Dec 7, 2014

Why I Stopped Dieting for a Year

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been on a diet since I was 7.  On and off, of course, but for the vast majority of my life I have either been dieting or contemplating the next diet.  The weight struggle is never ending.  Like a gambling addict, I have had some great successes but most have been great failures; the great successes kept me going back for more. I have starved myself, given up entire food groups, counted calories, counted fat, counted carbs, counted fiber, counted points.  I have cleansed and fasted, I have taken medication, and in the last diet gave up wheat, corn, dairy, soy, and even my beloved coffee.  I have punished my body and my mind for not conforming to an ideal it was never made to comfortably be.  So this year, in April, after a particularly grueling diet (for which I lost 3 pounds that I regained while on the diet) I said enough is enough.

I declared that I was not going to diet or get on the scale for a full year.  A full year of not counting anything and not letting the scale determine my self worth.  I began going to a naturalistic doctor who is helping me heal.  I was a bit afraid, all chronic dieters have learned to not trust their own bodies, minds, and instincts.  Would I binge on every cookie and eat a quart of ice cream in one sitting?  I'd done that after a particular "elimination" diet.  To my surprise, I did none of that.

Instead, I eat when I am hungry and I eat what I am hungry for.  I've learned not to over eat because it makes me miserable.  I like fatty food, so instead of avoiding them, I eat a little butter (or as much as I want) and am satiated.  It is a liberating activity to be free to enjoy food and not hate myself for it.  I find that I will crave just the right amount of food for my body.  If I need fruit, the nectarine looks appealing, if I need milk cottage cheese (full fat OMG it is the greatest stuff ever).  When I go to the regular pill writing doctor, I get on the scale backwards and I instruct them not to tell me what I weigh or talk about my weight.

In my current research, I found out that fat isn't bad for you after all.  It turns out milk fat is really good for you.  Cholesterol protects the brain from dementia and that it has nothing to do with heart disease!  All of these things my body instinctively knew, I just chose the "experts" over it.  I chose what society told me to eat and how they told me to look over how God made me.

So, you chronic dieters are wondering, after 8 months, what is your weight doing?  Have you gained a ton?  Have you lost a ton (because if you have then I am going to try THIS new diet, too.)?  Frankly, I don't know.  I'm about the same size that I was 15 years ago.  My clothes still fit the same, I look less swollen, I don't have dark circles under my eyes -  but most of all?  Most of all, I am at ease with food for the first time in my life.  I don't know what I will do when April rolls around, maybe I will go on another diet just to give it a shot or maybe, just maybe, I will have learned to love myself the way that I was made and continue on this grand adventure.

What to eat, what to not eat, does not rule me.  I barely even think about food any longer.  I have freed myself of a bondage that has held me in its grip since I was a kid.  Now, if I could only bring myself to go buy some nice clothes that actually fit, I will declare victory.  One step at a time!