Dear Diet: I’m Over You.

I told Twitter that I binge ate 15 cookies today, and they totally didn’t judge me. Which is crazy because I judged me, so why not them? I’ve found myself sneaking around as of late, hoarding cookies and other sugar-based goods like it’s communist Russia and I’m on food rations. I’ve never experienced cravings for something quite like sugar before. Cigarettes? No problem. Alcohol? Whatever. Coffee? Well I’d miss it, but I certainly wouldn’t be planning elaborate, sneaky missions to acquire it. (Maybe I would, I mean, all hail the mighty java) My “health” journey started right after Christmas last year. I found myself face first in a diet book. JJ Virgin’s diet. I never subscribed to diet culture. In general, I think it’s gross. I think we as women, and maybe some men, have grown accustomed to obsessing and scrutinizing every food or exercise based decision. In a world where we’re bombarded with limitless garbage food, and a full blown addiction to sugar and carbs, we’ve certainly gotten to a point where we devote WAY to much brain power to this shit.
As a side note, I purchased a scale a while ago. That was a terrible idea. The idea of the scale was to get on it like once a week to just check in. Too bad I get on it at least three times a day. Making sure to take off every last scrap of clothing so that I’m getting a “full picture”. In any given day I can fluctuate 7 pounds. So, I start real light in the morning and then by the evening with my gut full of liar cookies and tarts, I’m back up again. How did I get to this point?

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Back to JJ. She appealed to me because she encourages her readers to discover what causes problems for them, in their body. No you don’t have to go without dairy if it doesn’t cause issues for you, you CAN have eggs after the three weeks of starvation and smoothies – so long as your body likes them. I jumped in. Head first. Lapping up the almost immediate weight loss I experienced (bloating, water weight etc.) and over the moon about an immediate difference in mood, levels of irritation, headaches, and fatigue. This was my salvation. But of course, nothing is. (Spoiler alert: I am.) After a time I plateaued in weight. Thinking to myself, okay so now I just need to start to move my body. I did a couple stints on the elliptical, even tried to go jogging which ended horribly – my dog and I tripped over each other several time, and somehow in that time I convinced myself that I deserved all of the treats, and then immediately after all the said treats, I chastised myself and dove head first into a shame spiral. Then I’d get back on the “diet horse”, feel a little success, “cheat”, shame spiral. You get it. It’s a cycle and it’s all quite, exhausting.

*Sidebar: can we just talk about the word ‘cheat’ and how much I hate it? How dare you associate me treating myself with some kind of inscrutable act. Such a subtle way of like, sincerely instilling profound guilt. GROSS.

I’m god damn tired, of hating myself when I want to have a cookie. I’m tired of having to constantly rationalize why I deserve something, or how much I have to work out to ‘earn it’, or how I’m always thinking about the size and shape of my body. If I was a little bit this, little bit thinner, little bit that, everything would be perfect. I am tired of convincing myself that every ailment I have is because of what I put in my body. (A lot of it is, lets be real BUT STILL) I’m tired of feeling frustrated and anxious eating anywhere other than my house because there are just no options for me. I’m tired of the lack of god damn options in my shitty little grocery store in my tiny town I live in because North America’s food is owned by like two people and we’re all at the mercy of whatever they fucking decide. I’m tired of having to plan weeks in advance if I want to go away, go camping or hang out with people that just don’t eat the same way I do. I’m tired of hating myself when I want to have a god damn cookie.

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Shame spirals aside, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

  1. Regardless of how much weight I lose, I’ll still be the same person. Maybe more confident, but the same. Still riddled full of weird daddy issues and poor communication skills.
  2. I don’t actually have to subscribe to a specific diet dogma. I think we can all appreciate how theres 8,000 diets to choose from, all with varying levels of weirdness. Remember the juice cleanse? That was dumb. Remember when Atkins was all the rage? Even dumber. I’m all for eating healthy, but the fact that people make actual millions off of the fact that women are programmed to attach their self worth to their physical appearance is nauseating.
  3. I can have a god damn cookie. And I’m not a bad person. Okay so maybe 15 in one day is a bit much. Pace yourself and don’t overload or else you get anxiety and rashy skin. (At least for me.)
  4. Most importantly, my self worth isn’t attached to my physical appearance. I fooled myself into thinking that the diet was so that I would ‘feel good’ and it was for a while. Until I stopped losing weight and then all of a sudden it wasn’t about how I was feeling it was about how I stopped losing. I wish I was woke. I wish I didn’t have any attachment to how my body looked and focused only on my mental clarity and my ability to get through a conversation without visualizing stabbing the other person. Are you with me still?

So here’s the plan. I generally know whats good for me and what isn’t. I’m going to eat nourishing foods – the entire rainbow of vegetables. I’m going to stay away from sugar for the most part, but allow myself a treat every once in a while. I’m going to stay away from overly processed and food that comes in a box. Simple right? Lots of water, no eating before bed.

Healthy eating is intuitive and I let myself believe that someone had to TELL me what healthy eating entailed. I know myself. I know my body. I know what my body likes and doesn’t like. I know that the health game is a marathon, not a sprint. I know that in the end, I have an immeasurable amount of things to be grateful for, my health included. No metabolic disease, a stable job, a nice house and an amazing husband and extended support system. WHY am I utilizing my brain power to obsess over this thing? This gross diet, exercise thing? Well I’m not anymore. Cause fuck you, sugar.

Veggies, no processed, lots of water, a good nights sleep, and an overwhelming amount of positive self talk and love. That’s it.
Oh and also, a beer. Fuck I miss beer. 

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4 thoughts on “Dear Diet: I’m Over You.

  1. Ah … I want to do a really good comment, but I don’t think I can. I just vibe with this a lot, and I think almost everyone would. When we got a set of scales (I refused to have one in the house for a long time) I had to talk my partner down from weighing himself every three seconds and beating himself up about the results. I worry about loved ones who can’t seem to enjoy food, who don’t eat enough and still want to be thinner. I talk my friends down from bad-mouthing themselves over their weight. Sometimes I don’t have energy to talk myself down from it at the end of the day when I’m getting into my pjs in front of the giant mirrored wardrobe (seriously fuck whoever built this house and thought that was a good idea) and everything jiggles and bulges and blergs.

    I really hate this morality and purity we have attached to eating. I feel awful every time I hear someone say “clean eating”, “I’ve been good today, only eaten salad”, “I’ve been bad today, so I have to go to the gym”, “I’ve earned a little desert”, “desert is gross and I don’t understand how people like it”, “cheat day”, “toxin”, “detox diet” and everything else. (And speaking as someone with a chronic illness, people throw clean eating around as a miracle cure for everything … and it’s like … no, my body is just medically weird and no amount of kale is going to fix it. But it’s like they link food and health to purity, and link illness to impurity, and honestly believe that I wouldn’t be disabled-level sick if I just wasn’t into burgers and did some running sometimes).

    And I’m just ranting at this point, so I’ll stop. Sorry for clogging up your comments. Thank you for writing this. I hope you find balance and enjoy the odd cookie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since I’ve written this I got an outstanding illness where I was spewing out of both ends. Food poisoning I’m sure. My mother came to my rescue and in the middle of barfing I told her that at least I was down three pounds 🙄🙄🙄
      She hid my scale. I don’t know where she put it but I haven’t looked. Diet culture is such a weird thing. It’s all so comparative and you’re totally right – I hate the language. I hate how the language we use around food ingrains guilt into us.
      I love the idea of eating well and trying your best but we’ve strayed so far from what that means. People know what’s good for them – it’s evolutionarily intuitive. Why there’s a multi billion dollar industry around someone telling me what I should be eating is so weird to me just conceptually. Now I’m ranting. I love a good rant tho, never apologize.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good on your mum. I hope you feel better soon. Food poisoning is not fun.

        I generally just try and eat (standard meals and when I’m hungry) food that is home-cooked and usually includes vegetables. I’m mad for sugar. I try to reserve dessert for weekends (unless it’s a special occasion, I’m meeting friends and having dessert is the thing we’re doing, or the day was particularly traumatic, in which case I go right ahead because arbitrary rules shouldn’t stand in the way of living your life). And I have a stash of gingernut biscuits to have with tea in the afternoon if I’m really Jonesing (because I like them enough that I enjoy having one with tea, but not so much that I’ll eat the whole packet in one sitting, which applies to pretty much every other kind of biscuit/cake/chocolate).

        And I try not to beat myself up when I do (and I always do eventually) get takeaway several days in a row, buy the chocolate chip biscuits (or even GASP the caramel-filled shortbread ones), eat all the biscuits in one sitting and then move onto devouring the the chocolate chips from the baking cupboard. Because willpower is not real, and guilt is not worth it, and plenty of people have days where they consume all the biscuits.

        Besides I like biscuits. It’s okay to like biscuits.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You get me.
        Ever since I tried to quit sugar forever I’ve had issues with it. I never had a sweet tooth. Always was a salt person instead. But now I can’t stop. I do eventually stop when I feel sick. But it’s a deep unlearning and relearning. Takes time. And a whole lotta self love. I need that tattooed on my fucking forehead.

        Like

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