Sometimes I have thought that if I could have any superpower, I would want the power to eat everything I want to and have it all be a) good for me and b) not able to make me fat. This, out of all the available superpowers. Why would I want to fly? Or walk through walls? No, I want my superpower to be eating.
It is really kind of sad, if you think about it. And also possibly a tiny bit unhealthy. But, there you have it. I HAVE AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.
Please note that I am not one to think in such terminology. It makes me wildly uncomfortable just even suggesting that I have any kind of relationship with food whatsoever. As if food is my cherished friend or worse, my secret lover.
My God. It’s all so embarrassing.
And yet here I am, a good deal more sizeable than I was a year or two ago, and on track to become even more sizeable than this. My husband says, “What’s the big deal? Just eat less!” My husband also once ordered two DQ Blizzards because one single large one “might not be enough.” His weight, non-issue that it is, fluctuates by maybe 5 pounds either way.
The fact is, I know exactly how to lose weight. I’ve done it before and I could certainly do it again. I’ve done Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal and LoseIt and Atkins. I’ve tracked and I’ve measured; I’ve marched next to my bed at night in order to reach my daily FitBit goal. And I could continue to do these things over and over and over again, because that is what would have to happen. One thing I’ve learned, and that lots of research has proven, is that for the vast majority of people DIETS DO NOT WORK.
It’s tempting to think: oh, just one more diet. It will be a lifestyle change! Something from which I will never go back. I will lose this weight and THIS TIME it will stay off because I will do things differently. I will eat less sugar/less bread/more vegetables/pomegranate seeds on everything/whatever.
However. I have come to the point in my life where I just cannot. Diet rock bottom.
I’ve read a lot of books and blog posts and other material regarding the concept of ‘intuitive eating,’ which in my mind translates into ‘eating like a normal person.’ Intuitive eating basically revolves around eliminating the diet mentality and allowing our bodies, which actually are remarkably brilliant, to determine when, what, and how much we should eat. Ultimately, this will lead our bodies to settle at a weight that’s natural for them, which may or may not be less than they weight they’re at right now. It sounds fabulous to me. It also fills me with doubt.
For example – an important step in becoming an intuitive eater is to remove all restrictions while simultaneously becoming more aware of your body’s signals. You want a brownie? Have it. And eventually, this freedom will presumably lead you to only eating brownies like my husband does: when he really, really wants one. And then, stopping when he’s had enough.
I say “presumably” because though I’ve tried granting myself this freedom, it has really only led me to bake more brownies. And usually eat more of them than I actually want.
Which has led me to think – as usual when it comes to food – that I AM DOING THIS ALL WRONG.
Another thing I’ve tried to do is to accept my body the way it is. Fuck it. My body is not me, it’s just the vehicle that the real me rides around in. Yes, I’d like it to be healthy, but studies have also shown that thinner is not necessarily healthier. And yet, my feet hurt, and my knees. I feel unwieldy and less-than-mobile. Like a human-sized potato.
And maybe you are in the same boat. Maybe some of this, or even all of this, sounds very familiar to you. Perhaps you are thin but struggling to stay there, or not thin and feeling like a giant root vegetable. Maybe you, too, have read about intuitive eating or mindful eating or any of the non-diet eating concepts and thought, yeah, but that won’t work for me. Or, maybe you’ve even tried them and, like me, have found that it’s just not coming together. Maybe also like me, you’ve watched your thin husband eat two DQ Blizzards in one sitting and wanted to stab him between the eyeballs.
So I’ve decided, once and for all, to figure this out. I’m going to see if I can become a normal eater, only this time, I’m not going to do it on my own. I’ve found a coach who will work with me, and I have all the hope in the world that she will be able to help me in a way I have not been able to help myself. Her name is Haley Goodrich, though I keep telling my husband she’s my “fat coach.” I feel like Haley will probably not approve of this title. We’ll see.
If you want to learn about intuitive eating, I recommend checking out any or all of the resources I’ve listed below. Most are available in audio and digital versions. If you have troubles with eating, you don’t need me to teach you a new way and anyway, I’m not qualified to do that. The information provided by professionals is out there in droves and it’s pretty easy to find.
However. What I will do: share this journey with you, every step of the way. I will share what I learn, and the a-ha moments as well as the shit, I ate myself into a coma again moments. I will show how this works for a real person, or at least, how it works for me.
Because what I know is that diets, for most of us, simply do not work. What I want to find out is how to live without them. And if it truly is the heaven that it sounds like, I want to shout about it from the rooftops.
Either way, as God is my witness – I shall never fucking diet again.
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat by Michelle May M.D.
When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair by Geneen Roth
How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too by Josie Spinardi