Earlier this year, I wrote a post on my old blog about how crazy I made myself with dieting, and how I was starting to see that no magical food plan or particular way of eating would "save" me. I talked in depth about how militant eating was a surefire, express train to Crazytown, with a five year layover in Fatville.
Ah, how quickly we forget.
Less than 3 months later I was back to a newer, even more militant low-carb plan, certain that I would be able to "cure" myself once and for all. And clearly that worked out really well, and now I''m all better and have lost 100 pounds in 2 months.
(Hint: the previous was not intended to be a factual statement.)
I''m able to laugh about it, but at the same time, I can''t help but feel a little saddened. It''s obviously going to take a long time before I can really let go of the diet mentality.
Anyways, I wanted to repost because I resonate with this post more than ever. Here it is, from January 3rd of this year.
Yesterday I was lured into Whole Living Magazine’s 28 Day Challenge by the siren song of a “pure, rejuventated, detoxified body”. As I started to peruse the guidelines for the first day, I felt some of my old hangups rearing their ugly heads. “I should stop eating dairy. I bet wheat is making me fat. I am a bad person for eating meat.”
I have fallen victim to this same exact website before; last year I actually tried to follow this cleanse, and, surprise surprise, wound up not staying on it for the full time and also didn’t see any lasting good come of it. I think back and see how crazy it was for me to think that there is a “reset button” on our bodies, that if we just do a certain diet long enough, we don’t have to worry about food ever again and everything will be easy after that.
There is no easy way. Change is easy. Real change, however, requires balance to keep it going, and that, my dear friends, is really fucking hard.
As I read through the guidelines of their cleanse again with a clear head, I started to see how much of a bummer these “Kick Off The New Year” plans really are. You are striving for an extreme way of eating and living (daily yoga or other big changes in activity, no meat, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, etc), yet you know you are only being held to this extreme for a temporary period, so in the back of your mind you are just waiting until you can balance things out yourself by going to the other extreme end of the spectrum, and eat crap again. (But of course, in your mind, you are only going to eat a little crap, just to celebrate being done with your 28 days, and you’re going to get right back to plan afterwards, and keep living your life like you’re at a yoga retreat. Yeah. Right.)
It made me think back with some concern to my old mentality. No wonder I have been stuck in this overweight body for so long; I didn’t want to do the work, not for the long haul. I wanted to do a quick one-month intensive boot camp, and then be fine forever, suddenly and magically rid of my addictions (and of course, my weight). In the process of searching for this magical solution, and reading too many diet books, I am certain I hurt myself and my body. I probably slowed my metabolism down forever by going days with no food at all and just cayenne pepper lemonade (Master Cleanse), I created an unhealthy guilt complex about eating meat and dairy (Skinny Bitch), I worried that eating any sugar or potatoes was a cardinal sin that made me weak and more addicted (Sugarbusters), that rice had to be soaked, vegetables selected in terms of their life-force energies, and fruit avoided (Macrobiotics), or that nothing that had been cooked above a certain temperature was even worth eating (Raw Foodism). Is it any wonder I was going crazy?
Of course, I am not “cured”. I still think about Veganism a lot (especially when I read Bitchcakes’ Blog, since she lost a lot of weight by becoming Vegan) because I do believe that the way we produce our meat, dairy, and eggs is morally wrong, but I have come to terms (mostly) with the actual value of the foods themselves. I am constantly struggling against the idea that just because a certain diet works for one person, and they are successfully losing weight, that this must be the only way. Watching Bitchcakes lose weight by being Vegan makes me think sometimes that I won’t be able to be healthy without making a radical change, but then I remember that it’s not the Veganism; she is on Weight Watchers, too. The Veganism was a choice she made, but it wasn’t the magic bullet. When I think back to my 2-year foray into Veganism and I see that it was just another type of eating disorder for me. Now, I just buy organic, free-range, or pastured meat, dairy, and eggs as much as I possibly can (but that’s not about diet, that’s about concern for my fellow living creatures, and taking some personal responsibility). Now I see that for me, eating all types of foods in a balanced, sane way is a radical change.
Amen, earlier Me.
Isn''t it funny that my weight has increased over the years in direct proportion to how much more strict, puritanical, and militant I got with my diet?
I remember how, when I was thin and in shape, there was NOTHING I kept off-limits. There were things that I ate way less frequently, because I had decided that they were not delicious enough to be worth how they made me look and feel, but I never told myself I couldn''t have them. It was all a choice. I had the power, and I knew it. I felt it. I did not pity myself over what I "couldn''t" have, because I could have anything.
Well, guess what?
I still have the power. And so do you.