Stop. Replacing. Meals.
I love juices and smoothies, but I'm giving some serious side eye to a billboard that just went up near my house.
It makes me real twitchy.
Breakfast. Lunch. Thinner.
30+ meal replacement smoothies.
Come on, Smoothie King.
It's on my regular route to pretty much... everywhere. Off to yoga? There it is. En route to my guy's house? There it is. Grocery shopping? Yep. Heading out to the radio station for Wellness Wednesday? Oh, hey, sign!
There is a LOT of really bad health advice out there. I like to think that it comes from a place of good, but it doesn't do a lot to help... anyone. 'Cause there are a LOT of frustrations when it comes to food and body.
- We hate not being able to fit in clothes we used to be able to fit into
- We fear gaining weight
- We fear feeling "fat"
- We fear emotional eating
- We hate dieting
- We want an easy solution
- We live in a culture that elevates youth and revolts against age
- We don't want to feel uncomfortable
- We have no energy
- We're suffering from food confusion
- We fear that, unchecked, we'll gain weight and end up:
- never feeling okay
Marketers, big corporations, and "Them"?
"They've" got our number, and a lot of "health" out there is really diet culture, making promises that sound so very appealing to our exhausted efforts.
That sign about replacing meals with smoothies even ends with the promise of being thinner. Hello, diet culture pretending to be health! You remind me a LOT of a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Rather than forming a loving and nurturing relationship with food, we've learned to fear it, treat it as the enemy, and punish ourselves with it.
The same can be said for our relationship with our bodies. Rather than being taught how to treat them well, we learn how to try to control them, withhold, punish, and loathe them.
Diets and diet culture enforce this idea of willpower, as though it's all our fault that we can't resist the temptations of the world around us, and this manifests (in their words) as meals that are making us "fat." If only we had proper willpower, we then come to believe, we could finally be at our goal weight and feel how we've always wanted to feel in our bodies.
"They" tell us that we probably don't have willpower (which... remember, willpower is an idea "they've" created) and since we obviously don't have THAT, we need to replace calorie heavy meals, "They" tell us, with something else. Something that WON'T make us fat (because what we're eating now IS). Perfect marketing: they create the problem AND the solution for us!
Enter: the meal replacement.
Replace a meal with a Slim Fast. Or a nutrition bar. Or a juice. Or a smoothie. Replace a meal and cut your calories.
Here's my big question for the day:
What the hell is a meal replacement?
If it has to REPLACE a meal... then what is it? A non-meal? A negative meal experience? Why would we want to replace something that is... fuel?
What if we trade out the word "meal" and concept of nourishment and instead view it through the lens of the air we breathe?
"Here, I got you this air replacement. It's an oxygen tank with not enough air, so every breath is going to be super shallow and soon you're going to be really uncomfortable and need to take a giant breath, but you'll feel guilty about that giant breath because marketing and 'health' culture is telling you that the oxygen tank is all your body really needs, even if your body is telling you otherwise. You're not going to have enough air and pretty soon you'll feel faint and lethargic and foggy. You may even get irrational and lose the ability to think straight. But trust us. You don't need ALL that air. You can trust this air replacement tank. Don't trust yourself. Trust us."
Eff that nonsense. They have the problem AND the solution completely and totally TWISTED.
Instead of practicing restriction and deprivation, we can choose to learn how to trust ourselves.
Instead of eating less, what if we learned how to trust ourselves?
It's a revolutionary idea that I'm ALL about promoting.
We are taught by "health"/diet culture to restrict and enforce WILL over our hunger and our desires. We think this is discipline, and in a way, yes, it is. But it's discipline as enforced by a dictatorship.
We can have an unhealthy approach to self-discipline, in which we engage in rigid control strategies and punishment, like a strict diet and unkind exercise routine, or we can approach self discipline by being nurturing and self accepting of ourselves.
It comes down to a balance between the two opposing forces of strength and flexibility.
In yoga, we apply this concept in our physical practice on the mat. We come to learn that a practice that is too rigid or firm resists growth, holding onto tension in the body, not finding depth and ease in postures; this yogi is likely to snap. A practice that is too relaxed with no boundaries or discipline is lazy and sloth-like, and this yogi is likely to fall asleep on the mat or injure herself with too much flexibility, unsupported by strength.
After years of practicing yoga on the mat, I had this huge aha moment and started to bringing the same principles yogic principles practiced on the mat into my daily life and into my work with others. (What I like to call "yoga off the mat.")
This is what I teach women to do. To learn to trust themSELVES. Not the voices of "Them" or should's or shouldn'ts.
Wanna join me in a revolution of self trust? It's pretty damn empowering, not gonna lie.
PS: Whenever you’re ready, here are three ways I can help you with food and health this year:
1. Join the Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Mode group and connect with women who are investing in their health and happiness, too.
This is my new Facebook community where women learn to get more of what they want in their body, food, and lives. Click Here
2. If this is the kind of food & life philosophy that you find intriguing, or if you're interested in this kind of approach to eating and living well, you'll really dig the book I'm wrapping up and getting ready for print right this very moment: Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Manifesto. It's now available for pre-sale!!