Once Upon a Fat Girl

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Leap of Faith

I just got back from the grocery store.

I'm still struggling with the concept of 'natural eating' or not dieting. The idea is to eat whatever you want...bar none...as long as you're hungry and you stop when you're full. The idea is, once you de-villify 'bad' foods they won't trigger binging anymore.

The problem is, I'm afraid of some foods. Mostly sweet foods and really rich foods (like cheese.) I'm afraid if I let myself eat as many cookies as I want, I won't be able to stop when I'm full. And even if I do, I'll end up reversing all the good I've done so far.

I didn't buy cookies. Or the York Peppermint Patty that I wanted. Right now, I'm feeling okay with buying some foods that are exactly what I want. I just need them to be in individual-sized packages. A natural stopping point, I guess.

We're having a barbeque tomorrow for dinner...steak, a baked potato, salad. Mmmmm! I am breaking the diet mold. Slowly. I guess that's reasonable, right? It took me twenty-five years to build it. Taking a few months to find my way out of it is okay.

Another thing that I've found is that I often really have no idea what I want. Saying I can have ANYTHING I want to eat actually leaves me with a strong feeling of anxiety sometimes. If I decide to eat cherries instead of a candy bar, am I dieting? If I use less butter on my turkey rueben than I would have six weeks ago, am I dieting? If I choose a frozen fruit bar over Ben and Jerry's, am I dieting? What about if I buy light salad dressing? Or if I pick Kashi Strawberry Field organic cereal over frosted flakes or a donut?

If I decide that I want something sweet, and have a York Peppermint Patty instead of a Snicker's bar, because it will satisfy my sweet tooth for less calories and fat--am I dieting? Is that bad?

And see? I'm back in the good/bad cycle.

My son has some pretty severe learning disabilities and I've occassionally homeschooled him when we just couldn't handle public school anymore. My daughter goes to a charter school where she builds her own cirriculum. A lot of people have said to me, "don't you think your kids need the discipline of a regular school?" or "If my kid went to Adrienne's school, they'd never do any work."

And I always tell them that it's a huge leap of faith to trust that your kids actually want to learn. It was what they were born for. Given the opportunity, they will learn, even if education isn't forced down their throats.

And I think maybe my trying to give up dieting is like that. Every societal and cultural message I've ever recieved, my mother ever recieved, my grandmother ever recieved, and my daughter is recieving now, says "if you want to lose weight, go on a diet. And really? You should be on a diet."

It's a gigantic leap of faith to believe that if I completely abandon the idea of dieting, if I just stop caring about the calories and fat content of what I eat, I won't end up airlifted on to the Maury Povich Show.

It's a gigantic leap of faith to believe that my body really does not only know when it's hungry, but when it's full AND what it needs me to feed it.

It's a gigantic leap of faith to believe that if I let myself eat whatever I want when I'm hungry, I'll actually be able to stop when I'm full.

And it's a really gigantic leap of faith to believe that somewhere, buried under 150+ extra pounds of fat, is a natural weight for my body. A healthy weight that has nothing to do with dieting or Hollywood or my skinny sisters. A healthy weight that won't demand more than me eating what I want when I'm hungry to maintain.


Blogger Joyce said...

It has something to do with "staying with yourself".
When you're wondering if you're doing "good" or "bad", just tune into your emotions and thoughts, check in with yourself to observe what happens to your mind and body when you choose the one food over the other. If, after eating the peppermint, your body still shouts out for the other treat, that doesn't mean you have failed. Just get the other thing, eat a little of it, check to see how it feels. You are doing amazing. You are connecting so many dots between food, and the meanings you have attached to them, and to the skin you wear.
It's okay to be afraid of some foods. You don't have to conquer the cheese and cookies all in the first day. You know that you are on the path to a healthy relationship with food, and the day may come when you want to buy and eat those foods. There are some foods that to this day, I just don't really want to eat, they bring back memories of a nasty relationship with food. (I lived bulimic for too many years, and recovered using much the same method that you describe). I love to hear about your mind and spirit and body transforming. The neat thing is that the body changing becomes an outpouring of the more exciting change- which is the change in your mind.
I wish you all the success in the world. And that success is not measured by how "thin" or "hollywood" you may look in a while!

10:57 AM  

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