“You’re allowed to eat a bit of cake, but what you’re not allowed to do is to punish and hate the amazing body you were given.”
Take control over how you think about your health and learn what may have been as issue for you your entire life. Discover the key of what is holding you back from having the healthy body you deserve. And make today the start of your new healthy life. Blog based on an interview with speaker, therapist, behavioural expert and best-selling author Marissa Peer.
There are diets everywhere and many of us feel like we’ve been trying everything to loose weight, get into shape, to be healthy, slim or whatever it is that we desire. Including myself. I’ve done several typical yoyo diets through the years and I know how exhausting and unhealthy it is.
When I was in my early twenties I wanted to get into better shape, I thought I would love my body more. I decided I was going on a strict diet, no sugar, no chocolate, no pizza, no ice cream, no candy ever again. What I really told myself was that I was gonna diet my body into submission, I was gonna punish my body and force it to something it didn’t naturally want to be, because I thought I’d like and love myself more. The sad part is that I know I’m not the only one who tried this, or is doing this. Young girls and boys do it, those instagram models do it, people who look healthy on the outside do it, men and women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s… it doesn’t have an age, or gender. Too many of us punish our bodies everyday in different ways.
Most of us would be very surprised to hear that diets have 98%, yes, a 98 % failure rate. That means they have a 2% success. Research show the longest time we can stay on a strict diet is 6 short weeks. So when you decide to go “no sugar ever again, no cookies ever again, I will never again have cake for the rest of my life”, you’re actually setting yourself up to fail. You cannot stay on a strict diet like that for more then 6 weeks if it’s depriving yourself. Yes, you can become a vegan for the rest of your life, but that’s different. A vegan says “I don’t wanna eat animals, I love animals and I’m not eating them again.” And they do it willingly. A diet is when you love cake and pizza but you’re giving them up and you just eat that rabbit food that you don’t really enjoy. You’re depriving yourself.
Diets fail, and the reason they fail is they are too hard. When you restrict yourself and start to give up things, you miss them. Diets will never work long term, the only way to ever succeed at changing the way you eat is by really wanting to do it. And not seeing it as a diet, rather your way of eating, by your own choices.
A vegetarian wants to be a vegetarian. You can take sugar out of your tea, you can give up junk but you have to really really want to. Because when you love burgers, pizza, sugary coffees and muffins but you can’t have it, you know what happens? You actually want them more. So deciding to ban yourself from things you love does not work long term. But you can find alternatives that work.
You need to understand that if you have a wish, a desire, a dream to be healthy so you look better, feel better, live longer, doesn’t get sick, to be slim, lean or lighter… regardless what it is – forcing your body onto a restricted diet will not only not work, it will actually make it worse. Because when you deny yourself something, by nature you actually want more of it. Dieting simply doesn’t work.
People do this with the gym as well, “I’m going to the gym and I’m gonna be there for hours, I’m gonna work out, I’m gonna do aerobics, I’m gonna do heavy weights, I’m gonna punish my body and make myself become leaner, lighter, slimmer, fitter, healthier. But I actually hate the gym, I hate running but I will make myself do it.” That also doesn’t work. When you do something you absolutely hate you pay a price.
Another reason that people fail to reach their goal to wellness, slimness, health and fitness is they do it for the wrong reasons. “I need to get into that shape for this guy or girl to like me”, “I need to be in a certain shape cause social media told me that’s how I should look like”, “I need to look like this, cause I don’t count unless I’m skinny with big curly hair”. But what if you’re big with skinny straight hair does that mean you don’t mean anything? Of course you do! We make up these ideas about ourselves that aren’t true, they’re lies. Of course you matter, just the way you are. When you look at magazines and social media they tell you how you should look like and act like and it’s very unrealistic. If you’re going to the gym and putting yourself on a diet to please someone else, to make someone love you, to get those envied looks at work or in school it also won’t work. I’ve worked in showbiz for many years where you see how many girls literally compete who has the smallest waist, who has a thigh gap, skinniest legs, slim arms, lean stomach and guys do it too with other specifics and it get’s pretty competitive. It’s the same if you do it to look good on social media, it’s all done for the wrong reasons, it’s to impress someone else. None of these reasons will help you succeed in being healthy. You know what it will do? It will actually make sure that you don’t succeed.
So how do you successfully get and maintain the body and health that you like?
You have to fall in love with yourself and you have to fall in love with exercise. Take me in my early twenties, I did the classic yoyo’ing diet which is very very common. My eating has never been terrible off but I would eat quite a lot of bread, pasta, candy, chocolate, chips and ice cream and then after some time I would go on a strict diet, and then all my diet was, was lettuce, vegetables, chicken, salmon and water. And when I lost some weight I celebrated with going back to what I used to eat. So I was punishing my body and then rewarding it with junk. And if you punish yourself you have to reward yourself, they go together. I’m gonna deprive myself of everything and then I’m gonna have a reward. When your mind is doing punish, punish, punish, punish, deprive, deprive, deprive it wants a reward. Have you ever met a vegan that says “I’ve been a vegan for a year now I’m gonna celebrate with a big steak.” No never. You don’t meet vegans that says they’ve been a vegan for so long and every now and then I have bacon as a reward because they are not into the punishment. The point is to not punish your body.
So what I learned is that I looked at my body and I told myself it’s a beautiful body just the way it is. I thought of all the things it does for me, it really does so many great things and what I did, was to punish it and I force it to do something it didn’t want to do. Instead I started to fall in love with my body and instead of making myself run on the treadmill for hours and hours, which I didn’t even enjoy I started sprinting, lifting weights, skipping, jumping and dancing – things I actually liked, things I used to do as a child. Now I move because I love my body and I understand that my body loves to move. It’s self love. I make sure my foundation, my body is healthy and strong. That doesn’t mean I have to be shredded and lean the whole time – but I’m always healthy and I give my body what it needs; good food, sleep, water, exercise and love.
When you eat the same thing over and over again you like it. If your breakfast always contain lots of sugar your body will crave that. If your breakfast is a fresh juice, your body will very quickly ask for that too. Eating should never be about depriving yourself, it is about loving yourself. Loving your body by giving it real food because the body likes that.
The most important key is
“I’ve chosen to do this, and I feel great about it.”
When you look at a menu and you see “Oh they have pizza, burgers, cakes and ooooh apple pie that I freakin’ love”, but you tell yourself “I can’t, can’t, can’t have it” your mind says “eat the pizza, eat the burgers, eat the cake and definitely eat that apple pie”. You’re saying you want it, but can’t have it so it’s stuck in your head and remember that where you place your attention is where you place your energy.
An example are brides that buy their dress too small and then they do the so called ‘terror diet’, they are terrified that they won’t fit into the dress or that they will walk down the isle looking fat and that terror is actually making them eat more junk than they ate before. Because they are back into the punishment. They tell themselves what they can’t have, and they fill their head with what they want. What does work is, “I can have junk, I can eat that apple pie, in fact I probably have another 60 years to eat all of that but right now I wan’t to look good in my wedding dress, I want to look good on the beach, I want to look good in my underwear or maybe with no clothes at all, and I’m choosing to eat better food cause then I’m choosing to feel the way I want to feel.” Here’s the truth, if a cake could make you happy, if a chocolate bar could make you happy, don’t you think it would’ve done it by now? Of course it doesn’t work, one chocolate bar won’t make you happy, so what’s ten going to do?
First of all – you’ve got to use that word – I’m choosing this and choosing to feel great about it. I’m choosing to go to the gym and I’m choosing to feel good about it. And if you’re choosing to have cake then you also have to feel good about it, no punishments. There are more gyms, more healthy foods, more whole foods, more diets than ever before. And guess what else there’s more of? More out of shape, more unhealthy people than ever before because forcing your body to do what it doesn’t want to do doesn’t work. It makes you resist it. When you don’t want to do it and you try to force it upon yourself the resistance increases. When you say you can’t have ice cream, must not have ice cream, I’m not allowed to have ice cream, guess what you wan’t to have? Of course – ice cream. When you deprive yourself from anything you actually wan’t it more.
You cannot force health upon you. You can’t punish your body to health. Here’s what you can do:
It’s more important to get good stuff in then to take bad stuff out. It’s way more important to put good food in. If you put in good food 80% of the time your body can cope with a bit of junk. This is called 80/20.
80% of my diet is good and I can have a little junk. I tried to cut sugar so many times – no sugar – no sugar – never sugar, and it never worked for more then a few weeks. If you instead say I’m allowed to have that dessert or candy once or twice a week, maybe on a weekend, that will make your life a lot easier, and it’s realistic. So if you’re going to someones birthday party you can enjoy a dessert, and you won’t punish yourself for it. Because I’m choosing to eat this dessert and I’m choosing to feel good about it. Therefore I can handle it and I’m not going to dive into a yoyo diet again. I can have that one piece of cake and enjoy it. Make sure to not always have the same day, or to lock yourself to even have one separate day, the key is – don’t make it restricted for yourself. If your diet is great 80% of the time, if you put the good stuff in then you can cope with a bit of bad stuff.
If you hate olives and you ate one olive everyday for 10 days, by day 11 you want that olive. When you take the sugar out of your tea or when you stop drinking artificially sweetened drinks eventually you wont like that anymore. But you gotta keep going, you can’t stop just because the tea wasn’t as good without sugar, or you switched from coke to water and you didn’t like it, you’ve gotta give yourself 10 days straight, sometimes more for you to like it.
Equally important with exercising, find some form of moving that you like first. Start with walking, jogging, cycling, yoga or maybe Zumba which is created for people to fall in love with moving. As you start moving you will realize that you’re body loves to move and then you can go to the gym because you do like exercising, then it will last.
Years ago when we were living in tribes, we would always remember where sugar was because that’s how we survived on the planet. If we found honey we would keep going back, if we came across ripped mango we would go back until it were gone. Nature actually want you to remember where sugar is and go back for more. Which is a very good reason why not to keep it in your house. Because nature also wants you to feel hungry when you’re around food. Because in tribes we didn’t have shops, when someone took food home from a hunt we all wanted to eat it cause we didn’t know when we would see food again. We are hard wired to remember where sugar is, we are hard wired to want to eat if it’s in our line of vision, so do not keep cookies and chocolate on your coffee table cause you will want to eat them. Alcoholics don’t keep alcohol in the house if they’re stopping drinking. People who stop smoking don’t keep a pack of Marlboro light on the coffee table, they understand that if I can see it, I want it.
There is no food in nature that is a combination of fat and sugar, we have fat like avocado, nuts, olive oil and oily fish and we have sugar in sugary fruit and honey. But we don’t have sugar and fat together. The only natural food that is a combo of sugar and fat is breast milk. And the food industry spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to give you the bliss point, the perfect combo of sugar and fat although it’s actually very unnatural. Fat is your best friend, sugar isn’t. Eat more fat, more avocados, oily fish, nuts and seeds.
Remember, don’t punish your body, work with it. Don’t deprive, deny and force yourself to be healthy. Instead find something you love like Zumba, yoga or making your own smoothies in the nutribullet. Remember if you have a healthy diet 80% of the time you will be healthy, you will live longer, look better and feel good.
Feeling good does not come from punishing your body and hating it – it comes from loving yourself. I’m exercising because it’s self love, I’m gonna drink water cause I love my body, I’m gonna eat clean 80 % to give my body good stuff and then you become one of those people who actually does like the gym, who likes running and walking and who does like healthy food. Because you’re doing it for the right reason – because you love yourself. You love yourself enough to say I’m not eating doughnuts and hot dogs because they are chemicals – I’m eating nice food because I love my body. After all you have one body and you expect that body to look after you and keep you well for a long long time. If you want your body to look after you then you got to look after it back.
Here’s a wonderful thing, if you do one nice thing for your body, that yoga, Zumba, walking, juicing or drinking water, just one nice thing, your body will do so many many many nice things for you. Instead of feeling guilty and bad and hating yourself you will feel great. Because you’re allowed to make a mistake, you’re allowed to eat a bit of cake, but what you’re not allowed to do is to punish and hate the amazing body you were given.
Love yourself, see being healthy as a way of self love which makes your life better. Talk to yourself differently, don’t beat yourself up, don’t hate yourself, you’re not suppose to punish your body – you’re suppose to celebrate it and be nice to it,
and it will be really nice to you.
Blog post based on an interview Marissa Peer.