I read a diet book yesterday. I’m justifying it to myself that my mode of eating isn’t working and even if “dieting” is a miserable failure of an experience for me I need some sort of external enforcement of a food plan to save me from my own destructive choices right now. The funny thing is that the diet book author claims to be writing it for people who have spent their lives experiencing “dieting” as a miserable failure yet who need some sort of external enforcement of a food plan to save them from themselves.

It’s a four part plan.

A jump-start phase.

A weight loss phase.

A phase to solidify the weight loss so there’s no rebound.

A final phase to last a lifetime to ensure that you can stay at your goal.

The final phase is intended to ensure this is the last diet you ever have to be on.

God, it sounds good. Even if I don’t lose weight, it sounds good. A plan. A PLAN! I don’t have one. I need one. I need something other than the mindless, soulless, drifting that I’m doing with food. Something other than the incremental drifting up of the scale, the incremental tightening of my clothes, the incremental increasing of despair that I feel over not having any control.

I remember joining OA and finding a food plan. It was simple; no weighing or measuring food. Clear “yes” foods. Clear “no” foods. I knew what I could eat. I knew what I couldn’t eat. I was doing fine.

Fine physically.

Fine emotionally.

Actually fine.

Of course, after a year or two that wasn’t happening any more.

Then there was the post surgery 92 pound weight loss. No food group was off limits and everything was weighed and measured. I knew exactly how many calories, carbohydrates, grams of fat or protein I was eating in each week, each day, each meal. I knew the lower and upper limits. I was doing fine.

Fine physically.

Fine emotionally.

Actually fine.

It’s no surprise to me that these plans, despite being different (the one commonality was no sweets or junk food) worked for me. They were clear. Unambiguous. There were parameters to stick within. Yes, I had choices, but they were clearly defined and I didn’t feel deprived.

It’s also no surprise to me that I’ve been unable to recreate anything like that attention and discipline since my son was born four years ago.

When my daughter was born seven and a half years ago it almost made it easier for me to lose weight. Suddenly I was cooking for a baby/toddler who needed me to make good choices for her. She was an easy baby. She was flexible, adaptable, she never cried, she slept beautifully, she folded right into our lives. I had the time, the energy, the emotional resources to take care of myself while taking care of her. I lost 92 pounds in the first 18 months of her life.

It’s not been a similar experience with her brother.

I was diagnosed with pneumonia one week to the day after I found out I was pregnant with him. This set the tone for everything to come.

I don’t think I’ve slept properly since then.

He was three and a half years old before he slept through the night. He still gets up 2-3 nights a week.

He screamed 12 hours a day for months and months. He’s had behavioral problems. He has food allergies.

He didn’t fold into our life. He exploded into it, demolished it, and refuses to allow rebuilding.

I love him. But this is what it feels like.

I no longer have the time, the energy, the emotional resources to take care of myself while taking care of her and him. I’ve lost and gained and lost and gained and lost and gained close to 100 pounds in the past 4 years and I’ve landed at 35 pounds heavier than I was before he was conceived.

It’s the loss of the time, energy, and emotional resources that makes me unable to lose the weight. It’s not about the food. It’s about my feeling of depletion. I am emotionally depleted and no matter how many times I see the scale slide up again it’s hard not to feel anything but drained and empty and I fill that void with food.

I need to start taking care of myself. I need to acknowledge that taking care of myself can’t look like it did before. I need to find some way of taking care of myself that can be simple, straightforward, uncomplicated and can coexist with the chaos of my life. I don’t have the time or energy to record every calorie, count every ounce of water, or to calculate how many calories I burned in yoga class.

I need a list of things I can eat, things I can’t, and things I can have when I don’t have time to make a beautiful well balanced meal.

I need simplicity.

So, I’m considering “the diet”.

At this point, I can’t tell if I’m rationalizing or not.

I just know that I can’t do this anymore and that isn’t this.