This morning I was commenting on a blog I read that’s also about a woman’s journey through weight loss, regain, loss again, etc. I.e. the roller coaster that we who struggle with our weight know all too well.
After I’d clicked “post comment” on her blog I realized that much of what I’d written had been about me, my journey, my self discovery. I hope she find it useful but also that she realizes, as I did, that it was more about me than about her.
I suspect it’s more fitting over on my blog, instead of on her blog. So here it is (with minor edits).
I spent 15 years in and out of the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous and one thing I heard over and over again from people was talk of “giving up my will” and “taking back my will”. I never really understood what it meant until about a year and a half ago.
See, I’d spent a tremendous amount of time (over nearly my whole life) analyzing what I ate, the effect it had on my weight, and I struggling to figure out the “whys” involved. I was regularly changing things to accommodate any new theory or willfully insisting that the only way for me to be “healthy” was to learn how to enjoy everything in moderation.
I see now that all of that work and effort was about “taking back my will”, being in charge, being in control. I wanted things to be the way I wanted them to be not how they need to be for me.
I hear people say they don’t want to have to think of a cookie as a “never again” thing that is forever off limits. I get that. I used to think that way too.
But now, I realize that I’ve had my fair share (more than my fair share, actually) of cookies in my life and I no longer get to choose what food I get to eat anymore – not if I want to be an acceptable weight and emotionally stable. What I want to eat, what I want my food plan to be, what I want in general relating to food is largely irrelevant now.
The only way I found peace in my mind and in my body was to accept that I don’t get to make those choices anymore. It was awful at first. I cried and had to go to bed at 8pm to white-knuckle it through the evening when all I wanted to do was eat something that my brain was telling me was still “healthy”. How could beans be “bad” for me? How could spinach and quinoa soup be “unhealthy”? I didn’t want these things to be off limits so for years I sabotaged myself with the rationalization that I needed all the foods to be “healthy”, to be “balanced”.
That rationalization just kept the fat on my body. The only way I got healthy was to give up my will and accept that my eating and food can’t be what I want. They just have to be what works to get me to my goal. (For me that’s protein, non-starchy vegetables, and no more than one serving of fruit a day – that’s my food plan now.)
The other night I had to meet some people out for dinner and I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to find on the menu. I started thinking about how tired I was and maybe, just this once, I could have pasta – because I could get back on the wagon again tomorrow. But then I thought, no, it’s not worth it. Why take my sanity and stability into my own hands when leaving it where it is is working so well?
Now, I’m not a perfect weight. I rebounded close to ten pounds when I stopped the “losing phase” of my diet and moved on to maintenance. I’d like to lose those ten pounds if I can. There are also still days that I struggle. And who knows, this food plan might cause me to gain weight in the future, in which case I’ll tweak it and change it. But I pray that I won’t go back to wanting thing to be MY way, because, if there’s one thing I learned in Overeaters Anonymous (even if it took 15 years) is that MY way doesn’t work. MY will doesn’t work.
This is why this food plan is my abstinence and not a diet anymore.