I used to be one of those girls that religiously followed food blogs – you know, those blogs where you could see what other women ate at every single meal, every day. I was so unsure of how to eat on my own, that I looked to these other women to tell me how I “should” eat. I would use their portions as a benchmark for what my portions should be and tried to mimic the types of meals they were putting together. At one point, I even started my own daily food blog in order to “keep me accountable” (I mean I wouldn’t want to write about a binge, so I thought being accountable to the world would keep me from bingeing… not true).
I used to always reach for Shape magazine or Self magazine, and would frantically turn to the pages where they released the latest “4 week total body slim down plan”, promising myself that I would commit to doing that and would feel like a bombshell in 4 weeks. Again, this didn’t work. I got bored, felt deprived, and craved pizza and ice cream on Day 3 like it was my job.
I used to always look up recipes on Cooking Light because they gave me calorie counts and would fit perfectly into my calorie counting app. Make a recipe with no calorie count? No way, that would totally throw me off! So my cooking adventures didn’t allow for freedom or estimation — they had to be precise, confined to things I could “measure”, and trackable. I remember my mouth watering at other recipe books – the ones with no calorie count, but feeling like I wasn’t allowed to have those. This totally took the joy out of cooking.
As much as I wanted to eat “normally”, I surrounded myself with an environment that pushed me to be crazy around food. Food blogs were my entertainment, “4 week total body slim down plans” were my new answer, and Cooking Light kept me feeling safe.
I finally realized that the woman I wanted to be and the environment I was surrounding myself with were at odds. I wanted to feel free, yet my environment kept me feeling confined and restricted. I wanted to feel confident, yet my environment encouraged me to question every bite. I wanted to feel at peace around food, yet my environment kept me feeling like I constantly had to change and do things “their way”.
I decided my environment needed a major renovation. I needed to knock down anything that was holding me back and build in things that would support who I wanted to be.
a) Clearing out my blog feed and media consumption. There is absolutely nothing wrong with food bloggers, but at that time, it wasn’t doing anything for me except making me second guess myself and feel like I had to measure up to an ideal. I stopped following blogs that I felt didn’t empower me or support my vision of feeling free and intuitive around food. I started adding in blogs, communities and websites that supported my vision of listening to myself, getting off the diet roller coaster, and self-love.
P.S. Need suggestions for who to follow? I answer that below!
b) Reading books and magazines that I was passionate about. Part of feeling free around food meant not obsessing over it. It meant finding other things I cared about and that filled me up emotionally and spiritually so I didn’t always have to fill a void with food. I started reading magazines like Real Simple and Travel & Leisure, and picked up fiction books that I could get lost in for hours. Figuring out what else I enjoyed, other than counting calories
and dieting, worked wonders for my self esteem, which in turn helped me feel better about food and my body.
c) Cooking the recipes that made my mouth water. I started actually listening to my desires to cook certain foods and taking a leap of faith, trusting that I wouldn’t scarf down that homemade pizza or banana bread in one sitting. It actually felt SO empowering to cook what I truly wanted, and once I gave myself permission to do that all the time, I found myself savoring the food I cooked. When I was counting calories, I felt cheapened and like I didn’t deserve delicious food, which sent a horrible message to myself. Now, I was cooking the real stuff and it made me feel so much better about myself and my self- worth.
These were the first few steps I took in order to build an environment that supported who I wanted to be.
It was absolutely crucial for me to see that there were TONS of thought leaders, bloggers and websites that promoted loving myself instead of beating myself up, enjoying food instead of fearing food, and loving life every day instead of only loving life when I hit a calorie target.
I needed these people. They opened my eyes up to a new way to do things, a way I wanted to buy into and grow into.
I was asked a couple of months ago to be a part of a (free) Virtual Event called the Beautiful Body Breakthrough Summit that brings together thought leaders who promote this loving paradigm for what health means. These thought leaders and experts support loving ourselves silly, getting off the diet roller-coaster, and finding ways to be healthy that nourish our bodies and souls.
When you sign up to be a part of the summit, you immediately get a whole bunch of new experts to potentially follow. Each one of us has also offered a free gift, plus you will get access to 45 minute interviews that each one of us has done.
This is a fantastic way for you to start surrounding yourself with an environment that supports freedom around food, loving our bodies and making empowered decisions. Plus it’s all free!
Does your environment support who you want to be and how you want to feel? How can I help you create that for yourself?
I’d love to hear from you today. Observe your environment. What is one thing that you can take down or one thing you can build in that supports the woman you want to be? Please let me know in the comments below!