Being in the world of fitness and believing in the things I do about health is a little hard. Sure, I could easily tell you how to lose weight and get six pack. I could tell you how to be fitter than you’ve been in your whole life. I could convince you to get off sugar and live on greens. I could make this engine here have a million followers overnight by exploiting my own body, turning in my galactic kitten leggings for perfectly designed butt shapers, and taunting you on social media with incredible before/afters.
But, I’m not here for that. You know that. That’s why you’re here too.
What I find rather quickly, though, is that people start doing this “intelligent strength” thing and they soon realize that while they are feeling stronger than they have in their entire life, some of the other health goals they have are still untouched. They’re not losing weight like they hoped. They’re not getting those “David” muscles they sorta dreamt about. They’ve still got a bit of a pooch. And they start to get antsy and they start to think, HMMMM, maybe I can do some more stuff now and get “there.” Because being integrated just doesn’t feel quite enough.
This is when they reach out for nutrition help.
And this is when I ALWAYS get a bit stuck. I mean, I know how to give them amazing care in the nutrition department. I know it will help their lives, as it has helped mine. I know exactly the hows, whats, and all of its that they can do to make the food stuff really make a difference in their life. And, yet, I also know something bigger: It will destroy them.
Not because it’s too hard. Not because they don’t have willpower.
It's because it goes against the fabric of your soulful, healthy self to follow any level of restrictive eating. And it will destroy you. It’ll summon forth obsessiveness, fear, scarcity, and isolation. It will literally make your entire day fade away into a blur of food rules. Your plate becomes your world. And your soul then revolts or skulks. It will never ever ever ever thrive in this mode.
Be objective for a minute about it and consider some of the forerunners in the world of dieting. Oprah, great example. If perfect eating and restrictive dieting worked, this woman would have ZERO weight issues. Yet. We know that story is quite the opposite, right? If Weight Watchers and Slim Fast and all of it worked, well, they simply wouldn’t be gazillion dollar industries. Why are they a gazillion dollar industry? Because people get immediate results, but then they soon start eating in excessive rebellion (as anyone normal human would) and BOOM they gain all the weight back, plus more. And then they run back to the structure of a program for a quick fix, which equals $$$$$$ for that company.
Even the latest craze, Whole30, which is actually based on a truly beautiful way to eat, causes the same pattern and has become equally profitable due to this adherence followed by rebellion pattern. I can’t tell you how many people I see who have picked up Whole 30 for a month and then dropped it for 4 months, only to then dive back in again, this time with even greater fervor.
Consider Wayne Dyer, the late self help guru (self-proclaimed), who considered it his purpose in life to teach “self-reliance.” No offense, but if he was really teaching self-reliance than he ought to have sold just one book. Yet, he wrote more than 41 books, each of them selling tens of millions of copies. His conferences sell out every single year. Why? Because people get a high off of his teachings, they change their life for a minute, and then they have to run back for more when the high runs off.
Now, I’m not knocking ANY of these diets, or fads, or gurus - not at all. I’m just asking us all to get a little smart about the fact that they do not work. And instead of deciding that it’s the state of humanity that is the problem, perhaps it’s simply that we as humans don’t engage in personal change this way. Maybe it’s that our souls don’t evolve through these pathways. Plain and simple.
What I am suggesting is that you put away the restrictive eating books. And the dreams of that next diet you’ll do next month. Or that cleanse that your neighbor Betty did and now looks like Linda Hamilton from Terminator. Put it all away and simply accept the fact that restriction doesn’t work. Restriction equals rebellion. More importantly, though, restriction squashes your life force and your sense of freedom. It carves away at the landscape of possibility and adventure, putting in it’s place a bunch of zipped up containers with very bleak walls. You don’t need to live there to receive and experience health. In fact, you CANNOT live there.
Consider for a second how much energy it takes to apply these diets and this way of living. And remember how powerfully intoxicating that energy is at first. You feel like you’re doing something important. You feel like you know something other people don’t. Yet, you’re also having to wake up at 4:31am to get your dinner prep done, you’re buying sugar-free bacon that costs $89.96 a package, and you’re having to sneak tupperware containers of perfectly formed free range bison burgers into a fancy weddings because their menu didn’t have anything “safe” for you to eat. This is SO much energy. What if - get ready for it - instead of being healthy, as this diet may lead you to believe, you are instead harmfully misdirecting your power into your body instead of expressing it productively out to the world?
It very well could be possible that the energy with which you want to conquer these diets and this seeming discipline is actually energy that needs to be diverted outside of that amazing body of yours. Maybe you’re afraid of that. And, so, it feels easier to turn it inward. To keep it boxed up, to keep it from exploding with brilliant sparkles into your life, to keep it contained, and keep you on the down low.
I don’t think about food or talk about food the way you might assume I would, yet I am passionate about how I feed my body. Because I see my body as a vehicle for showing up. I didn’t get here by following a diet for long enough or being disciplined long enough. No, I did it because showing up demanded it. My car left the garage and I had to start fueling it so that it could get down the road. Period. With two autoimmune diseases and some other weird stuff, there’s certain ways I have to eat if I want to keep this vehicle going. And those things have become, without force or difficulty, non-negotiable. They are just MY formula for MY fuel for MY showing up.
So, I vote that you drop all the rules and you simply follow the Show Up Diet. How do you follow this? Stop thinking about what is good or bad, ignore the rules you have learned, stop demonizing anything about the incredible gift of food, and start agreeing to become visible. And start small. My dear friend, Teya Sparks, was the one who instigated this in my life years ago by simply telling me to get dressed everyday. Get dressed like it would be ok if I ran into an old friend at the grocery store. And this is not about appearance. It’s about visibility. And it’s about not hiding.
Feed your skin so that you can be seen. You know how to do it. You were born with knowing how to do it. Children, in fact, hate green food when they are young because their taste buds are primed for survival. Bitterness could mean that the food is poisonous, so they are naturally deterred from eating anything bitter, including those yummy salad greens you slaved over with love. You know what your body needs. You know what makes it feel sluggish. You know the things you do that make you want to hide the next day, or the next year. You know what makes your face dull. You know what makes your belly bloat. You know these things. It’s not restriction that you need to engage in, it’s love for the vehicle that will help you express your soul.
What’s the Show Up Diet? Easy.
- Do one scary thing each day. Tony Hsieh of Zappos is such an introvert that in order to be successful in business, he forces himself with exposure by doing one scary thing each day. He’ll dye his hair red or take a class he’s never taken. He says it’s the ticket to his joy and success. I think it’s the ticket to motivation for your health. Getting that metaphorical car out of the garage is going to demand that your body start wanting what your soul needs.
- Don’t talk about it. Make it personal. Your formula for showing up is yours and yours alone. Whatever fuels that vehicle of yours, hold it tight.
- Don’t be rigid. When you’re respecting your needs for visibility, you’ll be able to handle breaking the rules once in a while. You know how to come back home. True health is resilient.