From the outside, I know it doesn’t look much different. I’m still choosing to eat some foods and not others. I’m choosing to eat at some times and not at others. And I have a plan that keeps me in a certain calorie range.
But there are some primary differences. One of the main ones is that I am in control and am taking responsibility for everything I put in my mouth. There is no victimization going on here that is making me feel deprived. I am eating food that I love, that feels good when I eat it and in the amounts that I am eating it. What and how I am eating is in alignment with my core values, and I am eating consciously with the intent of achieving optimal wellness, as I define it.
This is not a goal that you can achieve and then allow yourself to slip back into old eating patterns. Unlike dieting to lose weight, optimal wellness is something you never finish and can move on from. It is always something you are striving to attain.
That doesn’t mean that I’m never going to eat birthday cake again. (This is on my mind because today it’s my Mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!) It doesn’t mean I will never have a relaxed evening with friends eating pizza. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. But what it does mean are those choices will be the exception rather than the rule.
For me, this will look like 90/10—ninety percent of the time I will eat clean and ten percent of the time I’ll enjoy a splurge or treat. For some, 80/20 might be a better split.
Dieting never worked for me. Sure I lost weight, but I did it out of sheer willpower. Emotionally, it was hard. I constantly felt deprived and thought about food all of the time. And I had to do it perfectly. As soon as I met my goal (or had a slip-up), that was it. I lost all control and the weight would immediately start to rebound.
Using willpower is not the same as being in control and deciding what you want to do, and then following through with that decision. Strictly using willpower is suffering through something until you just can’t take it anymore.
Making this switch was a process. I didn’t just decide one day that I was going to start drinking green protein shakes (spinach, kale, ½ banana, vanilla protein powder, ground flax seed, cinnamon, water, and ice.) And my goals changed over time. It want from just wanting to lose weight, to wanting to be healthier, to wanting to be the best that I can be. And as my goals changed, it shifted strictly from a goal about my body to include my mind and spirit—truly my connection with All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Source Energy, Higher Coach—whatever works for you.)
Now, the reasons I choose this way of eating are because it’s important to me to be fit, strong, and lean so that I am an authentic example of successful weight management and optimal health, wellness, and well-being for my clients and everyone I encounter. It’s because I love myself enough that I want to feed my body quality, high-energy foods and move regularly with intensity. It’s because I love Source and want to demonstrate my love and appreciation by taking exceptional care of the gift that is my body.
What does optimal wellness mean to you? (Your definition will be different than mine.) What would eating for optimal wellness look like for you? What difference might it make if you switched from dieting to making eating for optimal wellness a way of life?
Together we can do it!
Photo from www.freedigitalphotos.net/