I know I don’t talk about it all that much on the blog, but I once wrote a book that was once a best-seller, called Sexy by Nature. Sexy by Nature set forth my whole argument for how to be a Heathly Woman.
By “healthy” I meant all of the different kinds of health all over your body and your spirit – from the circulation in your toes all the way to the serotonin in your brain, and most especially the happiness you can discover and enjoy on the way.
One of the most important parts of the book is the section titled “Eat.” I describe a diet. I call it The Sexy by Nature Diet.
That seems simple enough, right?
However. it is difficult to use the word diet appropriately. I don’t ever want to cause feelings of alarm. The Sexy by Nature diet isn’t a diet. It’s not a lose-10-pounds-in-a-week scheme. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a way of eating. It’s a way of life.
The other day, I was on a plane for eight hours from Dublin to Boston. I had a lot of time to think. And I thought – the question came to me – if I had to use the word “diet” to describe what I believe in and the amazing stuff this community is up to here at Paleo for Women, what is the BEST word to put in front of it?
What is the BEST diet?
The BEST diet, I think…
(Another word for the Sexy by Nature diet…)
is the LOVE DIET.
We here at Paleo for Women are Love Dieters. Our eating habits are predicated on a foundation of love first and foremost. And so by doing so… we’re not on a diet at all.
Here are principles you live by if you are on a Love Diet:
1) You love your body by…
Forgiving and Accepting your Body
When you are on the Love Diet, you forgive your body for it’s “imperfections.” You accept its genes; you accept its history; you accept the things that have happened to it throughout your life.
Who and what you are at this very moment is the collection of decades of different foods and behaviors, events and trials, struggles and joys. Your life has been one big complicated mess, and your body has been trying it’s best to be healthy all along.
So you forgive your body. All of the “flaws” that you perceive or experience are NOT your body’s fault. They are the WORLD’s fault, because the world is a hard place to live in.
If you are on a Love Diet, your Hate dissolves. You sit back and watch it dissipate away. You see your body as a beautiful, gentle organism doing its best in a tough world. And you experience joy as you love it and appreciate it, and you nourish it with the love it deserves.
#2) You love your body by…
Giving your body the good fuel it deserves
When you are on the Love Diet, every decision you make is based out of love.
This means that more often than not you choose to eat healthy, nourishing, natural foods. You choose the strawberries, the oranges, the quinoa, the wildcaught salmon, the pasture-raised eggs. You do so because you know that these foods are not only delicious but also because they are full of powerful nutrients that make your body and your mind strong.
It might not always be super easy to adapt to this way of eating or to stick with it, but because you love yourself and want to provide the fuel you need for a healthy body and a happy life, you make the commitment to yourself.
#3) You love yourself by…
Letting your mind look out for your body
In the dieting world, we often say “listen to your body!” This is awesome most of the time. It helps us take naps when we need them, as well as eat carbohydrates when we need them, or get the right amount of protein we need.
The problem with saying that sometimes, however, is that the body often craves foods you know are wrong.
For example, you might crave a Snickers bar. But your mind knows that the reason you feel that way is that advertising agencies have hijacked your taste buds. They have bombarded you with advertisements and have at some point or another flooded your tastebuds with highly palatable sugars and fats and addictively good chemicals. So you end up daydreaming about Snickers Bars during board meetings.
When you are being used and misled for the sake of someone else’s bottom line, your tastebuds might be too confused to know what’s best for you.
Your body will not be any healthier after the Snickers bar. So when you are on the Love Diet, you listen to your body, but you also know that sometimes it needs guidance from your mind. You put down the Snickers bar, and grab a Trader Joe’s coconut slice instead.
#4) You love yourself by…
Letting your heart have a say
When you are on the Love Diet, sometimes you know a food isn’t the absolute healthiest food for you, like a piece of birthday cake, but you eat it anyway.
And then you move on with your life!
Your diet does not have to be perfect in order to be good. In fact, when you are on the Love Diet, sometimes you eat “unheathy” foods, and it doesn’t bother you at all. You even celebrate these occasions, because they are a symbol of your joy and your freedom! You are not a slave to your healthy diet – it doesn’t control you. Instead, you control it, and you choose it.
During the holidays it can be a real joy to take a taste of the cookies your aunt has made every year for the last 30 years. Special occcasions are great times to reax and to feed your soul in this way.
Yet it doesn’t even have to be a special occasion to eat something on the lower end of the health scale. What if you are stressed out and just know that a Fudgesicle woud feel SO GOOD? Or what if you simpy miss Spicy Chicen Sandwiches at Wendys? (I know I do!!)
When you are on the Love Diet, you get to know yourself. Can you have a treat but not fall off the wagon? On the Love Diet, you trust and love yourself enough to use your best judgment, and to sometimes go ahead and simply eat the darn thing. Then you just keep on focusing on heathy foods.
Which brings me to principle #5:
Principle #5: You love yourself by….
Making choices, not following rules.
Rules are not how a Loving Diet works.
When you are on the Love Diet, you don’t punish yourself, demand excessive willpower, or live by harsh rules. Instead, you make choices. You choose good food because it is good for you.
On the Love Diet, you don’t force yourself to eat things you don’t like or to eat in a way that makes you unhappy. Instead, you find a way to make good food work for you. It’s a choice, and every day that you make the choice you can love it. YOU control your choices. THEY don’t control YOU.
#6) You love yourself by…
Never basing your dietary practices off of the way that you look.
The Love Diet is NOT about being skinny.
It’s not even about having muscles.
Or putting Success Story Selfies on Instagram.
It is, instead, about health. It’s about feeling. It’s about nourishing your body so that you can be mentally and physically strong, and so that you can play with your kids, move your furniture, go to your job, and kick ass in life.
When you are on the Love Diet, you don’t have pictures of models taped to your refrigerator. You don’t pinch your thighs in the mirror every morning and hate yourself. You are not ashamed of your dress size.
You are, instead, proud of yourself for being a woman empowered in her own skin who forgives, accepts, loves, and has patience for her body. You are at home in your body. You are in awe of the many things your body does for your every day that are so easy to take for granted, like breathing, standing, moving, seeing, listening, and laughing.
#7) You love yoursef by…
If you are on the Love Diet, eating the perfect food is NOT the focus of your life.
Instead, you do your best to be heathy so that you can have a rich life full of love for the people around you.
Heath is GREAT. But the whole point of it is to be HAPPY. Once you are healthy – or heathy enough – then you have the energy and spirit you need to live your life. This enriches your life; it enriches your community; and it aso enabes you to set a beautiful, illuminous example to all the other women in your world.
When you are on the Love Diet, the loving practices you develop for yourself flow over into your work, your social life, and everyone you encounter. You make the world a better place. And I am nothing but extraordinarily grateful that you do this.
In the end, the Sexy by Nature diet, the Paleo for Women diet, whatever you want to call it, IS the Love Diet – it just has a different name. You could even disagree with me about what the healthiest foods are – we could still both be on the Love Diet. I mean, I’ll go ahead and prove you wrong (this is a joke)… but my point is, so long as you’re doing your absolute best to nourish yourself and be loving and forgiving in life, you’re on The Love Diet Books.
The Love Diet is about nourishing yourself. It’s about integrating heathy foods into your daily life. It’s about putting punishment in the past. It’s about focusing on a healing journey… not on being perfect right now.
When you are on The Love Diet, you are focused on being a heathy person, a whole person, who is vibrant and alive and joyful. You reject the terrible way the media tells you to feel about yourself. You stand up and say “no.” You are a role model for young women and girls everywhere, something that the world desperatey needs.
So if you are on a diet, choose love. Choose the Love Diet. Once you are on the Love Diet–your journey might not be perfect–but you never look back.