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How to Eat & Cheat Your Way to Health & Happiness {Giveaway}

by Elise Museles

img1Imagine eating a warm brownie, fresh out of the oven, or sipping a perfectly chilled glass of rosé and enjoying it – really enjoying it, without feeling an ounce of guilt. No mental tormenting. No next-day deprivation. No punishing exercise to repent. It sounds liberating (and delicious), doesn’t it??

Well, I have good news: You can be naughty, not guilty—and glow with pleasure as a result. That’s the message of The Naughty Diet, by model-turned-author Melissa Milne, whose mission is to help herself and others break out of the traditional rules of dieting that leave us feeling disappointed, deprived, and depressed. Frustrated by her own relationship with food and her body, Melissa came up with a method to change her negative thoughts—about food, and about herself.

The Naughty Diet is a 10-step plan that details how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle that includes real food and pleasurable indulgences in a body that you love. After speaking with and surveying thousands and thousands of women, Melissa addresses what appeared to be the most common themes for those who are sick and tired of feeling bad. (And I even have a giveaway to help break out of this cycle – but more on that in a minute…)

More than 95% of the women shared with Melissa that they struggled with guilt, an emotion that has no place messing with our food! I am proud and honored to have contributed to the chapter “Make Guilt Your Bitch,” offering a four-step system to help you—and me—kick guilt goodbye.

Recently, I sat down with Melissa to talk about what it means to be “naughty” and how to live life to the fullest without shame, guilt, fear, or confusion. Read on for Melissa’s answers to some of our most pressing questions on how to feel good in a body that you love without deprivation – and even be a little naughty, too!

 

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Can you share the inspiration behind The Naughty Diet and how you changed your own relationship with food and your body?

This book was inspired by pizza, red wine and failed diets. It was born out of love and frustration—my deep love of food and the intense frustration I felt sacrificing the foods I love (pizza!) to stay thin. I was sick and tired of feeling bad while trying to look good. I’d eat too much and then make myself pay. Pay with feeling shame. Pay with restricting calories. Pay with another 3, 5, 10 miles on the treadmill. Only to give in to temptation. And berate myself for it. Again. And again.

I wrote The Naughty Diet to escape this endless cycle of control-denial-failure-punishment. It’s a 10-step plan that effortlessly and effectively disarms the emotional power food has over our bodies and minds, freeing us to use the sheer hedonistic pleasure of eating as a secret weapon against weight gain, food guilt and body shame.

Unlocking my feelings about food was the first step in unlocking my feelings about myself—and discovering the powers of a Naughty Diet built on pleasure not punishment, health not guilt, love not shame, kale and chocolate! 😉

What do you mean by the word “naughty” and how does someone actually feel (and look!) better by adding in a little naughtiness onto their plate… and into their life?

“Naughty” is somewhere between “perfect” and “nasty.” Nasty is what makes us fat. Nasty is revolving your entire diet around eating whatever you want whenever you want. Nasty is a super-size order of In-and-Out and falling into a food coma before sex. And the alternate—perfection—is, of course, unattainable. We’ve tried. And trying to be perfect is what makes us feel guilty, and go and eat something nasty.

Naughty, on the other hand, is in the peaceful center. It’s eating good, clean foods, when you want, (some richer than others), but all made with real quality ingredients your granny would recognize and your body does too.

This goes against most diets—in fact, I call the book an anti-diet. We’ve all been conditioned to think of following traditional diet rules as being “good”—and many even incorporate “cheat” days. But who wants to live in a World where you can only enjoy lasagna once a week? Especially when it’s made with all-natural ingredients? I say, stop counting every calorie and logging every food you eat. Instead, embrace the good foods of the world and push the nasty ones away. Wiggle room in your life will give you wiggle room in your jeans.

To get Naughty, you have to change your entire approach to food and give bread and butter a second chance. You have to let go, eat with the flow and reclaim your mojo!

Let’s talk about Food Guilt! You surveyed over 10,000 women. What did you learn about Food Guilt?

Ah! Food Guilt, the uninvited guest at dinner tables around the World. My survey revealed that most of us can’t handle it. And by most, I mean most: 95% of women said they felt “bad” after indulging, with 45% saying they “always” felt that way. Let that sink in, Elise. Of 10,000 women surveyed 8,800 said they feel guilty much of the time, and will most likely break the “rules” again. We’re in a prison system and the system’s broken.

How ladies dealt with that guilt was equally revealing: 81% said they’d make sure their next meal was “good”, 45% said they’d skip the next meal altogether and 61% vowed to exercise harder, longer and faster. This isn’t balance. This is compensation. And compensation is an award paid to someone who’s been injured. And who’s injuring us? We are!

Now that we know Food Guilt is so pervasive, especially among women, how does The Naughty Diet help beat Food Guilt?

Food Guilt is not an eating disorder, per se, but certainly related to disordered eating. As with any disorder, we need to first see it to heal it. Your definition of Food Guilt, along with the 4 step action-plan you share in the book will help women to understand their guilt and release the emotional and physical power it wields over their diets—and lives. You teach us that we can move forward with healthier behaviors, at any moment. In fact, our guiltiest episodes can be good learning opportunities—and a chance for positive growth and change.

I also love that you shared your life-changing Aha Moment with us. I think a lot of women, myself included, can relate to your former “eating perfectionism” affliction—the opposite of Naughty. This book is designed to be one big life Aha!—empowering women with the mental tools needed to beat their diet and body demons, one guilt-free slurp of spaghetti at a time. As you say “there’s no morality with food. There are smart choices or better choices, but it’s not good or bad.” Embracing that healthy, sexy and flexi food attitude is seriously Naughty—and slaps Food Guilt right in the face. Guilt is for criminals, not carb lovers! If it’s not criminal or terminal, it’s just naughty.

Pleasure is such an important ingredient in The Naughty Diet Lifestyle. What does it mean to find your P-Spot?

Fact: Pleasure makes us healthier and happier. I call it the P-Spot! And finding yours is essential to a nutritionally complete dining experience and a sexy, flexi body to boot.

We all have a P-Spot, but sadly many of us have forgotten how to turn it on and up! We’ve been brainwashed by diets, experts and society to fear our P-spots, especially when it comes to food. Submitting to Pleasure means letting go of the thing all dieters cling to hardest: control.

To unleash the powers of your P-Spot you need to let go of the controlling rules and restrictions of traditional diets, one Naughty Step at a time. You need to get out of your head and into your sensual, genius body—learn to feel it, trust it, revel in it. And you need to eat for Pleasure, which means eating for Quality—and by definition, health too. We are born Pleasure-seekers; it’s not just the calories from food that fill us up, but the Pleasure we get from eating them. When you eat for pleasure your P-spot purrs, metabolism turns on, all senses are heightened, stress levels drop, food tastes more flavorful and its nutritional value soars. Activate your P-Spot and you’ll balance your appetite—and aid weight loss—too.

In The Naughty Diet, the last step doesn’t involve cleaning out your fridge; it’s about cleaning out your mind! How is mindset related to weight, and what steps can people take to rewire their brain to think themselves healthier and even thinner?

How you think about yourself predetermines how much you weigh! In one study, healthy-weight women who perceived themselves as fat were twice as likely to actually become fat as women who had a more positive, more accurate body image. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. The cognitive therapies in The Naughty Diet’s final step will rewire your brain so that you can think yourself thin and slip back into that slinky number from summers past… One powerful way to do this is via hypnotherapy—in your subconscious mind that makes up 88% of your brainpower. Inside you’ll find a series of self-hypnosis techniques that I swear by along with a number of easy yet effective visualization cheats. Your mind is limitless…and so are you.

 

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The Naughty Diet also contains 60 mouthwatering recipes that are a combination of health and naughty, plus a quiz to determine your naughty fitness personality, 80 (!) ways to kick food guilt to the curb, and more. If you’re ready to make food (and the mirror) your friend, The Naughty Diet offers a realistic 10-step plan to eat (and cheat!) your way to the body you want. Now, that’s what I call Naughty!

To encourage you to step out of the frustrating traditional dieting mold, Melissa and I are giving away a copy of The Naughty Diet to one lucky winner! Share how you plan to incorporate the philosophy of The Naughty Diet into your own life for a chance to win! Can’t wait to read your thoughts.

NOTE: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!

About this week’s guest:
MelissaMilneMelissa Milne is a certified integrative health coach.
Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Yahoo! Health, Shape, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications. She lives in New York City.

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