My first memory of following a “diet” was way back in 2001. I was working for Lehman Brothers in downtown Dallas when I came across Dr. Perricone’s Prescription. Do you remember him? Dr. Perricone is a dermatologist who came out with an anti-inflammatory diet that was supposed to make you beautiful inside and out. He was also pitching some VERY expensive skincare and supplements but I didn’t have the budget for all that. His diet sounded good to me, so off I went to buy my salmon, blueberries, green tea and whatever else was on the list. Even then eating “well” wasn’t cheap.
I do remember getting leaner eating Dr. Perricone’s diet. Maybe it was also because I wasn’t boozing it up as much as normal or getting my grande Starbucks mocha every time I went to the mall to buy a new outfit!
My next version of dieting came after I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was still in the brokerage business and I became interested in possibly doing a figure competition. I didn’t have a clue what it would take to get a body worthy of competing but as luck would have it, God sent someone into my life that showed me the way.
I met Nalani Johnson at the Planet Fitness in Downtown Tulsa. She had been competing in figure and bodybuilding for at least 10 years. She was a badass to say the least. I approached her about helping me and the rest is history. She gave me the diet and workout regimen to get me into contest shape. I followed the diet PERFECTLY. It was NOT for the faint of heart.
I went from about 20% body fat to probably around 8% by show day (extremely low for women). All of this happened in about 3 months of extremely diligent, hard work and focus. I’m happy to report the hard work paid off and I took 1st place and was the overall winner for that very first show in Oklahoma City. I eventually went on to compete in 2 more shows and did qualify for nationals.
Many More Diets to Follow
After being hard core with the competing and the super high protein diets for several years, I ended up reading a book called “The China Study.” Basically, it convinced me that all animal protein was the devil and since I was always looking for the next best thing, I decided to go full-on vegetarian. I was so easily convinced then. I went along for the ride. But wait there’s always another level!
Next up on the diet list was going vegan! I actually did go vegan for a while and I ended up losing about 10 lbs of muscle while doing that. I began to feel weak and look sickly. I probably didn’t even eat that way for a year but my intuition was telling me to start eating some animal protein. If it works for you than I’m happy but it just wasn’t going to work for my body. I started adding back fish, eggs and protein shakes. My body happily responded.
The diets to follow were some version of Paleo, Weston A. Price, Ray Peat, Wheat Belly, gluten free, dairy free, etc, etc, etc. I HAVE TRIED IT ALL!
The Next Best Thing
Now in my mid-forties, I have come to realize that all the diet advice in the world is only trying to overcompensate for one thing….NOT BEING IN TUNE WITH YOUR BODY! I used to relentlessly read and research the next “miracle” diet that would lead me to perfect health and longevity. I would read about crazy, exotic supplements that I would of course, run to Whole Foods to spend a fortune on, only to find that they made me sick to my stomach!
I was constantly looking outside of myself for answers. I wanted someone else to tell me what to do. I wasn’t trusting or even really listening to what my body wanted. I can say that following diets can lead to certain results. It would be hypocritical of me to tell you they’re not beneficial on certain levels. Yes, you can lose weight, body fat, your allergies, your stomach issues. But, EVENTUALLY I think we all just want to stop the constant search for the next best thing, right? I know I did.
Finding Peace with Food
After a certain point, I just wanted to eat. Real food, good food. I wanted to eat butter on my toast and put real sugar in my coffee! I threw out the fake butter spray and fake sugar. I wanted to trust in my ability to know when my body liked something and when it didn’t. I didn’t want to stop eating dairy just because somebody else said it was bad for me.
And for the record, my body LOVES dairy. Must be my northern European roots. It doesn’t give me stomach issues or cause breakouts. This is just one example to show that we all need to find what works for us. Start finding out for yourself what your body likes and needs. Do your experimenting, but eventually begin to trust your body’s own wisdom. It’s the only way to finally step off the hamster wheel of dieting.
Balance is the Answer
What “diet” do I follow now? ZERO, ZILCH, NADA. I stopped the insanity. I just eat whatever the hell I want to eat. I know what makes me feel good and what doesn’t. If my weight creeps up a bit, I immediately dial it in for a few days and stay within a weight range I’m happy with. I don’t let things get out of control.
After all these years, I’ve finally found the elusive place of BALANCE with food. I don’t encourage my clients to go too extreme anymore. Unless you’re 30 years old and getting ready for your wedding! Lol!
I want to encourage you to begin to tap into your inner wisdom when it comes to food. I know that this wisdom can get clouded with ALL the competing nutritional information out there. If you find something that is working for you, stay with it. There’s not always the next best thing. The grass is not always greener. Start to get conscious and listen. Your body knows what it needs to be healthy, happy and strong!
Have you found balance with your food? I help women find peace and clarity about their relationship with food. I offer in-home coaching in Dallas, TX and also offer phone coaching. I would love to help you, too!
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