One of the biggest questions I get after I drop a bomb like last week (“Eat what you want” – omg!) is this:
“But what about my health?”
“How will I ever get healthy if I only eat what I want to eat?”
First of all: Maybe you will, maybe you won’t.
My job is to help people set the stage for health in their lives, but the level of your individual health depends on a huge number of factors: genetics, environment, the thoughts you think, the amount of effort and time you’re willing to put in, the extent to which health is a value in your life, and so many more.
Know this: you have no obligation to be healthy. You don’t HAVE to choose health.
But if you want to, eating fresh, nutritious food is one of the many places that you can start.
So that being said, why would I ever recommend that you eat ALL THE THINGS and never feel guilty about any of it??
Because if you’ve been on and off diets for years, your first step towards better health needs to be about making peace with your body, and with food.
When you try to control what (or when, or how much) you eat, you’re laser-focusing your energy on ignoring your body’s hunger signals.
And when you train yourself to ignore the physical sensations of your body, “health” becomes something that you think about logically, instead of something that you feel physically.
There is no number on the scale, diet plan, exact number of calories per day, magic proportion of proteins/fats/carbs, or meal timing that will make you healthy. You have to figure this out for yourself based on what feels good to you.
That, in my experience, is the BEST path to sustainable, holistic health: getting deeply in touch with your physical cues of what feels good to you, and what doesn’t. And if you’ve been dieting for the past decade, that’s something that needs to be relearned.
The other thing to understand here is that health does not equal weight loss, and weight loss does not equal health. For many people, these things have become synonymous: If you’re not working towards weight loss, or if you accept your body as-is, that means you’re resigning yourself to being unhealthy FOREVER. This is a huge lie that we’ve been told!!
In fact, there is a ton of scientific research on this, all backing the same truth, which is that you can be fat and healthy. That is absolutely a thing. (Check out the books Health At Every Size or Body Respect by Linda Bacon to learn WAY more about this.)
The belief that health depends on weight is so ingrained in our collective psyche that you might still be wondering,
“Okay, well then what is a healthy weight for me?”
Trick question, y’all! Your healthy weight is whatever weight your body settles at when you are making healthy choices, consistently. Period.
I can’t tell you what will happen to your weight when you start doing this. It could stay the same, it might go up, or it might go down. What I can tell you definitively is that you must be divorced from the desire to lose weight before you can start choosing health for health’s sake.
Otherwise, the dissonance created by these opposing desires will keep you stuck in the diet-binge cycle forever.