21 Things I Thought I’d Never Do (When I Was Drowning in Diet Culture)

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I’m a recovered disordered eater. We’re talking a yo-yo dieting, over exercising, binge eating mad woman.

While, you might know me as a voice of body friendship and food freedom NOW, there was a time when I counted calories with the utmost precision. THEN, I tabulated every single taste of food right down to the habitual sticky-finger-lick while making PB&Js for my elementary-aged lunch packers.

17 calories if it was jelly. 45 for peanut butter.*

Years ago, when I was waiting on the “perfect” body fat percentage and macro-nutrient ratio to exemplify my worth, there were a lot of things I thought I’d never do again. But now, with exercise obsession and irrational food fears far behind me, I’m living the sweet life.

Quite literally.

Here’s a list of things I do now, that I never imagined would be possible when I was drowning in unrelenting addiction to controlling my food and manipulating my body size.

1. Eat chocolate for breakfast.

2. Skip workouts in order to catch up on new episodes of my favorite shows. (If you must know – Grey’s, Handmaids Tale, This is Us & Queen Sugar.)

3. Joyfully consume toast slathered with butter. Ok, let’s be real, “eating toast” should be its own line item. Really, regularly eating any form of bread should make this list. I LOVE BREAD. Shout out to Oprah.

4. Choose my meals based on desire not low-fat/low-carb labels and nutrition facts.

5. Leave food on my plate because I’m full or it’s not all that pleasurable and I DESERVE TO ENJOY WHAT I’M EATING, DAMN IT!

6. Eat chocolate for lunch. Or cookies. Or cake. Or whatever it is that I want in the moment.

7. Drink a glass (or two three) of wine with a meal and feel no shame about it.

8. Forget to eat. I’m admittedly still shocked by this. But, it happens sometimes now that I’m not borderline starving and my body isn’t hellbent on avoiding malnourishment. In time, I always remember to eat and feed myself with joy. But, I actually forget when I’m rushing around in my little blue minivan or enthralled by my latest Zelda session. #closetgamer

9. Get a regular period. PSA: those suckers cut and run (along with your libido, your body temperature regulation, your fertility, your soft skin, strong hair, and stable moods) when you’re eating next to nothing and manically exercising like some kind of elite Olympic athlete. Take my word for it.

10. Dine at restaurants without pre-approving the menu, calling ahead to confirm that the broccoli isn’t sautéed in butter or (GASP) canola oil and making multiple substitution requests because… carbs. I’m sure my food was spit on more than a few times and I DID NOT account for those calories.

11. Bake cookies without having to double the recipe because I’d inevitably devour half of the dough in a full-fledged, blackout binge.

12. Drink intuitively and responsibly. Yep, when you’re dieting you’re more prone to overdo it on alcohol because “it’s a cheat day” and “I’ve already blown it so, I might as well get all my empty calories in now” 0r “tomorrow I’ll do better.” Que the reckless keg stands and flaming shots.**

13. Choose movement based on pleasure instead of calorie burn, “problem areas” and personal trainer approval.

14. Eat chocolate for dinner. Or after dinner. Or immediately BEFORE dinner (my personal fave).

15. Forgo the daily “requirements” of fruits and veggies because I’m actually craving pasta, goat cheese and mint chocolate chip ice cream instead. Hey, that’s green!

16. Purposefully leave my sneakers and workout gear behind while packing for vacation.

17. Like (maybe even LOVE) what I see in the mirror.

18. Be completely disinterested in others’ food choices. Or clothing size. Or weight. Or workout routine.

19. Consume sugar and salt on the regular. Often times, together. ALL THE TIME – GUILT FREE.

20. Quit micromanaging my most basic functions and trust my body to guide me towards the food and movement that’s best for me, in real-time.

21. Help hundreds of women to overcome their own disordered eating behaviors, negative body image and culturally conditioned mindsets.

There’s more. SO MANY MORE.

But, rather than list every liberating moment I’ve had since kicking body-hate and food freak-outs to the curb, I want to leave you with the hope that YOU CAN LIVE YOUR OWN “21 THINGS.”

You can find freedom from the fears and fanaticism.

You can reclaim every moment you think you’ll never have again. You can experience new moments too.

You can trust your body.

You can honor your desires.

You can write your own list.

And you can start today.

If you’re currently battling the diet demons consider making a “wish list” of 21 THINGS YOU HOPE TO DO ONCE YOU DITCH DIETING AND MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE. Then, take intentional steps towards those experiences everyday (with curiosity and plenty of compassion). I can help!

And if you’re already on the other side of the darker days with tracking apps and menacing mirror checks securely in the rearview, consider celebrating with a list of your own. What are you experiencing now that you thought you never would again? Is there anything you’re experiencing for the very first time?

WHAT ARE YOUR 21 THINGS?

*These numbers are embellished because I’m no longer a whiz at calorie counts. But, you get the idea. I was dangerously meticulous about my food intake.
**So, there weren’t any keg stands or flaming shots BUT there were definitely seasons of one-too-many margaritas and a particularly memorable moment that involved vodka infused champagne and all you can eat tater tots.

I love hearing from you so feel free to share your list (or parts of it) with me via comment below or say hello on the CONNECT page.

And if you’re looking to jump start your “liberation list,” be sure to grab your FREE GUIDE. It’s full of lessons, tips and exercises for ditching the diets and breaking up with body-hate for good.

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