When it comes to fitness and nutrition I don’t claim to know what works for every woman. I do know I have struggled with body image, weight loss and a female hormonal imbalance called PCOS since I was 10 years old. It’s not a coincidence that’s around the time when I arrived in the U.S. and my nutrition and daily activities changed from 3 meals a day (no snacks), lots of running around the backyard and fun with friends to processed foods, inactivity and loneliness (no English, no friends, no siblings). Back then eating McDonald's was a privilege, so was eating bagels, watching T.V. all day (not an option in DR) and of course drinking soda with every meal.
But enough about me. This post is about us. Women. I often hear the philosophical mantra “Let food be thy medicine” used as reminder to eat healthier foods and eat more mindfully. I like the mantra. However, I think we as women have our own complicated and unique relationship to food and it would be helpful to get a little deeper with this one. How about we try “Let food be thy MENTAL HEALTH medicine”. Women who struggle with body image, self-steam, depression and overeating and develop food addictions can benefit from the journey of understanding who they are, accepting who they are and acknowledging that how they look and feel is not “all good”. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all the fat women in my life. I respect people who are proud and in charge of their health. I do not offer information about weight loss, nutrition, fitness, unless I am asked. My personal mission continues to be to contribute and add value and love to those who share my life journey with me, not to judge, evangelize or badger. Sometimes I feel it affects my lifestyle coaching business. I just cannot say, “Hey my way works, do it.” While it works for me, the only nutrition and fitness plan that will work for you is the one you are willing to commit to. In other words, if you are doing something to improve your health like Weight Watchers, calorie restriction, cardio, yoga, juicing or “cleansing” and is not getting you the results you want then stop wasting your precious time and try something else. Sustainability is the key to lifestyle changes, forcing yourself to fit into somebody else’s idea of health and beauty does not work. Learn as much as you can about the fitness and nutrition options that you find interesting and doable, experiment, and adjust accordingly.
So I’ll come out and say it. I am on a diet. It’s the YARO diet. It’s the one that works for me, it’s based on my understanding of the nutrition research I read, my education at Integrative Nutrition, and the American Council on Exercise, my work with women at Brownstone, the paleo philosophy, my upbringing in a family of Chinese-Dominican chefs and my many years of emotion-driven junk food consumption in New York City BUT most importantly it’s based on my knowledge of myself, my patterns, my weaknesses, my strengths and my emotional fluctuations. Knowing I crave chocolate in a monthly basis, knowing if it’s in my house I will eat it and thus choosing not to buy it, knowing that eating processed carbohydrates constipates me and stresses me out, knowing that anger and sadness trigger my junk food cravings and knowing that I can train my palette to enjoy anything by combining repetition and hunger. In other words, when my blood sugar is low (I am pre-diabetic and grew up with food scarcity) and all there is to eat is liver, that liver tastes amazing.
In conclusion, if you are struggling with weight loss to the point of feeling blue I recommend focusing your energy on learning about yourself.
Some starter questions:
- What does it take for you to commit to a nutrition plan? How about a fitness plan?
- Do you struggle with food scarcity trauma to the point of going into panic mode when you are hungry?
- Do you crave specific foods when experiencing specific moods?
- Do you crave love and reach for the candy?
- Do you simply follow the latest diet or do you research first?
- Do you enjoy going to the gym or do you prefer personal training or small groups?
- Do you often start a fitness plan and a few weeks later find something else to do?
- Whose idea of what an ideal body should look like are you carrying?
- Do you judge other women whose bodies you think are more desirable than yours? Why? What's your definition of desirable?
- In a scale of 1 to 10 how desperate are you for a change? Hint: if you are not on the 8-10 range chances are you are not going to follow any plan.
Hans and I created the Grateful Living Teleseminar to give women who want permanent health (i.e. 8-10 range and ready for a change) on their terms a safe space to learn about practical research-proven wellness and health and explore what works for you in a supportive and intimate environment. It’s a bad business choice, we could just tell you what to do, send you on your way and wait for you to come back to us with so-so results but, we would rather give you a sustainable way to flourish, feel great inside and out and enjoy all that our beautiful world has to offer so that perhaps you can contribute your unique talents too. We don’t want your money (the 10-week class is only $270). We want you to join us in the fight against expensive diet pills, big box gyms, genetically-modified foods, pesticides, environmental racism, irresponsible and misleading marketing (especially in favor of soy, wheat and sugar), surgeries, and fad diets. We must build a movement from the ground up by organizing the fitness industry’s main target: women. Together we can fight back with knowledge and action and look and feel strong, sexy, and serene while doing it.
p.s. Are you enjoying my first ebook, The Holy Grail of Life Coaching? Please don't tell me you haven't read it...It's only $4.99 on Smashwords.com!!
Yaromil Fong-Olivares is a lifestyle coach, fitness trainer and personal power blogger residing in New York City. Contact her for coaching, training, writing, and speaking gigs at email@example.com. To purchase my ebook THE HOLY GRAIL OF LIFE COACHING, click here.