How did I know it was making me feel too controlling? Well, I noticed I was thinking way to critically about my meals, I was feeling bad about anything outside of the plan that I ate... and I wasn't having that much fun. I've learned to pay attention to that feeling. When I don't, it usually leads to an all-out crazy binge. This time I noticed what wasn't feeling good before I went there.
|Me in middle school!|
I've spent a lot of my life in control mode. Growing up, I couldn't control a lot that I wished I could: what the other girls said about me; my parents' relationship; my homework situation. So I controlled what I could.
Or, what I thought I could... my outward appearance. I wore the smiling "I've got it all under control" mask that allowed me to look like the success I wanted to be, but that kept me tight within a box that gave me no satisfaction and left little room for self-expression. I became depressed.
I tried to control my body, eating healthy during the day so I could have whatever desserts I wanted at night and special occasions. I exercised constantly to keep my unruly body in check. Looking back, I can see that I was thin, fit and beautiful, but at the time, all I saw were the bulges, the pimples, the hairs, the ugly.
It drove me CRAZY that I was focusing so much energy on perfecting my body, but it was the one thing that continued to be messy, imperfect, uncontrollable, unpredictable. My weight fluctuated. I got sick. My skin would break out with out warning. My belly was bloated. I got my period out of the blue.
Things is, I'd never really been taught how to take care of my body properly, holistically. I didn't really know what it needed to work and flow, what would really make it feel good, balanced, energized. Yes, I obsessively read Seventeen all through high school, looking for the latest diets and belly flattening tips and tricks. I knew about whole grains and vegetables. But that wasn't health.
This is why a big part if my mission today is to put real, biologically and nutritionally sound and accessible information out there for women. It would have saved me a lot of pain and misery to have had information like Alisa Vitti's Womancode book back then (psst, pass it on)!
But it also matters what you choose to do with all of that information. Even the WomanCode blood sugar balancing protocol that I shared is a diet and won't work for everyone's body and tastes. The old me would have gone into strict diet mode with that plan, thinking THIS was finally the answer to being thin and happy (and that's a whole other issue)! The real problem was, I wasn't asking my body or listening to the signals it was sending me about what it needed or wanted.
My suggestion for any diet or nutrition advice you hear?
Take the information and try it if it sounds appealing to you. Pay very, very close attention to how it makes you feel. Take what works, leave what doesn't. Listen to your body. Here's the easiest way to do that!
Here's a super simple way to do that!
Know a friend who would love this? Pass it on!
The body doesn't lie. Your experience is ultimately your experience. If you don't know what feels good for you... Well, all I know for sure is that no one else can truly know that for you. You could say its a major part of the quest I'm on... to find out what lights my fire, what fuels the energy in my body and in my life so I can create more of those experiences.
Any time you hear about any approach to eating that appeals to you, I invite you to simply play with it. No need to adopt it as your holy grail right off the bat. Maybe it will be great! Maybe it will suck.
During my time at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition we were exposed to over 100 approaches to diet and lifestyle in 10 months, some of them directly contradictory! I had to feel out what resonated and then just play. I'm still playing, and my body is ever evolving. And my body never lies.
I used to think it was something I had to control but I've found that when I try to really work with it, in relationship with it (I listen, I ask questions, I make time for it, I take care of it, I pour love all over it), we are a spectacular team. And when we're really in sync, I'm on top of the world, I can do everything I want to in my life, I have the energy to show up as my best, beautiful self!
So play! Take what works, leave what doesn't. Stay curious. Don't judge yourself on what you can make work for you and what you can't. Instead, use your growing body awareness to judge what you want to keep doing and what you want to do differently, based on what works and feels good and what doesn't.