I just re-read Part 1 and noticed that I portrayed my BIG REALIZATION as very sudden. It wasn’t sudden. I had always been a little bit rebellious about living large in a fat phobic world. Well, maybe not always, but I think the seeds of doubt re dieting started way back in my college days (as noted in another post, that’s when I read “Overcoming Overeating”, which stressed intuitive eating principles over restriction.)
Regardless of the stuff I learned way back then, I still believed that I wasn’t worthy as a fat woman. Worthy of a movie-style romantic love story. Worthy of feeling sexy and attractive. Worthy of high powered corporate success, or even artistic expression, or even going to the beach. Or dancing. Or… you get the idea. I had a worthiness problem.
Low carb dieting – or my version of it – was all I could find that helped me lose weight without feeling desperately deprived and hungry all the time. I was deprived of sugar and bread, and pasta, and white potatoes… and other stuff. But I wasn’t deprived of mayo, steak, eggs and bacon. Or pate. Or wine (yeah, I drank tons of wine when low-carbing.) And I felt full. I didn’t have to think about portion control at all, and I would still lose weight. It was pretty remarkable.
As I started to seriously consider “intuitive eating” after the marathon proposal sessions at work (2.5 weeks in a room with carbs), I was actually thinking I could eat intuitively and still eat “healthy”, which in my mind was “low carb” eating. That’s all the rage, right? Sugar devil, gluten bad, etc.
But then I came across an intuitive eating blog that walked me through the science of low carb eating. It’s actually not very good for you. It can CAUSE hypothyroid condition (which I developed suddenly 6 years ago…) Your brain needs sugar to work. When you eat low carb, your body has to work really hard (stress) to turn whatever protein/fat/fiber stuff you are eating into sugar. Sugar is necessary. It’s not particularly nutritious on its own, of course, but it does keep your body going for a time. It does provide ENERGY. That’s actually a thing, I learned. Low carb is actually not that great for you longer term. It’s hard on the bod. And ya know, I knew intuitively that it was true (certain TMI bathroom moments stand out in my memory…)
And more importantly, and if I’m honest: I wasn’t eating low carb for health anyway. I was eating low carb to get thin. To change my body. To improve how I look because how I look isn’t ok. It’s definitely not good enough. And, it’s definitely for sure boy-howdy not anywhere NEAR attractive.
And the actual very sudden realization I had wasn’t that I don’t want to diet anymore. It was that low carb/no-sugar eating isn’t actually that good for me. So it’s all total bullshit. I finally knew, deep down, that if I keep low carb eating I will eventually eat more cupcakes and pizza at some point. I may even get fatter because low-carbing will reduce my body’s ability to process sugars and carbs. And cupcakes will continue to hold power over me. I will remain afraid of cupcakes. And pasta. And bread. I don’t want to live in fear anymore – of food or of un-restricted eating. Or of my body and society’s opinion of it. Or of bathing suits, beaches, sleeveless dresses and tops, zumba, yoga, sexy lingerie, wearing flats, running, biking, and cannonballs.
So, here I am. I am ready to stay the same weight or gain weight in order to get free from all food restrictions. I am ready to try to re-learn what my body wants, and re-learn what my mind and soul find nourishing and satisfying (emotionally or physically). I am ready to stop hating my body as it is, start fighting fat phobia (beginning with me), and open myself up to all that life has to offer, including and especially delicious food.
And my biggest realization of all? As time passes, my urge to drink fades. But after over 43 years of attempting abstinence from specific food types, my urge for sugar or [insert restricted food type here] has never not once ever faded. Quite the opposite. The hold a restricted food has over me increases the longer I abstain. My theory is that abstinence is not applicable to food, because of biology. I’ll write more about this later… but my thought is that our primitive brains were designed to prevent starvation – full stop. Our bodies and minds will do whatever it takes to fight back from diets and restriction, and to protect us from future potential restrictive phases. I don’t think this is true of booze or drugs. I think our bodies figure out that the poison it was depending on is truly gone and it goes back to a nice steady state.