3 Things I Had to Let Go to Be Able to Say: “Food is no longer a ‘thing’ for me”
It’s true: Food is no longer a “thing” for me.
If you’ve ever struggled with your weight (trying to lose weight or trying to accept your weight), you know what a big deal this is. I hope this post will inspire you toward freedom and ease today.
Food is no longer a “thing” for me.
Yesterday afternoon I wrapped up work, cleared my desk, and walked into the kitchen.
Marco said “Will you come help me hang the garage TV while Selah is napping?”
“Yes, let me heat up some lunch and I’ll come help” I said.
Reaching into the fridge I grabbed a leftover container from the night before.
Lunch, ready for me.
I opened up the microwave, clicked two minutes, and walked to the bathroom.
Coming back I grabbed the dish, a fork, and headed out to the garage.
As Marco opened up the instructions to the TV mount, I sat and started eating my lunch – leftover lemony chicken piccata with noodles (so good).
I looked at the container, noticing how easy this moment was and I thought to myself “Food is no longer a thing for me.”
And I sat there in some sort of awe for a moment as I thought about what I have let go of in order to get to this place.
A true, genuine, complete ease with food.
I knew I had to share it with you – the woman who wants this too (I know personally what it feels like to deeply desire this peace).
3 things I’ve let go of:
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know this. THIS is why I stared this blog/space… to be an example of someone who let go of dieting completely and was happy she did it, so that you could too.
It’s been 10+ years since I’ve dieted.
There’s no more WW, apps for calorie counting, etc.
I found that all of these weight-control avenues just made me focus on food more.
And even if they did help me lose weight, I was never happier at the lower weight.
It was never enough, I always seemed to want to lose 5 more pounds and was more obsessed with thoughts about food than ever before.
2. A desire to lose weight
Yep, you read it right. I let go of my *desire* to lose weight.
I no longer have a desire to lose weight, I have accepted my body.
Now, if you’re still reading this it’s probably because you have a desire to lose weight. That’s why you’re controlling your food (or at least thinking about it more than you want to) in the first place.
What is your brain saying to you right now?
Notice those thoughts. Notice how you feel about the IDEA of letting go of your desire to lose weight.
This is the one I think most women who think about food more than they want to, struggle with.
This is the single greatest thing that has helped me to achieve peace with food.
And I didn’t lose weight to get to this place (I actually gained it). Here’s the story…
Maybe you need to hear this today.
In 2013 I let go of the scale.
Marco and I had just started lifting weights together and I was loving it. Feeling strong, good in my body, it was changing my relationship with exercise.
After several weeks of this I stepped on the scale.
It had gone up six pounds or so from what I remember. I freaked out. I told Marco I should stop lifting weights because I was gaining weight and he had a conversation with me that I’ll never forget. It went something like this:
“So you’re going to stop lifting weights – something that is feeling good for you and leaving you feeling healthier – because you don’t like a digital number on piece of equipment sitting in front of you?”
In that moment I knew I was giving the scale too much power and I needed to break up with it. I tucked it away behind my dresser in my closest and make a promise to Marco that one day at a time I would choose not to use it.
It was five years before I knew my weight again.
That was a big turning point for me. Once I no longer knew what the scale would say, I was able to hear the signals my body sent me a bit better.
“Oh, you’re hungry? Okay, let’s eat again.”
But when the final thread tore from was actually in 2019 and again in 2020/2021 (Yep! I’ve been on this journey for 10+ years and the final thread just tore – give yourself grace, this takes time).
Here’s that part of the story…
In 2019 I started running consistently.
I started running because I LOVED IT. I loved the way it made me feel.
I loved the way it elevated my mood, I loved the way I would work through things in my head as I ran.
But do you want to know what didn’t change much when I began to run?
And maybe it did, within a 10-15 lb range or so – but this is a normal window to live in throughout life’s seasons anyways. And no, my jean size didn’t change. In fact, if anything I just bought a bigger size.
In 2017 after my mom passed my low-level-anxiety was at an all time high. I went to the doctor for a check-up. She sent me home with a sheet of paper. Weeks later I found that paper and noticed it had my weight on it.
For a moment, I wanted to curl up and never see anyone again (that was my honest gut reaction). I saw the number and it was so much higher than what I ever thought I could be okay with. I hadn’t seen my weight in years and I had never seen THAT number.
I went through all of the thoughts – even the “should I fix myself?” thoughts.
But ultimately, seeing that number was a gift. I worked through all of those hard thoughts, disbelief, and then got to acceptance.
“Okay, so maybe this is what I really weigh…”
I didn’t diet. I didn’t go buy a scale. I didn’t stop eating. I just tried to let the number sit more comfortably in my brain.
Did I hate my body before that appointment? No. So why should I hate it after seeing the number?
You see, I think getting rid of the scale was an essential piece for me until I could get to a place where I didn’t hate my body or deeply want to change her – the scale needed to stay gone until I didn’t see everything about my body as a flaw that needed fixing.
The next chapter…
In 2019 I started running after accidentally running a half marathon with my cousin. At that time, I was starting to feel ready to have a baby, so I found a doctor again in our new home in Reno.
I went to that doctor and felt so good – so healthy, so energized, so “fresh” feeling… it was the best and healthiest I’d felt in a while…
With how good I felt, I honestly thought the scale would be 20-30 lbs less (that’s how I FELT in my body – free, light). I hadn’t weighed myself in 2 years.
But I got on the scale at my doctors office and noticed my weight had hardly changed at all. It was maybe 8 lbs different two years after that 2017 appointment.
I went home that day with a little bit more freedom. Here’s why…
After noticing how GOOD I felt without the scale changing I was able to say “Okay, so this IS what my body wants to weigh… and I’m not running for the weight-loss anyway, so I’ll just keep doing it to enjoy it.”
And I did.
I kept running purely for the enjoyment of it and how good it made me feel.
A full year of running later and another doctors appointment…
You think I would have lost some weight right? Running consistently for 1.5 years now.
I was curious, but didn’t care. I felt so good. So happy. So in alignment with myself and becoming everything I’d wanted to become (I still feel this way, since fully letting go of controlling my body, and JUST doing what feels good, because I love to feel good).
Stepped on the scale, looked this time, ZERO to hardly any weight change (literally maybe 1-2 lbs and that could have just been how much water I drank). I remembering thinking “Wow, this is really where my body loves to be.”
This really came full circle for me during pregnancy, because it was another opportunity for me to love myself amidst rapid change.
New stretch mark? You’re still acceptable.
Scale up another 13 lbs at the doc? You’re still acceptable.
When I found out I was pregnant I continued to run until about 15 weeks and then felt my body saying “Walk”.
Stopped running, walked most days of my pregnancy because it felt good.
Ate intuitively, didn’t restrict, took care of myself.
Gained a little more than they say you “should”.
Didn’t care. Felt amazing.
Since having Selah, I have not tried to control my weight one bit. I walked to begin with, and when my craving to run came back, I began again.
Running for the pure joy of how it makes me feel, my mood, the fact that I can do it anywhere with anyone (even Selah comes with me!).
And guess what?
My weight went back to exactly what it was (keep in mind, I was not restricting before pregnancy, so my weight wasn’t unrealistic to arrive back to, naturally). Nothing more, nothing less. She just stays. And I’ve accepted her.
There’s NO more trying to lose weight.
Instead, there’s only doing the things in my life that feel good, consistently and accepting whatever number the scale shows me from that place.
(Even though it’s 30 lbs higher and 2 sizes larger than what I used to imagine would be okay for me.
If that sounds scary to you, I understand because I used to feel the same. But hear me when I say: I love my body more than I ever have. Not just her “looks” but I just love her. I respect her.)
Because I want you to get the whole picture of what this freedom looks like in my life, and how YES, I still do things that leave me feeling good, here are some examples…
Feel-good things I do daily:
- Move my body – most of the time this ends up being a run, I love the consistency of just going everyday (or planning to) and then if I need a break, I take it
- Sleep – I go to bed by 9:30 at the latest as a general rule of thumb. Most of the time, I’m in bed by 8:30
- Wake up early – I wake up early so that by the time Selah is awake I have accomplished my biggest needle-movers of the day (usually, it’s something to do with creation in my business)
- Get dressed – One of my favorite things I did for myself before I had Selah was to simplify my wardrobe and getting ready routine. It takes me about 25 minutes to get ready now and I feel more natural than ever. I love it. I shower, brush my hair, put on a few skin care products, and do a light makeup routine with high-quality makeup. I love it! I put on clothes from a small selection in my closet, all things I love and wear repeatedly
This is my body. I’m done trying to change her. This is where she wants to be.
I simply focus on feeling good. I absolutely love her because I choose to accept her. This doesn’t mean I love myself unconditionally and have zero negative thoughts – I will still see a photo I don’t like here and there, and when I do I look at it as a moment to send myself one message and one message only “I love that part of you too.”
This year when I got my new CA drivers license, guess what I did? I changed the number to that 30 lbs higher number. It was a statement to myself of “It’s okay for you to weigh this, even for others to see it.”
It was a little moment/symbol of freedom. I love where I am, and I have worked on my brain to get to this place – not my body.
Now, this last one might surprise you… (remember, we’re still talking about things I have let go of so that food is no longer a “thing” for me).
3. Intuitive Eating
You might be surprised hearing this from a Certified Intuitive Eating Coach.
But here’s the thing…
When I first found Intuitive Eating, it helped me so much.
More than any tool out there has ever helped me, honestly.
Thank God for putting it on Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s hearts to write this work and help so many people.
That said, it’s been 10 years for me.
I’m doing it. Living it. I no longer need to carry this label of “this is how I eat”.
I decided within the last couple of years that it’s really not about becoming an “Intuitive Eater.” It’s about being YOU and feeling calm around food.
It was a structure of principles I once needed, and now… can let go of because I’ve practiced it for so long.
And since letting it go I’ve thought about food even less because I no longer need to ask “Was that intuitive for me?”
Instead, my choices are just my own. No measurement for success. Just a choice. No fitting into anything.
And it’s given me a different layer of freedom that I didn’t even know I wanted.
I am truly in a place today where I just eat.
Now, here’s what you need to know. I do still think about food in that I set myself up for success each week, JUST like I would do with anything else.
For work, I have a weekly list of what needs to happen in my business.
For food, I grocery shop once a week and I choose meals that sound good.
It’s like the way I think of clothing “Buy cute clothes, wear them often.” Simple. Easy. Good.
I do this with food: “Buy good food, enjoy it often.”
And by “good” I just mean it tastes good, and I have a level of respect for it going into my body.
I wouldn’t feel the same going to the gas station and buying hot cheetos and Diet Coke to drink through a workday as I would going to Trader Joe’s once per week and buying things that sound delicious, look beautiful, and that I can enjoy making, like chicken piccata.
Think about it: Do you feel different when you’re wearing something nice that you put thought into buying versus just wearing an old shirt you pulled from the back of your drawer? It’s the same with food. When I put some thought into what sounds good, it feels better.
A few things I do in my relationship with food, consistently:
- Grocery shop every week for food I love
- Eat three meals a day (if I don’t do this one day it’s because for some random random reason I am not hungry – but my body is almost always hungry for three meals a day)
- Make breakfast
- Make dinner
- Eat leftovers for lunch (this is mostly how it goes for me/us)
- I keep easy to grab things in the cupboard, mostly a bar that I love to have with a cup of coffee for midday
- I keep easy things to make in the house when I don’t want to make a full meal – easy freezer meals that we love, cereal with banana, etc…
So yes, if you’re doing ZERO of these things and you aim to start doing them, it will “feel like” you’re thinking about food more for a while. But once it becomes a habit, it won’t.
A habit, to me, is choosing something over and over again until you get to a point where you don’t want to NOT choose it.
For me, those habits are now, daily:
- Waking up early
- Making breakfast
- Taking my vitamins
- Showering + getting dressed
- Grocery shopping (weekly)
- Putting meals together each day, usually cooking two and re-heating one (or making a simple sandwich or salad)
- Washing my face before bed
- Brushing my teeth
In fact, flossing was a habit I started while I was pregnant with Selah that changed a lot for me.
It sounds so simple, but I had never stuck to flossing before like I have for the last 1.5 years.
I floss everyday now, it’s just not a question. I just do it.
When I learned the mentality I needed to have to stick with flossing, it taught me the exact mentality I needed to have to stick to anything else.
^ This is the truth, and it’s a powerful lesson.
My clients know this because I use flossing as an example often.
To sum this up…
Food is normal for me now. There are no labels around it. I’m not constantly critiquing my eating. I make choices through the day and if something doesn’t make me feel good I just do what I can to care for myself and feel better (just like you would do for your DOG if he/she ate something that upset them).
I lay down, I take a break, I have some tea (okay, maybe don’t give the dog tea – haha), and I listen to my body. I don’t make it mean anything else.
I am consistent with food. Meaning, I make sure I have meals throughout the day because I know that’s what leaves me feeling the best.
I have a snack if I need it, no questions asked.
Find what makes you feel good and do it consistently.
And likewise, just gently notice what doesn’t leave you feeling good and take a crowding out approach to that.
For example, if you feel deeply unsatisfied whenever you eat your kids leftovers for a snack instead of making your own, crowd out that behavior by, each time you go to make the kids a snack, make yourself one that you LOVE too (even if that’s just a chocolate protein bar with a cup of hot coffee).
It doesn’t have to be hard. It just need to send the message that “this is for YOU.” Not “you just get everyones leftovers.” See how that feels different?
Keep it simple. If it doesn’t feel good, take note. Move on. You don’t have to tell everyone in your life what does/doesn’t feel good. Just keep making choices for YOU.
Have a “no-drama” approach with it. Food doesn’t need to be a big deal. Make your choice and move forward.
If you struggle to want to cook, know that sometimes I do too! We’re juggling a lot. That said, I like to keep my thoughts about it simple. I say to myself “This is just what I do” and it makes it a whole lot easier.
If you want to give yourself the greatest gift, accept your body where she is – today. Yes, right now. In this moment, without stepping on the scale, without losing weight. Just love her. You don’t need to love her unconditionally. Only God loves us unconditionally (my belief). Just love her.
If your body needs to lose weight, she will. If she doesn’t, then at least you’re loving her along the way.
Stop hating on her when you see her in the mirror. Stop picking out all of the things you’re going to change about her. In fact, stop trying to change her – just care for her.
Think about it: What two things do you focus on when you’re trying to control your weight? Food and exercise. If you want a good relationship with either of these things, you’ve got to focus on the root: stop trying to control the number on the scale, the size of your jeans, or the way your arm looks in a photo.
JUST love your body, find what feels good, and don’t expect the scale to change. It may, it may not. The goal is in that you show your body love regardless.
Start doing what feels good today. Get some sleep, drink water, make delicious meals. Buy good food and eat it often. Nourish yourself because you love yourself and want to feel good.
If you want a treat for the pure joy of pleasure of a treat or dessert, have it. Enjoy it. And respect your body by eating it slowly enough that she can tell you if she’s had enough.
And consider letting go of all labels, even the “Intuitive Eating” label if you think that would give you more freedom.
Have a question you want to ask me on this? Please do. Drop it in the comments or send me a private email at email@example.com.
Ready for more?
I created two courses this year BECAUSE of these revelations. I wanted to teach you the things that helped me get to this place, so that you can too (and yes, it’ll take time!). If you’re already in Aligned, go through the courses (maybe even for a second time with this new lens).
The courses that will give you the FOUNDATION you need to get to this place are:
- Calm Around Food
- Better Body Image
If you’re not in Aligned Coaching yet, join us. It will take you six-months to build the foundations you need to move toward this freedom. The amount of time it will take to feel completely free? Who knows, but you have to start with the foundation first. There’s no way around it, there are no shortcuts, just do the work – I can teach and help you.