What Do You Believe?

What Do You Believe?

Today is Day 1 of the "Stop Dieting" class, and I am already kind of wiggin'' out.

Christie sent us a huge PDF that I printed out (Big mistake, I should have only printed the questions! Sorry, trees!) and there was a section of True/False statements that was really tough to read. I agreed with almost every single solitary statement. Here are the heavy-hitters for me:

The scale determines how I behave with food and exercise. T
I need to make up for eating by skipping meals, eating lightly, or exercise. T
I don''t deserve to eat what I want because I am overweight. T

Immediately following this is another page which asks, "Who are you if you aren''t the girl who is always trying to lose weight?" I saw this question on Facebook a few days ago, and answered, quite honestly, "Someone else."

Even before I got heavy, before my weight was really a problem, I always thought I was fat and was always conscious of my eating, especially because my father pointed it out all the time, and my mother, just as tellingly, was dead silent. My earliest memory of thinking I was fat was when we were all in our bathing suits to play on the Slip N Slide in kindergarden.

So Christie asked me to look at the various ways I arrange my life around my dieting behaviors, and gave some examples, which, once again, almost all applied to me. Here are a few:

  • Our days are planned based on where and when we will eat.
  • We develop friendships based solely on the premise of losing weight.
  • We plan our meals and exercise to the Nth degree so that we feel safe, secure, and in control.

Christie points out that most of us in the "dieting community" feel that these behaviors are perfectly normal and acceptable. When you look at them objectively they''re not, but seen through the distorted window of a society obsessed with weight and superficial evaluations of worth, they seem totally reasonable, even expected.

I feel that by starting a new blog where I no longer post my food intake, my weight, and my exercise publicly, I have already subconsciously moved in the direction that Christie is beginning to direct me to. I didn''t see it at the time, but the method of posting all of my food journals was a way of shaming myself. I felt guilty all the time, like I somehow had to justify myself to people if I ate a pat of butter or a potato or a slice of cake.

I never felt at peace. I never felt like the choices I made were good enough; there was always something "better for me" that I could have chosen to eat, or a tougher workout I could have done, or some other opportunity to shave off a few calories.

I don''t want this blog to be about weight loss. I don''t want to be yet another blogger who talks about my weight and food and obsession with appearance or how my jeans fit all the time. There is so much more to life than that! I want to eat without it being a ruler by which I judge myself. I want to get dressed without anger developing towards my body. I want to fundamentally become a more compassionate, balanced person. I want to be centered enough to admit to my mistakes like an adult, without the self-flagellation. I want to feel good about myself, and not feel the phrase "despite my weight" creeping up every time I think positively about myself.

Over the next week or so, I am going to start distancing myself from the online world of diet and exercise obsession. There are certain things that I am starting to realize set me off, and it''s time to stop interacting with these triggers. Here''s the rundown of things that are going to change:

  • I am going to "unfollow" all the folks on Twitter who tweet about weight, Weight Watchers, calories burned in exercise, Biggest Loser, or anything related to these things more than 60% of the time. Nothing personal, guys; try to understand that this is about me, not you.
  • I am going to "unlike" a bunch of pages on Facebook that relate to dieting or exercise to a degree that makes me feel inadequate: Weight Watchers, Active.com, Runners World, Hungry Girl, Women''s Health, etc.
  • I am going to collect all of my "dieting" books/cookbooks, and donate them. No more macrobiotics, veganism (Buh-bye, Skinny Bitch), low-fat cooking (I like butter, lard, and whole milk thankyouverymuch), or Weight Watchers cookbooks (Fat free cheese? Really?). I want only real cookbooks, with recipes calling for real food; no more artificial sweeteners, MSG-filled soup packets or reduced-fat margarine. Ew.

Thanks to Christie McLamb Inge for creating this course. It''s already making me think seriously about who I am beyond my weight, which is, sadly, not an idea that I have dealt with very much. Looking forward to working on this further.