Breaking the Cycle

“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change!” Cue eye roll. I bet you’ve heard that, or if you’re like me you’ve said it a few times yourself. It’s a phrase that is over used and becoming quite cliché these days.

This past week was wonderful. One of my best friends from California came to visit for a week. It was great having her here and I’m so happy we had that time.

Before she came I had made a decision to be flexible with my nutrition while she was visiting. This was a constant struggle for me emotionally and I found myself questioning my choices at every bite.

In the past I was either on a diet or off a diet. There wasn’t a constant. Going off the diet meant giving up, it meant failing. It was a terrible cycle that I was playing over and over. Living through that roller coaster created emotional issues that I am now having to deal with.

I learned very soon after I lost 50+ pounds, that eating 800-1200 calories a day was not sustainable or healthy. I thought I was making a lifestyle change, but in reality I was just setting myself up for more hurt and struggle. Sure I dropped weight fast, but the moment I stopped dieting the weight came back. I didn’t know how to eat or live in a healthy, long term way.

But I’m learning now! And I’ve reached a point where I feel like I finally “get it.” The changes I’ve made to feed my body nutritionally instead of emotionally are sustainable. The transformation within my body is slow and steady, as it should be. If I want to reach my goals and maintain them I need to make these transitions gradually and naturally. There will be celebrations, and vacations, and moments when I want to eat a cookie. And I can, because thats life. It’s not cheating on my diet. It’s living. The guilt and shame still bubble up and try to weigh me down. But I have to fight those feelings of failure and move on, continuing to treat my body with love and care, and acceptance.

Waking up today, I’m putting one foot in front of the other and falling back into the routines and habits I’ve worked hard to create. I’m giving myself room to not be perfect and making sure my decisions are mindful, healthy, and bring me joy. I love the way I feel when I have that balance back into my life, but I’m also okay with taking a break. Whether it’s a week long vacation or one night out, I can let my mind relax, and eat a piece of pizza without feeling ashamed of myself. That’s my freedom. That’s me breaking the cycle.

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