It’s been two and a half weeks since I showed the world a picture of me in a too-small dress. Determined to lose weight to fit into it, I started by counting calories, then following the skinny rules, and then a couple of days of eating two much, and then reading Intuitive Eating, which has me back on track. I’m down 12 pounds.
I’ve dabbled in Intuitive Eating in the past and have found comfort in this message. I read Brain of Binge earlier in the year and that message speaks loud and clear to me every single time I feel lost or out of control. The message is similar.
I truly believe, more than any other reason there is, that dieting and that mentality is why I am fat. And why I still struggle and have struggled with overeating since I was very young.
My second truth is that I cannot sustain counting calories, following rules, calculating points and eating some sort of picture perfect diet for the rest of my life. My inability to do so does not mean I’m a bad, weak, or lazy person who just doesn’t want to lose weight bad enough.
My third truth is, is that when I let go of my food guilt and ethics, my should and should not’s of eating, the fear and worry that I cannot control myself, I don’t and don’t want to eat a lot. When left to my own, guilt-free, non-dieting, real food eating self, I am not overeating. I’m not even thinking about food. As soon as the guilt sets in, I run to find solace in calorie counting, to ease my worries. And then…
always…I lose the ability to feel hunger, to feel full, to have any sense about eating because I let the calorie, or the diet, or some person decide how I should eat. And then as always, I overeat to retaliate. To feel normal. To not feel. And then I keep eating because I should be dieting. Because I am full of shame and guilt and then I keep eating some more so that I can prepare for days when I have saint-like eating and all of my “forbidden” food will be a thing of the past.
The thing about these forbidden foods is that more often than not, I don’t want them. I only want them when I feel like I can’t have them. They become my life raft.
I’m not doubting the success of dieting, but in them, I have never learned to eat, to listen, to be care-free from food worry.
My fourth truth is, is that I have a ton of food guilt. TONS. There are about 50 foods that are “pure” to me. There are foods that make me feel great, and I’m aware of the distinction. I believe that I don’t need to have so many food rules and ethics while I relearn how to process hunger/full, when I learn how to eat without guilt.
I think of my 90 year old aunt who ate eggs, toast and fresh tomatoes from her garden most mornings. Salami on rye for lunch. Vegetables from her garden and ice cream in the freezer. She made cobblers and she loved food and eating. When I think about my times with her as a child, there was never guilt in her house. Never any rules, nutritional know-how, no calorie counting, no worry, no dieting, just eating and moving on.
Aunt Bob gardened, she was never fat, and never had weight issues, or food issues. She never dieted either.Yet, if she blogged about what she ate and called her blog “Living to 90!” she would get comment after comment telling her she wasn’t strict enough, not rigid enough, that she needed to lose the yolks, the bacon, the salami, the rye bread and for heavens sake! no ice cream in the freezer. Because all of that would make her fat, unhealthy and she would certainly die at 60.
She would probably laugh at those comments.
I know I’ve said a lot on this blog in six years. I know I’ve made big goals, small goals, big promises, small promises. I’ve started and stop more times than I could count. I’ve lost and found my way to this point so many times, but I’m hoping that this is the last time I stop dieting. I really do. And this is why I blog, as a reminder, of where I’ve been.
I know how to eat. I know what I like to eat. I know how much to eat. I need to trust that I can do all of these things and the weight will come off. I’m trusting that it will.
I need to know that I can be honest and lay it all out here in this space. Even if it’s not what you want to hear, or the picture perfect diet. Or if my glass of orange juice for breakfast leaves you running for the hills, please just keep on going.
And with that, I leave you with last night’s dinner: