I’ve been on and off diets for so long my closest friends are accustomed to news of the latest. Two of the three of my old close friends also struggle with their weight (but to a lesser extent), so most of our emails include reference to our efforts:
I’m going to the gym.
I haven’t been to the gym in weeks.
I’m back on Weight Watchers and have lost 5kg.
I’m eating everything in sight.
I’m starting a diet tomorrow.
That kinda thing.
Regular readers will recall that I’ve long desired to adopt a ‘not-dieting’ approach. Almost a year ago I rediscovered Dr Rick Kausman’s work and as it coincided with the diet-du-jour “Intuitive Eating” I figured I’d leap back on that bandwagon.
But, although I loved (and still love) the concept it just didn’t work for me.
You see… I’d only ever known Dieting or Not-Dieting. And Not-Dieting for me meant eating everything in sight and bingeing. So, despite my best efforts I spent much of last year alternating between dieting and bingeing. I gained weight and felt worse and worse about myself.
With my sea change late last year, came the opportunity to make some significant life changes. It took a while. Not-working was (and still is) strange. As someone who’d long defined themselves by what they do, I struggled with a loss of identity. I’ve also grappled with the ‘what do I want from life?’ question. And finally, I’ve felt a lot of guilt over letting my gym-going routine fall by the wayside.
A couple of months ago I felt I was on a downward spiral. It didn’t make sense. I finally had (almost) everything I’d yearned for. So… why wasn’t I happy?
It took a while but… having stripped my life back to the bare minimum, I realised I was putting a lot of pressure on myself when it wasn’t necessary.
Rather than take myself out the back of the shed for more self-flagellation, I told myself:
It was okay NOT to go to the gym.
It was okay to exercise when I felt like it.
It was okay to eat things for meals that I really desired (pasta, rice, potatoes and the like).
It was okay to take small steps.
It was okay to not feel great.
I haven’t had a proper binge for almost two months (I did lick the flavouring off two packets of rice crackers, but let’s not go there!). I’ve given up my litre/day vanilla diet coke habit. I’m trying to go for a couple of walks each week – WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT. And… I haven’t bought chocolate or corn chips in all of that time.
On the food front then, I actually feel mentally healthier than I have in ages. But… old habits die hard: I do wonder if it’s paying off on the scale (as it did initially); and… I don’t know what to tell people. I mean, I’m not dieting, but I’m not exactly not NOT dieting. If you know what I mean.
Finally this morning I realised what it is I want to lay claim to, so the next time my friends ask how I’m going I know what to say. I lay in bed feeling miserable (long story) and purposely thought of chocolate – caramello koalas, Twirls and Red Tulip Easter Egg chocolates. I allowed myself to entertain the thought that I ‘could’ go out and get some. To help me feel better.
But… I had absolutely no desire to do so. “Meh,” is what I thought.
So, while I’m not dieting and I’m not NOT dieting, I’m also not bingeing. And that’s what I’ll tell them.
Do you tell friends and family (or complete strangers) when you’re on a diet?
Do you do disgusting things like lick the flavouring off biscuits and throw them away rather than eating them? Or is that just me?