Saturday, January 28, 2017

Down to the nitty gritty- no diets

No diets- huh, how does that even work?  I have heard that from more than one person. It really is a complex subject, but it is as simple as that too.  Just don't diet.   Just don't be restricting your calories.  Now that is the easiest and hardest thing in the world.

We are constantly told that we can't be trusted to feed ourselves.  There are books, commercials, tv shows, blogs, apps and food companies that tell us that we have no idea what we are doing.  If we eat what we want- we will gain all the weight.

A few basic issues with this premise and our belief of this premise:  first- you are a freaking grown up and you really can eat what you want.  Seriously, you really can.  Your mom is not in charge any more (ok, that is a loaded statement, but you know what I mean).  Second the "if"- this industry is blackmailing and sabotaging you.  It is using its visual influence to make you think that you are not worthy of having a fulfilling life at the weight and shape you are right now.  Next- what business is it of anyone if you gain, lose or stay the same?  You, my dear, are not put on this earth for someone else's viewing pleasure.

But we will stay with the idea of not dieting here.  About 3 years ago,  I still struggled with my weight- meaning, I was struggling to stay at an artificially low weight, at which I had no business being.  I literally was starving myself for what??  Any way, I was very low weight and on the one hand I wanted to lose even more.  But on the other hand I was panicked and dissatisfied.  I did NOT want to keep doing this same thing all the time: cooking all weekend for the week, prepackaging all the lunches, planning my foods, buying ridiculously expensive things.  It was exhausting and drained my checkbook and between that and going on 2 hour walks or hitting the gym for hours, I literally had no time for anything or anyone unless they accompanied me in someway on the above mentioned activities.  These are not bad in and of themselves, but it was to the exclusion of almost everything else in my life.  Except of course getting on the scale about 10 times a day.

So through the process that I outlined in a previous post, I discovered the blogs and podcasts that recommended throwing away the scale and quit dieting.  So one weekend I did.  I didn't throw the scale away, because the hubs thought he needed it.  (note: he doesn't anymore- broke him of that habit by never replacing the batteries.  lol)  But I put it out of my sight.  And mostly I refused to get ON IT.  I apparently am the sort of person who can just suddenly do something like never weigh myself again when I FINALLY decide to.  It takes a while but I am like that.  There is no weaning myself of something- I just do it.  And I quit dieting in one swoop as well.  Soon after that I joined the Body Love Writing Circles that Anne-Sophie hosted, so I had some consistent support.  But for about a month I read as much as I could and sort of just "did it".

By "did it", I mean I quit dieting.  I quit following a food plan, filling in the diet app, counting my calories in and my calories out.  It was a little scary and really confusing.  When you literally can eat what you want, where do you start?  You tentatively go and make yourself a big peanut butter sandwich on yummy, smushy, white bread, that before would have had to be almond butter on heavy whole grain whatever.  You have yourself an ice-cream sundae for supper because you have given yourself permission- full fat ice-cream from the freezer (and nary a banana in sight!) that you always have there for the hubs and he just would willy-nilly enjoy when he felt like it at night!!  (Remember the grown up comment from up above?  He has no problem eating something he wants, because he doesn't diet or care what he eats, really) While I never actually binged out on chocolate, because I had been giving myself permission to eat chocolate- with some guilt, mind you- for several months, a fair share was consumed during this time period.   I had been giving this technique the side eye for a while;  it felt good to jump in.

I actually stood (and sometimes still do) by the refrigerator and imagined a variety of foods in my belly.  I imagined what I would feel like if I ate it.  I want what I eat to make me feel good, now. When you quit dieting, you can literally eat anything you want- seriously anything.  I mean it!!  It was immensely freeing and a bit frightening.  You go through a refeed period where your body demands you to eat without restriction the things that you were afraid to eat the most.  But you have to trust the process and just go with it.  Honey, you won't eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and supper for the rest of your life.  Chocolate will become just chocolate.  You will discover things that you were freaking CRAVING- like OMG GIVE ME ALL THE COOL RANCH DORITOS RIGHT NOW!!!!  and discover that they just don't taste all that good. Neither do Oreos---  Now Cheetos, they continue to taste amazing to me- a bit salty but sometimes that is what I want.  And I have them in the house most of the time, and they last for several days or a week.  Because I know I can eat them if I want and I can buy more if I run out.  Cheetos have no power over me anymore.  None.  Eat things that feel right to you, regardless of what anyone else says.

Food is no longer my hero, my savior, my enemy, my nemesis or my friend.  It is just food.  To get to this point you have to stop dieting.  That is the first thing.  Then stop weighing yourself, because for this to all work, you have to stop measuring and knowing a thing that is truly meaningless in your life and that is your weight.  BMI, weight, etc, etc.  You don't need to know those things- especially when you give them the power to make or break your day, your mood, your life.

This is the first step and having a tribe helps.  Having people who are escaping diets and are rebels of the most awesome kind are essential.  There are many people who are body positive coaches and bloggers who can help- I recommend going to Facebook and request to join Escape Diet Prison page. Don't be afraid- ask a question, people will give their thoughts and ideas.  Read the things going on- consider buying Anne-Sophie's 365 journaling prompts- it is stellar and just the right thing to continue on this journey to become the best person you can be without worrying about your weight.  You are far more than good enough to succeed.

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