It happened again.
Even while I was still happily occupied with consuming my morning carbs, two brunching friends began discussing dieting.
One was on Adkins, the other just beginning some new diet focused on counting (and then subtracting) sugar calories.
Irked, I piped up with a gentle, “I hate diets. No diets!”
One friend (let’s call her Ms. Sugar Calories) replied, “This isn’t a diet. It is an eating plan.”
The other friend (let’s call her Ms. Protein) reinforced, “And the cravings really do go away after the first two weeks.”
And we wonder why I don’t get out much these days.
I mean, with all the pain and struggle in the world today, what IS it about whittling down our thighs (butt, belly, etc.) that has us so riveted?
I have a few friends who are further up in years than I am (I’m in my 40’s, and they’re in their 60’s-70’s) and STILL the obsession remains.
I don’t want to be 70-something and still contemplating a tummy tuck.
I mean, to be perfectly frank, I don’t want to be contemplating a tummy tuck at any age, but by the time I reach age 70, IF I reach age 70, I definitely plan to exempt myself from any further such contemplations.
I also don’t want to diet. ever. again. And I don’t plan to either.
Unfortunately – if I must admit it – this actually makes me feel left out sometimes.
This is because I don’t have anything to add to this still-favorite topic amongst practically everyone I know….and my attempts to shut down the topic typically lead to equally unwelcome side conversations where I am simply left out entirely.
It is like the whole world is still happily sucking down heroin and I’m the sole token abstainer….and I’m also the only one who seems to be aware that the stuff is bad news, toxic, not to be trusted for, well, anything at all.
Worst of all, the part of my mind that is still recovering from my own 3-decade obsession with body shape and size often feels fragile enough to get sucked in, wondering if perhaps I should at least hear my friends out before assuming their shape and size issues don’t apply to me.
What if they do?
The other day I tried to be companionable as my mom was talking about her new “healthy eating plan.” I told her it sounded interesting and she should send me the link to learn more.
Really, I just wanted to check out this book and its author to be sure there wasn’t anything dangerous about what my mom planned to try.
But in the process, somehow I communicated the idea that I was also interested in reducing belly fat and reshaping whatever remains.
It is all so frustrating.
Because it is not as if there isn’t – potentially – belly fat to reduce or other areas to reshape. There certainly is that, if I wanted to go there.
And a part of my mind will probably always be interested in – and concerned about – this exact issue….and wanting to go there.
But here’s the thing.
It didn’t make me any happier – when I was much thinner. In fact, I’m both the heaviest I’ve ever been AND the happiest I’ve ever been in my life right now, today.
It didn’t add anything to the quality of my life – in fact, it often kept me from noticing the really interesting, high quality opportunities that life served up.
It didn’t help me connect with other people, have a happy romantic relationship, or even feel better about myself (in appearance, personality, or spirit).
Losing inches, pounds, or belly fat has done nothing for me – ever. It has also caused untold pain and suffering, and not just for me, but for everyone around me.
To add insult to already serious injury, in my past-self timeline I can recall each stage at which I was smaller than I am now….and at each stage I a) thought I was much bigger than I was, and b) took absolutely no joy or reassurance from my smaller size at the time.
So clearly I am not capable of a) accurately assessing, or b) finding trustworthy reassurance through altering my shape or size.
It just doesn’t work.
Whichever way I tried, obsessing about size and shape just never worked for me. It never fit – in that it was the wrong solution applied to all the wrong issues. And rather than easing my fears or insecurities, it often made them stronger.
Yet with a culture still so focused on trimming and slimming, sometimes it feels like a useless uphill battle to stay away from going back to the same ol’ same ol’ to give it another try, hoping maybe, this time, finally….
But it won’t.
It will never work.
Because it doesn’t work.
Different outsides, same insides. Different measurements, same fears, insecurities, and concerns.
So at times I cast about for a sign – for some kind of cosmic permission, some kind of exemption card, that permits me to not worry about whether I am getting bigger or smaller on a daily/yearly/decade-ly basis.
I look for someone else I can bond with who is similarly unconcerned…or not just unconcerned, even, but completely oblivious to the issue itself.
I strive towards earning my own permission to simply reassure myself that all is well with my outsides, even if certain folks around me may still struggle with theirs.
Because to be honest, I do have some close friends in my life who have trouble selecting food and beverage choices that are good for their physical health – even when their physicians implore them to change and warn of future health consequences for failing to try hard enough.
There are some folks in our world today that do need to focus on, discuss, and strive towards a more balanced relationship with their bodies.
But I’m just not in that group – by choice. I left and don’t want to return.
And yet, as of today at least, I can’t seem to find a group who is like me.
This means that often the mentors I turn to for help and connection in this area of my life aren’t human at all – they are wild in body, heart, and soul.
My pets, the creatures I see outside my windows, all of nature remains so refreshingly and totally unconcerned with reducing and/or reshaping their natural exteriors* – so these days at least, it is only in their company that I can find some measure sanctuary, rest, self-respect, reassurance.
Today’s Takeaway: Do you ever find yourself sucked back into an old insecurity that you thought you had long since conquered, because others in your life are still struggling in that area? What do you do to stay firm and focused on your own truth about your recovery in this area! I would love to hear any insights you have to share!