First I just wanted to sat that I am very flattered and humbled to have had Ellen, over at Fat Girl Wearing Thin, link my last blog post to hers. When I got up yesterday morning and checked there it was...my name on her blog, and let me tell you, her post is a GREAT read and very much in line with what I've been pondering lately.
|Frosty morning...calling for SNOW this week!!|
You see, as a chronic dieter and fitness pursuer, I have found that no matter what is going on in my life, I am constantly challenging myself to either give something up or add something good to my diet. Seeing similar posts from people questioning their old habits as they try to determine if their actions are merely residual motions they've 'learned' and cannot give up now, or a true attempt to continue on the life and health improvement path has left me wondering about my own motivation. It seems as though once I've tackled one challenge (like losing 15 pounds by any means necessary) I move on to the next...like giving up artificial sweeteners, then processed foods, then gluten, and now I am contemplating cutting back on caffeine. But I now think that my best bet would be to determine WHY I feel the need to do this sort of thing before just jumping in whole-heartedly.
Sure, I could easily say that these are 'healthy' decisions and would most likely improve my well-being (except for giving up caffeine, which may be down-right dangerous) but I am beginning to think that my eating-disorder (whether I look way back to my days with anorexia or full on binge eating) is still hanging around...and may do so forever. Am I simply testing myself over and over again? Am I trying to 'prove' to myself that I can be strong enough to deny certain foods even though I now find it impossible to give up eating as I did when I was anorexic? Is this just another form of extreme dieting and/or depravation? Or am I pushing myself to find my breaking point...and basically setting myself up for failure?
I have read about people who have gone on plans like Nutrisystem ( a wonderful plan that led to my 15 pound weight loss, in a healthy way), who continue to eat the program foods on a daily basis, even after they reach their goal weight. They talk about not having eaten a french fry in 5 years. Obviously this works for them and they are successfully maintaining their goal weight and, by all outward appearances, live a happy life. Food becomes a no brainer, there's no need to experiment or try new things, no temptations to over-eat because you know the plan and it's all laid out for you...yet it makes me wonder if we are all doomed to be perpetual dieters. I suppose, for these people, it is a healthy way to live because the alternative may mean going back to all of their old, bad habits. But does dieting foe ME mean that no matter what I learn or how long I remain at my goal weight, I will always be looking for that next diet challenge?
I certainly don't think that eating pre-packaged 'diet' foods for the rest of my life is the answer. While it may work for some, I KNOW that I want to eat whole, unprocessed foods. And I don't necessarily want to place so many restrictions on myself that I can't enjoy a glass (or 3) of wine, a bite of homemade cheesecake on occasion, or a couple of french fries (although I'm not a big fry fan). So why then am I so adamant about randomly restricting other things?
Perhaps I am still in the process of learning balance. I tend to think of my eating disorder as something that happened to a different me...an out of body experience. It was so long ago and not something that I could (or would) do again...I can't wrap my brain around the idea of starving myself like that again. Yet, like I stated in my previous post, I am still struggling with balance...with not doing things to the extreme, trusting myself, and most importantly, accepting myself as I am. I get stuck in the mindset that with all of my exercising and healthy eating I should look like a fitness model yet all I see is a spare tire and muffin top. That's when I have to stop and get real, reminding myself that HEALTH is the ultimate goal...not the number on the scale or the size of my jeans.
Life is for living and I need to remind myself of that more often. And while I don't want to have my life revolve around food, I know that for now, it will be a dominating thought. The key will be to not be critical or extreme. To take a deep breath, refocus on my goals and see if what I want to persue fits into my ultimate goal of a healthy, happy, productive life...and not merely another way for Lynn to be self-deprecating. Emotionally, I feel really good, even if there is still some confusion...I know that as my body gets healthier, my mind does too...and vice versa. I just never realized that there would be such a long learning curve.