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Breaking Diet Cycle — How I Learned To Accept And Love My Body

Written by: Sara Garofalo, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

A desire to be thin. Diet. Cravings. Binge. Feel Guilt. Repeat.

If that cycle sounds familiar… welcome to the world of chronic dieting. It’s a real thing, and it’s not a healthy cycle. In fact, it’s toxic for your body, mind, and soul.

Why is it toxic?

According to Harvard Health, about 95% of people who lose weight through a diet will gain all of it if not more back in 3-5 years' time. It’s toxic from a body standpoint because when you restrict and binge repeatedly, you are damaging your metabolism. Each time you do this, your body will gain it all, if not more, back.

You find stories about people, typically women, who say they aren’t losing weight with extremely low-calorie dieting and hours of exercise every week because of metabolic abnormalities caused by calorie restriction.

Essentially, the story goes like this:

Dieting dramatically decreases your basal metabolic rate, eventually halting fat loss, and if you go too far, you’ll need to follow a lengthy “recovery” protocol to fix the “damage” to have a healthy metabolism again. Hence, the term “metabolic damage”. When your body is experiencing the physiological adaptations that apparently cause metabolic damage, it’s said to be in “starvation mode.” This apparently kicks in the first day of your diet and gets progressively worse and worse as time goes on.

In addition to causing your body to having a “fight or flight” stress response, this process will take you further away from promoting a healthy body acceptance that stems from control rather than love. How do I know this? I spent years hating my body into thin, which has got me nowhere. Going from self-hate to self-love isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it might even be mentally too far for you to reach in this moment.


Here’s how you can break this toxic cycle and have a positive body image:

  1. Practice radical acceptance. I work with clients on radical acceptance, which means to fully and completely accept things for what they are. This doesn't mean that we like our current situation, it means that we stop fighting against it, because fighting against it only creates further suffering.

  2. Ditching old behaviors. The second step is to ditch those dieting behaviors, like weighing yourself every day on a scale or looking at the calories of everything you eat.

  3. Learn Intuitive Eating. This has helped my clients to better tune in to their hunger signals and eliminate external factors that prevent them from listening to them.

  4. Mirror work. This can be extremely powerful to strengthen the positive muscle in your brain that may not have been used for a while. I personally started with saying to the mirror every single day and multiple times per day for one year "I love and accept myself the way I am" until it became my new story.

  5. Practice neutrality. When your body is not seen as something you either love or hate; you just accept it.

As I began to radically shift all of the limiting beliefs that I had about food, weight, myself and stopped counting calories, downloading fitness apps, exercising obsessively, shaming my body… I started to feel profound healing within myself. I started to love and accept my body.

So I challenge you to start with one simple thought… “If can’t fully love my body right now, can I at least respect it?

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and visit my website for more info!


 

Sara Garofalo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sara Garofalo is a certified Intuitive Health and Life Coach, Certified Ayurveda Counselor, helping HSP women to get to the root cause of their weight gain and break free from emotional pain through a mind-body-soul transformation.


Sara’s goal is to help women break unhealthy patterns and become more intuitive about their body through a sustainable holistic approach.


With her Intuitive Gifts and Healing sessions, Sara has been helping women heal from the deepest traumas and roadblocks stored in the body that are preventing women from becoming the healthiest version of themselves.

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