the life for which you were created? The life you know deep down you are ready for?
I have a purpose, and I know you do too. And I want you to have the energy to fulfill that purpose. I want you to have no regrets.
Register here for The Anti-Diet 30 Day Spring Challenge and you'll also get a sneak peak of my new website. I wasn't quite ready to share it with you all yet, but The Anti-Diet 30 Day Spring Challenge just pushed its way into my consciousness and wouldn't be ignored. Gotta follow my instincts these days...
And don't forget, I'll be doing this challenge right along with you. It's you and me, baby! Partners in crime.