I’m not a big dieter. In my experience, most diets take a lot of effort and I end up feeling like shit at the end because I haven’t lost much weight. Hunger generally isn’t a problem because it’s a feeling I don’t tolerate well, so I just don’t allow myself to be hungry, which might be why the diets don’t work that well. Actually the one time I was successful in losing the weight was after I was in recovery. I did the Jenny Craig diet and used my recovery tools to deal with feeling hungry. Went from around 180 to around 160 in something like 6 months, which counts as successful in my book!
Like a lot of women, I’ve always been unhappy with my weight. I remember being a teenager and punching what I thought was a huge, blubbery stomach in disgust. I thought had a huge butt and thunder thighs. This was at 5′ 3″ and 105 pounds! Why couldn’t I have realized how beautiful I was?
As it happens, I think I actually know the answer to that question.
That summer that my grandfather was watching us, I gained a lot of weight. I can’t be sure, but I’d bet money there’s a connection there. I remember eating these huge three egg omlettes with a quarter pound of cheddar cheese and toast with more cheese sliced on top. Later I’d have a 2″ thick fried cheese sandwich for lunch and a regular dinner (a meat, a starch and a vegetable). Now I know that one of the ways abused children can react to molestation is to attempt to insulate themselves with a layer of fat. Eating feels soothing and nurturing. Plus when you eat, that’s a living thing – maybe I’m weird – but there are some things that just really reaffirm to me that I’m not dead. Eating. Being hot (temperature). Having sex. Maybe I’m subconsciously afraid of being dead inside. I dunno, sometimes you can take the psych stuff too far into woo-woo land.
So now I’m in recovery and I’d like to lose some weight. On the one hand, I’d like to complain. I mean, come on. We’ve been to the moon and we can’t figure out what diet is best? And that whole aura of snake-oil salesmanship makes me want to stay far, far away from any kind of diet. Like we need to eat for our blood type? Come on. The Grapefruit diet makes more sense than that. But some diets make sense to me. The Paleo Diet, for example. But the Low Fat Diet also makes sense. And so does the Whole Grain Diet.
I feel frustrated that we can’t just figure out how to eat and exercise properly. But maybe it’s that we do know how to eat and exercise properly, we just don’t know how to make ourselves want to do it.
My husband likes to say that if you can tell the difference between broccoli and a brownie, you’re completely capable of making good food choices; but I don’t know whether I should choose the whole grain pasta or the grass-fed lamb chop.
What I do know is that when I cook, it’s a sign that my recovery is going well. And I’m cooking, not reading erotica, not obsessing about sex, and (most importantly) I’m not feeling deprived because I can’t enjoy porn, masturbation, and so forth.
That’s an important concept. When you feel deprived because you can’t do what you want to do, that’s one type of existence. In 12-step language, it’s white-knuckling. When you feel at ease because you’re doing what you want yourself to do, because you want to do it, that’s sobriety.
It’s good to be sober again.