Good Friday to you Fitties!
Yesterday was my first date night as an intuitive eater, and I learned some interesting things. Hang on, my laundry is beeping and I want to smash things.
Okay. Side note: I thought I needed a drying rack for my Zumba ensemble. I was wrong. I need, like, 4 drying racks. How have I been getting by with ZERO racks for so long?
K, so here we go: You tell people you’re going off a diet, especially when you have weight to lose, and they freak out. Maybe they don’t tell you, but they act like you’re giving up. Like you’re saying “I don’t care about myself anymore and I’m just going to destroy myself with food.” When really, stopping the diet is you saying that you care about yourself too much to keep wasting your life and soul hoping to win the diet lottery.
People think that they are fat because they tried to eat what their body wanted. And their body betrayed them. But the fact is, most of us haven’t followed our body’s cues for a long time. Anyone who has ever gotten cookies in exchange for finishing their homework or couldn’t have dessert because they didn’t eat all their peas or who had to sneak food between meals because “it wasn’t time to eat yet” or who got ice cream when they were feeling sad… food stopped being just about physical hunger a lonnnnng time ago.
I’ve posted pictures of Marilyn Monroe on this blog not that long ago. Curvy, fit… she didn’t have weight watchers. She didn’t have a body bugg. She probably did follow some sort of eating plan, but not with the level of obsession that we follow today with our macronutrients all broken out and plotted via computer software.
The trouble with diets is that our psychology and biology are stronger than diets. Our biology, when we cut calories, tells us, “eat.” When we ignore it, it tells us more urgently, more constantly, “EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT.” Our brain chemicals drop, we start to crave carb-y foods. Have you ever noticed how much more junk appeals to you when you’ve been on a very strict diet? Part of that is our body, part of that is also our psychology. The allure of the forbidden (see also Adam and Eve 😉 ) cries out to us. Listen, one way or another, your body is going to get through to you. If you have been restricting food, you will binge because your body wants to eat. If you have been restricting comfort, support and care, your body will binge to alert you that there are emotional needs going unmet.
So when you stop that and you tell yourself, “Self, you can eat whatever you want.” And you sit down when you feel a rumbling of hunger and you really listen to what you want. Now, this doesn’t mean follow some diet-y plan of stuffing yourself with as much “free” food as possible, and THEN eating whatever you want. If your body says “I would like vegetable soup, crackers and Quiche Lorraine” it doesn’t count if you eat 2 cups of celery first, and THEN nibble at the food your body wants.
Yeah, you will go a little crazy, for about a week. Then the next week, you’ll go a little less crazy. Hopefully, in my upcoming 3rd week I will have “stopped the insanity.” Did I tell you I’ve been leaving food on my plate? I think I mentioned it.
Anyway, so when we eat what we want fairly close to when we want it, there’s no need for a treat day or a cheat day or whatever you want to call it. But for many of us, those days are something we look forward to. We eat and eat and we check out of ourselves and our relationships and nothing matters but the mechanical process of eating and the ensuing numbness. So when you take that day away… what’s left?
It’s a weird feeling. Not needing to go crazy for food because… there’s nothing to go crazy about. You can have it. All of it. If you want to sit down and eat every scrap of food in your house, you can do it in front of God and everyone. And that takes the mystique out of it. There’s no more sense of indulgence in the act of overeating. There’s no more sense of “I better eat — all of it — NOW because tomorrow, I’m going on a diet.”
And what’s left is you being present in your life with the people you love. And if you’ve always dealt with life through the hazy lens of restriction and bingeing, that’s a scary process. When you interact with people head on instead of worrying about how they perceive your body and how your body compares to theirs, you’re left with honest interaction with others.
Scary prospect. Dieting and bingeing is easier. I can see why so many of us do it.
Have a great Easter Weekend! Thought you’d enjoy this video summing up the problem of diets. 😉