How I Stopped Dieting
Do you want the short answer or the long answer?
The short answer is that I got pregnant and fed up.
The long answer is… I got really effing tired.
I got tired of eating so selectively. I missed eating what everyone else was eating. Also, lettuce and other veggies were starting to make me gag a lot during pregnancy, so there’s that. But I missed cookies and frosting and cereal and peanut butter and brownies. I missed hamburger and roast. I was sick of lunch meat and tuna. I was sick of dry lettuce salads. I was tired of bringing my own “special foods and ingredients” with me so I’d never be forced to eat the “wrong” things.
Do you know how much better spaghetti tastes with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese?
I was missing out.
I also got tired of pushing my body so hard. My knees hurt. My hips hurt. My legs felt weak. The only thing that felt a ton of energy and drive was my brain- yelling at me to workout longer and longer and longer or get fat. There was hardly enough time in the day to fit in my 90 minute workouts. And when I first found out I was pregnant I was still trying to do Turbo Fire because I was so terrified of weight gain, despite the fact that I started passing out (due to pregnancy) and felt exhausted. My husband begged me to quit or slow down but I would just lash out and remind him that I’ll just get fat if I stop.
“Pregnant? You’re pregnant. Your body is about to change.”
“Yeah, but I want to be all baby. I don’t want to get fat. I want to be like the celebs on TV who are the same size a week after they have the kid.”
And of course, I pushed hard because I wanted to continue binging. I wanted to eat a whole box of cereal or package of Double Stuf Oreos- I “earned” them. So I did. And immediately I’d be working out how I could get even just 5 more minutes added to my routine the next day to “make up for it.” During the workout I’d decide that I was DONE with this life. No more binging. But then I’d add those extra 5 minutes… and I had eaten so well that day… and… OK give me the damn cookies!
Even after I had my little one I still tried to keep up with the lifestyle. I ate horrible-tasting salads for every meal. I’d attempt to spend a ridiculous amount of time on the elliptical. And I’d eat 2 pounds of chocolate at night. Or a box of cereal. Only if I behaved really well during the day, though.
Little by little, after a dozen years of doing this shit, I got really tired. It was eating away at me. I felt like shell of myself. All of my worth and purpose was tied up into a number on a scale.
And I had a baby. A DAUGHTER.
I kept thinking about how I’d react if she started doing this shit. How would I show her the right way if she was simply following my example in the first place?
So, little by little, I quit.
I stopped ellipticalling like a mad person. Mostly because I literally broke it from pushing so hard, but it pushed me into a different kind of exercise.
I started eating what sounded good rather than a salad at every meal. I no longer bought 12 heads of lettuce each week for meals. I’m now down to 1 bag or head of lettuce most of the time. And even that goes bad once in a while. I still eat a ton of veggies, but I eat what I want. What sounds good rather than what I feel obligated to eat.
The ONLY meat I used to eat at lunch was lunch meat or tuna. Nothing else. Now I eat whatever the hell I want. Leftover roast? Mmmm, sounds perfect. BBQ meat and broccoli? Sign me up! I don’t deprive myself- ESPECIALLY when it comes to protein. I know it helps me operate so much better.
And if I want a cupcake, I eat a cupcake. When I first started my anti-diet journey, it was a challenge for me to eat anything like that because I had attached such a negative label to all the good stuff. Once I started “allowing” myself these indulgences, I had to learn how not to eat a whole package. I had to remind myself that they will still be on the counter in an hour or in a day and I’m welcome to eat them whenever I’m ready to. Even for breakfast.
Now the part that I know you’re all really wondering about- weight gain. Yes, I’ve gained weight. I gained a lot when I was pregnant and I’ve gained since I’ve had her. Sometimes it’s really hard for me to look in the mirror or get dressed, but I remind myself that I’m healing and there’s nothing wrong with buying clothes for the size I am now. There’s no reason I don’t “deserve” to wear things that make me feel good about myself. I might be at this place forever. I might go up. I might go down. But the part that matters most to me is that I live a more normal, sustainable life. One that I’d be proud of my daughter for copying.
I’m freaking proud of the fact that I’m no longer on a diet. I’m freaking proud of the fact that I’ve overcome the binge/purge cycle one step at a time. I’m freaking proud that I’ve taken my life back and no longer let food and exercise control me. I’m freaking proud that I listen to my body when it comes to exercise- I rest. I REST!
I’m a beautiful work in progress on a mission to freedom.
And I’m sure as hell NOT on a diet.
p.s. I’m sure you noticed there’s nothing in here about a scale. Well, FUCK THE SCALE. Get rid of it. Throw it away. I haven’t had one for years. THAT was step one for me.
Are you ready to start navigating the “middle ground?” Start with mindfulness. Get your free Mindfully Munch guide here.