I wrote this some months ago and held it back because it felt too raw, but now it is January and the season of dieting, so it’s time to post it.
On a private forum with women I care dearly for, there have recently been a number of posts about how they are once again getting back on the strict diet wagon in the endless pursuit of a size they like better.
My next thought was that I, too, should get back on the diet bandwagon because there is no question that my life would be easier if I were lighter.
And right after that thought, my stomach clenched. And I was overcome with a very visceral feeling of fear. And it was all I could do not to cry.
This is crazy.
I have spent over half my life depriving myself of food. Punishing myself for being fat. Eating what I ‘should’ even when I really, sincerely, would rather never eat again than have another bite of kale.
Just the passing thought of another strict diet was panic inducing. I can’t. I feel frantic, and sick about the idea. My body is enacting a flight response. It is clear to me that my body and mind find the idea traumatizing.
Even worse than that are the voices ringing through my mind as I type this. The kind ones say I shouldn’t give up on myself. The firm ones tell me no pain no gain and if I just try <insert preferred method> that it will be easy and I’m sure to see results.
The last results I got were burnt out adrenals and a thyroid crisis.
There are even uglier voices in my head too. Quitter. Loser. Fat lazy slob.
At what point does something you do for yourself become something you do to yourself?
Why is cutting bad, but starving yourself good? Why are recreational drugs bad, but damaging your brain chemistry via food is encouraged?
I think about the best eating plan to follow and I feel despair. Another long procession of food that I don’t want. Forcing myself to eat, and yet still so hungry.
Does saying no make me weak? or Strong? Is it self love, or self hate?
If it were a job I hated that much, people who love me would tell me to do everything possible to find another job.
If it were a relationship with a person that caused me such fear and anguish, people who love me would tell me that it’s a bad relationship and that I should remove myself.
Somehow because it is food and fat, the rules are different.
But after a lifetime of self torture, I’m ready to try living a new way, where I might treat myself with love and respect and ignore the voices that tell me I must fit into a mold that is too small for me.
So no more kale for me.