Archives for Eating & Dieting
In our society, restriction is perfection. It is beauty. Restriction is seen as a correct, desirable approach and path. We glorify it. We yearn to adhere to it. We see it everywhere. Restrict the number of calories and carbs you eat. Restrict the amount of dessert. Restrict your portions. Don't even think about having pasta, pizza or ice cream. Don't even think about eating past 7 p.m.
We fill ourselves with food. Food that we don't savor. Food that we barely even taste. We fill ourselves with alcohol. Too much alcohol. Parties. Endless gatherings and events. People who are critical, maybe even cruel. We fill ourselves with new clothes, new shoes, new trinkets, meaningless objects we don't need or even enjoy. And yet we still feel empty. Hollow. Depleted. Under-nourished. Maybe even starving or gasping for air.
Every year, on or around July 4th, I republish and update a piece on declaring our independence from what doesn’t serve or support us — everything from dieting to damaging beliefs. I hope you find it helpful! And I hope you have a wonderful holiday or Monday. Today, we celebrate our independence here in America. But wherever you live, it also might be the day you celebrate your independence, too.
You ate a bowl of ice cream. The full fat kind. Maybe, you even ate two bowls. Please don't punish yourself with cruel words. You are disgusting. You have no willpower. Please don't drown yourself in shame, blame and regret. I can't believe I did this. I'm the only one who can't control herself around food. This is humiliating.
For so many of us weighing less not only becomes a goal we strive for. It also becomes intertwined with all sorts of things. Our self-worth. ("I am only worthy if I lose weight. I'm terrible, unlikeable, unloveable, _______ if I don't lose anything, or worse, if I gain and gain.") Our lives. We assume it gives us meaning. Fulfillment. And we pursue weight loss with the same passion, perseverance and all-in attitude that we might devote to something else. Like a relationship. Like writing. Like learning another craft.
Maybe years ago you let everyone walk all over you. Like you weren't even there. Like you were a rug fit for stomping on. Maybe you weighed yourself all the time. Maybe you said yes to everything---except to acknowledging and appreciating yourself.
Be careful you don't blow up with all that dessert you've been eating lately. Make sure you work out. You don't want to gain the freshman 15. You're so small and slim. You'll make an adorable pregnant lady.
Many of us think we have to repay anyone who says something nice or complimentary to us, to anyone who takes us to dinner, to anyone who pays attention or is kind in some other way (whether the kindness is genuine or ill-intentioned). We think we owe something beyond a heartfelt thank-you.
In our diet-obsessed society we've been taught to view food as a necessary evil, a nuisance, the thing to blame for the scale not budging, the thing we can't have. The forbidden fruit. Or we've been taught to view food in a more neutral light: as fuel. Strictly as a source of nutrients, vitamins, protein, fiber. Fuel for our bodies to function. Fuel for our brains to create. But nothing more.
I regularly see posts on social media and pieces elsewhere about food and guilt. Posts that say if you "splurge" occasionally, you have no reason to feel guilty. If you eat dessert once or twice a week, that's OK, too. Usually. If you're exercising and eating healthy, then you have no reason to feel guilty either. Most of the time. I've seen comments that say, "Yes! You're so right." And I get it: This is what we read and hear all over the place: In magazines. On TV. Maybe at the dinner table. Maybe when we're out and about.