Typically I blog about recipes I've created or found that inspire and delight me [as seen http://www.returntothegarden.blogspot.com/]. Right now, however, I want to break for a minute from my standard recipe-driven posts and talk about a side of life that is far too often misconstrued. It's the part of life that is dictated by a certain four letter word that makes the hairs on the back of my, and probably your, neck quiver. D-I-E-T.
My guess is at some point in your life you have tried a diet or been aware that it's a new year so "you should go on a diet". Within days or weeks of attempting what was touted as a "miracle fat buster", you stopped wondering what happened to that miracle? You may have wanted to loose weight and did for a short time but found your body quickly plateaued and then began to gain the weight back. Maybe you wanted to gain weight and took on a high protein, supplement-packed diet. A few weeks in you found yourself tired, irritable, depressed, and struggling with insomnia - issues that may not have been there before. Lack of results, boredom, or "absence of discipline" led you right back to your normal, comfortable lifestyle, waiting for the next new diet to peek your interest. Thus began a series of diet "failures" and theft of your trust in the entire health system.
No matter where you fit in this picture, I would bet you gave yourself a good beating for not having the discipline to complete the diet or the willpower to say no to certain foods when your body craved them. My guess is you walked away from that diet feeling like, well, a loser and found yourself either searching for the next miracle diet or headed to the freezer to commiserate with Ben & Jerry. At least they could offer you some sweet relief and a temporary endorphin high.
The problem with many of the diets that line the bookstore shelves and news headlines is that they fail to look at you as a unique individual with a unique lifestyle and personality. They pigeon hole you into a category: obese, nearly obese, moderate, perfect, underweight, or dead. You may be overweight, underweight, or struggle with chronic health issues, true, but you also have goals, dreams, skills, desires, likes, dislikes, a family and / or significant other, a job, emotions, personality, morals, values, spiritual beliefs, a set of genes, and a past. All of these things add up to make the one and only you and many diets, in failing to realize this, belittle your existence.
Release yourself from carrying that burden - the one that says somehow you failed, you're a loser, you never finish anything, you can't do anything right.
You didn't fail the diet, the diet failed you. You didn't complete the diet because the diet was incomplete. You couldn't finish because the diet was unfinished.
I want to say this again: You didn't fail the diet, the diet failed you. Repeat this as many times as it takes for you to begin to believe it. I didn't fail the diet, the diet failed me.
The essence of holistic healing is to help you succeed rather than set you up to inevitably fail. This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about this way of living.
I encourage you to look at your life and ask yourself what kind of physical activity do I like? What whole, nourishing foods do I enjoy? What hobby or activity do I do that, when I do it, I loose track of time? What makes me feel alive? Where in my life would I like to grow? Find someone [like a health coach or counselor] who can help you harness these qualities that are so deeply ingrained in your being and use them to work towards your personal goals. Find someone who will see you as something greater than a number in the recent headlines or a place on a graph, but as the unique and beautiful person you are.
As snow begins to fall and our world heads for hibernation, may you find wholeness and health, rest and well-being. In the same way that each snowflake is impossibly unique, may you begin to see yourself as an intricate masterpiece, designed by a master artist. May a spark be lit deep within you and may you begin to trust in truly living again.