The following concepts from my book, The Truth About Beauty, can help you break out of your self-destructive, restrictive food prison.
When it comes to food, many Americans live each day either in a temporarily “successful” state of self-deprivation (in the name of weight loss) or in a rebound period of overindulgence. As a result, the rate of eating disorders in women is at an all-time high—as much as 65 percent, according to some figures.
Last month (see July's Biggest Gainer Part 1), I shared the story of Kim from Kemah, Tex., who traded in a lifetime of overexercise and fat restriction for nutrient- and fat-indulgence (and didn’t gain an ounce of weight doing it) while at my Total Transformation program in North Carolina. This month, in the spirit of Better Nutrition’s prevention theme, I’m sharing my own victory over the “boot camp” mentality, as well as some concepts I’ve honed doing my Total Transformation programs for more than 10 years. I hope they can help you avoid harsh self-treatment in the name of physical transformation just as they’ve helped me.
Give Up the “Boot Camp” Mentality
Many a love-hate relationship with food begins with innocent dieting and calorie restriction, followed by bingeing that, in turn, leads to harsher extremes, such as skipping meals, exercising obsessively, and purging. This was my story. In college, all the emotional and spiritual work I did couldn’t stop my worsening binges and periods of starvation. Throughout the first half of my adult life, I “successfully” starved myself for weeks or months between bingeing streaks, losing the same 40 pounds repeatedly. It wasn’t until I got sick with a failing liver that I finally woke up and looked into nutrition, which saved my life. I never dreamed, however, that nutrition would give me a life free from cravings and weight gain.
My then “perfect” diet of whole grains, vegetables, and fat-free desserts could hardly be improved on—I thought. I was proud of it, but puzzled that I still had uncontrollable urges around food (and thus, the need for constant attempts at restriction). By using supplements to correct biochemical imbalances and experimenting with a high-fat, grain-free/nonstarchy diet, I experienced a quantum leap to total peace with and in my body for the first time—and the resulting end of any need for self-deprivation, since I was no longer compelled to overeat. With zero effort or intention to lose weight, 10 dress sizes melted off over the next few years. That is a miracle if you consider that the first half of my life was about white-knuckle restriction and dietary fat avoidance, followed with heroin-like food binges and a totally shot metabolism.
Was I just lucky that I could stop starving myself, eat fat, lose weight, and find freedom from my fear of weight gain? To find out, I started conducting Total Transformation retreats in 1998. I wanted to see if others would experience the same amazing peace, weight normalization, and skin and energy improvements if they “lived along” with my somewhat unusual lifestyle principles. To my delight, they did: I have since found many success stories similar to mine.
Better than Boot Camp: Science and Strategy Beat Suffering
It turns out that any diet that halts blood sugar and insulin spikes also allows the cells to regain sensitivity to the powerful antiaging, weight, and hunger-regulating hormone leptin. This is great news for those who have resigned themselves to a lifetime of suffering for slimness. But it is almost impossible to derive this effect without generous amounts of fat in the diet. High protein alone doesn’t work, as the excess protein will turn to sugar. “High protein without enough fat will fail to keep you from spiking blood sugar, and will not allow your proper leptin and satiety signaling to return,” says Ron Rosedale, MD, author of The Rosedale Diet and a pioneering researcher on the hormone leptin. “If you don’t get enough fat, you will likely eat too much protein, which then turns to sugar,” he says.
I invite you to experience better health and true freedom from food cravings. As we mentioned in the July issue, we are looking for 10 Better Nutrition readers to follow my Total Transformation program for a chance to win a free trip to my week-long retreat. There, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to cook delicious dishes that nourish your body, satisfy cravings, and do not spike blood sugar. All of this takes place in the beautiful Lake Lure region of North Carolina. Click here
to enter today.
Exercise is a powerful antidepressant. It increases circulation and moves lymph fluid, and is therefore both nourishing and detoxifying to the body. Moderate exercise lowers cortisol and increases the release of natural human growth hormone, which helps promote youthful vitality. But many weight-obsessed people who believe that fat makes you fat, are engaged in excessive exercise that is anything but self-nurturing. If your workout is no longer enjoyable, or if you feel a significant drop in self-esteem, or even antisocial as a result of a missed workout, you might find new comfort and gentle compassion for yourself once you look beyond the calorie-burning paradigm of weight loss to the biochemical workings that could be revolutionizing your ability to burn fat and end hunger without all the sweat and suffering.