On not dieting…


As I have mentioned several times, it has come to my attention that dieting, for me, is not something that is going to work. My issues with food run deeper than the willpower I always thought I needed to stick to a diet. Even the best diets, the kinds that emphasize healthy choices and lifestyle changes and moderation, are, at the end of the day, a scorecard system where the expectations (my calorie goal) are weighed against the reality (the “good” days and the “bad” days). In my mind, I recognize that this is not going to work for me. I have other “stuff” to figure out. 

So the general consensus seems to be that, when we find ourselves in this place that I have found myself, it is time to eat with mindfulness. It’s time to pay attention to our hunger. It’s time to eat what we want, as much as it takes to make us feel satisfied. It’s time to stop vilifying carbs and praising low fat foods. It’s time just to EAT. So a couple of days ago, I started just to eat. Some things I have discovered: I really like bread. But good bread, like from the bakery at Wegmans. I also really like to start my day with a bagel with cream cheese. When I start my day with a bagel, I am satisfied with the bagel. It takes a conscious effort at EVERY meal to stick with my goal not to eat when I am distracted. I still sit on the couch for many of my meals, but the TV is not on, and I am not on the internet, and I am not reading. I am eating. That is it. Occasionally, I am halfway through a meal and realize that I am watching TV and have not really tasted one thing that went into my mouth. And then I turn off the TV and try to return to my meal. 

It still feels like an interesting experiment. I still, occasionally, wonder when the next great diet idea is going to come along, the one that I can stick to. I still don’t trust that this can work for me. But right now, I like the way that bagel tastes every morning. And I like that it doesn’t follow me around all day, telling me that I was “bad” for indulging in it. And that feels like a little bit of peace in my day.


2 responses »

  1. OK – I just read your entire blog. It was kind of like looking in a mirror. I also have dieted from the time I was in high school — with no success. I would find a new diet and then a week or two later, I would lose my mojo and go back to binging. Then, after undergoing a hysterectomy and feeling like my body and life was really falling apart — I suddenly COULD diet. I joined WW and lost 45 pounds and it was EASY! And then it wasn’t. I had a year where I gained and lost the same five pounds about a dozen or more times — and then I started gaining. As each five pound mark came and went, I felt more and more panicky. After 20 pounds piled back on, I joined a boot camp — and worked out in a crazy kind of way trying to loose enough so that I could gain weight on a European trip (it seemed so sensible at the time). I did loose 10 pounds — and gained 8 on my trip — and then gained another 20 after I got home (this just since October). I eat when I’m not hungry. I spend days eating whatever I want because “tomorrow” I’m going to be good — I’m going to stick with my new plan (whatever that might be) — I’m going to go to the gym. Somehow tomorrow never comes — it is always the day BEFORE tomorrow.

    I still can’t figure out why I was able to lose 45 pounds. I still can’t figure out why I gained 30 pounds back. I sit in my therapist’s office and still can’t tell her how I’m feeling. I still convince myself that I don’t need anyone and that I’m better off not having relationships with anyone — and as a result my marriage is not great. I’m not brave enough to do anything about that…or the job I hate…or the weight…or the reasons behind the weight.

    I totally get your concerns about actually posting what you are REALLY thinking and feeling — because God forbid that someone who knows you reads it — and then who knows what kind of hellstorm that might start or the judgment or disappointment that might come.

    Wow! That was more of a vent than I intended. Basically, I wanted to let you know that you aren’t the only one out there. I’m not sure I’ll ever get a handle on any of this — sometimes I get so tired of trying to “fix” myself….but I keep plugging away. I have to, because I gave away all my fat clothes and I only have two pair of pants I can squeeze into at this point 🙂

    • Wow…thank you so much! And please vent as much as you want to. I sometimes feel like maybe I over-talk about this stuff (at least in my real life circles), but I know the comfort of sometimes getting a flash of recognition when I read something online and realize I am not the only one feeling this way.

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