What You Need To Know Before You Start ANY Type Of Diet
What you eat and how you workout are only part of the picture when it comes to weight loss or getting healthy. Mindset, how you go about these things determine your level of misery, restriction and general angst over health and diet.
I’ve found 5 big misery makers that keep you feeling badly regardless of your health or body weight, repeatedly get you off track and generally steal your sunshine but I’ve also found the antidotes to each one.
This is not a post about why some exercises are better than others for fat loss. It is not a post about how weight loss is not the same as fat loss. It is not a post about why strength training is the bomb for changing your body shape. It is not a post about hormones and why the hormonal response of a food matters as much or more than the calorie content of that food.
This is not a post about strong being the new skinny or otherwise pitting one body type or one woman against another. It is not a post about the inflammatory dangers and hormonal disruption caused by body fat. This is not a post on keto vs. low carb vs. Paleo vs. vegan.
I’ve written all of those posts and hopefully some of them have helped shed light on how your metabolism works and made your “how to” much easier.
But this post is not about hormones or biochemistry, nor is it a new meal plan because that stuff is simply a list of instructions for you to follow…if you can.
The how to is important but so many of us have the how to but struggle with what’s necessary to actually pull it off.
When we’re struggling to implement – especially when it comes to weight loss – we either we do it hating every single second hoping the payoff is worth it cuz it truly sucks, we do it for a bit only to give up because it feels so terrible, we avoid it all together because it feels crappy or we live in a perpetual state of “what’s wrong with me” after doing all of the above?
There is a great gap between knowing how to do better and doing it, this is true for fat loss as well as simply avoiding a food that doesn’t work for you (i.e. wine, sugar, gluten, dairy, etc.) and it’s in this gap that so many of us find ourselves miserable.
I’ve been miserable in this gap myself many times in my life and most every woman I’ve ever worked with has as well. I could write volumes about the misery I’ve created for myself with dieting perhaps the worst of which was when I wrote my first book and felt an utter obsession with fat loss as I was writing a fat loss book – I mean who would listen to me if I didn’t look “perfect”?
During this year and a half hell of my own making was being too low carb and overexercising leaving me so wound up I was sleeping only about 3 hours a night yet I’d get up at 5 to go for a fasted walk, see patients for 4 hours, workout at lunch, see patients until 8pm, work on my book, rinse and repeat. It was no wonder my health and relationship were in shambles.
I missed nearly every social opportunity during this time because I didn’t trust myself to “stay on plan” if I was out with friends. It seemed easier to isolate and honestly the more weight I lost the worse I felt about myself because it never felt like it was enough or happening quickly enough.
The misery culminated when my worst fear came true and despite being in the best shape of my adult life I got called fat on Amazon by a reviewer of our book. She wouldn’t follow my advice because just look at “Dr Brooke with her big round face and fat neck and blah blah blah.” (Read the story and my response here.) I read this in tears and promptly got up and went to the gym for a second workout of the day where I cried as I sprinted on the bike. Oh and by this point I hadn’t had a period in ages.
This was a low point…
All this went on for another six months or so until over-training and lack of recovery landed me with a torn hamstring so bad that I was having a hard time walking to work because I couldn’t step up on to a curb.
That’s what it took. It took the months of mental and physical hell, a relationship on the brink, my hormones tanking, a public shaming that nearly wrecked me because my sense of worth was so tied up in my body and nearly losing the ability to walk myself the 10 blocks to my office for me to get the message.
Thank goodness I did. I got myself and Joe into therapy, healed my injuries, started eating and exercising in a way that made my hormones happy enough to let me sleep, jumpstart my cycle and think more clearly. The happy ending here was that Joe and I got married and pregnant with Lola in just a few months after my “coming to”.
Life was good and I vowed never to do this again but I knew what drove me to do it in the first place still needed more healing. I saw myself in all of the women I worked with to some degree – not all of you are as crazy as I was, which is a good thing, but it was there in so many of us.
Wondering how to exercise for your own hormone haywire? Grab my guide here.
In some ways this experience still affects me and as my body changed with having two babies I struggled with railing against any dieting because I just couldn’t go there again, yet currently I find myself ready to make a few changes.
But I refuse to do it the old way, it is absolutely not worth it. This experience pretty much cured me of ever wanting to go on a diet again.
Here’s the thing: the new diet is not the problem. It’s the angst around the diet that happens before and during that are the real trouble.
Everything about a “diet” seems to make us feel not good enough, unworthy as we show up today on day 1 of a diet or even contemplating a diet. So much so that at a hundred different points in my career I’ve wanted to stop working with weight loss and dieting all together because I just don’t want to perpetuate the idea that any one of you NEEDS to change a damn thing about yourself to be enough.
But I know I have knowledge that can make getting healthy and losing weight a happier, saner, healthier and more successful. I’m obligated to help the women that turn to me – and I want to. In order to do that and honor what I know to be true: that you are enough AS IS, I’ve written this fat loss manifesto that I want all women to let sink way in before they embark on any type of diet. Here it is…
Be more of the you that’s already more than enough
You do not need to be smaller, slighter, less. It can’t be about that anymore. Instead it must be about being at home in your body and feeling that you can be the most fully expressed version of you. If you’re more comfortable at a certain weight, that’s fine but know that weight loss is NOT MANDATORY. This is 100% your choice, if it’s what you want for yourself that’s great. Let’s do it in a way that’s mentally and physically healthy, soulful and makes you more of the you that’s already more than enough.
Know without a doubt that you have worth beyond your body shape, body size, weight, clothing size, or waist measurement
You have worth regardless of any amount of cellulite (which is actually totally normal BTW), double chin, muffin top, thunder thighs, or any other such nasty thing you may have been told by yourself or someone else, assumed is true based on societal standards or picked up somewhere else along the way. If you lose one pound, one hundred pounds, zero or gain a few this is still true.
You are worthy of love and joy and belonging AS IS
You can want more for yourself without hating where you’re at right now. Acceptance and self-love are absolutely essential today – they cannot be something you hold in abeyance until you accomplish your goal or change your body. Loving yourself as is is mandatory to keep yourself from having a fat loss journey rife with punishment. Doing it without self-love makes us do crazy crap (crash diets, dangerous supplements, etc.) at worst and at best making every good choice like a workout or passing up the French fries feel like a sentence you must complete in order to be worthy of love and happiness. But accepting yourself doesn’t mean that you are stuck where you don’t want to be either.
If you are inclined to lose weight – by the way, it’s NOT mandatory, totally your call – love and accept yourself as is and then go for it girl. Acceptance without resignation.
Nothing is worth wrecking yourself and your hormones over
If what you’re doing to lose weight has your sleep falling apart or has you anxious or depressed, achey or injured, appetite and cravings off the chart, energy in the tank, period getting miserable or gone all together, digestion all messed up, or any other sign that your hormones hate your diet and exercise plan you have to press pause. Get some help to figure out what you need to be doing that better works with your physiology, what underlying physiology needs support and how you can do this the right way – how you can be your best friend and not your own worst enemy.
Be your best friend
Would your best friend show up at your house with a bottle of wine if she knows you’re not drinking tonight and maybe that’s a hard choice for you? Would your best friend tell you to go workout at 6AM after being up all night with your baby? Would she tell you that you’re worthless unless you lose weight? Would she tell you that you’re terrible for eating a cookie, how you have no willpower and will never be happy with your body? No. That person is a jerk, not your best friend. Listen to the voice in your head, is it kinda, compassionate and best friend-y or is it your worst enemy? Choose always be your best friend.
Why We Have To Feel BETTER
It takes stamina to accomplish your goals and you simply can’t keep going when you feel like crap…and if you can, is it even worth it? I think not. Life is to short to feel terrible about yourself, yet if you’re up for some change there is a way to do it well and with love. It starts with knowing these five fundamental truths above but it will finish with you traversing the tough territory ahead on your journey without getting tripped up by what I call the Misery Makers.
While these tricky bits are part and parcel for dieting, they can come up for us in so many other ways and make us miserable. These are things that keep us “feeling fat” or otherwise feeling badly about our bodies no matter what our size. These are the things that make being healthy or even being a woman way more difficult. They are also 100% optional.
The Misery Makers
These 5 Misery Makers: comparison, unfairness, guilt, deserve and it’s too hard/what’s wrong with me most definitely come up around dieting but they also come up around food in a hundred other ways. The Grandmamma of them all: comparison comes up in pretty much every area of life. These are the human condition so there’s not a thing abnormal about you if you experience them – but they miserable and with the right tools you can opt out of the misery.
That’s what I created this 21 day email based program for and right now until August 26, 2019 it is 100% free! Get it here.