On today’s episode, I’m deep diving into one of the most asked questions I get – how I broke the diet cycle in my own life.  In today’s society, this is a struggle that runs deep in the lives of so many people, and while I don’t claim to have it all figured out, perhaps sharing a bit of my story will empower you to take the first step in breaking this cycle for yourself.

Fed and Fit podcast graphic, episode 185 How I broke the diet cycle with Cassy Joy

We’re back with our 185th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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Episode 185 Transcription

Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. And I’m so excited to talk to you today. We are going to tackle a pretty big topic. And when we wrote this down into our content calendar, today’s topic, it sounded so simple on paper. {laughs} It sounded so simple, we were just choosing a topic that we wanted to address on the podcast.

We very carefully chose this one today. We’re talking about how I, personally, broke the diet cycle. It happened years ago. Or at least it started happening years ago. And as we’ll talk about today, it’s something that I continuously work on. It’s one of those things you’re never done really working on it. And we wanted to chat about it right now; right in the smack-dab center of December, because, like we did when we did that little jump start on resolutions a few weeks ago.

We really want to get in your ear now. I want to get into your ear before all of the diet commercials start flooding our televisions. Before all of the before and afters start flooding our Instagram. I want to just get into your ear, and maybe propose a slightly different alternative.

Alright, so how the heck did I do this? First let’s start with my story. And the reason why this all of a sudden felt much more daunting than I anticipated when we wrote the topic down, because when I was sitting down making my notes on today’s podcast. All the outline that I wanted to discuss, I realized that I’m pretty far down this road. And granted, it is something I still work on day to day. Or maybe it’s less frequent now; maybe on a weekly or sometimes just a monthly basis. It rears its ugly head. I really had to time machine myself back to; what was that breaking point? When did I break up with diets? What were the emotions around it? What did I feel? Why did I do it? How did I do it?

I chatted with my team, because when we have kitchen days, we chit-chat all day long about; gosh, if there could be a fly on the wall {laughs}. There is probably some dirt that we throw around when we’re cooking. Just our view on the diet industry. And I don’t have nice things to say about it; I’ll just start there.

Ok, so what is my story? For those of you who are relatively new listeners, welcome. My name is Cassy Joy Garcia, like I said. And I got my start in the health and wellness industry with a blog that I started back in 2011. It was June 2011, and I started it really on the tail end of my major transformation. Granted, like I said, it’s something you’re never done with it. Or you’re not ever really done with it. But I had had a breakthrough, and I was making things happen. And I wanted a blog so that I could share it. Because everywhere I went, I had folks that asked me.

I was essentially a different person. Yes, I looked different, but how I showed up to people was very, very different. All of a sudden, I was a much more confident version of myself. I was much happier. I was much more positive. I was much more energetic. It was as if someone found my plug, and just plugged it into the wall. And all of a sudden, I came to life. Let me do the math really quickly; in my early 20s, how old was I? I think I was around 23. Maybe I was 24. Gosh, I don’t remember. Time flies.

Anyway, I had just come to life. And I had lots of friends and family members asking; gosh, what did you do? There’s such a difference. You look different. What’s going on? What are you doing? And of course they wanted to know what I was eating. Because that’s just the easy button. It’s actually the hardest button, but that’s the one that everyone’s minds go to.

So I thought; well sure, I’d be happy to tell you what I’m eating. And I would tell folks, and they’d ask more questions. And it occurred to me; maybe I’ll just put all these notes into a website and make it easier for the three people who were asking to find my recipes.

So plugged those into a blog. I spent a lot of time coming up with the name. I very carefully chose Fed and Fit because I really wanted it to be clear that this is a destination of feeling fed, and feeling fit. And it’s not about trying to get there. It’s not about trying to crush yourself or do the most restrictive diet possible. I wanted people with full bellies, and I wanted them feeling fit. I didn’t want them feeling less than, or like they had to starve themselves.

So, that’s when I had started Fed and Fit. And what happened before that, if we rewind the clock a little bit further. I was one of those girls; or just young adults in general. Because I know there are lots of boys and young men who go through similar things. In high school; I want to say that in high school I was relatively well. A lot of my symptoms that started to pop up in college were; they hung out. They were pretty sneaky back in high school. I didn’t notice them as much. Because you’re a teenager. And children’s bodies are much more forgiving than the adult body, as so many of us know.

I went to college after being a teenager and having a great time. My mom was a great cook. We ate lots of stuff. We ate all the things, all the wheat pastas and the breads and the sandwiches. And never too much. I wasn’t an overindulgent child. It was just; I ate and I’d go to bed. Sometimes I’d overeat; she had this pasta dish that she called chicken Kalen Katie, and I did not know how to put the brakes on when I had that pasta. But that was once in a blue moon.

Anyway, I went to college and had to learn how to feed myself. And y’all, I loved off of; ugh, I’m embarrassed to admit this but I’ll tell you anyways. In my dorm room, I lived on campus at Texas A&M University; whoop! For 2 years. And in my dorm room, I was fully stocked with Dublin Dr. Pepper. If you’re a Dr. Pepper fan from back in the day, you’re probably familiar with Dublin Dr. Pepper. It’s old school Dr. Pepper, and they use a special kind of sugar.

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Cassy Joy: I had Dublin Dr. Pepper, and I had Vienna sausages. {laughs} And those two things combined was my snack/meal heaven. I also had sardines, which is, little did I know, an extremely healthy choice. Canned sardines in a tomato sauce that I would eat occasionally, to the dismay of my roommate and the ladies living down the hall.

Anyway, that was me in college. I discovered pizza. I discovered lots more pizza than I’d had growing up. Beer, of course. Eating out all the time. Potato skins. I was really poor, I had no money, so I would just eat the leftovers that my friends had. We’d all go out to eat, and I was the classic girl. “No, I’m not hungry. It’s ok. I’m so full, I had a Dr. Pepper and a Vienna sausage before I got here.” {laughs} And then my friends would finish their meals, and they’d of course ask me if I had any interest in the second half of their hamburger. Of course I did.

Anyway. That was college. And I started to balloon in college. They call it the Freshman 15; Sophomore 20 if you’ve ever heard of it. And I really did. I started to gain weight. And that was one of the first times that I really started to; my body changed a lot. And of course, the weight is what I remembered the most, what I found the most significant. In hindsight; my joints started hurting. I was so sleepy. Oh my gosh; I could not stay awake in a single class. I wound up doing fine in college, in case anyone is wondering. But I still believe that I could have done much better if I had figured out how to just change things for myself sooner.

I was very sleepy. I didn’t actually rest well at night. I have vivid memories of constantly tossing and turning at nighttime in my dorm room, and later in my apartment. And I wasn’t eating well. And I hadn’t put that correlation together that maybe the food I was eating was having an impact. I knew that sleep meant; if I didn’t sleep well, I would probably be tired the next day. So I’d just have more coffee. And then all of a sudden I started popping No-Doze, those caffeine pills, in order to stay awake. And it was just this ugly, vicious cycle.

And now I see college students living off of those Monster caffeinated energy drinks, and it’s just the same thing. They’re tired, they’re not eating well, which is making them more tired, so they can’t sleep at night and then they start taking these energy drinks.

And I remember towards the end of college, I was so scared, you guys. I went to the clinic on campus. And I walked in, because I had what I felt were two really hard nodules in my breast tissue. And I was very afraid of what that could possibly mean. I got my examination; they turned out to be fibroids, largely caused by the amount of caffeine I was consuming. They were completely benign, and the doctor, of course, held my hand and told me to cut back on the caffeine. Especially the No-Doze. He was like; it’s ok if you want to have coffee and the Dr. Pepper, but maybe cut back on the No-Doze. Which of course, I did. And as time went on, those fibroids went away. So all was well. But that just paints a picture of how out of control and how out of touch with what my body needed and what I was providing it I was.

So, that happened. My pant sizes kept growing. And I decided; you know what? What do people do when they keep getting bigger? They go on a diet. And that was when I first started dating diets. And I’m a front row student. I like to do my homework, dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s, so that’s exactly how I approached diets. And one of the first ones I think I did was the South Beach Diet back then. So I had a lot of whole wheat wraps. I switched from Dr. Pepper to Diet Dr. Pepper, because I made my own modifications and changes. I went really low fat. I’ve done that one.

And I would stick to these things, and I would find a way to fine tune them more. Find a way to make them more restrictive, because I was going to do the best at them. I was going to be the best at dieting in this one format. And they would kind of work, and then all of a sudden I would crash and burn. Because while I was also dieting, I would then, at the same time, go to the gym. The rec center there at Texas A&M. And I would hop onto an elliptical. And I would sit on that elliptical for an hour, punishing myself for all the things I’d eaten, thinking back on those potato skins that I’d had at the night before with my friends, because they were the cheapest thing on the menu and gosh darn it, I just love potato skins. And I’d stick on that elliptical as long as I could. And I was so tired, and my joints were in so much pain.

And then all of a sudden, the diet would fail me. Because I’d reach burn out, obviously. Because I was living off of food that you couldn’t live off of. I was really hungry. I was undereating. I wasn’t hydrating with actual water. I was killing myself in the gym, and expecting myself to perform in school, and it didn’t work. And I was baffled. So I would throw the baby out with the bathwater. Go back to my old habits, and even though I may have lost some weight, I would balloon right back up. And I felt worse than ever.

So what happened is about 6 weeks later, maybe 2 months later, I would say; you know what? This time I’m going to do it and I’m going to stick to it. And I’d find another diet to marry, and to lock arms with, and I would do the exact same thing all over again. I would follow the rules. Maybe this time it’s low carb. Maybe this time it’s no Diet Dr. Pepper. Maybe it’s just water. Maybe it’s just black coffee. Maybe it’s; it wasn’t even black coffee, that wasn’t a thing back then. It was artificial sweeteners in my coffee, instead of actual sweeteners. And now I’m going to also incorporate maybe doing some of those thigh machines at the gym in addition to the elliptical.

I just kept finding ways to one-up myself, do it better, and do it harder. And then when they would fail again, because I was burnt out, exhausted; mentally exhausted, physically depleted, I thought I was to blame. Because I didn’t follow the diet. Because I didn’t have the fortitude to do it. And it was my fault. And then I would get so down on myself, and I’d feel so bad about myself. And then I’d turn right back to one of my greatest comforts; food. And you guys can see; the cycle continues.

For so, so many of us, this happens year, after year, after year. And maybe we diet twice a year. Maybe it’s not every 6 weeks, like a desperate college student who just wanted; man. I would see; this is back in the days of a really unhealthy body image. But I tied a lot of my self-worth in with how I looked, and I thought; I am less than because I am bigger than, and I am fluffier than, and my skin is not as pretty as. So on and so forth. You keep filling it in. I’m not as good at school; I’m so tired, blah, blah, blah. And it just was this really sad, sad place to live in.

And I know that there are lots of us as adults who live there now, also. So what did I do? I kept in the cycle. Gosh, for years. Four or five years. Yoyoing in and out. Feeling really great about myself, and of course that perpetuated because we live in a body obsessed society. And as soon as you show up to a party; let’s say you’re away from college and you come back. And friends and family members look at you and they say; wow! You look so great! What have you been doing?

If you gave them the real answer, and you said; I have been calorie restricting. I’m eating 1200 calories a day. I cannot sleep at night. I have so much makeup on to hide my sad, sad bags under my eyes. And I’m not doing great in school because I’m so tired, I keep falling asleep in class. And I loathe my body, and all I look in the mirror and I see things that I don’t like. But I live for the 5 minutes of compliments I might get once a month. And that’s what fuels me. If you give somebody that kind of an answer, they’d look at you, blink, and walk away. But that’s the truth.

People who are addicted to diets, that’s what they live for. They live for the flash in a pan; someone looks at you at a party and says; wow. You look amazing! What are you doing? And we have a hard time admitting that that’s what we’re living for. But that’s the truth.

So that’s the diet cycle. In a nutshell. And at what point did I say; that’s enough? It was after; gosh, was it vegan? I think it was vegan for me that was the last straw. And it’s not that veganism is to blame, I just think that was the last one I had tried. It was something like the 12th diet I had tried. And it was the most extreme in my eyes. And I thought; if this doesn’t work, then I don’t know what will. And I went in with the same vigor and the same dedication. I read all the books. I read the China Study. I read Dr. Esselstyn’s books on how to prevent and reverse heart disease. I read them all. I studied up on Esselstyn the Engine Two diet. And it made so much sense to me. And I thought; this is it. I’m going to be vegan, and it’s all going to be great.

Then I got sicker than ever. I kept getting larger. My pant sizes kept getting bigger. And of course, that’s what I was obsessed with back then because I was body obsessed. But in hindsight, the more alarming symptoms that I had were the fact that I was 24 years old and I was walking and wincing in pain. Wincing in pain. My knees and my hips hurt so badly. I was also at this point, I had one-upped myself on fitness and I thought; I’m just going to fitness harder. And I started running marathons; half marathons. I was very addicted. Which, of course, didn’t help my poor joints. But even as an early 20-something-year-old, I shouldn’t have been in that much pain.

I had so much inflammation in my body. Of course, I didn’t see that. I thought I was just; I thought I had a lot of body fat that I was carrying on, and I just wasn’t trying hard enough.

After being vegan for about 9 months, and running my little heart out, and none of it worked, I was in the moment of desperation where you’ve opened up all the doors in the room. You’ve opened them all up, and they all brought you right back to the same place. You feel like you’re caught in a house of horrors. And they all keep bringing you back to the same room of loathing. Of self-loathing, and feeling like you’re less than, and not enough, and surely all of these diets will work but they’re just not working for you because something is wrong with you. They all brought me back to that exact same room in this horrible house of horrors. I walked through 12 different doors, and I was right smack back in the same room, except I was a little less healthy every single time I got back in there. I was a little bit larger, a little sleepier, a little more sad, a little more self-loathing, you name it.

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Cassy Joy: So what did I do? I’m sitting in this analogy of a room, and I decided that’s enough. I cannot keep doing this. I cannot keep beating my head against a wall. I need to stop walking through doors and expecting these diets to solve this big problem for me.

The very, very first thing I did was I kind of saw the diet industry for what it was. Because I needed to look at it from an objective standpoint. I needed to pull myself out of my self-wallowing, and I needed to look at it. And you know what the diet industry is? And this is what I mean, we rip on when we’re in the kitchen, my team and I. The diet industry is set up to keep you coming back. Every single one of them. Every single one of them. It’s a highly unbelievably profitable industry.

Because what are we selling? We’re selling the easy button for folks. We’re saying, “If you just eat, or exclude, these foods for 60 days, for 30 days, for blah-blah days, then you too will have these rock hard abs. You too will have more energy. You too will feel this way.”

But what are they not addressing? They’re not addressing the fact that that’s just a Band-Aid. Sure, you can make small changes and you will see results. I saw results 12 times over with all 12 of the diets that I did. I saw results every single time. But every single time, as soon as it was too hard, and I gave up, and I went right back to where I was before, nothing was different. I didn’t walk away from any one of those diets having actually learned something that I could apply going forward. They weren’t healing. The were making things worse.

They were destroying my relationship with food. I destroyed; I threw an atomic bomb on my relationship with food over those several years that I was addicted to diet. I had no idea how to tell what my body wanted, or what I actually needed to feel well. No idea. I mean, sure I knew that I could eliminate carbs and eventually have more energy. Or eat a potato and have a little bit more energy. Whatever it is. But it was not from an intuitive standpoint.

So step one, I saw the diet industry for what it was. It’s a monster, and it’s out to sell you something. It’s not out to sell you a solution; it’s out to sell you on becoming a customer for life. That’s what it’s selling. So if that appeals to you. If you’re like; yes, you know what, I would like to keep coming back every single January feeling very down on myself and like maybe there’s a glimmer of hope in this program that I can sign up for. And it’s going to solve all of my problems.

Then I would like to go through a period of self-loathing, because I can’t sustain it, and I’m going to feel really bad about myself. And then the rest of the year, I’m going to go live my life and be my best me. And then come December, I’m going to sign up for that diet again. And I’m going to go through that whole cycle again.

If that’s something that appeals to you; I mean, I’m being kind of a jerk about it. But if that’s something that appeals to you; fine. That’s fine. Go for it. It takes me to an ugly place. Because I was in such an ugly place when I was making those kinds of decisions. So I think that’s what the diet industry is about. They want you to sign up again next January. They want you to keep coming back. They want you to be a customer for life. So I would remember that.

The next thing I realized when I decided I was coming towards; I was ready to break up with diets, was I realized that the answers are not on a plate. The answers I was looking for are not on a plate, and they’re not in a gym. Right? Because what did I really want? And this takes me to some actionable steps. Because I wanted to be able to give you guys, not just a monologue of my journey with dieting, but I wanted to be able to boil away some of the fluff and hopefully come up with something actionable.

So, three things I want to walk you through. If this is something that resonates with you, and you’re like; yes, I want to break up with diets. And this is a hard time of year to do that. Because we are going to stare the beast in the eyes. Oh my goodness; as soon as Christmas is over, you know it. December 26th, you’re going to turn on your television, you’re going to be watching a football game with your family, and you’re going to see four commercials every single commercial break about a diet of some kind. Or about some sort of a crazy gym, home gym thing. And all you’ve got to do is get on this home gym thing, put it at an incline, and poof! You have the most gorgeous calves ever. {laughs}

So this is a hard time of year to really convict ourselves with breaking up with diets. But know that you can do it. And it’s going to be hard, because you’re also going to pull up your Instagram, and your Facebook, and there is going to be this onslaught of before and afters.

So what are we going to do that is going to arm ourselves right now; if this resonates with you, what are we going to do to arm ourselves? Number one. I want you to actually get out pen and paper and if you’re driving, just remember to do it later. Or pause the episode, and do a voice memo on your phone. But number one, I want you to answer the question; what is it that you want. What is it that you want? Is it that you want to feel healthier? Is it that you want to feel more in control of the foods that are on your plate? Is it that you want to address a sugar addiction? Is it that you actually want to drop three pant sizes? What is it? What is it that you actually want?

What did I want back then? I wanted to feel healthy. I wanted to love my body again. And I wanted to feel like I own my own life, and like I’m worthy to own my own life. That’s what I wanted. So that’s step number one. What is it that you want? What is it that’s selling you on the diet? What is the diet offering that triggers up some deep-seated desire you have down in the pits of your belly? What is it that triggers up, and what is it actually answering? I want you to write down what it is that you want that you think this diet is offering you. And I want you to write down very plainly what it is that you’re looking for.

Number two; the next thing we’re going to do is once you’ve written down the thing that you want, I want you to then write down, on paper. Because I want you to be able to look at it objectively. How can you answer that want without a diet? How can you answer that need without a diet? And again, this is only for the person who is tired of the yoyo diet. This is for the person who is done. They’re tired. They’re at the breakup point. They want to get out of the house of horrors. They’re tired of coming back to the same room every single year. This is for you. We’re building ourselves a road map to get out of this horrible, horrible house of horrors.

So, how can you answer that need without a restrictive diet that is prescribed by another person? How can you answer it? Is it that you could possibly maybe eat more greens for breakfast? Maybe skip dessert 6 nights out of the week? You think that will move the needle? Do you think that will make you feel a little bit healthier? Do you think it will make you feel a little bit healthier if you only have cocktails or wine a couple of times a week? Or if you do have a glass of wine at nighttime, you’re just aware and you’re going to have one and then assess if you actually want another one later. What is it that you need in order to answer that question?

Is it that you would like to actually learn moderation? Which is a really hard thing to learn, but you can do it. Is it that you want to have more energy? How can you answer the need for more energy without a diet? Is it that maybe you reassess your bedtime? Is it that maybe you reassess the foods that you’re eating that are actually causing you to feel more tired? Did y’all know that’s a thing? I know a lot of you know that, but maybe not everybody does. That sometimes when we’re eating inflammatory foods that can really deplete our body’s nutrients, and we’re feeling more tired throughout the day, and like we can’t sleep well at night. Sometimes just tweaking the foods can actually cause our energy to spike and soar. It’s really incredible. And you can do that without having to go on a diet.

So, that’s how we’re going to do it. We’re going to write down; what is it that you want? What is it that you actually want? And then I want you to brainstorm because you know you best. Brainstorm the things that you can do that are not in the parameters of a diet. That is exactly what I did, you guys. That is what I did. I wanted to feel in control. I knew I wanted some sort of a routine, because I really love routine. Again, it’s the reason diets work for me. I love having checkmarks I can check off, and do all the things. But I also know that I needed to breakout of this rigid, restrictive protocol. So what were my checkmarks? How did I do this for myself?

What I wanted; I knew I wanted to feel healthier. I knew I wanted my pain to go away. I knew I wanted to feel stronger. I knew that I wanted to feel like I am worthy, and I could love my body again. It was such an ugly place; gosh. And of course, I wanted to lose weight. But I did realize that it wasn’t about the weight. It wasn’t about the weight, and the answers are not on the plate. I can’t say that enough. So that’s what I did.

How did I answer that without a diet? I made breakfast a priority. I said; sometimes my meals become a runaway train throughout the day. And sometimes dinner rolls around, and maybe my only option is going to be a pizza. That’s just the way it is. But, I can get in breakfast. I can get in a healthy breakfast. That’s the meal that I have the most control over. So I’m going to double down on the areas in my life that I can control, and I can control well. It’s not going to leave me feeling depleted. Whereas if I’ve had a really rough, long day and I really just need to press that easy button and I need to have that pizza. I can muscle myself, and I can go and defrost some chicken, steam some broccoli, and do all that. But is that going to leave me feeling defeated? What’s the win here? Is it that I’m going to feel like I just dieted myself; because I’m on a diet, I skipped the pizza?

I hope I’m making this point well. I’m trying to talk all around it. Is skipping the pizza going to feed the diet mentality? The restrictive diet mentality? If that’s the case, then I would rather just have the pizza. Because what I’m after is healing my relationship with food. Not besting myself. I’m not trying to be the best person at doing this protocol. I’m trying to just do my life, and live my life. And the path of least resistance; there’s maybe a lot of resistance to have a “perfect” nutritious meal at dinner. But there’s not a whole lot of resistance at breakfast. So I double down on my breakfast plan, and I have really healthy breakfasts. And that’s when that all started.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen all my healthy breakfasts. It all started there. Seriously; back then, it was before kale. Before I really discovered kale. And I would have lemony spinach every single morning for breakfast. And I would have eggs and blueberries. Gosh, what else did I have? I would have sweet potato. Every single morning for breakfast. That’s what I had. And throughout the day, I felt good because I had nutrition in my belly and I had done something that didn’t leave me feeling mentally depleted.

What are other things I did to make it happen? I changed up my workout routine. I realized that going and being solo and having only myself to answer to when it comes to fitness. Because I’ll challenge myself to stay on that elliptical 5 more minutes. But then I question whether that was the right decision or not; if that was the healthy decision. So I decided that I was going to go sign up for a workout class. And I joined CrossFit back then. That was my answer. And it has still been a wonderful solution for me.

I found a wonderful coach in San Antonio. Shout out, Elite CrossFit, Jeremy Tucker and Emily Tucker are the owners there. They have two locations, it’s beyond fabulous. Incredible instructors. They really watch you. And they help you set really wonderful challenging but meaningful goals. It’s a great place to be.

And that’s what I did. I started yoga, which was a much more relaxing, restorative way to have fitness. And then in general, I told myself that if I wanted to margarita, or if I wanted the; I don’t know, a bean and cheese taco just came to mind. But if I wanted that, or if I wanted the breakfast pastry. Or if I wanted the pancakes; whatever it is. I wasn’t going to tell myself no for the sake of a diet. I was going to have it. And if I wanted more, then I could have more.

But once you tell yourself you can have something, it becomes so much less appealing. I feel like; that’s why I have such a hard time with a lot of these very restrictive diets that are very popular this time of year. You’re not allowed to have some of those other foods. And while I think that might work for a very small portion of personalities, it doesn’t work for the majority of personalities. Because what it does is it makes the majority of people want that food more. And then you feel guilty when you have it, and you shovel it down.

It’s like, you punish yourself by eating the entire pie. You had one bite of one piece of your neighbor’s piece of pie; and you’re like, welp. Baby’s out with the bathwater. Just give me the whole thing. I’m just going to go ham on this whole cake, or whole pie. So that’s why I feel like those don’t work. Where as this model was; I was going to tell myself that I could have anything I want. And if I had it and I enjoyed it; great. If I had it, I had a bite and it wasn’t as good as I wanted, then I could stop. If I had it and I wanted more, then I would stop and I would reassess. Do I really want more, or am I actually just thirsty? And I would have a glass of water. That’s what I started to do.

I could go on and on. We developed the Fed and Fit Project to help actionably answer this. And it’s funny; the Fed and Fit Project definitely falls into the diet industry in some ways. But internally, I want you guys to know when we designed that program, we designed it to be; this needs to be your last diet. We want you to go through this, learn the lessons, take this long journey that I’m very tediously describing here. We want you to take these lessons, and we want you to write them down, and we want you to learn from them so that you never have to diet ever, ever again. We want you to learn your body, feel empowered, and then do it for yourself.

So, I don’t know. I think if you’re listening to this, and you’re like; yes, but I still want help. We are opening the Project in very small doses now. So you can email us and ask if we have it open. But that might be an option. And it’s definitely not meant to be a diet.

So those are the two steps. Write down what do you want; number two, how can you answer that need without a diet. And then the third thing is essentially just rinse and repeat. I would say make it happen, and if something is broken or it’s not working, or you’re like; I cannot stop eating pancakes. Or, I’m still having 3.5 glasses of wine at night and I need to address that. Then sit down, re-write it down, and maybe also start talking to people and asking your friends and family. How can you help me creatively solve this problem?

What I want to is to stop drinking so much wine. What I want is to is to heal my addiction to sugar. What I want is to lose a couple of dress sizes. I want to feel a little bit more comfortable in my skin. Whatever it is. And then ask your friends and family members. How do you think I can creatively solve this without dieting? Always lead with that.

Ok, I hope that’s helpful. The last thing I want to close with is what does healthy eating look like for me now? Something that Team Member Amber wanted me to talk about. And I think it’s an interesting one to talk about. What does healthy eating look like for me now? Am I still tempted by diets? You bet your bippy. They are so tempting. Right now, we’re in the day and age of keto as all the rage. I have several family members that are going into keto, and it’s so hard not to get swept up into that and think; gosh, is that what I need to do? Maybe that’s; I haven’t done keto.

I mean, I actually did do keto. If you’ve done extremely low carb. If you’ve done old-school paleo. If you have done Atkins back in the day; I also did Atkins. Then you actually probably have done some form of keto. It’s easy to be swept up into those things. And it’s easy to feel like; maybe this is the answer! Is this my golden ticket?

And then I remind myself; nope. Because, what am I trying to answer? What do I actually want that this golden ticket; this new golden diet is maybe possibly answering? What I actually want is I probably just want to have a little bit more energy throughout the day and that’s about it. And I want to have a routine that gets me into the gym more often. That doesn’t mean I need to go on keto. It probably means that I need to dial back the caffeine I’m having in the afternoon so I can sleep better at night. Probably means that I need to set up a schedule that allows me to get into the gym when it’s easier in the day, which is early morning for me. That doesn’t mean I need to go on a diet.

So, healthy eating for me is a very intuitive process. For example, we were just in Austin for a team retreat. And at that team retreat, I had the night before, my sisters and I got together, we had a really big dinner. It wasn’t overly indulgent so much as it was just really big and we had lots of really lovely foods. And the next day, I just wanted simple foods.

From a bird’s eye view, you might look at it as I was restricting in order to make up for the foods that I had the day before, but that really wasn’t the case. When we checked in the next morning to our team retreat location, we had these gluten free brownies there. I didn’t even want it! I knew I could have it. I knew I could have that brownie if I wanted it. But I didn’t even want it, because I’d had such an indulgent day the day before.

What I really wanted was some green juice. So I went to Whole Foods, and I bought two green juices, and I slammed those. And that made me feel a little bit better. I knew I could have the brownie if I wanted, but I didn’t snag it because I knew I would want it at some point, I just didn’t want it then. That’s what eating looks like for me now. I find that at the end of the week, I’ve eaten about the same amount of indulgences without planning it.

By the end of the week, I’ve probably had; gosh, I don’t know, four desserts. By the end of the week I have had five servings of some kind of a leafy green. Maybe it’s way more than that, I don’t know. I’m kind of making these numbers up. Maybe I have had a certain amount of water. And maybe on some days throughout that week, I had less water. Some days, I had more. But by the end of the week, everything is evened out.

So some days might be more indulgent. Some days, I yoyo back; or the pendulum, I should say, swings to the other side. And I just listen to what my body wants. If my body wants green juice, and steamed kale, and maybe an herbal tea that afternoon, then that’s what I give my body. If my body; if I’m like; gosh, I really want to try that brownie. That looks awesome. Then I try the brownie. That’s what it looks like for me now.

Ok, hopefully this was helpful and not too rambly, and I hope you enjoyed it. And I want to just pat you on the back right now. You’ve got this. You really have got this. You guys, like I said, we’re going to stare that monster square in the eyes, in the next few weeks, with all the diet trends coming up. But if this resonates with you, remember that you too can break the diet cycle. You can do it. You can do it any time. It doesn’t have to be right now. You can do your January thing, if you’re like; I’m already set. I promised my neighbor I would do this whatever 30 thing with her. Then do that thing with your neighbor.

Come back to this. Revisit it later. It’s all going to be ok. The answers are not on the plate. The answers are not in a special golden ticket program. You have them. You just need to sit down and write them out, think them through, and you can solve this for yourself.

Alright, guys. I believe in you. Have a great day. Hopefully all of your holiday travel is safe and merry and bright. We will be back again next week.


About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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