Essay: Forget Those 10 Pounds and Eat the Cake
- Written By:Danielle Diamond
By seventh grade, I believed that there could only be one thing keeping me from nabbing a cute boyfriend like all my friends had — it was those pesky ten pounds that had to go. Those were the ten pounds that people still referred to as baby fat, but really, when you’re thirteen there’s nothing in your life you want to be associated with being “baby-like,” not even your fat.
I was determined to ditch them, and after sticking to a plan of eating cantaloupe and cucumbers for a few months I lost those ten pounds of baby fat plus ten more just to be safe. Soon everyone was telling me how great I looked, and there began my obsession with what size jeans I wore.
I could go on throughout the decades with more examples of how my weight and distorted body image controlled my mood and how food controlled my life, but I won’t; I bet you’ve got stories too.
The sad thing is, most women aren’t happy with what they see in the mirror, and put most of their worth in that reflection. Believe me, being comfortable in your own skin has absolutely nothing to do with the size of your jeans. In the end, we all just want to be happy. It’s the motivation behind our thoughts, actions and goals. For years, I thought I had to be skinny to be happy. Then I was skinny and even more miserable, because I didn’t know what else was keeping me from being happy!
If you were my private client and told me you need to lose ten pounds, I’d ask you why you need to lose them? Obviously, if you have a large amount of weight to shed because of a serious health issue, then that’s a different story. But for most of us, we focus too much on those last 10 stubborn pounds that we believe are keeping us from living the life we want to live.
In reality, you know what really keeps us from being happy and living life to the fullest? Depriving ourselves. Depriving ourselves from enjoying a holiday meal, depriving ourselves from a night out with our love, and from putting on a bathing suit and rockin’ a day at the beach with our friends. All because of those extra ten pounds.
Luckily there’s still a way for you to still enjoy the things you love while keeping within a healthy weight range and feeling good in your favorite jeans. I’m so glad I figured it out, but for years I obsessed about everything that passed through my lips unless it was a vegetable (without dressing on it), so I totally feel you if you’re in the same boat.
Through my yoga and meditation practice I learned the art of mindful eating, which completely changed the way I looked at food; and played out in so many other areas of my life. Instead of using it to drown my emotions, I now look at food as fuel for my body, and also enjoy it for how it contributes to making memories with friends and family, because for years I missed out on enjoying so many things.
If you’re constantly worried about what you eat, or over-exercise to"delete" those eaten calories, mindful eating would look good on you too. What is mindful eating? It’s super simple in theory, sometimes not so easy in practice until you trust your gut; literally.
- Eat when you feel hungry
- Indulge in what your body is craving
- Put the brakes on when you’ve had enough
That second one is where most people get freaked out, but seriously, your body won’t want to eat a pint of ice cream or a burger and fries every day, it will actually crave fruits and veggies - you just have to listen for it’s cues.
Mindful eating comes down to being completely present in each moment, so when you do decide to eat your favorite pasta you don’t go off the rails and eat pounds of it. You actually listen to your body, and instead of worrying about when you’re going to be able to eat it again because you constantly deprive yourself of what you love, you’re able to fully enjoy it.
The beautiful thing about practicing mindful eating? After so many countless years of constantly worrying about what you ate, eventually you just don't worry about it anymore. I can’t even count how many festivities I’ve missed because I was worried about the calories that would have been consumed, whether in gluten or alcohol. And that’s no way to live.
So here’s to eating that cake at your sister’s wedding, drinking that wine on the deck with your girlfriends, and sharing that pizza in Italy with your love. Because yes, those are the things to live for, not the size of your butt.
Danielle Diamond has been a yoga and lifestyle expert for over 17 years. She has written for Yahoo Beauty and The Huffington Post, and has appeared on the Today Show, Dr. Oz, Shape, Yoga Journal and Self Online. She was featured in Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful campaign and is a featured teacher on YogaVibes and YogaDownload. Danielle teaches at A-list wellness events in NYC and The Hamptons, hosted by Wellthily, Gurney’s Inn and Yoga Journal. You can grab one of her free, 30 minute yoga with weights videos here.