"Why Can't I Stop Cheating on My Diet?"

You promised, Erica. You promised you wouldn't eat them. You said they were too fatty, that, okay, maybe they don't make you gain weight, but they certainly don't help you lose it, so, therefore, you ought not to eat it. Don't do it. You'll regret it. One moment on your lips, forever on your hips; nothing tastes as good as "fit" feels; Suck it up, and one day you won't have to suck it in; Today, be the amazing girl you were too lazy to be yesterday; Eat for the body you want, not the body you have. Remember? Remember?? REMEMBER?! Don't go there, Erica. I'm warning you. Erica? Erica? You ate it. Welp. Here's to you never making the right decision. Enjoy that cashew butter and trail mix. Enjoy being fat.

For me, it was cashew butter. And trail mix (with the chocolate). And sushi. And bread. Each time I passed Whole Foods on my way home from everywhere, I'd have to fight with myself to not go in and buy those foods. And I longed for them like I oftentimes long for my Dad...who's dead. In other words, I longed for food like I longed for a dead guy. So, "cheat meals", food, the ones I craved, were as unattainable to me as talking to my Dad...who is dead. (Just wanted to make that comparison very clear.)

After the very last diet I went on, I was afraid to consume more than 900 calories a day. Today, I don't remember how many calories a serving of cashew butter is, but I did then, and I knew it was a lot. Well, too much. And each time I "cheated" and bought the cashew butter or the trail mix (with the chocolate), or the sushi or the bread, I felt like some kind of fat, ferocious, wild animal whose appetite could not be tamed and would always set me up for failure, no matter how many Fitspo memes I clung to.

An average dieter, or as it's now called in the modern world, "clean" eater, will spend about nineteen hours a day thinking and obsessing about food. (You can find that statistic on: www.EricasOpinionYouNeedNotArgueWithCuzItsHerOpinionFromHerOwnExperience.com) And a lot of those hours are spent researching "clean" recipes, posting that you ate "cheat" foods, on Facebook, because, well, it's a major event when you give in to your biological appetite (which does sometimes call for sugar and processed somethings). This is sometimes followed by guilt, followed by a workout that totally burns off that cheat meal, followed by a Facebook status reclaiming your control over your diet.

So, friends, WHY do you keep cheating on your diet? The answer is simple: Because you're on a diet. And diets don't work. And you know this. And if you were not on a diet, there would be nothing to cheat on. Right? Any time we deem foods as being "good", "bad", "clean", "fattening", "cheat-worthy", etc. we're inherently saying to our body AND our soul, "No, you are not to be trusted with food and the choice of what to eat. You are not capable of making the right decisions for your weight, I mean your health. So you must follow these guidelines and here they are..."

All I'm saying is, enough with the guidelines. Enough with the cheating mentality. Our appetite is not regulated or happy within the guidelines that our ego and our "coach"'s ego sets for it.

But Erica, how do I get out of the 'cheating' mentality?

Great question!

Here are some mantras to keep in mind that really helped me ease out of the "cheat meal" mentality (and honestly, still does, sometimes!):

* I trust my body to crave the foods that will nourish it, physically and spiritually. I trust my appetite. It will not steer me wrong. Seriously. A big part of following specific meal plans, eating what your trainer, coach, friend, guru, or Yoga teacher tells you to, is the belief (from all parties) that our body and our appetite is against us. That we must teach our hunger how to act, how to think, how to behave. But when you understand your cravings, rather than trying to tame them, your brain will literally explode with joy and AH-HA! moments, like mine did, when I read this article years ago and then promptly decided to make a career out of this shit.

* Food is how I love myself. Food is how I love others. Food is love. Whether you are eating a sandwich for lunch at the office, making an entire Thanksgiving meal for your family, or sitting down to breast/bottle feed your baby, food is literally how we express our love for each other. When we demonize, turn off or distrust ANY part of the craving/eating/digesting process, we automatically shut off love. It's really that simple.

* The only "clean" foods are the ones that are doused with Clorox Bleach, in which case I will definitely not eat them. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, but in case it isn't, there is nothing fun, enlightening, sexy or necessary about calling foods "clean". We can call them, nourishing, delicious, savory, sweet, satisfying, filling, pleasurable, soooo good, just the right fuel for my life right now, in this moment...whatever. But clean suggests that you are a machine. A sterile, shiny, plastic, machine that requires sterile items in order to function. Which isn't true. You're way more fun and complex than that. And so is your food.

Have a happy appetite today and everyday, my friends!