There are times when everything seems so easy. Leaving behind the diet mentality seems the most simple thing. Eating what I want can be done without thought or guilt.
Then there are times when something has struck me again and I find myself going back over old ground with the same mental fights in my head, the horrid little voice taunting and ridiculing me. “You need diets. You can’t do it alone” “You need to be told what to do. You’re too stupid to manage on your own.”
I want to lose weight. It’s not something I can get past, and I don’t feel that it is a flaw of any kind to want to lose weight. I feel better when there’s less to carry around, and my body feels healthier and happier on many levels. It isn’t a cure all. My life will not suddenly be perfect, I won’t suddenly travel the world in a decadent journey of air land and sea the perfectly behaved, exceptionally educated children falling behind me as I strut my slender stuff. I won’t suddenly be the most organised Mum, or the best cook, or have the cleanest, wonderfully decorated house. I won’t suddenly be a great actress and get the role of Doctor’s companion in one of the top escapism programmes on television. And I doubt I’ll ever wear a bikini.
But I want to do this, and develop the skills so that it isn’t a stress. I don’t want to be reliant on a little audio coaching session every night before I sleep, out of fear that I can’t trust myself. I don’t want to have to go to a class once a week to be chastised or celebrated for that half a pound. I don’t want to look longingly at foods that I can’t have. In fact. I don’t want to really think about food much at all. Dieting takes up mental space. Far too much mental space. When on a diet, I wake up thinking about food, I go to bed thinking about food, and throughout the day I am planning every meal. Trying to maximise flavour from a minimised list of ingredients.
And now, thankfully, I can go for fairly long periods without thinking about dieting, or food, or what I should/shouldn’t/can/can’t have. My weight isn’t drastically increasing, but it’s not going down all that much either a lot of the time. And then it dawns. Little food thoughts start to creep back in. Mentally totting up calories. Asking myself if I am having enough veg. Avoiding a certain food because it really isn’t that good for me. Diet thoughts. Diet rules that are surreptitious. They don’t march in waving banners. They don’t shout at me from pages of weight loss magazines. They sneak up and whisper. Calorie counting has been a part of my life for 30 or so years. It’s what I grew up witnessing. The little yellow book of calories. And every so often I realise what is going on and I throw out all those stealth diet thoughts and feel free again, for a time.
Today is one of those days. After a week of walking around thinking about Slimming World every so often, and thinking about the weight that I’m not losing, I decided I needed to read some positive words. Some good ANTI DIET literature. And so I picked up my Kindle and started reading more of Thingenious . Josie Spinardi has a wonderful way of explaining things, and one of her examples hit me like the proverbial brick. She writes about how when our body receives a cut, it doesn’t need us to work out how to heal it. Instinctively the body knows to send in the white blood cells, it knows it needs to prevent infection, it knows it needs to clot. It knows. Without us having to think at all. Our body has a natural optimal weight that it will work best at. Naturally slim people are at their naturally optimal weights, and it happens, well, naturally.
I am liking her book. She mentions time and again we are not to make her goals into new non diet rules, and mentions that even “Wait til you’re hungry” can become a rule we fixate on if we’re not careful. And for me personally, this couldn’t be more true. I realised that yet again I was getting rid of all the obvious dieting rules, but had been allowing those sneaky subversive rules to affect my decisions and knock my confidence just a little. Well, quite a lot, really.
The irony is, I don’t actually want junk food all the time these days. Certainly I have legalised an awful lot of foods, and I don’t see foods as good or bad. But then like an onion, I am back needing peel off more layers, and it feels a bit like two step forwards, one step back. I legalised a lot, but not all. I gave up most rules, but I still don’t trust myself completely. I still worry about feeling out of control, or not recognising my full signal.
It’s all ok, though. The layers are coming away. Today I am starting over. Legalising absolutely everything and allowing myself to enjoy! Eating when hungry, maybe eating when not hungry. It doesn’t matter for now. It isn’t a rule. It isn’t a diet.
The great thing about these anti diet books, is that they give advice and tools for you to go off and experience and practice for yourself. The authors don’t want you to become reliant on them and their products. They want to sell a solution, not a pill. I like that.