I love the Pablo Picasso quote, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."
Because the truth is that's exactly what it takes to lose weight, keep it off, and build a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
We live in a world of extremes, of black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking. We want to simplify things so much and fit them in their tiny, neat little boxes because that level of clarity feels safe.
But living a healthy, vibrant life doesn't fit into a box. It's filled with nuance, and messy action, and frankly a whole lot of contradiction that you need to create space for in your mind if you want to be successful on this journey.
Enter the magic of duality - where two opposing things exist harmoniously.
The key to playing nicely with duality and using it to fuel your progress instead of feeling overwhelmed by it is to truly truly know yourself. Let's get into some examples.
If you're always tired and stressed out and that's your ongoing excuse for not working out, it's time to feel the fatigue and hit the gym anyways. For you that sweat session will probably leave you feeling much better than when you started.
On the other hand, if you're consistent with your workouts but you hit a wall, your body is probably asking for a truly-needed rest.
This happens to me when my body is fighting something and it happened for a few days last week before my cycle. So I give myself grace in those moments knowing I'll be right back to my routine the second my body gives me the go ahead. Those skipped workouts are not going to become a habit.
I have a client who's working on her all-or-nothing relationship with food and recently she said she's been doing so much better with enjoying a treat and then moving on with her day.
But she then expressed a bit of trepidation because sometimes allowing herself treats opens the door to going overboard.
She's right! Sometimes having regular treats is what keeps you on track and in balance, and then sometimes the little kid part of us takes that inch and runs a mile.
We have to trust in our ability to recognize when we're giving ourselves too much leeway and learn to reel it back in.
I did this just last week. I allowed myself to have a few gluten and dairy free cookies, and some gluten and dairy free cereal when I was having some period cravings.
After that though the cravings kept coming (like they often do when you have more treats than usual) so I had to make a conscious decision to not bring anything else into the house that might be too tempting until I felt back in control.
Sometimes the difference is a personality thing. Some people are moderators and as long as they allow themselves small amounts of unhealthy foods they'll never go overboard.
Other people are abstainers and unless they have hard and fast rules around certain foods, they'll always go overboard.
Other times the difference can be physiological.
A lot of my clients have a bad relationship with food because their blood sugar is all over the place, their hormones are out of whack, and their gut has some major dysbiosis.
All of these things can cause major cravings and a very tumultuous relationship with food. In this case, cutting out certain foods to heal the underlying cause of their poor eating habits is the key to setting them free.
For someone who's never attempted weight loss before and has very little knowledge about food, tracking can be a really insightful tool to learn more about what's going into their body.
They may not have any concept that the chips and guac at Chipotle are 770 calories, or that there was 600 calories in the 2 margaritas they had with dinner, or that the barbeque ranch chicken salad at the Cheesecake Factory is 1980 calories. Knowing all of that could make a huge difference in their journey.
Or even for the person who feels like they're doing everything right, tracking may help them realize that every time they cook with 2 tablespoons of olive oil they're adding 240 calories to their meal.
On the other hand I've seen tracking hugely backfire where people get so obsessive about it it creates major food anxiety, feeds into disordered eating patterns, and oftentimes leads to a binge after days or weeks of being so hyper-vigilant.
I spent 9 months being absolutely perfect on my diet in an effort to heal my h pylori, SIBO, and parasites. And I'm really glad I did, it made a huge difference and I knew I did everything in my power to get better.
However when I discovered a few months later that I also had mold toxicity and that my SIBO came back I decided to take a much gentler approach to healing.
At that point I knew the stress of being overly restrictive was going to cause more harm than good and become its own hinderance to my healing since cortisol can steal resources and energy from virtually every system in the body and it's catabolic (meaning it literally breaks down the body).
So many people I know exist on one side or the other. Either they give themselves way too much grace and never hold themselves to a high enough standard so they never develop the skill of discipline (click here to check out a whole 2-part episode on how to become more disciplined).
Or they're way too hard on themselves, reach for an impossible standard, and can never stay consistent because they feel like a failure every time they fall short and end up giving up.
Like dealing with a little kid you have to know when to give a little tough love and not let them get out of doing their schoolwork or going to practice.
But you also have to know when to be soft and understanding and encouraging when they've made a mistake or are just having a hard time.
This is obviously not an extensive list, but hopefully it gives you some ideas for how to embrace the balance you need in your pursuit of lifelong health.
Need a bit more handholding to get out of that all-or-nothing mindset that keeps sabotaging you? Click here to book a free consultation with me.
That's one of the biggest hurdles I help my clients overcome and conquering that once and for all has given hundreds of women the food freedom they needed to stay consistent, develop a healthier relationship with food, and finally live a life of moderation instead of extremes.
Ready to say goodbye to stubborn weight, uncontrollable cravings, emotional eating, and tummy 'fluff'? Click here to get on the waitlist for Follow Your Gut!!
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The information shared in this blog and podcast are intended for informational purposes only. They are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any health conditions and you should always consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.