Happy July! I can’t believe we are officially halfway through 2016.
Despite the ankle and having to give up my 2016 Akron Half dreams, I’m actually in a good place. I’m walking without assistance, my book comes out in six months, and I’ve already started working on a new one.
Depending on how long you’ve been following me and and my blog, you know that my journey has taken a bit of a messy route. 5 1/2 years ago I weighed 311 pounds. Over the course of two years I got down to 175. Then I started gaining some of it back. Today I sit at about 265 and have since November.
I’ve tried over the past three years to regain my footing and lose some of that weight again. I’ll be good for a couple of weeks then not then I’ll be good again then not. I’ve essentially been yo-yo dieting for the past three and a half years. Only I don’t call it that. I call it “trying to get back on track.” All the while, I’ve been battling low self-esteem and low self-worth because I had a fucking bowl of ice cream and it put me over my calories for the day and then the scale showed a gain of half a fucking pound.
This has been my life for, well, pretty much my entire life. I’ve done Weight Watchers the most frequently, but over the past fifteen years I’ve done or researched Atkins, the Carbohydrates Addict Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the 5:2 diet / intermittent fasting, SlimFast, the Blood Type Diet, and probably others I can’t even think of right now. Some lasted a day or two, others for longer stretches. No joke, every time what I’ve been doing isn’t working I start Googling other diets to try.
Know where all of those have gotten me? Back to pretty much the exact same weight I was at when I was 20 and joined my very first Weight Watchers meeting back in 2003.
Only difference now is that I’m healthier and more comfortable in my body. Just a few weeks ago I had all the usual blood tests done and there is nothing of concern in the results. I also run and have awesome sex and wear awesome clothes and do awesome things with my life that have absolutely nothing to do with my weight, size, or looks.
So then I’m in the shower yesterday and I had an epiphany:
What if I just stop?
What if, for one year, I Stop counting calories. Stop writing down every damn thing I eat. Stop weighing myself. What if I start respecting and loving my body exactly as it is, right now? What if I stop chasing some elusive number from two or three years ago and just work with what I have at this moment? What if I fully and completely embrace the body positive and health at every size movements and belief systems and apply them to myself? What if I shed the dread and anxiety that comes with weighing in and just go by fit and feel instead?
What if I just. fucking. stop.
It wasn’t until I sat down and realized how much I think about numbers that I realized how big of a problem this is. Numbers consume me. Calories in a fucking apple: did I have a small, medium, or large one? If I have two eggs at breakfast that’s an extra 70ish calories, can I “afford” that? Foods are either good or bad and if I eat good foods than I’m a good person but if I eat bad foods then I’m a bad person and I need to be punished (usually in the form of calorie restriction and/or extra exercise). If I lost weight, I was a good person. If I gained weight, well, let’s drastically reduce our daily calories to make up for that. Hell, I’ve taken my scale on vacation with me because omg can’t miss a weigh in!
Jesus Christ, when I’m training for a race I decide how much race fuel to take with me based on my calorie count for the day.
That’s not just fucked up, that is disordered eating of a completely different variety.
Even now, I find myself having weird withdrawal symptoms at not writing my food choices down. BC and I went out to brunch yesterday and as soon as we left the restaurant, all I wanted to do was open MyFitnessPal and figure out how many calories I had just consumed.
That, ladies and gents, is a big, big problem. The kind of problem that replaces one kind of addiction (food) with another (dieting).
A couple months ago I had a bit of a breakdown because I realized I weigh, I dunno, like 15 pounds heavier than I do on the cover of my book. I’m talking big ol’ ugly cry, wanting to crash diet to get back to that weight as soon as possible. Do you know how dumb that sounds now? I mean, hello, I WROTE A BOOK. A book ABOUT RUNNING. And my picture is ON THE COVER OF IT. And I feel like shit because I weigh slightly more now than I do on the cover?
THIS IS NOT OKAY, PEOPLE.
Which is why I’ve decided to stop dieting. No more dieting. No more food tracking. No more counting calories or Weight Watchers points. No more weighing myself. I am officially breaking up with the scale. If my clothes fit, great. If they don’t, then I need to examine some of my choices. I will run and exercise for the sheer fun and joy of it, not because it may or may not help me lose weight.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m giving myself permission to eat whatever the fuck I want because I’d like to actually stay the weight I am now, I just want to do it intuitively. I want to trust myself and my body. And, again, I’ve said this before but, yet again, then that voice creeps back about how I must lose weight if I want to be worth something or someone (total bullshit, btw). I’ve said before that I have these moments where if I don’t think about my food choices, I actually make pretty good ones. That’s because, in those moments, I’m not dieting. I’m just, y’know, eating. So that’s what I need to do, like, all the time.
I realized I was naturally and subconsciously headed in this direction when I noticed my Instagram feed had started shifting from dieting profiles to body positive profiles. I look at their confidence with a pang of envy, wondering why can’t I be like them?
Well, why can’t I? There’s nothing stopping me. Literally, there is nothing stopping me from being just like each and every one of them except for the fact that I have bought into diet culture and the beauty myth. That’s it. That’s the only thing stopping me: some socially constructed bullshit that tells me I only have worth if I look a certain way.
Well fuck that.
I also realize that this shift in my blog may cost me some readers and I’m okay with that. Because this isn’t about the blog, this is about me. This is something I need to do and just like I’ve been unfollowing certain people on social media because of their message, I totally get why others may start unfollowing me and that’s totally okay.
But that said, I declare today July 4, 2016 my Independence Day.
Love from the ashes,