When I quit dieting, I was a wreck at first.
The truth was, I didn’t know who I WAS without a diet or set of food rules to follow. It’s sad but true. I turned to diets and food control to feel whole. And when I crumbled, it was binges and overeating that comforted me – followed by a big serving of self loathing and vowing to start a new diet – on Monday, naturally.
Dieting and weight loss had become my identity. If I didn’t have some big event to try and lose weight for, I felt like I was standing still.
I had lost myself in counting, tracking, numbers, systems, pounds, calories and points.
Only when I was completely exacerbated, and realised how much of my life was being compromised by my destructive relationship with food and obsession with weight loss, (a 7 year battle that I was determined to win), did I start to accept the fact that maybe – just maybe – I was never going to get to that goal weight and actually stay there for long enough to create a healthy lifestyle on the other side. Maybe I didn’t need more control – maybe I needed a different approach entirely.
When one QUITS dieting, after doing it for so long, one can easily slip into an array of chaos. Everything that was so perfectly controlled is now completely gone – free, abundant – your choices are limitless. And that in itself is terrifying. So we panic. And we stress out. And we feel out of control.
I was exactly the same. Suddenly, I had all this freedom and I didn’t know what to do with it.
But the reality is, I was free all along.
I was the one that had been trapping myself with all the rules.
And now I had to learn how to be free again. And it was very, very wobbly at first.
At first – quitting dieting felt like a free pass to eat whatever the hell I like. Sugar, pizza, all of the foods that I had previously ‘forbidden’ from my life. I was over eating, way past full, and still turning to food when I felt any kind of discomfort in my life or relationships.
And sooner or later? I started to feel like utter crap. And the penny began to drop – I realised that I could tell a lot about my body by how it FELT – not just by hopping on the scales and being given a number.
I started to realise that my body was indeed my greatest teacher here.
Instead of asking myself, ‘What can I do to lose weight?’ – I started asking,
‘What foods do I know make my body feel great?’
‘What can I eat today that I know is a nourishing, loving choice for my body?’
‘How can I eat, based on the way I want to FEEL later on?’
When I first quit dieting, I had a period of time – probably between 1-2 months, where I was fighting the urge on a daily basis to go back to the scales. Fighting the urge to sign up for a new diet or meal plan to feel more in control again. But deep down in my soul, I knew that those 7 years I had spent dieting and controlling my food – were NOT working for me. So why would I go back there? Why would it suddenly work now? I KNEW in my soul I needed to sit in the discomfort, knowing that I was following my freedom.
Thus my journey into intuitive, freedom based eating began. And past the initial 1-2 month period of wobbles, it’s a been beautiful journey full of discovery. I found peace, I found contentment, I discovered the meaning of true health without limitations – and yes, absolutely astonishingly to me at the time, I actually lost weight and more importantly – have kept it off ever since.
So my question to you is – Can you relax into the not knowing what your weight is every day? Can you sit in the discomfort long enough to actually develop an intuitive relationship with your body? Can you trust that you don’t HAVE to control your weight in order to feel whole and complete – in fact it is the very action of doing this that is making you feel INcomplete!
This is why when you start to heal your relationship with food, it can often transcend into a deeper, spiritual practice. It’s about trusting that you don’t have to control everything anymore. It’s about relaxing into knowing that you are part of something greater. It’s about recognising that by trying to control everything, you are actually LIMITING yourself to what you are capable of in this lifetime!
So – if you’ve quit dieting and you’re in the ‘chaos’ zone – relax. Breathe. Chuck away your scales and let your body be your trusted guide.
Trust that you are on this path for a reason –
Freedom is what you were born with.
Coaching women around quitting diets and healing their relationship with food is my greatest passion. If you would love monthly support and motivation, you can receive fortnightly audio workshops from me guiding you towards food and body freedom, direct to your inbox for only £23 when you join The Revolution. All details are at revolution.melwells.com