My best diet tips to those who have tried everything (yet nothing works)!

Podcast Episode 10

Ladies, I am back with another episode. This is The Anna Bey Podcast and today, we have the big diet episode. Because I have received, of course, a lot of questions from you ladies about how should we be eating and how does an elegant lady stay in shape? And also the question, do we really need to be thin in order to have success on this journey? I do want to cover these questions in today’s episode. 

But I also want to talk about my own personal story that has to do with diet and eating and staying in shape and all of those things because that has really changed over the years. Now, I do need to tell you one thing is that in today’s episode, I’m not giving you any diet advice, any nutrition advice or any health advice. I am just sharing you my story and maybe it can resonate with some of you. Just don’t forget that everybody has a different body and a different type of metabolism, etc, etc. That may be what has worked for me might not work for you. So just keep that in mind as we go through this podcast episode.

Now ladies, first I want to go back to my own diet history. Because to some degree, I must say I’ve definitely had my share of disordered eating. Even though I’ve never had an actual eating disorder. But I think like most people today, if we’re going to be really honest here, we might not always have a healthy mindset when it comes to food. I’m definitely in that bracket. 

So if I go back in time and think about the first time I ever had some different thoughts around food than I would normally have. That was when I was spending a lot of time with my friend who developed an eating disorder. Now, please note, we were young and my friend cannot control the fact that she had an eating disorder. It’s not her fault. And I’m definitely not putting her to blame for maybe influencing me to some level. But she stopped eating and I didn’t really understand what was going on with her. She developed a very negative look on food. 

And of course, that transmitted to me. When we were eating as an example, I remember having lunch together, she would of course not eat anything and I would sit there and kind of eat normally and she would always give me these looks, making me feel not so good about myself when I was eating. I started thinking that okay, well, maybe I’m doing something wrong. Maybe food is the enemy, maybe I shouldn’t be eating this much. Maybe I also shouldn’t be eating at all. 

That was kind of my first encounter. And again, she didn’t do it on purpose. It’s her thing and it’s just unfortunate that it was like this for her and that it kind of rubbed off a little bit onto me. You remember that I’ve said in the past how the people we surround ourselves with, they often influence us whether we are aware of it or not. And that’s definitely what happened with me back then. And it kind of continued even so. As my journey unfolded, she wasn’t the only person that I met that had an eating disorder. There were many people that I met with an eating disorder. And when you surround yourself in those circles, it’s very easy to become affected. 

And that’s a little bit what happened with me. Luckily, I didn’t develop an eating disorder, but it definitely messed with my head. And I would say that from then on, I didn’t really have the same view on food as I had prior before of having had this exposure. Plus also, I was younger. When you are young, you are more kind of formable for whatever influences are around you. You’re more insecure. Somebody says something or does something that naturally affects you more than when you are more of an adult and have a bigger perspective to things. 

So that was my beginning. That of course led me to start dieting because I thought for some reason that my average body was not good, I need to do something about it, I need to start dieting. Everybody’s anyway dieting. My friends are dieting, family members are dieting, TV and magazines tell us that we should be dieting and I don’t look like these girls do in Victoria Secret shows. I am too chubby. Well, there was actually a time when I was a bit chubby, but I saw myself as being fat. And definitely if I look back at pictures of myself when I thought that I was fat, I was not fat. 

But it’s crazy how we actually also develop this ordered view of ourselves and our bodies and we don’t realize it in the moment. So being on an orphan diet and trying all kinds of diets, this really led me to become obsessed with food. I began to count calories and become obsessed with how much calories things are. The worst, I must say, are the calorie counting apps. And luckily, they only came much later when I was towards the end of this on and off diet journey. But before, I will be even afraid of eating something like nuts, because nuts contain a lot of calories, since they’re high in fat. And that would freak me out and I would always avoid eating nuts, even though they’re healthy.

I started to become afraid of all kinds of foods like you heard. I was afraid of fats, I was afraid of nuts. I was afraid of fruits, carbs and I’m sure many of you have some form of fear of these type of foods. Carbs, especially. Who can say right now that they’re not afraid of eating carbs? For me, that was definitely the last thing that I started to work on in terms of releasing that fear, but the fear of carbs is a big one. And it’s difficult to get past that, I must say.

As my kind of on and off diet journey continued, I really felt horrible with pretty much anything of what I ate. What started to happen is that I entered a vicious cycle of dieting. I would be on a diet and then that would be very restrictive as you probably understand. I would only sustain the diet for I don’t know how many weeks or days or months, but it would never be a continuous thing. It would always be just a little phase and oftentimes it would be a face full of failure, because you know that it’s very, very hard to keep a diet unless you have really the strongest discipline.

When you’re keeping yourself under such a restrictiveness, what happens then? Well, then you start binging and then you feel horrible with yourself. Because at some point, you are not going to be able to stay disciplined on this diet. We are humans, it’s difficult. Plus, we are also women. Women have a cycle each month. It’s very difficult for a woman to everyday feel exactly the same way around food. There will be times of the month where we cannot hold ourselves back from food. 

Only the people with the really crazy type of discipline can do so, I really believe so. But I think the average person, no. So majority of us when we are dieting, we are going to start binging at some point. And then we’re going to feel horrible about ourselves. And then we’re going to put us on a diet again. And that’s exactly what I was doing. This vicious cycle, this cycle that I really don’t want to go back to ever again. But yes, that was definitely me for many years, on and off in my life and now looking back at it, I feel, wow, what wasted years to tell you the truth. Because it’s not like my physique really improved by that. I wouldn’t say that I got my dream body because I was on all these diets. 

It was just a mess that I was doing in my head. I was just putting myself down continuously. And yeah, that’s why I never want to go back to that state again. In the midst of all of that though, I did make a lifestyle change seven years ago, approximately. What was going on there? Well, even though I was having a poor relationship with food, I was on and off diet, I would still say that I wasn’t educated enough on food, that my food habits were on average not the greatest. 

I would live on takeaways, I would think that something is good for my body, although it’s not. I’m not talking from a calorie perspective. I’m talking only now from a nutritional value perspective. Dieting, I was obsessed about calories. But now I started thinking about what does my health actually need? That’s the lifestyle change that I did, because I was now on my journey of transformation and I was in these affluent circles where you have all these elite women and many of those were also my friends so I could see how were their eating habits and how were they living their lives. And I definitely saw that they were eating healthier than the average person did. 

They were really taking responsibility for their appearance, but also for their health. Surely you did have a percentage who had some form of eating disorder. I’m not going to lie that in the affluent community, that that doesn’t exist. For sure that does exist and maybe, maybe to some degree, a little bit higher percentage than with regular people. I don’t know. Just my guess because there’s of course higher pressures on your appearance to look good, they will, of course, be slightly more, I think percentage of an eating disorder. 

But still, you still have a lot of women who don’t have an eating disorder. So I don’t want to put the stereotype that, yes, all elite women have an eating disorder. No, that is not true. But definitely, I would say though that majority have healthy eating habits and really do think of what they actually put inside their body, which is very important. I think that type of behavior is positive behavior. And that definitely also started to rub off. So I understood that, okay, I need to actually educate myself on food. 

Surely, I’ve been counting calories and I’m obsessed about that aspect. But what about the nutritional value? What about actually doing a proper lifestyle change where you are living more healthy and eat better on a daily basis? That’s what I started doing. I started to watch a lot of documentaries about food and I started to read about food and subscribe to pages that has to do with health and food, etc. And I actually really developed an interest for that. And I still have that interest, I really do enjoy educating myself of food. 

So when I did this lifestyle change, as a result, I also did lose some of the weight that I had. My body has always been pretty much average from time to time and I was a little bit chubby. And I think during this phase, when I did this lifestyle change, I had a bit of extra weight but it wasn’t too bad. But I did drop that weight because I did this lifestyle change. And to be honest with you, I have actually kept this lifestyle ever since because now on a genuine level, I am very much interested in feeding my body the right nutrients. That, I see not something that has to do with diet, I see this as being of service to my own body and to my own health and not making myself sick, making sure I live longer and all of those things. 

So it’s more from that perspective rather than let me keep myself slim. So that’s something that I must say I’m proud of that I did and I really do support this type of transformation. Everybody should do this, I really think everybody needs to have this form of education of food, so that you really do healthier food choices on a daily basis. 

But again, we’re now talking about calorie counting now. One of the good things with this lifestyle change that I did is that actually I started to obsess a little bit less about food. It’s almost like this obsession started to reduce naturally with time, especially as I was eating healthy, I was exercising, I was having a good routine, I was looking after myself, I didn’t really kind of have to be obsessed or that’s how I felt back then at least.

But surely, there was still a bit of ghosts in my head and those ghosts really did disappear fully when I began with intuitive eating. Now, I’m still not an expert with intuitive eating because I’ve been practicing only for about a year. So I still don’t feel like an expert on this subject and I don’t like to talk about things when I’m not 100% sure of everything. All I can tell you what intuitive eating is, is that it’s really about listening to your body for when it’s hungry and for what your body really wants to eat. 

Think about it as mindful eating. As an example, many of us we eat for emotional reasons. We might eat out of anxiety reasons, boredom, we feel lonely or we feel sad. Oftentimes, we might feel hungry, even though we might not be hungry. What might actually be happening is that our body is craving love or is craving comfort of some sort. It’s an emotional reason to why we feel hunger. It’s not real hunger. And when you’re doing intuitive eating, you really start to listen to your body. Is this real hunger or am I just hungry for emotional reasons? Am I in reality hungry for something else? 

Do I have some emotions that need to be fed basically? That’s one part. Then you have the part about listening to what your body is really craving in terms of food. I’m not saying when we have cravings for all the bad foods because there is also mind cravings in a way when we think that we need this. It’s almost like we’re eating with our eyes, but here is more about okay, listen to what your body actually is asking for. I have a good example for this. 

When I was sick with COVID I lost my taste and smell. So for me, I couldn’t really eat with my mind because sometimes you would eat something because you know how it’s going to taste. And that’s why you want to eat it, right? You eat with your mind to stimulate your mind and the kind of craving the mind sends to you. But in this case, I couldn’t taste anything and I couldn’t even smell anything. So whatever I’m going to eat, it’s not going to satisfy my mind on any level.

So during COVID, I actually really had to work with my intuitive eating, to really tune into my body and ask my body, “What are you craving for food right now?” And it was so interesting, because there I could really hear my body so clear, because what I was thinking about and feeling for eating was green things, things such as avocado, broccoli, spinach, green juices. Anything green, I was almost like obsessed with during that time. I don’t know why. I think to some degree, probably my body needed a lot of healthy nutrients as I was fighting COVID. You figure the rest. But that for me was a really good example of intuitive eating, to really listen to what your body is asking for. 

But of course, it was helpful for me to have lost my taste and smell during that time because it was very easy then to listen to your body, usually, we get very distracted by our minds, etc. It plays a lot of tricks with us to tell you the truth. And that’s why intuitive eating is not as straightforward as it sounds. It can be a little bit difficult and you are going to get it wrong many times. So this is the thing, I need to be honest about intuitive eating. 

It happens quite often that people who start with intuitive eating end up putting on a bit of weight in the beginning. And that’s fully normal. It’s because you are thinking that you are listening to intuition, but you are getting it a bit wrong basically. But anyway, then other aspects of intuitive eating is of course to really slow down what you’re eating, to really be mindful in the process of eating to really taste every bite that you take and all of those things. And also, I think probably the best part of intuitive eating is what I personally feel has really helped me getting rid of all those post-dieting ghosts that have been stuck in my head since those years is in intuitive eating, you really allow yourself to eat whatever you want. You release any form of restrictions, and that is incredibly liberating. 

So that’s also another reason to why many people put on a little bit of weight in the beginning. But the good thing though with intuitive eating, that once you start mastering intuitive eating, even though if you put on some weight in the beginning, you actually end up losing that weight again, because you start really, really tuning into your body and understand how to feed yourself. And that ends up you having a very good relationship with food and diet and you start and you don’t eat excessively anymore. 

So people do tend to lose that weight, just as a little FYI. But I don’t want to give you more now intuitive eating because if you are interested in this practice, it’s called intuitive eating or it’s called mindful eating. Please do go and search for books on this. I’m not sure if there are any courses on this. There’s also people who… Like therapists who are specialized in intuitive eating. If you, for instance, need counseling on the subject, there are such resources. But definitely go on Amazon, Google intuitive eating and you will find books on the subject and I really, really recommend having a read, because that’s how I got into it. And it really has changed my life and my view on food.

But I will talk about that a little bit later, because first I want to actually talk about how we have been eating here where I am. If you didn’t listen to the previous podcast episode, I did share that I am currently at a medical and wellness center. So I came here because I wanted to do like a kind of yearly checkup of myself, but also to improve my health. 

Here at this clinic, they are specialized in digestive system, meaning that they have a specific approach to the digestive system. One can say that it’s correct. One can say it’s not correct. When it comes to health and nutrition and all of those things, there’s always going to be right and wrong. But here they have this philosophy based on, I think it’s like over 100 years of research on the digestive system. What they suggest when you come is that you do a detox of your digestive system. And how we do it here is that the first three days of our arrival is that we do a fast. A fast on either tea or vegetable broth. 

I chose the vegetable broth because actually it was kind of tasty in the beginning, but then when you had it like three times per day it started to become not so tasty anymore. Ladies, I’m an experienced faster and I have been fasting for, I would say now two years or so. Yeah, two years approximately. Maybe a little bit more, actually. Two and a half. Something like that. I do all kinds of fasting. I’ve done juice fasting, I have done water fasting, I have done dry fasting and I’ve done or I still do intermittent fasting. Why do I fast? Because I am somebody who have issues with my digestive system. I got IBS many years ago, who knows why? But many people have it today. Luckily, I am actually able to live a symptom free life with my IBS since I began fasting or incorporate fasting in my routine.

Going back to the fast things here, so the three day fast for me was quite difficult this time even though I’m an experienced faster. And this is quite normal. It does happen from time to time that you are going to experience a fast that is not as pleasant as the other fast. Because what happens is that oftentimes, actually, when you start fasting, you realize it’s not as difficult or horrible as you might think it is. It’s oftentimes easier than you think it is.

But then again, you can have fast that are difficult, like I had now. This three day fast was very difficult for me. And then after those three days, I was in a very low calorie diet. It was still part of the medical diet in terms of detoxifying your digestive system. So how I was eating was they gave you like a piece of bread with some linseed oil in the morning for breakfast, but to be quite honest with you ladies, I actually skipped that part because I felt it was so depressing for me to go down for breakfast to eat a small piece of bread with a little bit of oil. So I’d rather just skip breakfast altogether. 

Then for lunch, I was getting two potatoes, some linseed oil and some herbs. And that was it. That was the lunch and that was the biggest meal of the day. Then for dinner, I would get a small soup and a piece of bread. Please note, all these breads are healthy breads, because just so that you know, there are good bread and there is unhealthy bread. So don’t think that all bread are unhealthy. Again, a little FYI.

That was a very restrictive diet for I would say five days or something in total. It was difficult. During this time of the detoxification, I must say, it did bring me back down to memory lane and I think that’s what actually inspired me to make this episode today. Because it made me think, now that I have been living more of a free lifestyle with intuitive eating, and I will talk now in a second about how I see food today and how I actually eat today. But going back to this restrictive eating made me realize how I don’t miss this, because this is definitely how it could be during my diet days. 

One thing is for sure. I am all up for being on a diet for medical reasons if it’s under supervision of a doctor or if it’s because I am doing something specifically for my health and it’s for a very limited amount of time like I did it here. This, I’m happy to do it. I don’t mind it. But I would never ever, ever want to live like this ever again. That’s something that I really felt strongly in my core, during this week or during this time that I’ve been here at the clinic, because a lot of things have changed for the better in my life when it comes to food and that’s something that I’m so happy about. It’s a transformation that I have done for the better. 

I really hope that many of you ladies who might suffer from some form of disordered eating patterns, even if it’s like more of a light format than having a full blown eating disorder, any form of disordered eating is crippling in life and it’s holding you back in life and it’s also wasting your best years in the way. And again, I’m not talking about healthy eating. Healthy eating is something different. Just don’t confuse that. I’m talking about dieting and being obsessed about food and calorie counting and being afraid of foods and all of that stuff.

I took the decision as I was doing my intuitive eating practices, that I’d rather choose to be happy, to live a balanced life, to maybe not have a perfect body, but I live a happy life and I look healthy and I think that’s the most important, to look healthy. So it’s not so much about what’s your weight. Surely the ideal today is for all of us to look like Victoria’s Secret models, right? But let’s be honest here who even has the body structure of Victoria’s Secret model? And that’s something that I realized a few years ago. 

All those years when I was on and off and dieting, thinking about, “Oh, I want to look like Izabel Goulart in Victoria’s Secret,” because she has always been one of those women on Instagram and in general that I definitely felt like she has the perfect body. I also want to look like that. I’m sure I can get there with the right diet and enough training, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Those were my thoughts, until I kind of had an aha moment, telling myself, “Listen, let’s be honest here. You don’t even have the body composition of Izabel Goulart. What are you thinking? Of course, you can never look like her. Maybe you can somehow get yourself to that level, but do you know how your lifestyle is going to be? Again, you are not naturally skinny, she might be. So for her, it might be easier to reach that physique. You are not like that. You have a different body composition. Plus, you don’t have legs that are as long as her. Your legs are like half the size of her legs. So your body is never going to look as elongated and beautiful and Amazonical as she does.” 

As an example, I think Izabel Goulart is a great example because she has one of the best bodies out there. And she definitely deserves that because she works hard for it, but I also do think that she has the body composition for it, she has that genetical code. And when I say this ladies, I want you to understand that I do have the motto that anything is possible and that you can transform yourself and your life in whatever way you want. I still strongly believe it, but I also do believe that when it has to do with your own body, that you actually have to understand that maybe some things might not be fully possible when it has to do with, I don’t know, if I’m short, I cannot become tall in that sense.

There is just so much you can do, but you can always make the best out of everything and that’s why I really believe that we all can become the best possible version of ourselves. But it’s about finding what is a sustainable life for you and what will actually make you happy. I am sure that I could be very ripped, I am sure I could diet myself to be very skinny and perfect, perfect body for what my body can create. 

Think about those who are in bodybuilding competitions, if you ever follow those people on Instagram or anything like that, I certainly have and looking behind the scenes of how they prepare themselves for competition for these kind of bodybuilding competitions, they live a very, very tough lifestyle during that time. And they also say that it’s impossible to look like that forever. To look like that, you have to sacrifice a lot, a lot, a lot of things. That’s why I said you have to have a realistic view for when it comes to your body. 

I think in the body department, yes, anything is possible. You can definitely lose all kinds of weights as you want and you can shape your body in whatever way possible. All of that is possible, but you have to find a happy medium, where you feel like you are living a happy lifestyle, you are looking after yourself, you are looking your best, you are living healthy and you look healthy. 

I decided for myself that I do want to live a life where I’m happy. I want to live a life where I go to restaurants and I don’t have to sit there and order a salad, that I can actually eat something nice off the menu because I believe that it’s a wonderful experience to go to a restaurant. I always wanted to have this lifestyle where you dine in the finest restaurants, you travel the world, you eat from the best chefs, etc. And what? So if I finally am able to reach this level in my life, am I going to sit there and not eat anything just because I have this obsession about being so skinny, a form of skinny that my body’s not even built for? 

No. No, I don’t want to have that lifestyle. I want to live. I want to enjoy my life. I want to have dessert and I want to have a glass of wine. I want to do all these things. Why else did I work so hard on this transformation if I can’t enjoy it? That has definitely been one of the things and then the second thing is that I think really it’s all about looking healthy. I think healthy can come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and forms. 

Certainly we’re not going to lie. There is of course a stereotype. The stereotype that thin is kind of the best body. But if we start looking around in different cultures, you’re going to see that actually, it’s mostly in Western cultures that you have this obsession about being thin. If you look at other cultures, it’s not that obsessed, especially like Latin America, I think Africa as well, Middle East, not as obsessed. It’s really here in the West, which is kind of ridiculous. So yeah, we’re the unlucky ones unfortunately because the pressure is there and the pressure is real. And I’m not going to lie about the fact that while yes, you are going to have easier in life, if you are of a certain body size. That is true and I’m referring now to the Western culture, I’m not talking about the cultures where other shapes are more acceptable.

You know what ladies? I have now let go of my body obsession too as a result. I am no longer obsessed about looking a certain way and I’m more forgiving for my body and accepting my body for the imperfections that it has, because it has certain imperfections. I feel like, you know what? Why am I even chasing perfection? Why am I not loving myself for the way I am and just accepting the fact that some things are just always going to be there unless you want to sacrifice X, Y, Z which in a way I’m not willing to. I would be so frustrated to why I’m not looking like a Victoria’s Secret model. These were my thoughts all the time before.

I would also be analyzing to why my stomach or legs doesn’t look like theirs. Probably because I’m such a failure, eating too much and all of those things. And the same thing would go if I would be meeting people in my life. I would compare myself to them. Let’s say I would be with my friend on the beach and I will be thinking, “Why is her stomach so flat and mine is not? I must be eating too much. I’m probably such a pig in comparison to her. There must be something wrong with me.” 

Those would really be my thoughts ladies. But in reality, what’s actually going on is that me and my friends might have totally different body composition. And that’s kind of what I realized after a while, that her stomach is just naturally more flat. Mine has never ever looked like hers, it has never been that flat. Mine has a little bit of a different shaping, my stomach. Plus, I can easily get bloated and she never had that issue. I’m cutting myself some slack finally and understand that I need to be realistic, that I can’t compare myself to this person, to that person, to Victoria’s Secret models. How crazy is that? To compare your body to Victoria’s Secret model, unless you have the same body composition. Then maybe you can get away with it. But listen, I don’t have that body composition. Let’s be honest here. 

And so all these thoughts, they have actually made me to start accepting my body. My body for exactly the way it is. And when I say accepting, I don’t mean giving up on yourself and literally letting go of yourself because listen, we’re here on a journey of personal transformation. The last thing we want to do is to let go of ourselves. Remember that I always speak about balances here. 

I am talking also about being happy in the way you look and be realistic and forgiving at the same time. So instead of chasing perfection or some form of body ideal that is unrealistic for your body type, why not try looking like your absolute best instead while living a happy and healthy lifestyle? I think that’s a really sweet spot that we can actually reach. I think that’s when our life actually does become much more fulfilling and we feel more at ease. Now ladies, today I would say that my body is in a good and healthy shape. I am no longer chubby because I have been bigger in my life. 

And because I’m eating much healthier now and I don’t have the same poor food choices that I had back then, so I am keeping myself naturally slim because of my healthy lifestyle and of course because of my genetic code. I would call myself more to be slim to average shape. I would definitely not call myself skinny. I have never been skinny although I’ve desperately tried to achieve being skinny because I thought that that’s the ideal and that’s how I should be looking because the Victoria’s Secret models, they’re all skinny and all the other models and then you also have high society, women that are skinny, I have to be skinny, otherwise I will just fail in life. 

Now, let’s be honest here. That is a bit of a myth. We all know that you do not need to be skinny in order to succeed in life, you do not need to be skinny in order to catch a man, you can be in a good healthy shape to succeed at your goals in life. That’s a myth. Let’s debunk that immediately. 

Sometimes I also fluctuate in weight, which I have done recently. So in my recent months, especially on my travels to Greece and Turkey, I ended up gaining weight, about five kilos, because I was eating a lot of good food. And I wasn’t exercising and I haven’t really been exercising much this year, but I’ll talk about that in a second. One of the great things that intuitive eating has helped me is that I am no longer scared when I gain weight. 

I definitely see it now as a natural part of life to fluctuate in weight from time to time, and I also see it as depending on the season that you’re in, it’s going to happen. Sometimes we are in a season where we’re out and about, we’re traveling, we’re eating a lot, dining out all the time, maybe drinking more than usual, etc. Let’s say we are holidaying a lot. 

Now, it’s going to happen that you are going to gain weight and it’s not the end of the world. As long as you go back to your healthy routine and do things that you usually do. Oftentimes, the weight will drop. However, I know that it might be more difficult if you have reached a certain age. I am fully aware of that. So I cannot give advice or kind of tell you that yes, it’s going to be the same for you because I know that after let’s say you hit menopause, it’s not going to be the same principle anymore, unfortunately. 

But going back to my body, so yes, I must say I am happy with how my body is and I’m accepting it more even though I am being realistic that my body is not perfect at all. I have my imperfections, I have my cellulite and I have my… My bottom is definitely a bit too flat and a bit too dangly, but all of these things is not going to be changed because necessarily of diets in my case now. Because I live already a healthy lifestyle with healthy diets.

What I need to now do is to incorporate more training into my life so that I shape up a little bit more and tone up. But that didn’t really happen for me in 2020. There was too much COVID going around, gyms have been closed, my personal trainer has not been operational. And then I also got sick myself with COVID. And it was difficult to actually get back to training after COVID. I definitely did feel the exhaustion from COVID did affect me in my training. Before, I used to do a lot of running. Now I’m finding it a little bit more difficult to run as I used to. But I am slowly and slowly getting back to it. I am feeling more exhausted than before, but this is already improving. So I’m not too worried about this.

I have my body disadvantages, but I am okay with them. And I know that if something needs to be done, it’s going to be done in the gym. My diet is good. And I’m not going to change the way I eat because I eat well. And that’s the most important. How do I eat? And that’s a common question that I get. So first of all, I spoke to you already about my fasting. And really ladies, for me, it’s something that I feel really good of. I’m not going to change that. And again, it has nothing to do because of losing weight or managing a weight of any reason, not at all. It’s really to manage my digestive system because as soon as I don’t do fasting, I start feeling how my IBS symptoms start to come back. And that’s why I don’t like that. It’s uncomfortable to have IBS symptoms. So I need fasting in my life. 

But it also actually makes me feel good and it doesn’t feel restrictive. It doesn’t feel like a horrible part of my life at all. It actually feels like a good part of my life. I feel good when I fast. For this reason, in my regular eating routine, I do not eat breakfast and I actually feel best when I don’t eat breakfast. I’ve never really been hungry in the mornings even since I was a child, but my parents used to force me to eat breakfast. However, I prefer not to eat breakfast as I’m anyway not hungry in the mornings. If I get hungry, then maybe I will eat something but that will be later towards maybe 10:30 or 11 o’clock, which is anyway closer to the time where I usually break my fast as I do intermittent fasting. 

Usually, I break my fast at 12 o’clock, which is lunchtime and that’s when I would have my first meal. I don’t really like breakfast food so much, so I anyway prefer to eat something more savory, which is why I don’t mind breaking my fast with lunch. However, as I do intuitive eating, I do listen to my body so I’m not rigid with my fasting. I do only fasting for my health. But if I feel like my body is craving food already and it’s really craving food because of hunger, not because of other reasons, then I do eat something earlier than 12 o’clock, which could sometimes be at 10:00 or at 11:00. It all depends. 

Then when my eating window starts around 12:00, it usually lasts until 6:00 or 7:00 PM. At night. I am also person. I really do not like to eat late at night, I like to eat latest at 6:00 PM sometimes even eat my last meal at 5:00 PM. It really depends how my day unfolds. But of course, if I have a restaurant visit or a social dinner at night, then of course, I will be eating later and much later than seven o’clock. But let’s say me and my partner, we are going for a dinner at night, we would always because he also enjoys eating earlier, we would prefer to book a table in a restaurant let’s say at 7:30 or eight o’clock, or latest 8:30 because we don’t like to book a table for let’s say, I don’t know, 9:30. It feels already too late for us to eat. 

But of course, I do make the exceptions when friends have booked tables or we are out with other people and so on. I’m not very rigid when it comes to this. And I really believe that with intuitive eating, to make it work for you, you cannot be rigid, you cannot force yourself into strict rules because that might trigger if you have a disordered eating patterns. Eating early dinners is actually really good for your sleep. And I have definitely had issues with sleep, falling asleep issues, but I have improved my sleep so much, I would say in the recent year and a half. 

I think definitely it also has to do with me eating most of my dinners very early and I don’t eat very heavy dinners either. Because I also do believe in the philosophy that we have been eating under here at this clinic where I am right now. They also… That’s why they serve a soup as dinner because they don’t believe that you should be eating very heavy meal before going to sleep. It’s going to interfere with your sleep and your overall digestive system. I do believe that the biggest meals you should definitely eat them earlier in the day than later. 

And that’s something that I have been doing myself and I feel really good doing so. Then how many times per day I eat, I don’t really have… I don’t have a set amount for that. I listen to my body for when it’s hungry. Usually, I ended up eating maybe two or three times per day in that eating window of mine. And truly, I am never hungry afterwards. So if I would be hungry, I would be eating but my body is not very happy in this type of routine and in this type of schedule and has been working great for me. 

Now what do I actually eat? As I did my lifestyle change seven years ago, I did develop a different palette now. So I do enjoy things like broccoli and spinach and all those type of foods versus before, before I did my lifestyle change, where my food palette was still kind of just craving the nastiest food, I would look at a broccoli and be like, “Ew. That’s not good.” But now that’s something that I can crave, which is very interesting how your taste buds actually adapt to your lifestyle choices. 

So I do enjoy eating salads. I enjoy eating vegetables. I really do, all kinds of vegetables. I love warm bowls, like think about like a Buddha bowl or a quinoa bowl or something like that. I do like warm food, but I also like raw food and I like cold food. I love salads as an example and I love smoothies. Smoothies is something that I have regularly. Green smoothies or just like smoothies based on superfoods. I really do love superfoods and I try to incorporate that as much as possible in my food. So let’s say I eat a lot of chia seeds. I eat a lot of cacao nibs. What else do I eat a lot of? Well, anyway, whatever I can find. I have so many superfoods at home. So I will just put something on my aside bowl or in my smoothie and that’s how I eat. 

Oh, I’m getting all hungry now as I’m talking about these foods. Yeah, going back to what I eat. I love salads. I do love salads a lot. A big favorite of mine is a good beetroot salad with goat cheese. I love goat cheese by the way. I don’t really like cheese in general. I’m not a cheese person. But if there’s a cheese that I like, that’s goat cheese. I also love soups and soup is something that I can eat every day literally. 

But if I would go to a restaurant, I will have let’s say soup and a salad. I wouldn’t just eat the soup. That’s not enough food for me. I need to have a proper meal. So soups is something that I like. I also love fish and seafood. Love, love, love most of it to tell you the truth. In particular, I like oysters, I like white fish, I like salmon as well, but I prefer whites fish. A nice sea bass and salt crust, yum.

What else do I like? I also like fruits. I’m a big fruit eater and I’m not afraid of fruits. I will never become afraid of something that is so natural and not man made. For me, that’s crazy to be afraid of something like that. When it comes to diets in general, I am somebody who is more inclined towards a vegetarian diet. Vegan diet works fine for me as well. I have never been a big meat eater. I don’t like the taste of meat so much. I can eat it from time to time and I would prefer it to maybe have it as a meatball or maybe a turkey or a chicken. 

I don’t like red meat so much. Occasionally, I can have a steak but that’s not often. I’ve always been like this since I was a child. That’s not something that I can change, it’s just my own preference. But yes, I don’t have any restrictions in terms of my diet. I don’t call myself a vegetarian, a pescatarian or whatever diet there are out there. I have been vegan in my past, I have been all kinds of diets in my past but I’ve let go of those things and just allowed myself to be who I am and listen to my body for what it needs. 

Of course, I really do try and eat as sustainable as possible. If I would eat meat, I would really try and make sure that that needs is organic and comes from a good production and not something… Yeah, let’s not even go there. But you know how meats is made and I do not support that industry, even though I do eat meat. But really, I can’t remember last time I didn’t eat something that was produced from a farm or something that came from an organic production of some sort. 

But yes, to summarize, I prefer the vegan and vegetarian and pescatarian cuisine. That’s my favorite type of food. Now I also enjoy to have a glass of wine. And if you haven’t noticed, but I do have an interest for wine and also champagne. Those are the type of spirits that I drink. Occasionally, I can drink something else, let’s say a cocktail but usually that’s what I drink and that’s what I enjoy drinking. And even though I enjoy drinking, one of the things that we have is that we don’t really have any kind of daily drinking at home because I know there are people who have that in their routine, especially in some cultures in the Mediterranean, that’s absolutely acceptable to have. You have every night a glass of wine with your meal. But we don’t really have that type of alcohol relationship. 

We’d rather just keep it for social events. That’s just us, me and my partner. That’s just how we do it. It’s rarely that we would be drinking at home. But of course that happens if we’re just cozying up together with a bottle of wine.

So ladies, that’s how I personally eat. Now I want to circle back to the questions that I asked in the beginning of this episode, the questions that you have been asking me so much about how we should be eating, how does elegant ladies stay in shape? And do we really need to be thin in order to have success in life? 

The answer for that is I want you to figure out for yourself how you want to live your life. Now, the whole purpose of this episode has been to, not wanting to put any diet ideas in your head. On the contrary, I want you to just find some form of happy balance for you. I want you to start thinking about how do you want to live and what kind of lifestyle do you want to have? And then maybe think a little bit about, could you do a healthier lifestyle change rather than diet unless you have already done that. If you have any form of disordered eating patterns, then maybe it could be a good idea for you to start thinking about how you could change those thoughts. 

I am aware that I do have ladies who unfortunately do suffer with excess weight. One of the things that I’m really a big advocate for and that is to prioritize your health. As you see, I’ve spent now almost two weeks at this health clinic, because I am personally investing in my health. It has nothing to do with diet, but just to invest in my health and well being in other areas. Because I am very passionate about health, I think that’s the most important thing that matters in your life. 

If we are eating to some degree that is damaging to our health, and it can be worse to start thinking about this. Again, maybe my story about doing a healthy lifestyle transformation change can be of use for you. I think what’s important here is to really think about the potential illnesses that can happen to you when you are not looking after your body and your health and how important it is to look after yourself because nobody else is going to do that and you just have X amount of years to live. So you really want to make use of those years to be as healthy as you possibly can.

In this case, I would myself focus more on a healthy lifestyle transformation, rather than focusing on becoming a skinny Victoria’s Secret model. This way, never feel good enough no matter what diet you try. I do think it is important to be in some form of shape that is healthy, that I’m not going to change my mind about. I think in our society in general, regardless of what culture you’re in, it’s really about looking healthy and you can have success, both in your career or would men or in friendships or socially or in whatever way possible if you are looking healthy. You don’t have to be skinny in order to have success in life. Plus, ladies remember one thing, that men, they don’t only love skinny women, they actually love women of all kinds of sizes and shape. So don’t forget that.

Now, ladies, that’s all I wanted to tell you today. My biggest mission was to really inspire you to nurture your body. That’s the journey that I am on and have been on for now many years. I am so passionate about choosing the best for my body, for my blood for myself, for every single little thing that’s inside my body. I want to look after myself, I want to be healthy, I want to live a happy life. I want to just give my body the best possible nutrients and material to work with to build better healthier cells and to fight diseases and stay protected from diseases as well. 

That’s what a good healthy lifestyle will bring you. I hope that this has somehow inspired some of you to maybe take action in that department and maybe also to reduce some of that clutter in the head about wanting to be skinny, about being on diets and all of those horrible restrictive thinking that I know is very crippling. I’ve been there and I never want to go back.

So having said that, ladies, I hope you have enjoyed this episode. I will be back next Wednesday. And then, I promise you, I am going to tell you everything about my two weeks here at this clinic because it has definitely been a journey. I have tried so many different types of treatments and I do want to talk about those. I have also had multiple aha moments here while I’ve gone away. It’s incredible what stillness can do for you. I’m in such a good place right now I have so much clarity in my head that when I return back home, I know exactly how I’m going to continue with my life and what choices to make because I’ve just gained all that clarity here. So this has been a great investment and I really want to share this with you in the next episode, so stay tuned for that and until then, have a wonderful week my dear elegant ladies and I look forward to talking to you next Wednesday. Bye for now.

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Anna Bey is an educator in the elegant feminine empowerment space and the founder of an online finishing school for women. She can confidently call herself a pioneer in this genre because she was the first to be sharing content in this niche since 2012.

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Anna Bey is an expert on Modern Elegance™, upscale transformations, and leveling up, with over 150 million channel views. Since 2012, she has taught women how to develop a more refined personal presence and lifestyle inside the Anna Bey Academy, where she hosts her various classes and courses. Her publication features include The Times UK, Newsweek, New York Post, Cosmopolitan, and many more.


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