Healthy and Sane

Diet free living: another lesson learned

September 8th, 2011 · 37 Comments · diet free living

It’s a gray, gross and rainy day today. So I’m feeling reflective and I’d like to share some of these thoughts here on the blog. Ok with you?

 Picture source

I’ve been noticing more than usual my frustration with my body. Every morning starts with “I have nothing to wear!” moving into “Ugh, I can’t believe how fat my arms have gotten” and goes from there. The negative self-talk continued after spending a whole day (Labor day Monday) lounging around, watching tv and eating leftovers from the previous nights’ bbq, which included numerous trips to the freezer for another block of cookie dough. I don’t think a single vegetable was consumed that day… it just required too much work to whip something together.

At some point I looked in the mirror, scanning every body part, making mental notes about what was wrong with each one. I couldn’t recognize the person in front of the mirror. I used to have muscle. I used to have pretty flat abs (although never “flat enough”). And finally I thought…


This is sort of my breaking point, every time, so immediately my mind went to I NEED TO FIX IT! No more cookie dough! I need balanced meals. I will take the time to plan things through and I will stick to my plans. I like cooking. Why do I even need to force myself to do it sometimes? Oh and I am definitely going to the gym every day this week. These growing arms need to be history. STAT.

And then I realized I was running with my thoughts like crazy and that this all-or-nothing behavior and negative self-talk brings me nowhere every time. This is when the binge eating intensifies. This is when I don’t treat myself, don’t trust my body to know what’s best for me. I realized that when I said I was done with dieting, I meant it. It doesn’t work for me. It’s been proven. There is a better way.

It’s sort of ironic that this intense “need” to diet actually brought me back to reality and turned things around for me. I’ve been reminded that only love and trust make me happier, not restriction. For the first time in weeks I was even excited to hit the gym yesterday… and after an amazing sweat session, I was reminded of how cleansed and strong it makes me feel (can’t wait to go again today!!).

What I thought was a fall all the way back to the beginning, was in fact a lesson that showed me that I can pull myself out of all of this. I can change my thoughts, my attitude, my actions… the positive way.

I WILL be an intuitive eater one day. I WILL stop negative self-talk. That’s a promise! 😀

PS – How freaking cute is that puppy?! :)

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37 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Lizzy

    I’ve kinda been in the same boat. Haven’t really been motivated to workout and I’ve been eating unneeded foods. But my downfall will always be cheese not cookie dough : )

  • #3 - Hallie

    I just love your “diet free living” posts because I can relate to every, single word! I’ve been counting calories, and even that doesn’t work for me. WW didn’t work….I don’t think anything will work but getting my head right. I want to be an intuitive eater SO bad but I’m not even sure where to start it seems so very far from where I am…I’ve read the books but still, nothing. Sigh….one of these days, right?!?

    • #4 - Elina

      You start by believing that this is the only way. Dieting hasn’t worked. It hasn’t made you happy. You have nothing to lose! You need to trust that this the way. The next step is working on not being afraid of food. Again you need trust here. Food will not make you fat. It’s our minds that make us sabotage ourselves. If you let go of the fear, think positive thoughts and keep plugging away, you will be happier and only good things come out of that. You are worth it!!

    • #5 - Holly

      find a therapist that deals with eating disorders and is versed in IE! one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It has changed my life and I’m a better wife, mother, friend and everything. I no longer spend my entire day obsessing about calories and food. It’s pretty amazing. GL!

  • #6 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    My arms are a point of my own criticism, too!

    I gained a few over the past several months and have now stabilized sort of close to normal, but I often lose focus/control and backslide. One thing that usually helps me is to focus on eating veggies at lunch and/or dinner if I can (I used to be a bad vegetarian who didn’t eat many veggies). This kind of goal seems do-able and helps me stay focused.

  • #8 - Leslie Goldman

    Repeat after me: Step away from the mirror! When you’re in a funk, that’s the last place to be, b/c you’ll pick apart every little thing. Sometimes I just have to force myself to turn off the bathroom light and leave. Or you could do what this woman is doing and just swear off mirrors for an entire year!

    • #9 - Elina

      How do I do my makeup without a mirror? lol
      No seriously, I think it’s not the mirrors that cause the pain, it’s what we tell ourselves. I’d much rather work on the stories in my head. Although I do agree that sometimes facing the mirror in the fragile state is too much to ask of yourself. That’s ok too.

  • #10 - Michelle

    I’ve been in the same mental state recently. I’m exhausted from work, which leads to less exercise and more unhealthy eating. Your blog post came at a really good time for me to remind myself of the important things and to take things one day at a time.

    • #11 - Elina

      Hope work gets less stressful! Work is one of my triggers too. I actually have “homework” to reframe my thoughts about that, because it’s not really work, it’s how we react to it that causes trouble.

  • #12 - KellyB

    I totally am with your. I won’t look in the mirror or get on a scale. I’m having foot surgery in two weeks and keep telling myself, once I heal from that I will start to exercise again. I think I’m just using it as an excuse, but I can’t stop eating junk and I hate myself for it.

    • #13 - Elina

      Why exactly are you eating junk? What is bothering you? The fact that you can’t exercise right now isn’t the reason you’re overeating… there is something else there. You need to get behind it. In the meantime, you can choose to stop abusing yourself with food. It’s not helping the situation, is it? You deserve better!!

  • #14 - Rachel @Healthy_Chicks

    Elina, I love your posts and how honest & real they are. Amen to that! But you are right when you say that it’s a mental state, and almost something you will wake up to and one day be like “Ah-hah” It does take time. I struggled with “fat talk”/eating issues/being scared of food all throughout college and it wasn’t until just a year ago that I woke up & learned to listen to myself, love myself a little more.

    You are on your way; you can see it in your writing! Way to go for plugging along and being so honest with your readers throughout. I’m sure you’re an inspiration for many.

    • #15 - Elina

      Thanks, Rachel! I definitely have days when I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing, like I’m all the way back at the beginning… but you’re right, I am making progress. I know that after digging myself out of the whole and giving myself perspective. I really hope that my posts are helping others… that’s why I write them! :)

  • #16 - Lara

    Yes, yes, yes! I have been having similar moments lately…moments when I think, “Why am I hating my body?! This is making everything worse.” I’m working on developing a sense of trust in myself, and I am really trying to just STOP hating my body. There is no reason for it, and my body doesn’t deserve it. No one else feels hatred toward it, so why should I? It is completely counter-productive and amplifies the whole intuitive eating struggle even more.

    I think we’re making progress, friend. I really do.

  • #18 - Alaina

    Work has definitely been getting in the way of exercising and cooking at home. I miss having creative, new meals in my kitchen. It’s been on-the-go type meals lately. And I’m training for a half marathon but have barely done enough training. I’m either working or sleeping. Thoughts creep in definitely, but I try to tell myself how far I’ve come already. A few bumps won’t derail all of my hard work. :-)

    I hope that everything works out for you. Writing is such a great release! And it looks like you’re on a great path.

  • #19 - katie

    GOOD for you! kick those nasty thoughts out the door.

  • #20 - Shannon

    When I’m in a funk and feel the call of diet, I ask myself “have you been honoring your body? when you eat like crap, you feel like crap, ms bunny”, and “have you been working out, when you are glued to the couch you get really lazy and feel fat and sorry for yourself ms bunny”.

    I can make better choices with diet and exercise without dieting it seems (though it was completely foreign for a long time). It doesn’t have to be all or nothing like when I was on a diet. Eating a healthy wonderful meal makes me feel good. Exercising and completing a goal makes me feel good. When I feel good about myself I don’t think about “that last 10 lbs” and I focus on how strong and healthy my body is to get me through the day.

  • #22 - Christie Inge

    i suppose I don’t have to tell you how I feel about this post.

    But, I’m going to tell you anyway.

    Dude. You Rock.

  • #23 - MelissaNibbles

    Thank you for being so open. I struggle every day and I think most women do. I’ve accepted that food will always be an issue for me because of my past, I just need to use the coping strategies I’ve learned and use them as needed. Hopefully it’ll get easier in time (for both of us). Since I stopped blogging, I don’t think about food nearly as much as I used to. Do you think blogging affects you? You don’t need to answer here, but we should definitely meet up sometime because I feel like we could talk about this for hours.

    Have a good weekend!

    • #24 - Holly

      this is an interesting thought… I asked my therapist a few months ago if I could stop journaling everything I ate because it made me obsess about the food and I have to say that I’m much better NOT recording everything I eat. It’s what is working for me.

      The pressure is off. I’m still accountable for everything but waaaaaay less obsessed.

  • #25 - Kelly

    I always hate seeing people struggle with things like this, but at the same time, I enjoy your perspective on it all and seeing how your attitude is growing and changing. For me, buying clothes that fit where I am right now and make me feel good at my current body type/weight helped.

  • #26 - janetha

    i know what you mean. sometimes i have those moments, too, where i nitpick myself and criticize every part. it’s always on those lazy days, too, i think it’s due to that lack of a natural endorphin rush from being active. i am glad you can take a step back and realize the why of this without getting ultimately discouraged. love you!

  • #27 - Holly

    Elina, you are ALREADY and intuitive eater! Remember… Intuitive eaters aren’t perfect and sometimes overeat. That’s part of it.

    I’ve worked out 6 times a week for the past month and I’m feeling great! I really look forward to my workouts and even though I still see fat arms (but impressive shoulders), I’m feeling a whole lot better about myself. I’ve always liked working out and will skip almost anything to get to a spin class. For that I am grateful.

    You know how to do this. You eat too much cookie dough then you know that you skip sweets for the next few days, get to the gym and drink lots of water. You’ll feel better. Try to be more kind to yourself.

    p.s. your arms are not fat.

    • #28 - Elina

      I’m still working on the balancing part but yes, overthinking things is sort of counterproductive with the whole intuitive eating concept, isn’t it?

  • #29 - Holly

    p.p.s. I’m glad you haven’t slipped back into dieting. It’s so tempting to think “oh, If I just eat 1000 cal a day for the next month, I’ll drop major weight” and then I just think about my metabolism and how grumpy I will be and it’s just not worth it. I will never, ever diet again. ever. Living as an IE is pretty wonderful! xoxo

  • #30 - Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    Good for you! I feel like so many of us have those moments but you keep stopping yourself from going over the edge or going back to your old days of dieting. I think it is a great idea to plan meals and go to the gym because those things will make you feel good… but I agree that an all or nothing mentality just doesn’t work.

  • #31 - sarah@spinach&spice

    Beautifully written post. I struggle with this a lot as well! Sometimes, we need to remember that life is not controlled by our weight. True health is health of both the body and the mind. When I try to restrict, I automatically turn to bingeing.. which turns into a neverending chain! Let’s make a pact to break this change, accept ourselves, and work towards happiness :)

  • #33 - Cara

    Checking in a few days late but I hope you had a great rest of the week after your “comeback”!

  • #35 - Joanne

    After eating a bag of butterscotch chips last week, along with a TON of peanut butter I felt like I had hit rock bottom. My muscles hurt, nothing felt good….it was awful. And now today, after a few days of eating better, everything feels better. And i have to keep reminding myself that restriction and strict dieting is NOT the key…but probably the cause! I know you and I can do this!

    • #36 - Elina

      Yes, my dear – we both deserve better. Here is to a better week! And I hope you take care of whatever made you overeat in the first place. I keep rediscovering that until you do, the overeating keeps coming back.

  • #37 - Elina

    Oh Elina, it is always so nice to hear that other people have these issues too, Im not alone!
    For years I have been either ON a diet or OFF a diet but never in between. I have some binging issues too and when I have that BAD day, I do feel like crap b/c I ate crap!
    I have been eating pretty much what I want but w/in limits….I cut out all grains and sugar. It works for me and I feel really good not eating the heavy carbs. Chocolate is hard for me to give up but by not having it in the house sure helps. I have foods that satisfy my cravings but are not sabotaging my diet. It’s hard to constantly try and be in control and eating healthy is not totally 2nd nature to me but I’m getting there.

    I was so tired of having to start a diet every Monday b/c I screwed up one day…It’s a battle every day but I’m slowly winning…had to reprogram all of my bad habits of 36yrs!

    Thanks for your honesty!