How Breaking Up With Diets Changed The Quality Of My Life

How breaking up with diets gave me freedom with food

As Simi and I have the doors to Finally Free Program open I’ve been reflecting on what breaking up with diets and finding freedom with food has given to me. Not only in the food arena, but also in the “life arena.” How has finding freedom with food positively impacted the OTHER areas of my life? Why does it matter so much?

Let me rewind back to the beginning of my story, first.

Here’s how I remember it…

Before the age of 13, I was a goofy and pretty carefree kid. I didn’t worry much about what other people thought. I dressed how I wanted, I said “just kidding” WAY too much, I had only a few very close girlfriends, and I played with barbies probably until I was 10. I also LOVED The Sims. Anyone else?

Going to the beach meant putting on whatever worn out bathing suit was in my drawer, wearing a rash guard so I didn’t get a rash on my tummy from my boogie board, and mom making sandwiches to eat for lunch. Nothing more. It meant fun, adventure, and time with my friends &/or family.

Right about 14, I started my first diet (whole story here).

Enter in: health binders that I made myself with spread sheets where I’d track my calories (apps didn’t exist then), calendars I’d put on my fridge to give myself the equivalent of a star when I’d followed my diet, green tea pills, hours at the gym, and a size 0 skirt literally hanging on my bedroom wall for “motivation.”

Continuing down the path of my diet and weight-loss obsession… conversations with my friends began to change, what I filled my mind with changed – magazines, posting photos on my walls of thin people, weighing myself several times a day, trying every new diet and hoping my friends would get on board with me.

Enter in my first relationships… So much of my relationships focused on talking about myself (unfortunately). What I ate today. What we’d eat later. How many calories I had left. I felt fat. I’d lost weight. Here’s my next diet goals. Is this low-calorie? That’s bad for you. I’m so bad. 

I can imagine, as I put myself in the shoes of my friends that this couldn’t have been fun to be around. I remember getting a lot of sighs and ugggghhh’s from my boyfriend at the time. Like, just stopppp and let’s talk about something more fun. 

I can even remember hanging out with Marco for pool days and packing my own little container of cottage cheese and pineapple. Which really, is harmless… but then enter in all of my diet talk around that and boy. Not so fun. Especially for a high school boy.

Enter in 2010 when I began to build a relationship with God and let go of diets (very slowly)…

My identity began to change. I became more carefree, fun, and more up for anything. I began to change the way I talked about my body, myself, and others… and began to focus more on the positive side of things.

My relationships changed. I cared more about others. I began to listen more. I began to encourage more. I talked so much less about myself and what diet I was on or what I was eating. I don’t think I’ve ever asked, but I bet this was such a breath of fresh air for my friends.

Enter in my relationship with Marco… everything had changed for me by this point. I was no longer dieting, and I was working on learning to love my body more. I remember the first trip we took together after a few short months of dating was to Palm Springs. I had the best time with him. We ate Mexican food, In-N-Out, we got Coldstone ice cream… drinks by the pool.

And with the Coldstone specifically, I remember going there, ordering what I wanted, having a few bites and then putting it away. I didn’t want it as much as I thought I did, and the memory of how easy it was for me to just stick it in the freezer for later so stuck out to me. Why?

Because years before that, had we gone to Coldstone I would have way overdone it. And not in a “you have permission to eat this” way (like I have now) but in a “you’re so bad, if you’re going to eat this you may as well just eat the whole thing” way.

A way that doesn’t consider how I feel, what I want now, and/or what I’m allowing myself to have in the future. A way that is full of restriction and thoughts filling my mind of how “this isn’t good for you”. 

When really, maybe a little bit of ice cream is good for me! Maybe the stress that I didn’t have driving over to Coldstone that day was a blessing. Maybe the laughs Marco and I shared in the parking lot (versus talk about “how we were being bad”) was wonderful. Maybe when we remove all of the stigma around it a little ice cream isn’t so bad anyway.

All this to say, letting go of dieting truly changed the quality of my life: my relationships, my courage, my dreams, my plans, my moments, my joy… everything.

My relationship with Marco is so much better. My relationships with my friends are so much better. In fact, I think it’s interesting that my current friends in San Luis Obispo never knew me when I was going through my heavy diet phase. They only know the “me” that I am now, and sometimes even I am surprised by the way they describe me, because it’s so different from who I was before.

Let me clarify, I wasn’t a “bad person” before. I just had much different focuses that made me less happy and as I would imagine, probably less fun to be around. Today, I like to think that I ADD value to many of my relationships because I have the mental-space to do so. 

Finding freedom with food, not being afraid of it, and truly enjoying it is more fun than I could’ve ever imagined. And not just fun, but it’s truly freeing. Food is now a joy and a pleasure in my life, but it’s not my only joy and pleasure.

Learning to listen to my body changed things for me. Finding freedom with food has given me freedom in every other area of my life. It’s allowed me to BE IN MY LIFE vs. checking out of my life by focusing on control and feeling powerful through dieting (dieters, can you relate to this?).

Today I focus on feeling good. I focus on my own needs, and from a place of having taken such good care of myself, I am able to focus on the needs of others and how I can help and be of service.

Things I enjoy today that I didn’t enjoy before:

  • low-key evenings that are completely relaxed and guilt free
  • taking breaks when I need them instead of push, push, pushing myself all the time
  • going out to spontaneous dinners with my friends or family
  • having fun cooking for a friend when she comes to visit me
  • exploring new restaurants with excitement
  • eating things like pasta and still feeling great afterward (because I’ve learned how to listen to my body and I share everything I know with other women on my blog and step-by-step here)
  • going to the beach in a bikini without mirror checking for an hour beforehand (and probably skipping breakfast)
  • enjoying exercise as a regular part of my self-care routine
  • getting ready in clothing that is comfortable and fits me
  • having quiet time in the mornings with coffee and journaling
  • a relationship with God where I trust Him and rely on Him
  • all of the small things – I used to miss out on the small things and not notice them; today, I cherish the small things
  • so much more! 

If you relate to this post and you want to give yourself these same freedoms, come join us in Finally Free Program.

Whether you’re stuck in dieting, you’re stuck in overeating, or you’re just stuck in wanting to feel good in your body but not wanting to diet to get there, come hangout with us and let us support you in getting there – you CAN get to where you want to be. How much are you willing to stretch to get what you want?

I’m going to end with a story from one of our Finally Free members, Charlotte, who is just like you and wanted to make peace with food but wasn’t quite sure how to actually get there and have it stick. Charlotte worked with me one on one and supplemented our work with Finally Free Program:

“I had such an incredible, transformative experience through Finally Free. This program takes you on a loving, gentle journey all the way from the huge step of giving up dieting, to this mind-blowing realization: listening to your body is truly the only tool you need to be healthy, happy, confident, glowing, and gorgeous! I never could have gotten to this amazing point on my own, but I am SO excited to finally be here!

Each of the 12 topics is so thoughtfully chosen and perfect. Every question that popped up for me was covered in one of the sessions, and I felt so supported by this amazing program created just for me with love. Paige and Simi are the sweetest coaches, and SO knowledgeable in each of these areas — from years of study and research, professional experience, and going through all of this themselves. I could not have asked for better guides to hold my hand each step of the way through the program!

I also loved the structure of Finally Free. It makes so much SENSE and really helps bring all of the wonderful concepts to life. The videos are so much fun and so informative, as are the session outlines that go with each. Then the handouts are such an awesome way to help integrate the information from each lesson into your thoughts, and the goal worksheet turns it into action! The little bonuses are so fun, too. I think I actually squealed with delight when I found the Finally Free grocery list!

One of the most special parts of this is that I know I can return to this program again and again…for life! I feel such a sense of comfort knowing that this will always be here for me, any time I need a tune-up or just want to experience the JOY of being finally free again!

There is just so much here to experience and discover, all of it truly leading to the life of my dreams. The investment is worth absolutely every penny — nothing is more important than taking care of YOU. And in the end the program is just perfectly named…I really do feel FINALLY FREE from everything that was weighing me down, and so grateful for this new life of loving my body!”

To check out our program and join us in Finally Free click here (and get $200 off right now with early bird pricing – lasting for only a few more days).

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Share with me: if you’ve already given up dieting, what are you working on now? What NEW freedoms have you gained by giving up dieting? If you haven’t quite given up diets yet, but you would like to, what THREE freedoms are you looking forward to GAINING when you do? 

My whole heart is with you! Thank you for being here!

Previous VIP Q+A: If You Feel Like You Need to "Make Up" or "Be Better" for Eating a Donut Next If You Needed to Stretch, Would You? (On Listening to Your Body)

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