What If I Stopped Wanting To Be Thin?

“I’ll never diet again!” That’s what I told myself after my last diet failed. After my willpower caved about six months in and I spent the next six months forcing myself to go to the gym and restricting the foods I allowed myself to eat. This left me 45 pounds lighter…it also left me neurotic, obsessed, and utterly crazy about food and exercise.

I have done unspeakable things in order to force my body to do what I wanted it to do. And in return it retaliated. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And the reaction to severely restricting your diet is the dreaded binge.

During those dark and difficult days I would throw what I considered “bad” food in the trash in order to keep myself from eating it. But that only made things worse. I was so obsessed all I could think about was that cookie (or whatever it was) in the trash. And I’m ashamed to admit I’ve eaten food out of the garbage can…more than once. I know that sounds disgusting. And it is. I also know I’m not alone.

My rock bottom came the day I had binged so much that my stomach felt as if it would burst. That feeling was so unbearable all I could think about was getting that food out of me. I had never purged before, but the idea was sounding better and better by the minute. The thought of getting relief by getting rid of the food I had eaten was overwhelming.

But in that moment I heard a voice in my head say, “This is a slippery slope. If you do this once, you’ll keep doing it.” I don’t know how or why, but I knew I was seconds away from a full-blown eating disorder. And somehow I was able to stop myself. But I’ve never been able to stop that longing to lose weight, no matter what size I am.

I know it’s hard to believe I would do that to myself again, but recently I went down the health and weight loss rabbit hole once more. I had been focused on “perfect” health in an effort to recover from adrenal fatigue and as is my tendency, I got a wee bit obsessive with it. And by ‘wee bit’ I mean A LOT! (Can you be a wee bit obsessive about anything? Exactly!)

I found myself admonishing things like cantaloupe and apples because they have too much sugar in them. I switched from whole wheat bread to Ezekial bread (which tastes slightly more bland than cardboard). I wouldn’t eat cottage cheese or yogurt (dairy is bad, don’t you know?) and I took copious supplements all day every day (14 types of pills, 7 times a day, 37 pills in total). Super Supplements must have loved seeing me come in the door!

Three very interesting things happened during this time. I didn’t really feel any better, I didn’t lose any weight (in fact, I gained some), and I wasn’t having any fun. So what was the point?

That’s when it hit me. What the fuck am I doing?

It would probably make me ill if I could add up all the time and money I’ve spent on books, programs, workshops, supplements, gym memberships, personal trainers and more over my lifetime. Not to mention the physical, mental and emotional energy I’ve wasted.

I could’ve written several books, taken piano lessons, had time to garden, spent more time with friends, traveled and done all the things I say I want to do but never seem to have the time, energy or money for. Ironic, huh?

So I’m wondering…what if I just stopped wanting to be thin? I know some of you just gasped in horror. The thought is not an easy one for me to wrap my brain around either. But what if I just give up this fight? No really…give it up. Not because I think acceptance will eventually lead to that long pursued goal of thinness, but just because I have so many other things I’d rather focus on. Could I actually get to the place where the size of my body isn’t even part of the equation anymore?

”Never underestimate the huge middle finger you are giving to the world when you make peace with your body.” ~Frances Lockie

What if the goal wasn’t thinness, but happiness, joy and fun instead? What if I said yes to life instead of always saying no? As in, no I can’t eat that it’s not on my plan. No I can’t go there, they might not have anything I can eat. No I can’t do that, I have to go to the gym, prep food, count supplements.

We’ve all been told (and generally believe) that if we want something bad enough and just work hard enough at it, eventually we’ll succeed. But is that really true? I’ve worked as hard as anyone to get to (and stay at) that ever-elusive healthy weight for my body without any lasting success. What if the problem lies in the wanting, the striving, the working so hard for?

There is no ‘right’ way to eat…no ‘perfect’ program. For every study/article/belief touting perfect health, there is almost always a study against it. It’s a wonder we can find anything to eat at all anymore. I have always believed knowledge is power and there’s no such thing as too much information. But in this case I think information is a recipe (pun intended) for insanity.

Right now I’m not the weight I’d like to be. But right now is all there is. And as I said in my previous post, The Weight Problem I Never Had, there is no bigger waste of time and energy than to wish things were different than they are.

For too many years I defined “being healthy” by the number on the scale, the size of my clothes, taking the right supplements, eating the right foods and doing the right exercise…whether I liked it or not.

Now I’m shifting that definition. It may take some time as the old definition of health is deeply ingrained. But what feels best to me is not focusing on plans or formulas or numbers some “expert” deems the right and only way. Being healthy means feeling good, enjoying life and having fun!

Does this mean I’ve finally made peace with my body? I don’t know. But I’m certainly on my way.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

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Here Comes Goodbye

Image source: music7seven.com

Image source: music7seven.com

I’ve been contemplating what I would write about next. I always have several ideas brewing, just waiting for the time to be right. As I poured over those ideas though, none of them incited that feeling of urgency. When a thought, belief or idea wants to be written about, it just won’t leave me alone. It nags at me, following me around like a toddler tugging at my shirttails. I had several options that were interesting (at least to me); things that have been mulling around in my brain. But none of them were begging for my attention, jumping up and down shouting, “Pick me! Pick me!”

Until now.

The weather has been beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest and I decided to go outside for a walk. Earlier this week I searched for, and finally found, my pink iPod Shuffle. I love how light and easy it is to just clip on and go, but I haven’t used it in quite a while. It was a gift from my previous boyfriend for our first (and only) anniversary on June 9, 2010. I had completely forgotten that date was significant until just this moment. If you’ve been following me at all, you know how devastating that breakup was.

I haven’t been using my iPod for a couple reasons. First, music touches me deeply and I know some of the songs on there are from when we were together. I was afraid to relive those memories and the emotions they might invoke. Second, it’s something tangible that he held in his hands and the music on it is from his collection; music he thought I would enjoy. So in some ways, even though it’s an inanimate object, after all this time it still feels like a link to him.

But I was ready to let go of that fear. After all, I just wanted to use the damn iPod! So I put in my earbuds and turned it on. And the first song that played was “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts.

I don’t think I’d ever heard this song before. I didn’t even know it was on there. But the moment I heard the words, “Here comes goodbye,” I felt that old, familiar sadness well up in my chest as tears filled my eyes.

“Here comes the last time
Here comes the start of every sleepless night
The first of every tear I’m gonna cry
Here comes the pain
Here comes me wishing things had never changed
And s[he] was right here in my arms tonight, but here comes goodbye”

My reaction was completely unexpected and I don’t think I could’ve stopped it if I tried. Before I knew it I was on my knees, my body heaving with sobs of pain I didn’t even know were waiting there. My heart felt heavy, as though it were made of lead, and the feeling of it rose in my chest until it almost choked me.

“Why does it have to go from good to gone?
Before the lights turn on, yeah and you’re left alone
All alone, but here comes goodbye”

I listened to the song twice and just let the pain wash over me. I didn’t resist it or make it wrong. And then, just as quickly as it had appeared, it moved through me and was gone. Surprised, I dried my tears, went for my walk and went about the rest of my day with unexpected relief.

In that moment I realized why most of us resist feeling our pain. We’re afraid if we let it in it will never go away. We believe that if we let it catch us, it will somehow get us in a strangle hold from which we won’t be able to escape. So we run from it, resist it, stuff it down, numb it out. But the truth is pain, like any other emotion, just wants to be felt; to be greeted with open arms so it can move through us. It’s only when we fight it that it gets stuck.

Many people have tried to tell me I just needed to get over it….I needed closure. And even some of those who didn’t say it out loud were thinking it. I could tell. But not wanting me to feel pain was more about them and less about me.

I don’t believe in closure and I wrote about that in a previous post here. Pain and sadness resulting from a devastating loss is not something to be gotten over or moved past. Grief is something to be felt and embraced…to live in harmony with. It will come and it will go…sometimes when you least expect it. But it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Perhaps that moment of pain is your loved one saying, “I’m here and I will always be a part of you.” And next time, instead of resisting it, you’ll pull it in close, wrap your arms around it, and hold it like a child until it’s ready to be on its way.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.