I have had enough.
I have given up on diets.
Go ahead and let that sink in because from here on out this girl, for the rest of her life will NOT be playing into societies view of beautiful. I have recently taken to reading a few books regarding compulsive eating and without going too far into it all I throw my hands up and admit that I AM A COMPULSIVE CONSUMER! That is, I eat to numb the harsh reality of feeling emotions in their full propensity.
Whether its anger, frustration, happiness, excitement, bordem … you name it, I eat to not feel the fullness of it and to distract myself from something that ultimately cannot destroy me. Yes it can hurt me, make me cry … hell it could slap the biggest grin on my face for a whole day … but it will never destroy me.
But you’ve lost 18kg Marnie, surely your problem can’t be that bad?
Oh but it is. Over the past two years I have counted every single calorie that has past my lips, tracked every bit of physical activity my body has encountered, tried every diet plan under the sun and obsessed about wanting and never been able to eat the foods my heart desires. I’ve thrown my hands up far too many times and said, ‘FUCK IT!!’ only to have my eyes glaze over as I entered into a binge trance and woke up surrounded by cartons of Ben and Jerrys, packets of biscuits and the remainders of my dignity. These things that on the outside seem to have done my body a world of good have depleted my willpower and destroyed every shred of willingness I had to play the diet game.
In a nutshell, I had become a walking talking diet machine that could in detail explain why you shouldn’t eat fruit, how many grams of protein an egg white had and how a full range of motion in a forward facing squat would benefit you best.
The worst part of my daily hell was I would beat myself up.
ALL. THE. TIME.
I felt that my body didn’t reflect the effort I put into being ‘healthy’ and ‘fit’ and that I was not worthy of my own praise. Why should I feel beautiful? I ate cake today. Or even worse. Why should I feel beautiful? I THOUGHT about eating cake today. Pathetic right?
Rewind to Friday 28th March, 2014 and I had begun an awareness journey (how very new age of me) spurred on by reading Geneen Roth’s ‘Women Food and God.’ This book has very simple but freeing guidelines to living a full and fulfilling life without deprivation, desire and everyone’s favourite DIETING.
It has opened my eyes to how it is possible to be worthy of love, praise and all things good without living in the shadow of self hatred and loathing. It is also helping me understand that the best things in life aren’t reserved for the thin and disciplined and that my body is only an entry point to who I am.
I can almost hear your thoughts ticking over saying, “I want this life. I want to love myself. I want to be happy. I want cake!” Whatever it is your mind is whispering, I would urge you to read the book.
Having done so myself, I have realised that being free in my choices with food doesn’t mean that I won’t eat lean chicken breast and two veg for lunch every day. It just means that when I do eat it I won’t begrudge everyone else in the office who has chosen lasagne because I know now that if I want lasagne I bloody well can have the lasagne. The trick is I will only eat the lasagne when I am hungry, to the point of satisfaction and I will stop when I am full.
This may sound so so so absurd to someone who already has this ticker built into them. Someone who’s hunger cues come on slowly and disapparate once they’ve eaten enough. But if you are like me and have tried every diet and training regime under the sun and no longer know when you are hungry then you might just relate. Maybe you are so used to restricting yourself from all ‘unclean foods’ that you are always hungry. Maybe you feel you must eat at certain hours every day so you eat when you aren’t hungry. Maybe you can only sneak food in when you get a spare 10 mins so you shovel anything and everything into your gullet before you have to go back to living. Whatever it is, I hear ya sister and I feel your pain.
I could go on and on about the practices and principles that are instilled in this book but if you are honestly over feeling deprived and half full – or empty depending on how long you’ve been slogging away at the diet machine – then please please please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Geneen Roth’s ‘Women, Food and God.’ Or at least do a quick Google search about the book. Follow her on Facebook. Read someone else’s blog and how they did or didn’t find solace in Geneen’s work – because if it doesn’t work for you then what have you go to lose? A few hours it took to read the book?
What’s that compared to a lifetime full of guilt free chocolate cake?