A common thing I hear whenever I tell someone I’m on a diet is, you’re skinny already, why do you want to lose weight?!

Well. I’ve always wanted to be the skinniest person alive and perhaps break a Guinness record. Not really. I do want to say that sometimes, though.

When I say I’m on a diet, I don’t mean I’m in it to lose weight. This is a general misconception. It’s all about wellness for me now, not a number. It’s like I’ve finally seen the what the other side of the coin looks like. Also, everyone is different, and so, my intentions will not be the same as the next person.

When a bodybuilder says they’re on some kind of diet, they’re indicating the fact that they’re eating certain foods, either to bulk up or lean down, since their end goal is to have the way their muscles look design their bodies to a specific aesthetic. Building a body. This actually takes a whole lot more work and discipline than just being on a program to lose weight (if you’re a natty, that is. Those on enhancement drugs are cheaters and I don’t care about them one bit).

In years past, when I had goals, I wanted to fit into my jeans. Now that I’ve changed the way I think about foods, it’s easier to fit into those same jeans, but my mind about health has expanded. I want to feel good on the inside, and that will spill outward.

Eat good + move the body = feel good + look good. This has always been the best way; not taking a pill. Fast results are not sustainable, contrary to popular belief. I think women take this route because there is a real, sickening, and oppressive burden that society places on the way women look.

What about body acceptance? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it, but the terms need to be defined. It does not mean it’s simply ok to lead a life of indulgence in comfort and junk foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is not accepting one’s body; it’s neglecting it. Don’t be surprised when feelings of guilt and depression bang on the door wanting to move in.

Comfort foods are called junk for a reason, you know… Our bodies are not dumpsters. If we treat it as an afterthought, then it will feel and look like one. We have no excuses to not treat ourselves with respect; these lies we tell ourselves won’t address the real issue hiding beneath the surface.

How about just be still? Stop and ask some hard questions. Face yourself and what you’re afraid will be exposed. Your soul may just talk back. Be willing to hear it. And act.

Remember that our emotional selves want junk foods, but our bodies want true nourishment to function how it needs to. I’ll be honest, I do give myself permission to eat a nice slice of chocolate cake or ice cream if I want to, but that’s not a weekly recurrence (except dark chocolate bars, but it does take me almost a week to finish one).

If you take the time to educate yourself about yourself, you’ll eventually – and I say this because it’s not a drive-thru experience, but a marathon – arrive where you want to be. So be kind to yourself on this road of self-discovery.

Know what drives you, what enrages you, what soothes your soul, what truly satisfies you. Books, documentaries and Google are good places to start. Health coaches and functional medicine doctors are also available. Seek, and you shall find. The internet is a vast ocean, just double-check your research to make sure it’s legit.

You will face challenges, no doubt. From an existing condition to laziness and everything in between. All obstacles are valid, they’re just not impossible to overcome. And if you fall down, just get up. Deep inside we all possess what it takes to pursue and accomplish what we value.

And you know what? I think that’s where it all begins. A change of heart, a mindset shift. To prioritize health and wellness, not just a number on the scale; to discover tasty and delicious foods that make you feel energetic, in a good mood, and content; to focus on self-care and say no a bit more often; to declutter your living spaces to give way to more headspace; to rise and reject what the culture says you’re supposed to look, and just do you.

And then on one sunny morning, you won’t even be bothered when you find out that the batteries on the scale in the bathroom have, at last, gone dead.