Freedom To or Freedom From?


shot of a weightloss coupleIf you were not born a naturally skinny person, then likely you’ve been on a DIET at some point in your life. DIET, unlike health, strength, or vitality IS a four-letter word and it should be. A diet is basically a self-imposed starvation sentence, during which you obsess about food, damage your metabolism and lose weight only to regain it immediately after going off the diet. And everybody goes off the diet. The problem (and solution) lay in how we think about food and its meaning to us and there are two perspectives on this: Freedom To and Freedom From.

The Freedom To perspective refers to being free to eat this, that or the other. If you have this perspective, you will look at food as something that’s good or bad, that you’re allowed to have or not allowed, and a ‘free day’ means you get to eat all the food you actually want to eat but continually deny yourself. If this is your mentality, a diet is a voluntary (usually) restriction of your freedom. In case you haven’t noticed, we as humans tend to not like restrictions to our freedom. So yes, you can be free to eat potato chips, cake, cookies or whatever else your poor little carb-addicted heart desires. But are you really free? The results of this perspective are typically a higher body fat proportion than you’d like, a general lack of energy and well-being and a host of preventable diseases.

Freedom From is the flip side. Freedom from sugar addiction, energy crashes, autoimmune symptoms and health failure are all the result of a healthy lifestyle. Once you are freed from these things, it is normal to WANT to do whatever it takes to keep feeling so good. For me, quitting addictions is usually a very difficult process; the building up to it is awful and I can usually count on a good week of withdrawal and then an indefinite period of low level cravings disguised as “See how easy that was? I’m cured. I can have just a little bit now”.  Freedom from means knowing that’s a lie and knowing that true health and vitality lie in walking through the lies.

If you are feeling deprived and miserable at the thought of engaging on a healthy lifestyle, take a look at your core beliefs around freedom. If you feel like your quality of life will be unbearable if you need to give up certain substances, you probably are operating in an addictive, Freedom To mentality. If that’s you, that’s okay! It’s fixable. In my experience, though, the fix is abstinence, not moderation. Sure, you need to moderate your portions, but if you have a genuine sugar addiction (and I think more people do than would like to believe) then it might be impossible for you to control and enjoy your sugar.

By giving abstinence a try, you can start walking towards freedom from and out of rationalization and denial. And trust me, the view’s a lot better there!

Now, go be Limitless!

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