No More Dieting: The Middle Path

No More Dieting: The Middle Path

In March, I recorded an episode called “No More Dieting… So Now What?” After reading Dr. Aamodt’s book, Why Diets Make Us Fat, I wanted to figure out that million dollar question for myself. If I don’t want to yo-yo diet and punish myself anymore, what do I do?

Key topics:

✔️ The Buddhist idea of the Middle Path is so useful here. Too much asceticism makes life dull and restrictive yet too much indulgence can make us feel sluggish and tired.
✔️ I focused on one habit at a time and truly worked on not doing too much too soon. Yes, progress is slower that way but it also tends to be long lasting.
✔️ Keeping a food journal can be very helpful. Sometimes we tend to graze mindlessly or eat little snacks that we brain-dump later.
✔️ Fake foods are usually highly processed and don’t make me feel full for any significant length of time. Yes, they may be convenient but at what cost?
✔️ Always talk to your doctor FIRST before you make any changes to your own eating habits and/or exercise routine. Don’t get in a hurry and cause more harm than good.

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Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!


Welcome to the Causey Consulting podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Before I get to the main topic of today’s episode, I want to take a quick second to thank everybody who not only tuned in, but also wrote in in response to last week’s episode about why freelancing websites suck. Not surprisingly, it’s been one of the most popular and one of the most downloaded episodes that I’ve recorded to date. And sadly, a lot of us have had negative experiences, it reminded me a lot of the episode that I recorded back in July about Bob, and how his manager Rick stabbed him in the back. And it really caused a lot of stress and disappointment in Bob’s life. So it is with these freelancing websites, a lot of us have had negative experiences. And if I recounted all of the DMs and emails that I received from people about their horrible experiences, that that could fill up an entire month. And that’s sad, it really shouldn’t be that way. To give you an example, there was a person who wrote into me, and I’m going to be very mindful of his privacy and just tell a very, like quick and dirty version of the story. He had been hired by someone on a freelancing website for a 20 hour per week project, and it was going to go into the foreseeable future, after he had only worked for 15 minutes, the client pulled the plug and said, Oh, you know what, nevermind, we don’t really need to hire this person, after all, but you know, make sure that you go ahead and log that 15 minutes in the system, because I do want to make sure that you got paid for doing that. And he said that by the time the dust settled, and all the fees and taxes were taken out, he only made $7, he was thinking that he was signing up for the equivalent of a good little part time job. And instead, he only netted seven bucks, and was very aggravated, and pissed off about the way that he was treated. Unfortunately, there are so many stories like that I had a situation myself, where somebody cut me off at about the halfway point and said, Yeah, just go ahead and submit a deliverable, we decided we weren’t going to do this after all. And then the guy apparently left some private feedback, that wasn’t great. And it caused my job success score to go down. And I’m like, this is another reason why this is not an arena that I need to be playing. And it’s just cray cray. So my advice is to plan your exit strategy in advance. If you’re in a situation where most of your clients, most of your new business, and most of your revenue is coming from these freelancing websites, I really do not recommend that you just go cold turkey and slam the door shut and run. Some people are like they’re natured in such a way and they have the right kind of temperament that they can jump out of the airplane and then hope that the parachute opens on the way down. They’re just built for that kind of risk. A lot of us are not, and it’s better to think about your exit strategy in advance and to really consider, okay, this is not working for me, and yes, I’m making money, but I’m miserable, or no, I’m not making money and I’m miserable, there has to be a better way there has to be some other avenue. begin thinking about that and doing some testing and beta testing of other options before you slam the door shut. One of my coaching clients has been going through this experience on social media. And she said to me, You know, I had heard on your podcast and and heard in our coaching sessions, when you when you would say, Don’t leverage your entire income and your ability to provide for yourself and your family on a platform that you do not own and do not control. And I would think, okay, I get that intellectually, like, I just don’t think that that would ever be me. She’s had a couple of situations where someone she doesn’t know if it’s an internet troll, or if it’s one of her competitors. But someone what has been reporting her on social media trying to say that she’s going against community guidelines, and the things have been investigated, found to be not true. But during the time when her profile would be suspended, and her account would be suspended. And she would be waiting to hear back from the social media platform. She would be sweating bullets, and she finally realized like, Okay, if I did get banned or shadow banned, if something went kaput, for me on this social media platform, what the hell would I do? And I told her the same thing that I would say to you about these freelancing websites. If you’re tired of it and you want to get off, then you need to plan your exit strategy in advance. So we started to wargame it out. All right, what would it look like if you got shut down tomorrow? What would you do? What are what would be some of the first avenues that you would walk down in order generate revenue quick, fast and in a hurry, then we begin to look at those avenues and test the viability, I would strongly recommend that you do that for yourself before you slam the door haven’t have a plan B, get your stuff together before you shut the door on these sites. So speaking of taking things slowly and not slamming the door shut in a rage. Today’s episode is actually a follow up to an episode that I recorded at the end of March called no more dieting. So now what I’ve received numerous DMS and emails from people asking, did you ever find the middle path on health and wellness? And if so, what does that look like for you? I’m going to talk about that in today’s episode. But there’s one thing that I want to be extremely clear about. I am not a doctor, a nurse, a dietitian, and nutritionist, a personal trainer, a health coach, a nutritional expert, etc. Nor am I holding myself out to be one. It is so important that before you even consider making a change to your dietary habits, your exercise routine, etc. You need to talk to your doctor, you need to sit down with someone who understands any underlying health conditions that you have any medications that you may be on, you may have to be on a special diet, there may be certain foods that you can or cannot eat, there may be certain exercises that are not safe for you to do due to an old sports injury. It’s so important that you get the information from your doctor. Don’t listen to something on a podcast and go Okay, well, I’ll throw caution to the wind and try it out because it worked for this person. So why not talk to your doctor. First, don’t make any decisions about diet and exercise until you’ve been cleared by your physician. There we go legal boilerplate inserted. So if you’re a new listener, the TLDR version of this story is that last November, kind of sort of going into the holiday season, I read Dr. Sandra amis book why diets make us fat and I really enjoyed it. I felt like her research made a lot of sense and her arguments were very cogent in the book. And it was a great time of the year for me to just relax you know that that time of the year and America there’s so much just decadent food that’s around anyway, grandma’s Christmas cookies and the Thanksgiving dinner and cakes and pies and in all of it. So I thought you know, this is a time when I feel comfortable stopping with the yo yo diets, I’m not going to go on some restrictive diet, rob Peter to pay Paul with my calorie counts or try to do some kind of backbreaking workout to quote make up for having eaten too much at Thanksgiving dinner. I just I was at a point in my life where I was broken from having done that for so many years and the self loathing and the body shaming and looking in the mirror and going Oh, there’s a little wobbly spot right there. You know, you’re a terrible person because of it. I was like I am done. And so reading that book was really liberating. So for about a, I don’t know, six to eight week period of time, more or less. I had what I called a food party, where I made whatever I wanted to make and I I’m not gonna lie, I enjoyed it. I felt a little bit like a Roman Emperor. I’m a good cook. And I guess if you’re a lousy cook, it might be more difficult but for me, you know being at home and there being various times of quarantines and lockdowns and not really being able to go out much anyway. And the weather being very cold. It It was nice to be sort of cloistered away in a nice warm kitchen and making all sorts of things homemade cakes and cookies and decadent three course meals and just whatever I wanted anything that hit my flight of fancy I made it and I made it well and then I ate it too. Going into the beginning of 2021 I felt off. It was like the food party had been really fun until one day it wasn’t. I could definitely tell that I was less than optimal on my health. I felt bloated, and sluggish. Like I was still exercising, but I didn’t feel like I had much effort to give to my workouts. I just felt like I was moving in slow mo or like trying to walk in quicksand and I realized like well you know you are cooking and eating a lot of rich, decadent foods, your pants are tight. And this may be a time to reevaluate strategy. And that led me to the question of Okay, I don’t I don’t want to do yo yo dieting anymore. I don’t want to try to do a bulk and cut. I don’t want to try to do these like extreme workouts where I feel tired and I feel like I have arthritis after the workout is over like there there has to be some middle path between yo yo diets or things that are very restrictive workout. It may cause bodily harm to you, versus being like super sedentary and just eating whatever the hell you want and not caring. There has to be some middle path out there. I just know it. Now, how do I find it for myself? Where Where do I even begin on trying to find it for myself? I mentioned in the last episode back in March, about Michael Pollan’s food rules. Yes, you can eat junk food, as long as you make it from scratch by yourself at home, you don’t get it from a fast food joint or the grocery store, you have to make it yourself. Well, in COVID times being on quarantine being home a lot. A lot of people got back into the kitchen. And so telling people y’all cook all those homemade cakes, cookies and pies and french fries from scratch, you just got to make it yourself. You can’t get it through a drive thru. For me, that was like a comma. And it’s like, Okay, great, I’ll be more than happy to do that. And eating those types of foods is part of what made me feel so sluggish and bloated. And oh, so just because you have the capability and the time of making those types of foods from scratch, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something you need to be doing on a regular basis. Sugar is still sugar, whether it’s from something you made from scratch at home that tastes like pure Heaven, or whether it’s something that you got out of the grocery store bakery, that’s kind of Oh, you know, like, if you’ve ever had one of those grocery store cakes, and like, the the cake itself is a little on the dry side and and almost like cardboard, and the storebought icing has that weird metallic taste to it. Sugar is sugar, right? It doesn’t matter if it tastes awesome, or you take a couple of bites of it, and it tastes like poopoo it’s not really something that we can sort of universally agree on as being health food, it’s still a cake. So the first step for me on finding this middle path was to take an honest appraisal of my eating habits, I knew that the food party had been a lot of fun until it wasn’t. And when I felt lousy and slow and not very energetic. I didn’t have that pep in my step or a little spring in my foot anymore. It was like this, this just doesn’t feel good. I don’t feel like my body is doing what I really want it to do. So I took a look at what I was eating day in and day out. Some experts recommend that you keep a food journal, you’re not at this point logging macros or calories or any of that you’re just taking an honest appraisal of what you eat, how often do you eat? And how much do you eat? And then what do you eat. Some people recommend that you do that for a week. And some people recommend that you do that for a month. Again, talk to your doctor and decide what makes the most sense. But I think sometimes we graze and we snack, or we have more of something than we think or we eat more often than we think. And once we bring our awareness to it, it becomes easier to go Oh gosh, you know, I completely forgot that I had that package of whatever I completely forgot that I stood at the sink, eating graham crackers. While I was waiting on my kid to get ready like we we have the tendency to do that. And we also mindlessly eat in our culture. Because we’ve got the TV on or we’re working we’re trying to cram a sandwich down our throat to hurry up and get a project out on time. So it’s almost like we begin to eat on autopilot. And we don’t even think we don’t even remember something that we ate. But of course the body remembers. As GI Joe always said knowing is half the battle. So being able to shine a light on your eating habits is definitely important. And it’s knowledge that you can put to good use. So the second step for me on this middle path was to take one habit at a time and to really mean it. Because we also in American culture have the tendency to want everything to happen so fast. That’s one of the reasons why yo yo diets and fad diets and crash diets are so popular over here is because people want the quick fix. Even though you may not have gained 50 pounds overnight, you want to lose it overnight, you’re you get attracted to these plans. They’re like alright, by this time next month, you could already be 30 pounds lighter. Meanwhile, based on the size that you are now I mean, is that even healthy? Is it even realistic? Like what are you going to have to do to yourself to lose that amount of weight in that short period of time? I mean, we have to always caveat emptor let the buyer beware and do research on what we’re listening to, you know, the the diet industry and Big Pharma they all have a vested interest in keeping you coming back. So if you yo yo diet, gain and lose gain and lose, gain and lose, they really have a customer in you for life. So when I say one habit at a time, I really mean it. And I would focus on one habit at a time for an entire week. So if my goal was to drink more water for an entire week, that’s the only habit I focused on changing. I didn’t try to slide something else in under the radar and fool myself. I’d just focused on drinking more water. If I decided that I wanted to reintegrate weight training into my workout routine, that was the only thing I focused on for that week trying to figure out what that routine might look like. And on what days of the week, it might be the most doable for me that I didn’t focus on anything else. If I decided that I wanted to eat more vegetables, that’s all I focused on. for that week. I didn’t think about anything else or worry about anything else I just focused on how could I integrate more vegetables into my diet for that week? Is this a slower version of doing things? Yes, it is. It doesn’t give you that instant gratification of getting on a fad diet, and losing five pounds of water weight overnight. It is really a different kind of lifestyle. But it also is more doable for the long run, because you’re not overwhelming yourself or giving yourself a major shock to the system. And all of these little habits that you’re focusing on week by week begin to build up. So then you’re eating more vegetables and drinking more water and not drinking soda pops anymore and integrating strength training into your workouts. And you’re also walking more steps like all of these things begin to build up so that your health and wellness profile gets a little better, and then a little better, and then a little better. And it’s almost like walking up a staircase or a ladder, you’re just taking it one step or one rung at a time. The third thing that I will say is pay attention to how your body reacts. This is another reason why I believe it’s so important to make sure that you get with your doctor and you’re doing things in a way that sensible for you. Because everybody is a little bit different. There are some people who eat a high carb diet, and they are able to maintain a very healthy weight and all of their health metrics are good. There are other people that if they ate a high carb diet, they would be overweight and sluggish and bloated. One thing that I noticed about myself, you know, when I was keeping the food journal, I’m thinking back to the foods that I ate during my food party. For me, if I eat a lot of empty carbs and starch, it definitely leads to bloating. It’s like somebody pulls a ripcord in my stomach. And it’s like poof, all of a sudden, all of this water weight and all of this bloat. And it definitely doesn’t feel very good. And when I say empty calories and starches or empty carbs and starches, I mean, I’m not talking about obvious stuff like French fries, and ice cream and pizza I’m talking about even foods that appear to have a health halo around them, they appear to be healthy. They’re not greasy pizzas and french fries and whatnot. Even those types of foods are so processed that like by the time they get into your body and into your bloodstream, they don’t make you feel full for very long. So then I become like hungry and hangry. And I’m just all the time looking for food, I don’t really feel fully satisfied. And then I don’t feel like I stayed full for any significant length of time. So knowing that about myself helps me to make better choices so that instead of eating a particular food that I know is really high in carbs. And it’s really high and like the refined processed carbs, not like the whole grains and the stuff that releases slower into your bloodstream. But the stuff that’s like whoosh, gonna take you on a sugar high. I just avoid those types of foods because I just don’t like the way that they make me feel. And that leads me to my final point in this episode. For me, rediscovering real foods, not what we could call Franken foods or food like substances, as Michael Pollan likes to say, but real, actual Whole Foods has been huge. Having all of this other knowledge, being able to tweak just one habit at a time knowing how my body reacts to particular foods, and what what I can consume that really makes me feel good and full and healthy, and I’ve got energy versus what makes me feel slow and tired. And paunchy, like, had taking that knowledge and being able to apply it in the kitchen has been incredibly helpful. And I have found that I feel better, I perform better in my workouts, I sleep better at night, my skin is clearer, and I just all around feel better when I am eating real, actual Whole Foods. And if you’ve been on a string of yo yo diets as I was for years and years, so many of us happen. You may be sitting there with your arms folded, going, Yeah, but what’s the catch? Do you eat carbs? Yes. Okay, well, do you fat? Yes. Okay, well, do you eat protein? Yes. Okay, well, do you count all of your carbs meticulously? Nope. Okay, but do you eat dairy? Yes. Okay, but is it full fat dairy. Yes. Okay, what do you eat meat? Yes. Okay, but is it only lean meat that’s only been like, poached and has no flavor or it’s been baked and has no flavor or do you only do that? No. Okay, but do you ever eat bread? Yes. Okay, but do you put butter on it? Yes. Okay, but do you ever drink any alcohol? Yes. There’s no catch coming. There. There’s no like, Okay, I’m telling you that I am following Dr. amvets advice about no more yo yo dieting, but really wink wink nudge nudge, I am on a yo yo diet. I’m not being able to negotiate this out for myself and to take the time that I have needed to figure out what makes me feel good. And what doesn’t make me feel good has been huge. But yes, I eat meat and dairy products, I stay away from things that are super processed, where it doesn’t even it doesn’t even taste good anymore. That’s like and and i know i’m gonna get hate mail for this. I get it again, talk to your doctor. You know, if you’re not supposed to be consuming dairy, then don’t don’t sit here and go well, she didn’t and was okay, my my health profile is not yours. So again, make sure that you’re talking to your doctor. For me skim milk tastes like if milk word cardboard like it just it has no flavor to it at all. And the difference between whole milk versus skim milk to me is like night and day. It’s the same thing I would say with products full good full fat products like a sour cream, a cream fresh, heavy whipping cream. It’s like when you taste that real full fat dairy that has the milk fat and and it’s like, Whoa, this is totally different, completely different experience from trying to like subsist on something that’s fat free that really doesn’t ever like slake your thirst. It just makes you feel like, Okay, well, I ate something and it had a health halo around it. So I guess that makes me a good person today. Whoa, whoa. So if you’re wondering, alright, are you just throwing caution to the wind and eating whatever, whenever. And then however much of a quantity note, I do pay attention to serving sizes, I’ve read labels, and I’m very mindful about measuring things out to be sure that I get an appropriate portion. I don’t want to eat an eight ounce steak if I could have gotten full on four ounces of meat instead. And it does. It does. It’s wasteful for one thing, and it’s expensive. But it’s also giving your body more than it needs to really be optimal. When I have a glass of wine with my dinner. I choose red wines that are healthy. So something like a Pinot Noir, or a Malbec wines that are dry that don’t have a tremendous amount of sugar. And I’m also conscientious of the ounces that I put into the wine glass so that I am measuring out a three and a half or four ounce serving of wine and enjoying it letting that be that I don’t need to just oh, I’m going to free pour and hope I came out on a number of ounces. It’s healthy. Hmm, no, I’m careful. And I take good measurements. I pay attention to things like hunger versus thirst. And again, like I spent a week, really sussing out that was one of the habits that I did was to suss out, am I hungry? Or am I thirsty? Because a lot of us are dehydrated. We drink too much junk and empty calories in America, not enough water. And so there are times when our body is trying to tell us you’re thirsty. But we we read it as hunger. I’m like, Okay, great. I’ll go to the kitchen to get something to eat when it may just be that your body need a couple of glasses of water to make itself right again. So I use some mindful eating techniques. I pay attention to whether I’m hungry or thirsty. Am I tired? Like what’s going on hormonally? How am I feeling today? Am I tempted to eat sugar to make myself feel better? Am I doing emotional eating? Or am I just eating out of habit? I looked at the clock and saw that it was 12 and thought okay, well, I’ll go and make lunch right now. Maybe I’m not hungry. Maybe I’m not really in the mood to eat that day until one or 130. Don’t just kind of like mindlessly eat out of habits, you want to make sure that you’re actually hungry when you’re going to prepare food. So in the next episode, I will be talking more about real actual Food, Cooking styles and techniques, books that I would recommend that you look into again, only after you’ve had clearance from your physician to do so. This episode could get incredibly long. I could be here for what feels like an hour to jabber joying about this topic. And I want us to separate this out so that you can get the most out of it possible and it doesn’t turn into an episode that turned out to be too long to retain someone’s attention. So in the next episode, I will talk to you about real food and preparation. Things that I really enjoy that I feel like have enriched my life things that I avoid that I just don’t bring into the house. anymore. And I hope that you enjoyed today’s episode got something useful out of it and I will see you again in the next episode. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

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