As I wrote yesterday, my goals as written have not been going as planned. That requires some rethinking. And it isn’t just rethinking the goals, it’s rethinking where I’m at and what I’m doing. I was looking through my books today seeking goals that are a little more specific and will help me make these changes in my life. What I found was that I want to skip ahead. I want to say, “Yeah, self acceptance is cool and I’ll get to that after I make all these changes and lose weight.”
You know what that is? That’s diet thinking.
What’s wrong with dieting? Well, dieting is part of what got me here. Starve then binge. Trying to follow someone else’s rules. Learning not to listen to my body. Hating myself for not being able to stick to diets. Seeing myself as weak. Flawed. Bad. Generalizing that thinking to believe that not only am I a failure for not following diets and losing and keeping off weight, but that I’m a failure as a person. Diets don’t work. They seem to work because I can lose weight on them – but they aren’t real life. Diets end. Starting a new diet, I always am looking at the end when I can go back to eating whatever I like.
Some call it a lifestyle change. My lap-band program does that. But that program is still just a diet, regulating what you eat and when. And ultimately, although I had been really successful, it wasn’t something I could stick with. At the time, it didn’t seem that hard – but like any diet, there were “good” and “bad” foods and you need to weigh and measure everything and calorie expectations were around 800 calories. We were advised never to veer off the eating plan. If you ate even that one bite of the dessert you craved, you wouldn’t be able to stop. And that’s probably true, but not for the reasons we were told. In my view, it was just the same as any diet – go off the diet and it’s damn hard to get back on. It’s out of balance.
Ah, but it’s tempting. The new trendy diet, the fast solution, the promises that this one is different. It sounds so easy to have someone else tell you what to eat and how much and when. And even the Overcoming Overeating guidelines can become a diet.
The “I’M GOING TO DO THIS APPROACH PERFECTLY” Diet…
On this very common diet, you set up the Overcoming Overeating guidelines as rules which you believe you “must” follow. When you don’t, you feel like a failure. The Overcoming Overeating “diet” sounds something like this: “I am going to eat only from stomach hunger,” “I’m not ready to get rid of my scale or my small clothes, so obviously I’m not doing this right,” or “I should be looking at myself in the mirror, but I hate what I see.” As we’ve said in previous columns, the process of nondieting is so profoundly different than anything you have done before that it is difficult to comprehend that although the guidelines are firm, the path towards ending body hatred and dieting is unique for each individual. The process of nondieting is a quintessentially human process and therefore has nothing to do with achieving a state of perfection.
So what am I going to do? Slow down. Go back to the beginning. Read. Think. Stop trying to approach this as something I can do perfectly in a few weeks. The key is, like always, keep moving forward.
For now, I’m going to continue working on my goals of decreasing distractions. I may try to eat without distractions, or with less distractions, for dinner only for a while. I think I need to get comfortable with it – right now, it drives me nuts to not be doing something else while eating. And why? Maybe I need to find that out.
I’m going to try to be paying attention to my body and at least observing when I’m eating from head hunger and maybe even figuring out why.
I’m also going to keep including some of those challenges to clean out my closet and to do creative things. I plan to write more about what I’m reading and work on challenges as I find them.
Everyone is different and I’m not saying that anyone else should be following this plan. And this plan may change as I get a better handle on where I am now.