Feeling guilty about the last attempt to diet left me feeling rather grumpy with myself. Why couldn’t I just do it and stick with it? Why did Ruffles potato chips have to be on sale this week? They are my ultimate weak spot with a tub of french onion dip. All was going ok until I just had to walk down that aisle to see the yellow sticker saying they were on sale. Why did I cave and put them in my cart? I knew full well I was on a diet that didn’t include Ruffles. Yet they were sliding down the black automated belt being scanned by the cashier.
I have started and stopped more diets than I can remember. Ok, stopped isn’t the right word. It was more like I got stressed, was tired or hungry or both and I deviated from the plan. I didn’t have time to meal prep. The food wasn’t keeping me full. You name it but stopped seems like it doesn’t really tell you the truth of what really went down. Basically, I failed to keep it up. There I said it. It isn’t the diet’s fault, it is purely and completely my own.
Maybe I’m just not good at it? Dieting that is. Maybe I’m not meant to drop the extra pounds that I always look down and see floating on my belly and thighs as I stand in the mirror. Ignoring it sure hasn’t helped make it go away either and has resulted in futile attempts at even more dieting. Maybe if I cut out coffee this time? Wow, I’m officially insane at this point if I’m considering the one vice I have pledged through thick and thin to keep at my side. I would rather eat tofu than give up coffee so that’s not going to work.
The truth is I don’t need a new diet. I don’t need to restrict one more thing in what I cannot eat either. Well, maybe just the Ruffles. Or not. They are comforting after all. The idea that diets are restrictive to be successful is what makes my heart beat in pure unadulterated rebellion and the core of why they don’t work for me. I love food. I like to eat. If you tell me no, I’m going to do it out of spite. It’s how my mind works with everything, including dieting and exercising.
My journey to health has been a lot of figuring out how to appreciate my rebellion and push the limits of what the experts say we should be doing to lose weight. The whole one sized fits most thinking is just like restrictions to me. Why do I want to be like everyone else on top of being told no? Seriously, don’t do that because I will go ten kinds of ugly mad on you. Finding a diet that works with this type of thinking has been a major project. It is also why I think most people fail at dieting and keep up on ridiculous exercise routines. We’re trying to fit into someone else’s definition of how to succeed instead of our own.
For me this started with forgiving myself. I had to apologize for putting myself through diets that left me hungry, nutritionally drained and dehydrated. I really needed to forgive myself for hurting my body to the point of extreme pain trying to prove I could do some workout and it was good for me. I also had to apologize for not doing something sooner and a long time ago so I wouldn’t be dealing with this now or for as long as I have. I owed myself a million and one apologies for why I was where I was now. Middle-aged mom who was overweight, hating what my body looked like and seeing a trail of failed diets and workout programs in my oversized path to here. It was all my fault and I am sorry.
Healing from the dieting fails of the past is a process that takes more than one apology and 5 minutes talking to yourself. It is a journey of learning to even like yourself just like you are right now and repairing what it means to be you. It feels like you boxed the real you up years ago and put her in the attic thinking one day you’ll feel like that again, when your slimmer, have more energy and look beautiful. The truth was I was still that girl, only older now and under several pounds but she was still there I owed her an unpacking. I owed her a lot more than that too.
When I realized I was still the same girl and could be how she feels inside and out again, the healing gained momentum. I found new curiosity to learning what I could do to honor her. Food and exercise took on a healing approach too. I stopped seeing food as comfort and mindlessness; the thing I turned to when I was bored, tired, stressed, overwhelmed and not clear on what I needed. My taste buds needed consideration because for too long I let my mind control what I wanted and what sounded good rather than what actually tasted good. The same mind that would berate me for diving into ice cream and pizza knowing I’d be aw