Open letter to a Vanity Dieter

An Open Letter to the Vanity Dieter

Maggie Jeninga Life & Motherhood Leave a Comment

Dear Vanity Dieter,

I have been wanting to write to you guys for a long time now, but never felt I had the right words. To be honest, I’m not sure I will do this topic justice but, it is important and needs to be heard!

Each time I scroll my social media feeds I am inundated with posts about certain diets, food pairings, cleanses and all around diet deprivation. Girls, I’ve been there, I can see why you are captured in the diet vortex, but I’m here to tell you it is NOT NECESSARY! These people I see in my feeds are beautiful, they look healthy but unhappy. I’m here to tell you that a cleanse to get you to lose 5 lbs. is not worth your mental sanity! Let me give you a little background on me, maybe that will give me some street cred.

As a teen I was an athlete, standing tall at 5’11 and usually weighing in at 155 lbs. (which was obese in my eyes). If I wasn’t in the 120’s, to me, I was disgusting. So, inevitably, the dieting started. It came in spurts and in no way was an obsession, but regardless, unhealthy for a teen to be thinking this way. Eating for health and eating for weight loss are two totally different mental ball games.

OK, so moving on…college. This was just one big binge on alcohol and burritos. I graduated at my all time high of 200 lbs. My twenties were a nightmare – I was unhappy and had zero direction. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, which lead to even more added pounds, more extreme dieting and more focus on how I looked. Through many career changes I decided to pursue a career in personal training. After all, this should be in my wheel house – I was an athlete, right? WRONG! Actually, don’t get me completely wrong, I was good at it, that wasn’t the problem. I absolutely loved my clients and invested all I had in them emotionally and physically. But that was just it, I was still focused on looks and still unhappy with MY looks…insert even more unwanted pounds.

The late twenties = divorce! Well hello!!!!!! Revenge weight loss was easy for me and I dropped 45 lbs. within a matter of a few short months, simply by not eating and drinking with my friends to forget about my life being a mess. (Stay with me now, almost done!) At 30, I looked damn good. I felt good about how I looked, but, I was still kind of a mess. Then, the biggest surprise blessing enters my life and it’s all uphill (mostly) from there. I got pregnant with my little Oliver and life just started to make sense.

After both of my children there were definitely spurts of unhealthy body image thoughts. I suffered from postpartum depression, but the awesome part…I was able to overcome. I can honestly say for at least the last year I haven’t had a clue what I weigh! I eat what I want when I want and I exercise for my HEALTH, not just to look good. So, it is safe to say I am on the other side of the diet bridge and I feel so compelled to encourage you all to join me!

I started Maggie’s Fresh Kitchen as a way to inspire families to eat healthy and to start spending dinnertime together again. I get asked quite a bit if my plans include “special diets” and no, they do not, and let me tell you why. At the surface, my business is about healthy eating, but deep down I really want people to enjoy eating again, and eating without restrictions. I don’t want anyone on my plans to feel any kind of deprivation or feel as if they are dieting. I want people to nourish their body with REAL FOOD, made from scratch, with love in their very own kitchens. Mostly, I want people to stop focusing on the next health fad and just enjoy life (and food) again! Vanity pounds are going to do nothing to your overall health and thinking so could very possibly damage your mental well-being. Dieting and vanity took so much of my mental space and happiness these last 20 years and I feel so passionate about spreading the word that YOU ARE ENOUGH, just the way you are!

My point is this…I want everyone to stop with their posts about **Keto, Paleo, Whole30, Juice cleansing, detoxing, etc…blah blah blah. Instead, focus on nourishment. Eat real food. Be present at mealtime with your friends and family. Learn to love vegetables and the foods that are good for your bodies. Generally, I want to see an overall boost in happiness. If you are a serial vanity dieter, I challenge you to try this way of life with me. Put down the measuring cups and food scales, don’t freak out when you eat a carb, and just be present with your eating. Your body won’t steer you wrong!

Love you all,
Maggie XOXO

**NOTE: I totally understand there are certain diets that can help cure or severely decrease symptoms of certain health issues, and I fully support that. Diet can be a powerful thing when fighting disease. Understand that I am not talking to you, and I am even here to support you if you need it! If you are eating low carb, paleo, keto or whatever to try and cure yourself, you go on with your bad self! I salute you and think that is amazing!

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