Soon your frustration will outgrow your resistance,
and at that point, change will happen. — Me
Anyone who has had weight-loss success has also had failure.
Think of it as your badge of honor,
and don’t judge what phase you are in. — Me again
It is so incredibly easy to get sucked into the illusion that weight loss is all about food. The logical mind thinks, “Why wouldn’t it be? What I eat is causing my weight gain, so this must be about food.” This initiates the quest to try every diet out there, in order to get your body to a place where you feel “good enough.” Confident. Worthy. Desired. Happy.
We believe the lie that as long as we fit the physical mold of what our culture deems attractive we will be content. In the world of internal belief systems, this is a dangerous combo, and it doesn’t even need to be supersized to pose a threat. The story on loop is the following: if we fit the perfect physical mold, we will live a life of happiness. If we need to lose a few pounds to fit ourselves in, figuratively and literally (wait, who shrunk this thing over the winter?), then we have no choice but to put all our attention and focus on food.
What happens when the diet doesn’t work? We make it about us. We failed, we have no willpower, we don’t deserve it, we will never get there. We make it about our bodies. They just aren’t the same as they used to be, they are stubborn, they are broken and don’t work correctly. If you were asked to build a house and had inadequate training for doing so (lack of wisdom of your body’s unique nutritional needs) and bad building materials (a mind that controls you), would it be your fault if the roof started leaking (a body that doesn’t reflect self-love and deep inner fulfillment)?
To be fulfilled means that you are utterly and deeply filled with the love and adventure life has to offer you. You control the voice in your head so that your higher self calls the shots in your life, you rule how you want to live from a place of deep inner wisdom, and you do so with gratitude, courage, and the perfect recipe of piss and vinegar. You realize that each day is a gift, and you become deeply filled by all the little beautiful moments, hidden blessings, and tiny daily miracles. You start to fill up spiritually, so you no longer need to mindlessly fill yourself up physically, with food. Food becomes a part of the way you experience life, but it is in balance, as are the other pleasures in your life.
When you no longer believe the chattering of the monkey mind, you know that the message it’s constantly trying to convey to you that you are not enough is not true. You don’t need to fill that feeling of not-enoughness with a bowl of popcorn or three hours of nightly TV. You start to crave living life to the fullest. You stop craving food, which, when abused, will dull you and prevent you from living each day in a peaceful, energetic state. When you practice your new core beliefs, life gets easier, and so does healthy eating. Happy people are healthy people.
But What About Food?
Does being spiritually fulfilled automatically make you repulsed by greasy, fried, sugary fare? Of course not. Let’s not get crazy here. Those foods are still delicious and delight the senses, in the right environment. What fulfillment does do is take the power away from food. It neutralizes our obsession with it. It doesn’t make a particular food bad or good. It’s just food.
Some foods will make us feel better than others, but when food loses its power, we can make logical decisions about how often we want to put certain foods into our bodies, and we can make those decisions based on the knowledge of how these foods will make us feel afterward.
Back when I was at war with my body and therefore was totally obsessed with food, vacations always used to magnify the grossness of my inner vulnerability and chaos. I would go on a crash diet before the vacation to get as lean as possible — no carbs or sugar for this bikini body! Then I would plan the entire vacation around the junk I was going to eat. A classic case of the pendulum swing from food prison to reckless abandonment. About halfway through the vacation, I would feel bloated and tired and would drag throughout the day, energy zapped by all the crappy food my body wasn’t used to digesting.
Taking Control of the Mind
Once I started to take control of my mind, my stress levels lowered. Less stress meant more space to take care of myself, and in doing that I started to notice more beauty in each day. I started smiling more, I was playful, and my emotional state allowed me to attract better experiences into my life. For the first time I started to look at my relationship with food for what it was: simply a mirror for where I was on my spiritual path. The more I controlled my stories and leaned on my new beliefs, the healthier my relationship with food became.
After a few years of doing this work, I found myself on the foodie vacation of a lifetime, a honeymoon to Italy. The land of gluten, dairy, and sugar, my old Achilles’ heels, Italy was a perfectly set stage for me to go hog wild. I made it okay to eat whatever I wanted, but I set very strong intentions for honoring my hunger cues and not eating when I wasn’t hungry. I was going to consciously eat my way through Italy, and whatever I weighed when I came home was going to be okay with me!
During this trip the most miraculous, beautiful, unexpected thing happened. After the first two days of eating gluten and dairy at every meal, I woke up on day three not wanting that kind of food. I had removed the mental shackles and made myself feel totally free to eat whatever I wanted. With that newfound food freedom, I ultimately just wanted to feel good. After the first few meals, I could feel my energy lowering, I hadn’t pooped, and I woke up both mornings with a stomachache. The meals were delicious and certainly worth it, but I had had enough.
Throughout the rest of the trip, I ate the most delicious fresh fish and vegetables, with a smattering of bread and gelato here and there. I came home from the trip and weighed myself, and I hadn’t gained a pound. It wasn’t because I was eating clean; I had something not on my regular food protocol every single day. It was a combo of conscious eating and all-day-long movement that kept me steady at the same weight.
The weight wasn’t the victory, even though that used to be the only thing that mattered to me. The weight was a reflection of the more important inner victory: I had made these food decisions out of love, not out of fear or by force; I still enjoyed myself as a total foodie; I did not feel restricted; I experienced so much more than the food on the trip, that I was completely present to be fulfilled by it all.
The lack of postvacation weight gain was a plus, even though I would have felt just as victorious returning home a few pounds heavier. I want you to go on vacation, enjoy yourself, eat foods you normally wouldn’t eat, drink more than you normally would, and enjoy life while maintaining the balance of still feeling good. Don’t let food keep you from enjoying something greater being offered to you. Come home from vacation and get right back into the groove.
If your body goes up and down five pounds, don’t give it another thought. Soak in as much of life as you can, which includes the famous fried cheese-stuffed squash blossom in Italy or the sought-after funnel cake on the pier at your childhood summer vacation spot (which will mean so much more to you than that pint of ice cream on your couch any night of the week).
Creating Ultimate Balance
There is a natural zigzag-shaped path to health that creates ultimate balance without forcing you to sacrifice your health or physical image. You zig a little so you can experience eating foods without boundary, foods that light up your senses in a way that other foods can’t in that moment. Then you rebound back to what will eventually feel normal, healthy, and minimally effortful.
Healthy living will always require effort, but over time that effort feels natural; it is the foundation on which you build your best life. Unhealthy eating feels more like a binge diet than your protein and veggies do, and when you experience that, you have made a true food transformation.
On vacation, it may look like eating dinner out every night but also like taking a taxi to a trusted grocery store as soon as you get there, so that you can stock up on some salads and healthy snacks for in between. During a normal week, it may look like going out to eat and drink with friends on one or two nights, but let’s not forget that you’ve been batch-cooking and exercising most of the week.
No food should be off-limits to you (unless avoiding it is required for healing). You always have to give yourself that choice and the opportunity to reset if, when looking back on the day, you see that you didn’t make the best decision.
Despite all our hard work, we are still human, and we are still imperfect. We will make mistakes, old patterns will pop up when we least expect them, and the occasional binge will remind us that this life is a practice, not a perfect. For this reason, we need to learn how to forgive instantly, authentically, and with a tremendous amount of compassion. We are going to do, say, and eat things that make us cringe. Stories will come back about how unworthy we are, and we need to be ready to forgive, learn, and move forward with a new sense of clarity.
Be Gentler on Yourself
When I ask people to be gentler on themselves, I usually get an answer such as, “Sure, if only it were that easy.” My response is always, “Why isn’t it that easy?” Why do we feel like the longer we punish ourselves, or the harder we are on ourselves, the more change we will create with this type of negativity? How many times do we need to prove that this doesn’t work before we try something new?
Being gentle on yourself is not the same as letting yourself get away with everything. Life creates natural consequences to our actions. It is our natural teacher. There’s no need to fear it; just accept that life is going to teach us lessons that will make us stronger, wiser, and more able to experience fulfillment on every level.
I want to give you permanent permission to be much easier on yourself ! When you feel the mind going toward self-judgment, take a deep breath and repeat after me: “I forgive myself for being perfectly imperfect. I will learn from this and move forward with a stronger mind and a softer heart. Thank you, Universe, for this important lesson.”
Learning to Trust the Universe
Learning to trust the Universe creates a tremendous sense of support and relief. This allows us to look at our weight as a lesson, a blessing in disguise. Not every life event unfolds its meaning to us when we first experience it. We must surrender to what is, and trust that at some point we will understand why everything unfolds exactly as it is meant to.
It is only now that I understand why I grew up with so much anxiety, and why my weight was the messenger that carried my most important life lessons. This serves as a reminder to me that the real work unfolds itself in the moment we are experiencing it, not after the lesson has presented itself.
There are no food mistakes, no unwanted pounds, and no failed diets that aren’t here to teach us something greater about ourselves. These alleged failures hold the key to your food freedom. They are leading you toward the right path. You have to look at them as your guide. They are here to wake you up. What are they telling you?
I believe they tell us to slow down, to put ourselves first, to get clear on what we want. They tell us to let go of the past, embrace the unknown, to write our own story. They teach us that in order to receive all that we want, we have to stop settling for less. We have to do the work.
As we deepen our relationship to these important teachers, the work gets easier. We become empowered. Life gets richer. Our bodies begin to change.
From this perspective, there is no right and wrong path or good and bad behavior. What comes up is simply what is, here to show us where we are, in contrast to where we want to be.
I have a prayer for you. I wish for you to accept your body exactly as it is in this moment, while striving to live in the body you deserve. I wish for you to learn your life lessons in the gentlest way.
I hope you practice these tools so that you may soak up as much as life has to offer, without the mind attempting to label or ruin it. I hope this book leaves you lighter, mentally, spiritually, and physically, as the weight of your thoughts begins to shift and your behaviors start leading to positive change.
Most of all, I hope it becomes easier for you to forgive yourself when you mess up, allowing you to press reset as much as you need to on your path toward food enlightenment.
Copyright © 2019 by Carly Pollack. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New World Library -- www.newworldlibrary.com.
Feed Your Soul: Nutritional Wisdom to Lose Weight Permanently and Live Fulfilled
by Carly Pollack
Countless diets, cleanses, and thirty-day challenges are geared to help people lose weight, heal their digestion, and have more energy. Yet these temporary protocols fall short when it comes to true transformation. Nutritionist Carly Pollack lived a vicious cycle of weight ups and downs until trial and error, and over a decade of formal study in health and healing, led her to the insights she has since shared with thousands. This no-nonsense guide will show you how feeding your soul can change your life, your health, and your body.
Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available in a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Carly Pollack is the founder of Nutritional Wisdom, a thriving private practice based in Austin, Texas. A certified clinical nutritionist with a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, Carly has been awarded Best Nutritionist in Austin five years running and has helped more than fifteen thousand people achieve their health and happiness goals. Visit her website at https://nutritionalwisdom.com/