I don’t believe in cheat meals.
I believe in subtle, permanent, lifestyle changes.
I treat my diet and food habits as a drug user would treat their recovery. I cut ingredients and foods from my life, slowly and with as much information as possible, to ween my body away from the foods it was addicted to.
Yes I said addicted. I believe food is as addictive as any drugs, we use it to cope, to heal, to mourn, to celebrate, etc… There is an emotional tie to the foods we eat, and I think there are many food companies out there that know this and pray on us weak eaters. To me a cheat meal system doesn’t motivate me to be good all week. I eat well and then it feels like falling off of the wagon, the sugar and chemical cravings have finally subsided and then I put them back into my body once a week. It also feels like I am going to have to spend 2 hours at the gym everyday for the rest of my life, on a system like that… And I don’t want that for my life.
This is the cycle I believe in, and I like to imagine it 3 dimensional, as if it’s a spiral elevating as it circles upward. The more positive we think, the better we eat, the better we treat our bodies, the more we feel good and it keeps getting better and better. I believe in elevating our bodies, minds and spirits, continually growing and becoming better. Not being hard on ourselves, but allowing our habits and daily rituals to change, evolve, grow… My version of healthy eating and living was much different 5 years ago than it is today, and since a year ago, it has even changed. I’m not being hard on my image, I just continue to educate myself on healthy living and allow my body to evolve to a healthier being each day. I don’t miss the foods I used to eat, I know now how much better I feel everyday and I truly have no desire to eat the things I have cut from my life. I eat what I want, without calorie or carb restrictions, I simply educated myself on what my body needs to feel satisfied and nourished, and I KNOW without a doubt I do not need or want to eat chemicals and processed foods. This took time and lots of education, but now, it’s just eating for me… It’s not a chore or a guilty desire, it’s simply who I am and how I choose to eat. My body size, weight and shape remains whether I am working out everyday or not and every morning when I get dressed, I don’t look in the mirror and think negative things about myself because I know I am trying hard everyday. There is no more guilt attached to the eating patterns I had all week, or even the day before. The guilt is where the problem lies, it’s far more detrimental than anything you could pollute your body with. Removing the foods you know are not good for your body, will remove the guilt cycles and elevate your being to a better place. This takes time and knowledge, but you can’t be hard on yourself if you are doing the best you can with the knowledge you have.
Happy healthy living.
As a women, I know the struggle.
I haven’t always been thin, and it hasn’t always come easy for me. My body and my food addiction is something I have always had insecurities about; constantly fad-dieting and looking for work out programs to shed the pounds quickly.
It never worked..
I had to fall out of love with food (or what I thought was food) to remember what food is actually for.
Food is meant to nourish our bodies. That is it.
Obviously I still eat things strictly for pleasure and I’m sure I always will… But what I have learned throughout all of this, is when I am eating for pleasure, it is NOT for my physical body. The cells and organs within my body will not ask me for a milkshake and fries. (Though I DO believe our bodies have cravings at times because we are lacking certain elements to our diets.)
Discernment is what is going to be your ally when working through food addiction. Am I craving fries because I am lacking salt? Possibly. But my heart may just be craving fries to attempt to fill a void emotionally. Fries are not going to fill that void.
I believe our bodies are addicted to the chemicals in our food. You’re not addicted to dreamscicles, you’re addicted to the sugar and artificial coloring in them. Why do I believe this? Because I did an experiment… I recreated my favorite treats and foods, organic, preservative free, animal product free… And guess what; it tasted good but it didn’t satisfy that craving. I tried organic, clean etc etc… Nothing compared. I realized my cravings were specific, and shared ingredients. So I detoxed.
I gave up (most) processed foods all together, basically eating unsalted nuts or seeds and produce; either raw or lightly sautéed in olive oil and sea salt with a bit of rice or quinoa here and there. I ate oats with peanut butter for breakfast and drank black coffee, tea, or water. I had a very bland and boring diet, but it worked. As the weight came off and my body began to feel light and agile, I began to incorporate more things into my meals. Keeping as best as I could to a vegan, preservative free, chemical free, diet.
It’s been 4 years since this major shift in my life, my body continually feels better and for the last 2, my size has remained pretty consistent. To this day, I continue to experiment with my food and body habits, never wavering from a plant based diet, but occasionally incorporating other foods into my life that I typically don’t consume. Though I still eat very healthy and watch everything that I put into my mouth… I dont feel my best when I am not eating a clean diet. I believe in eating whole and simple, grown from the earth, foods. When I eat things that go through some sort of processing, I without doubt, feel slower, heavier, and more lethargic. The pleasure from eating that little treat is short lived as it begins to digest; I immediately feel regret. The benefits of eating an apple or a spoon full of almond butter lasts, I still get to kick the sugar craving but my body thanks me afterwards by utilizing those nutrients.
I have learned to fall in love with THAT feeling.
The feeling of a body full of vitality, energy, and self love.
I love food and I love how my body feels when I put delicious and nutritious foods into it.
Fall in love with your body by falling in love with food for what it was meant for; to nourish it. Fall in love with the feeling of a healthy and strong physical body and a healthy and strong mind will follow.
Be good to your body and it will be good to you.
If was able to take a trip back in time to visit myself 5 years ago, the old version of me would not believe what my future self would tell me about my diet and lifestyle changes. The old carnivore Tia, would laugh hysterically at the thought of becoming a vegan and losing 70lbs and would never have believed that I could have committed to permanent dreadlocks.
Our potential and growth is shocking when observed in great lengths and leaps of time.
The evolution into a plant based diet happened ever so gradually, as my stubborn nature and diet conditioning was getting the best of me at times. I had tried everything under the sun short of lipo suction or surgery to lose weight. Taking extreme diet pills which helped me shed the first 30lbs. I maintained at a weight I was still not comfortable with and my skin wasn’t so happy with the “supplements” I was taking. Although the product claimed to be safe and natural, my body was telling me otherwise. I soon came to the realization that a magic pill wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be, and a lifestyle change was in order.
Jumping into an extreme and detailed diet never worked for me, and I have always been skeptical of a book telling every person to eat the same way… I didn’t think that was the answer so I had a real talk with myself.
What could I actually give up, today, that I know is bad for my health and is adding to my inability to lose weight?
Mountain Dew was my reply. It was the only thing I could promise myself I would not ingest. It was the only restriction I could put on my diet at the time. I still drank other sodas and energy drinks, but Mountain Dew was my favorite and I was committed to making permanent changes.
Once I didn’t crave that dew and after still attempting to drink other sodas to satisfy that craving, I gave up soda all together. Which included my Red Bull habit. (That was probably harder to let go of than cream cheese on bagels).
Once that habit was kicked, I gave up high fructose corn syrup, then hydrogenated oils…. And so on… One ingredient at a time, I kicked my food addictions.
I don’t claim that a vegan diet is the best thing for everyone. I don’t claim eating meat or animal products serves an addiction of any kind. In fact, I believe every person knows innately what makes them operate at their highest vibration. For me, my body, mind and spirit seem to function at the highest vibration when I am eating a diet of unprocessed plant based foods. Whole foods grown from the earth feels the most right to me at this time. I try and check in with my body to really ask it what it needs for nourishment and I do my best to listen for the truest answer.
That is the key to finding the diet that will most serve you.
I have a passion for food.
It’s something I talk about often, at work with clients and out with friends and family.
The irony in my love for food, is that I have cut so much of it from my life.
Where my 70lb transformation began…
I jumped on a food journey approximately 4 years ago; making promises to myself and my body, to do better. I didn’t jump into a tedious diet or a diet of any kind really… I had failed at that too many times to count previous to this particular day. The thing that changed in my mind, the click, it happened while reading A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson. A chapter in her book was her experience with dieting and the challenges she had faced. The way I interpreted her messages in this specific chapter was simple, I needed to change my life and I needed to change my mind.
It all started slowly… left to pick up a more authentic momentum, rather than a forced one. I tried to be an observer in my own life, and began listening to the things coming from my mouth; about everything, including myself. Knowing now that negativity would only bring more negativity. Saying terrible things about my body would cause my body to be terrible. I was reading about the Law Of Attraction and love, and it was telling me to attract the life and body I wanted and to love myself and others.
With this new routine, I heard my mouth say awful things about my body, habits, and mind. I would NEVER have said these things to another person, so why was I saying it to myself? I was judging me, and harshly! Instead of scolding my ego for the poor word choice in regard to my physique, I began stopping and correcting myself. This thought, “Whoa, these pants are getting tight! Your booty must be getting bigger! NOOOooooo…. why did I have to eat…….” was cut short, and stopped mid sentence. Rather than finishing my guilty rant, I decided to recognize it. With time came the practice of correcting it, this does take practice. As humans we have been conditioned not to say nice things about ourselves.
Why is that?
I have learned with this ideology, that when in fact, I tell my body it is healthy, strong and happy, I will then make better choices with what I put into my body. The cycle I begin is one that starts with positivity. What I was previously experiencing was guilt cycles which were far more detrimental than ANYTHING I could possibly pollute my body with.
A guilt cycle looks something like this…
Looks in mirror sees dimply bum or tight pants and then makes goal to go on diet. Immediately following, walks into kitchen and eats (insert naughty food).
Feels remorse for poor choice, claims to start said diet Monday.
Proceeds to eat whatever until Monday.
Monday comes co-worker brings donuts.
Feels remorse for eating donut, claims to start diet the following day.
Did you see what I did there?
This vague “diet” thing and the guilt cycle that comes with it, is something that keeps coming full circle. Sure there are times you have a plan, and a book, and a diet buddy. BUT the one thing that never changes with a diet, is the NEGATIVITY. We are setting ourselves up with expectations and expectations are the root of all disappointment.
Diet as a verb begins by definition with the word, RESTRICT. When I hear this word, what comes to MY mind is uncomfortable. Words carry their own negative juju, catapulting emotional negativity and body image issues, furthering emotional negativity. See how everything is a cycle?
Here is where it all starts…
We stop using the word and the verb diet. Erase it from our minds, our day, our lives entirely. Its an icky word, we don’t accept its limited thinking as well as its negativity. If it is a healthier body and mind that we are after, we will choose words that are positive and healthy as well.
So how do words change our bodies?
As we begin telling our bodies they are healthy and beautiful, it becomes much harder to open that Twinkie wrapper and take a bite. Because it is a lie, and we cannot lie to ourselves. We know that the Twinkie is the last thing our body needs for nourishment. We also know that indulging in something that is completely lacking nutrition of any kind is an action committed from our emotional beings not our physical ones.
Who has heard of emotional eating?
Eating is an act of ingesting food to fill a hunger or void. If our bellies are not asking us for a Twinkie, then what is? Could it be our bad day or relationship frustrations asking for that Twinkie?
Overtime, I have learned that the only thing that eating heals, is an empty belly. Sure that pint of Ben & Jerry’s feels like a cure for an achy heart, but once you have finished it… Is your heart still aching? What are you filling up on? And what is your heart really asking you for?
Questions we never dare ask ourselves.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t an emotional eater, and I would REALLY be lying if I said I no longer choose to down a pint of ice cream rather than a bundle of kale… The point to this is to have awareness. To begin the process of recognizing how your thoughts and choices affect your physical body.
That is all…
No lecture here, just advocating our beings and spreading love to them in the process.