Before you read this, know THIS. I don’t think losing weight or dropping a few pounds or caring about how you look naked is a bad thing. I don’t! I just think that there are other ways to get there that trump “being on a diet.” And that sometimes it is super easy to get mislead and we focus on things that aren’t actually positive for us in this process.
Aside from the past few years, I’ve probably been on a diet since I was 18. In some form or fashion. Maybe a year or so earlier. Maybe a year or so later, I don’t really remember. I DO remember weighing myself a lot in high school, though, because I “thought” my number was higher than my friends’ numbers.
I think I did Atkins something or other (or what I thought was Atkins anyway….since I don’t think I really learned what Atkins was) first. Then, guess what it was? The thing that annoys the EFF out of me the most – the Multi Level Marketing shitstorm – oh yes, yes, yes….I too got sucked into the black hole that is Herbalife (no, getting that shaky feeling is NOT normal. Neither is feeling hungry all the time. Or drinking your meals. Or tossing back handuls of pills). TWICE. For at least $200 a time. I’m pretty sure I then moved onto Weight Watchers, where I got amazing at counting, and putting meals together that were point friendly, but to me, tasted like shit (I’m actually not trying to knock Weight Watchers – I just learned to eat stuff I really didn’t want, and then binged on shit I did want in large quantities after my weigh in….which clearly is not a good idea). I was so successful on weigh in day, dropping a pound or two like good little girl, only to fall “off the wagon” for the next two days and eat garbage, and then count, count, count again. I think then came Paleo. Eat like a caveman! Oh yes! Here we go! Lots of fats. Bacon all the way. Protein is good. Carbs are the devil. You don’t need carbs to operate, they said. You should be able to operate off low carbs, and move your body and watch slabs of fat drop off.
What did I learn in all of these instances?
I learned exactly why the flip I think the diet mindset is a hot mess.
I learned in all of these instances that less is the only way. The way that I determined that I was successful was driven by less. My weight needed to be less. My calories (or carbs, or fat, or “dirty” foods) needed to be less. MUCH less. My clothing size needed to be less. Side note – have you ever bought a piece of clothing in a smaller size to “motivate you to fit into them?” I have. That’s effed up, isn’t it?
Because of my obsession with less, and all of these little “diets” along the way……can you guess what happened? I became CONSUMED. With the way I was eating. Wait, my calories/points/carbs/whatever are GONE for the day, but it’s Friday night and we are going out to dinner with friends. Now what? Oh sure, eat the biggest pile of immediately available food ever, combine it with alcohol, and feel guilty after it’s gone so keep going. Welp, wake up feeling like shit on Saturday, so that’s out too. Might as well keep going. Sunday? Eff it, let’s roll. I’ll eat shit I don’t even want because tomorrow is MONDAY…..and YAY, I can get “back on plan” and feel in control again. My conversations? Revolved around “oops, I shouldn’t eat this, I’m bad.” My thoughts? Same freaking thing.
I know I’m not the only one that’s ever gone through this cycle.
I know I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t a good place to be.
You see, diets completely gave me the shaft. Less does not work for me. I am not a less person. And I was trying to operate as one. I didn’t fail. I wasn’t the failure in these situations. THE DIET FAILED ME.
THANK GOD, seriously, I’m pretty sure The Big Guy put me somehow in front of weight training and iron. I really do. That was my salvation. I’m not joking. I had to learn the same stupid lessons over and over and over, but I learned them. Weight training, moving iron, lifting weights, and GAINING STRENGTH do NOT operate well with “less.” They are complete opposites.
You CANNOT BUILD and diet. Not really. Ask a figure competitor! They take their off-season and bulk and gain and BUILD, and then shred down to compete. Ask an athlete! You cannot rock your sport while eating like a bird. To build – your skill, your muscle, your work capacity, WHATEVER, you must be MORE.
More food, more calories, more protein, more carbs, more fats, whatever. But to build, it must be more. What I was after was strength, and muscle….because that stuff is the bees knees. At least to me. Because my personality and mindset is such that I feel LIKE A BOSS when I am self-sufficiently strong and able to do things and move things and be things without the assistance of others. I’m not motivated by 20 repetitions with an 8 pound dumbbell. I’m motivated by the ability to move my husband’s bodyweight off the floor (in the form of a barbell slapped with plates, not actually lifting him off the floor…..although………)
You guys, the diet mindset PUT LIMITS ON ME.
And I believe it puts limits on everyone. ESPECIALLY WOMEN.
We limit ourselves by the calorie range we think is acceptable for us (whether or not it has anything to do with health or science). We limit ourselves by not eating carbs because our friend or some TV guru said they were the devil. We limit ourselves by only putting in a certain amount of energy in our poor bodies and then pounding out the calories through ridiculous workouts. We don’t stand a chance in this place, do we?
We need to shift our focus to MORE.
How can we be MORE? How can we build our work capacity MORE. How can we gain MORE strength (whether physical, mental, WHATEVER)? How can we have MORE compassion with ourselves and our bodies?
MORE takes a LOT of energy. We eat our energy every day – and if we are focused on MORE, it takes a lot MORE than what some lame ass diet has been telling us. More nourishment, more compassion, more self-care, more sleep, just MORE of a lot of things.
Diets are a hot mess because they put a limit on what we can be. Food and calories and carbs and all that stuff are NOT scary. Or evil. Or even a little bit bad.
Eff diets and being consumed by them. Find MORE. Be MORE in your life.