Cindy DeCarolis

Are You Tired Of Dieting?

I grew up hating my body and being obsessed with being thin. On TV I saw Marlo Thomas in That Girl, Mary Tyler Moore, and Charlie’s Angels. It was the ‘70’s and thin was in. Designer jeans were all the rage; and they were cut for supermodels with long, lean legs. I was not built for designer jeans.

I wasn’t fat, but people told me that I was. I felt inferior and unworthy because I wasn’t thin enough. While I wasn’t overweight, I definitely had hips, thighs, and a butt. If only I had grown up in an era where curves were embraced, I might have felt better about my body.

My obsession with being thin kicked off a lifetime of dysfunctional eating and exercise habits. The two things I could never do were starve myself or make myself vomit – believe me, I tried. However, I had a myriad of weird health rules and practices. I was extremely restrictive in what I ate during the week, but on the weekends I would eat everything. In front of other people I was the picture of virtuous dieting. If I wanted to eat “junk” I would do that in secret.

I swam every morning and went to aerobics classes after work. I would also sometimes workout during my lunch hour. On the weekends I would often do back-to-back aerobics classes. At night, I would do 500 waist twists and 500 crunches before going to bed. I would berate myself if I missed a workout. If I didn’t get up to swim in the morning I would call myself lazy and not allow myself to eat breakfast.

When I hit 40, my body changed. I always had a flat stomach and small waist – the only thing I liked about my body. But at 40 I started to gain weight, especially in my stomach. This was also a very unhappy time for me. I started bingeing – which led to gaining even more weight. Add to that hormonal changes that resulted in fibroid tumors and a hysterectomy. Now, I am in my 60’s. I have come a long way in terms of trying to accept my body and be “normal” when it comes to eating, but I still struggle every day.

I recently read the book “Intuitive Eating a Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach” by Evelyn Tribole MS, RDN, CEDRD-S and Elyse Resch MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND. I read it back in 1995 when it was first published. At the time, I was deeply ingrained in my diet and exercise habits – and I was in good shape, so I didn’t see these habits as dysfunctional or problematic.

Reading it now, I see their approach as what I always wanted to be when it comes to eating – “normal.” By that, I mean eating when I am hungry, not bingeing, not labeling foods as good or bad, not restricting certain foods, exercising because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good, and honoring my body and my health.

The book is comprehensive, covering everything from the science behind intuitive eating to how to raise your kids to be intuitive eaters, and resources for getting help with eating disorders. If you struggle with food and dieting, I recommend reading the book. For now, I want to share with you the 10 principles of intuitive eating outlined by the authors.

Principle 1: Reject the diet mentality. Restricting doesn’t work.

Principle 2: Honor your hunger. Learn to trust your hunger cues by eating regular meals.

Principle 3: Make peace with food. Try foods that you fear when you are ready.

Principle 4: Challenge the food police. Remove morality and judgement from eating.

Principle 5: Discover the satisfaction factor. Experience eating as pleasurable.

Principle 6: Feel your fullness. Transition away from extreme fullness to more gentle fullness.

Principle 7: Cope with emotions with kindness. Find ways other than food to cope with emotions.

Principle 8: Respect your body. Be grateful for what your body can do. Heal body image distortion.

Principle 9: Movement. Gentle and moderate exercise can help manage stress and anxiety.

Principle 10: Honor your health. The body requires a wide variety of foods to get needed nutrients.

When I began studying to become a natural health professional and health coach, I saw how many mistakes I had been making. Many lifestyle habits I thought were healthy were actually not, despite many of them being promoted as healthy. There is a better way to live. I call it Back to Basics, simple lifestyle strategies with significant impact. I would love to teach you how to live life healthier.

At Blissful Balance LLC, our mission is to help you to live life healthier. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Contact me at cindydecarolis62@gmail.com for a complimentary consultation. You can also visit doTerra to purchase essential oils.