I want to address something that is controversial.
I cannot seem to change someone’s mind when they tell me they want to lose weight. I can ignore a stranger, but what about a friend? Unfortunately, I cant send everyone through Renfrew, as much as I’d like to. (By the way, the things I learned in recovery should be incorporated in schools. Self-esteem is way more important than whatever activity I did in 4th grade gym—just my opinion).
Weight loss and body conversations are extremely difficult for those in recovery.
But, if people are going to keep talking about it, I at least need to address it. And hopefully, I can help influence someone’s way of thinking away from”dieting.”
But first: what drives you to want to lose weight? Will it make you happier? Finally get you a partner? Land you a better job? You will not get those things after achieving your so-called ‘dream body’–TRUST ME.
And I want readers to know that I don’t approve of anyone wanting to lose weight. It’s not necessary in order to be happy or grateful in life.
During my personal journey, I’ve suffered with restricting, purging and binging. These coping skills I developed around food have helped no matter what symptom I wanted to use.
I implore you to take the power back from food by using these…
WORDS FROM MY OWN DIARY WHEN THINGS GOT TOUGH AROUND FOOD:
- I absolutely HATE body talk. I even despise phrases like “weight-loss” “being healthy” or “getting fit.” Those words have been abused by social media and twisted to imply “not good enough where you are.” And being reprimanded for what you eat should not happen no matter what weight you are.
- Don’t exercise out of self-hatred. I had to stop for almost a year because of this rule. My best friend said to me: “You will be just as beautiful if you never exercised another day for the rest of your life.”
- Repeat to self: I am still beautiful and loved if I never exercise another day for the rest of my life.
- Don’t body check for results, ever. No stepping on the scale, squeezing your body, trying on old jeans. And STOP looking at your body sideways every time you go to the bathroom. Ed’s the one telling you to do that. Tell him NO. Your body will change at its own pace if your nuroushing it the right way. Don’t let ED turn you against your body’s ability to take care of itself.
- You can say no to food without feeling deprived. I seem to always want cookies when I crawl into bed. I know I’m looking at it as comfort for getting through a long day. But I really have to learn to enjoy my bed without the cookies.
- And then say yes! I can eat those cookies at night sometimes. And I should have them in the daytime, too, even if I don’t crave them. Why? Because it reinforces that there’s no such thing as a “reward” “cheat” or “comfort” food. No food can “ruin your day.” I HATE hearing “I’m being bad today” just cause someone ate some chocolate. NO FOOD TURNS INTO INSTANT FAT ON YOUR BODY.
- I time my meals sometimes: 20-30 minutes. Its what we did in Renfrew. And I don’t find electronics or distractions to be the devil during meals. When I’m eating with a friend, I make sure to put down my food while I talk to her. Those little breaks help my fullness settle. I put on the tv when I’m alone and take turns between paying attention to my food, and giving a few minutes to the show. I think the key is to not do both at the same time. And I HATE that diets have abused this method as a way to try to trick our bodies to eat less. Honestly, ED is usually the sneaky voice trying to make us eat fast. He’s saying, “eat it before I can tell you how fattening it is!” or “there’s a bunch of other foods calling your name once you finish this!” Go slow and be aware while you eat so you can catch this voice chiming in.
- Wait for your hunger cues. It’s more satisfying (taste-wise). Also, I learned that if I stop trying to PLAN my next meal, my hunger cues will also tell me what I’m craving.
- Don’t live and die by rules. Treatment told us to eat every 4 hours. It’s a good guideline, but sometimes I don’t get hungry until 5 hours later. Sometimes I’m hungry after only 2. But when you don’t know if your hungry/full, this is a good reference to see if you should be eating.
- Contrary to ridiculous belief, your body DOES burn food in your sleep. Sometimes I stay up till 11 and I get hungry. Well duh, my dinner was at 5. EAT, TASH. Don’t feel guilty because of the hour. Your body clearly needs it for its next function. YES, your body needs energy to sleep just as it needs energy to run or jump or think.
- Always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. This rule isn’t optional. I learned that every time I skipped a meal, it came back to bite me: whether it was after the weekend ended, later that night, or even at the next meal because I was famished.
- Snacks are cool. A pop tart here, cheese and crackers there. At one point I incorporated so many snacks that I lost my hunger cues. I learned not to habitually plan for snacks, the way I do with meals. At the very least, eat breakfast lunch and dinner, then take it moment by moment. When you get hungry, then incorporate your snack.
- NEVER COMPARE. Not to someone else’s meal. Not to what you ate the day before. Not to someone else’s body. NEVER. It’s the fastest way to make yourself miserable.
- If you have a favorite ritual–don’t stop it. I love my DD coffee in the morning. People sometimes talk about “all those calories,” and it used to really bother me. But honestly, Ive been having my pumpkin spice/butter pecan flavored cup of joe since the beginning of recovery and my body hasn’t blown up. And you never know, maybe the person telling me how bad my coffee is, has their own separate ritual: so, please just don’t listen to people. Its moderated. Its one cup, you can make your pleasures moderated, too, if that will make you feel better.
- Another example of a ritual I’ve grown to love is Sunday take out night. That doesn’t mean I only have take out on Sundays: remember, theres NO such thing as a “cheat” food/day. But, grabbing Chinese food, putting on a movie and laying with my boyfriend eases my Sunday scaries. And the food isn’t the root of the comfort, it’s the atmosphere, the care-free vibe, the company, and yes, the yummi-ness. So, again, don’t deprive yourself of things you’ve grown to love. That’s why diets don’t work. They want to cut things out that feel right for you. Good/bad right/wrong doesn’t exists.
I hope I didn’t convolute anyone’s way of thinking. I know that ignoring the elephant in the room isn’t going to make it going away, so I would rather finally address the very thing that has bothered me and will NOT seem to go away: weight talk.
Please contact me if you want any advice, or have any questions. I want nothing more than to help.