Healthy and Sane

Diet free living: positive changes through gentle reminders

August 17th, 2011 · 36 Comments · body talk, diet free living

Our minds are so incredibly powerful and can be our worst enemy or our best friend. Which way would you prefer to sway it?

I had some serious breakthroughs last week when it came to this subject and of course I’d like to share them with you. After reading It Was Always Meant to Happen That Way (which inspired the enough is enough post), I decided that instead of hoping that this whole diet free living thing would work, I was just going to make it work. Instead of being scared, I became excited. I was going to get there… it was just a matter of time (and ok, a lot of work on my part). I decided that from now on my actions would reflect those of a person that was “there” already.

Sounds awesome except life isn’t that easy now, is it? You can’t just flip a switch and make all the worries and destructive behaviour just disappear. Or can you?

I read the book on Monday and then had a call with Christie on Wednesday. She gave me the perfect push forward. It’s good to have a really awesome support system. Luckily I do! (Even though often times I am still hesitant to reach out. Don’t make the same mistake! I promise you that the positive people in your life want you to be and feel your best and will be happy to help you if they can. They can’t do that though if you don’t reach out. Do it!) 

We started the call with me describing the weeks prior when I felt out of control, scared… and binge eating. 😯 It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I felt disgusted with myself so instead of taking care of myself and acting like the person that was happy living a diet free life, I was digging a deeper hole for myself. Making it worse one bite at a time. I hated myself and everything around me. It was a really dark place to be in and I wanted it all to stop…as I was unwrapping yet another bar of chocolate (at some point tears literally running down my face because I was so upset with “doing this to myself”).

Sounds unpleasant and counterproductive, right? Right. What I didn’t realize at the time is that the thought of “I hate myself” was running through my head over and over like a broken record. Of course I was acting accordingly! So Christie asked me to change that thought and eventually we came up with something that sounded better to me, something that would bring on a different kind of behavior. Instead of “I hate myself,” I am now actively replacing that thought with “I am working on loving myself.” (Side note: “I love myself” felt premature… I don’t believe it quite yet so it wouldn’t work. The key is really finding a thought that feels right and true to you.) She also asked me to find a way to remind myself of this thought. I was planning on buying a new ring this weekend, so I dedicated it to this thought.


Every time I look down at my hand…I am working on loving myself

Every time I “hate myself”…


Nope, I am working on loving myself… and I will get there, it’s just a matter of time!

And with this thought I started asking myself what would someone that loved herself would do.

Scenario 1: I just got home from dinner out. Adam is out. The house is quiet and I’m bored. I turn on the tv and start thinking about what’s in the fridge that I can munch on mindlessly… I remember we have an open bag of pita chips (loooove them!)

What if I loved myself? Forget the chips. I don’t want to feel physically uncomfortable. I just had a great dinner and stopped at a point that was just right.

Scenario 2: It’s 8:30 am on Saturday, my alarm keeps going off so I can get to bootcamp by 9:30. Ugh, I haven’t been to the gym in weeks, this is my time to finally get my butt there… but this bed is so comfy.

What if I loved myself? Eh, no bootcamp. I just want to sleep in for once. Maybe Adam and I can play tennis later this afternoon. :)

I’ve been doing this all week and honestly it’s really working! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next now that I’m working on loving myself (and act accordingly). 😀


What discouraging throughts are running through your head and preventing you from living your happiest life? Can you flip the switch?

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36 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - katecooks

    i found myself in a similar place once and the only thing that worked for me was to stop thinking about it! i stopped always trying to make the right choice. i stopped giving food so much power. i stopped thinking about what i would eat next and when. i stopped thinking about how much of a failure i was when i’d turn around and eat a half gallon of ice cream after a day of “good” choices. i just started eating when i wanted. and not minding if i ate three desserts in one day. or no desserts for three days. and it’s made me a million times happier!

    • #2 - Elina

      This is exactly the place I want to get to. Some days things are smooth and others I get into a negative space so I always look to find new ways to turn things around! :)

  • #3 - Tiffany

    I love this post! It’s so honest and realistic. I do think it can be really hard to love yourself if you only focus on self-perceived negatives. I’m sort of in the same self-doubt boat right now, both personally and professionally. It’s definitely a rut and I’m trying to work my own way out, so this post is really timely. I think it’s a much healthier mindset to work on what you love about yourself as opposed to giving in to what you hate.

    The ring is a great reminder; every time you look at it you’ll remember your self-love goals and (hopefully) you won’t feel down on yourself. It’s pretty, too! 😉

    • #4 - Elina

      I think the biggest revelation for me was the fact that treating myself with love has brought on much more positive and gentle behaviors. We are so tough on ourselves… it’s important to remember to give ourselves a break (like we would to any of our friends or family… and even strangers!)

  • #5 - MelissaNibbles

    The ring is beautiful. I’m glad it’s helping you. I’m sorry you feel those feelings. I feel that way sometimes and I try to get down to the root cause of why I feel that way and work on fixing that or trying to understand the cause. I think that’s the only way to stop those bad thoughts from coming.

  • #7 - shannon

    gorgeous- the ring and the post 😉 the reminder will be powerful, something to think about myself!

  • #8 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Great using the ring as a reminder, and loved the scenarios. I NEED to start doing this… today I drove 24 miles to a meeting that is actually tomorrow. My eating hasn’t been all that great, and even though I am training for a race, I’ve put on some weight, most likely due to feeling bummed about other parts of my life and feeling out of control. I will look into something like this! Thanks!

    • #9 - Elina

      It doesn’t need to be a ring or even jewelry. I also have post-it notes all over my house and even my work desk with gentle reminders. This stuff doesn’t even need to say your new conscious thought (obviously the ring says nothing on it) – you just need to associate that reminder with the thought. Hope things turn around for you! :)

  • #10 - Michelle

    Elina, this blog post is truly inspiring. I am so proud of you and you’ve inspired me to love myself more…and to remind myself of that when I’m in stressful situations.

  • #11 - Taryn

    I love your new ring – it’s beautiful! Also, I think you have a fantastic attitude about finding a way to be happy with you are. You’re right that it doesn’t just happen over night, but if you keep at it, you’re bound to get there eventually. Keep it up!

  • #12 - sarah@spinach and spice

    this post is so inspiring! I’m so glad I came across your blog tonight. I originally found you through searching for restaurant reviews in boston..(i’m leaving for my first trip tomorrow!).. and am completely at lost for restaurant choices in the area.
    Little did I know, I found so much more :) You are a beautiful writer! And I can honestly say you have a new regular reader 😀

    • #13 - Elina

      This makes me SO happy!! Glad both the restaurant reviews and this post were helpful :)

  • #14 - Sarah

    I love this post! It’s a great reminder about self love and your writing is beautiful. Not to mention your ring!

  • #15 - DeeDee

    You have a very pretty hand and I dig that ring. This post means a lot to me; I have those ‘I hate myself thoughts’, which I now see why I eat accordingly. I love the ‘what if…’ scenarios. I can do that and I will put it into action today and see what happens. Thanks for this post, it’s a good one.

    • #16 - Elina

      Did you try it?? I’ve been seriously amazed at the changes this (seemingly simple) question brings about.

      • #17 - DeeDee

        Hi Elena! Ya know….yesterday I put this into action. The weirdest thing was that I ate differently….healthier and…by choice?!?! This was very odd for me. We ate out last night and I didn’t even let myself look at the menu before thinking ‘what would I order if I loved myself?’. A glass of wine and a salad came to mind and I felt so happy. I ordered a glass of wine and this veggie plate that I really liked. It was so odd to be so pleased with such a healthy choice. So, this morning…my usual thoughts after a dinner out the night before would be ‘I hate myself, etc.’. I woke up this morning and was thinking about what I was going to do today. Not a simgle ‘I hate thought’ crossed my mind. BLEW ME AWAY. Thank you Thank you Thank you. I will continue this and I feel excited…it’s more about my mental state than the weight right now.

  • #19 - Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    This is a great post, Elina. I always feel like you are making so much progress and such an inspiration!

    • #20 - Elina

      Thank you! I feel like I’m constantly pedaling backwards but it’s revelations like this that make me excited for the journey ahead. :)

  • #21 - Lauren

    What a wonderful post. I go through the same thing! I was always trim and in good shape because I was a competitive dancer. Once I went to college, I stopped dancing and kept my rather large appetite. I gained 20 pounds and lost a lot of my confidence because rather than trying to be supportive my family was very mean about the weight I’d gained. So I pulled myself together and started a diet. That was a good start because it gave me some structure. I then started researching more about nutrition. I didn’t realized how little I knew about calories etc! Unfortunately, that turned into a bit of an obsession. For the past 5 years I’ve really struggled with loving myself at any weight. I did lose the 20 pounds and since have yo-yoed about 5 or 10 occasionally. I’m 5’8 and fairly muscular…I’ve been as low as 120 and at my peak was about 157. It seems like when I get my most confident in great shape I border on obsession and then eventually crash and begin the binge and self hate. I don’t understand it, but your post is going to really help me. I’ve been in a good place lately and I think that will help me maintain it. Thank you!

  • #25 - Christie Inge

    Elina, the ring is beautiful and so are you, my dear. I am honored to be a part of your path to self love and acceptance.

  • #27 - Holly

    You and I are in the EXACT same place. If you remember, I see a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to try to stop this behavior and learn to love myself and have a better self image.

    What has helped me: I have a little postcard with me that I refer to when I’m feeling weak that says… “Eating this will not make me feel better and will only make me feel worse.” Sometimes it helps. Also, just pretending to be an natural intuitive eater helps me a lot. I sort of act the part and for some reason, it works.

    It’s really hard to reverse 27 years of under eating/overeating and being mean and hating myself. One day at a time right? Today was a good day – I hope tomorrow is too.

    Beautiful ring! Thanks again for blogging about your journey. xoxo

    • #28 - Elina

      LOVE the postcard idea… I used to have a little love/hate relationship with Barney Butter and left a super long note on the jar that helped me. Reminders are key! One day at a time… totally true. Hopefully today is a good one! :)

  • #29 - Karen

    Wonderful post! I love your blog and facebook page :) I have been on weight watchers for 2 years now and frankly am sick of it! I just ate a box of spinach and lowfat cheese and crackers for lunch..yuck! just cuz I knew it was low in points. I have been toying with the no diet attuned eating and want to try it. Thank you for being such an inspiration :)

  • #30 - Kerstin

    Your ring is gorgeous, as is the message behind it. It’s true that friends can’t help unless you open up to them, and that’s something I’m working on too. I’m glad you’ve found someone to talk with :)

  • #31 - Cara

    Love that you treated yourself to that ring, it’s gorgeous!

    I want to throw you some extra motivation to keep up the good thoughts. Believe me, when you get to the point (and you will) when you can say “I love myself” even just once in a while, you will know your life has changed for the better, and that there’s no turning back.

  • #32 - Kelly

    The ring is gorgeous and I love the sentiment of this post. I’ve found it interesting to read about your journey because I think a lot of us go through this in one way or another. In today’s environment self love isn’t easy and it can be a challenge to figure out how to exist both in a place where you see areas for self improvement, but also appreciate who and what you currently are.

  • #33 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    What a GREAT idea! I love the ring too. I usually forget to eat all day and then in the evening when I finally settle down at night I feel like I have a lot to make up calorie wise. I’m working on getting a more regular diet throughout the day.

  • #34 - Kim @ Imperfectly Perfect

    I’m giving you a virtual hug right now, hearing about your tears. I’ve been in that place so many times and wouldn’t wish the feeling on anyone. For some reason, I have the hardest time reaching out to others when I’m having problems, too. I know that they would be there if I just reached out, but I keep the problem to myself. I can’t count how many times my mother has told me to just call her before a binge and I never do. I love your new thought process and am cheering you on! You can do it! :)

  • #35 - Lizzy

    I’m so happy that you are working on this because YOU should LOVE YOURSELF. Just look how talented you are! Do you read this blog?! Do you!!! Go back and read some of your amazing recipes and take a look at your photography! You have so much talent and so much joy right here on this blog. I hope this weeks been better in the loving yourself department. I’m a big fan of loving yourself first because if you don’t how can you expect anyone else to? Be confident because you have so much to offer others- just look at all these comments! People relate to you and want the best for you. I know I do. And I can’t wait to hang out tonight : )

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