It’s not that I wanted to be constantly adding up calories in my head and on my tracking app, it’s just that I thought I had to.
After all, after holding onto 20-30 postpartum pounds for 10 years, counting my calories and macros was the only thing that “worked” to lose the weight of three pregnancies.
I didn’t understand then what I understand now – “working” means works for the rest of your life, doesn’t cause stress and suffering, and actually feels effortless.
I didn’t know how to do that. Yet.
All I knew was that every bite had to be counted, or I would end up that frumpy, overweight mom again. And that thought paralyzed me with fear and kept me imprisoned to my LoseIt app.
I would count the food I ate at home. I would refuse to go to restaurants that didn’t have calorie information. I would spend hours researching calories and foods online. I brought my own food to parties and entered it into LoseIt ahead of time.
And that was when I was in control (or what I called “on the wagon”).
Then there were those shameful moments when I just couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t have any mental energy left for counting one more damn calorie. The tempting thought of eating something and not caring about the macros was like a siren call I couldn’t ignore, and the sense of freedom I felt when I decided “eff it, I’ll start again next week” was irresistible.
But with that release of control, I would swing wildly in the other direction. I’d find myself at the bottom of an entire box of cookies, planning a trip back to the store for more. I’d eat my food at the restaurant that hadn’t been allowed previously to the point of feeling stuffed and disgusting.
Then Monday would come and I’d procrastinate….just one more day and I’ll get back on the wagon. It was SO HARD to face getting my eating back under control. Sometimes I would go for an entire week before I could face it again.
But the guilt and shame would finally take me over, and back to LoseIt I went. Until I couldn’t…and repeat repeat repeat.
That was my life. There was no joy, only a constant fear of losing control then actually losing it.
Until I just couldn’t take it anymore, and thought, there has got to be a better way.
I realized, through some deep work and guidance, that I was operating from a place of SELF-CONTROL…which stems from fear.
And I WAS afraid. Afraid of gaining weight and being rejected (even though no one had ever actually rejected me because of it), afraid of being less-than, afraid of the way I would be seen if I wasn’t small.
Gary Zukav says that everything we do boils down to either love or fear. Fear imprisons, and love liberates.
And my fear was definitely keeping me imprisoned. So what was the loving option that would liberate me?
The answer dawned on me…self-care. Self-care is a loving act, a way of just taking care of myself that stems from a place of self-love instead of self-control.
And after years of living this way, I can tell you that the results are nearly the same as when I was obsessively counting every calorie, but my mind is free and I DO feel liberated. That same feeling of freedom that used to be so tempting, I feel that way all the time now.
But I’m also not back to that place of being 30 lbs overweight and not taking care of myself, because this time, I cared about myself and my wellbeing. Because of this, I’m at my naturally healthiest weight. WITHOUT OBSESSIVELY COUNTING ANYTHING.
Not only that, but I’ve walked client after client through this exact process and every single one of them says the same thing: “I feel so free! How did I not know I could live this way?”
(Which leads me to a long rambling tirade about diet culture and the disordered eating patterns the fitness industry has brainwashed us with, but that’s another email.)
I want you to know this too: It does not have to be this way. Treat yourself from a place of love and compassion, practice relentless self-care rather than self-control, and reap the rewards.
What would it feel like to live life with that kind of freedom? Let me know!
PS – If you need help finding this freedom and want my guidance through the process, there are a couple of ways you can work with me: Apply for 1:1 coaching (I have two openings in the month of March) or join my group coaching program #FastFitMoms today and have instant access to me.