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When I was at the peak of my struggle with my weight, I remember thinking that if someone else could just tell me exactly what to do and eat I would finally be able to figure out how to lose the extra weight once and for all. It was that very thought that had me jumping from one diet plan to the next on a weekly basis. I was convinced that the answer was ‘out there’ and that belief left me in a constant state of disconnection with myself and my body.
While nutritional plans and diets can be super useful, we have to remember to use them as a guide and not as a strict set of rules.
For me, finding a style of eating that worked best for my body was a two-step process.
The first step required getting on the playing field of eating clean. This means eating in alignment with my Basic Eating Guidelines (eating real, whole, unprocessed food as close to its natural state as possible [most of the time]).
If you are eating a lot of processed, low-quality food, simply upgrading your choices to real food can do amazing things for your health and weight loss goals.
The second step was (and still is) the practice of letting my body lead the way. Making the choice to practice listening to my body was challenging at first because I didn’t trust myself and I often turned to food for emotional reasons, so I believed that in order to manage my eating I needed to be in full control (aka – follow a diet plan). But the truth was, this approach wasn’t working for me, so I slowly began practicing how to listen to body.
Keeping a food and feelings journal is an extremely helpful tool for any of you who are new to the practice of listening to your body. All you do is write down what you eat, the time and how you feel when you are eating it and then shortly after you are done. Notice how the food feels in your body and how you are feeling emotionally. Then three hours later, check back in with yourself and note those feelings down again. Keeping this type of journal for a few weeks can be really helpful because it will show you your patterns with food so you can begin to notice what foods works for you, what times of the day seem to be the hardest, and/or what emotions are driving you to overeat or eat foods that are not supporting your awesomeness.
These two-steps really helped me find an eating style that worked best for me and my body. And while it took a little more time then just following the newest diet on the market, the freedom that comes along with it was absolutely worth the investment.