I remember when I first heard about letting go of the diet mentality. I remember reading books by Lisa Bevere, Geneen Roth, Lysa Terkeurst, and Sharon Hersh. Recently, I read Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole. Geneen and Evelyn actually break down the process of letting go of the diet mentality, and the other three ladies focus on putting God first. I believe both strategies are needed for this journey. All of them are about returning food to its proper place in our lives.
When these ladies suggested letting go of dieting and everything that goes with it, I really thought there was no way it would work for me. I believed I couldn’t be trusted around food. I thought I would never stop eating if I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I thought I needed a plan to police me (or guilt me) into “behaving” around food. I really believed my thoughts of food would become even more obsessive.
I was wrong.
Who gasped? I heard you. Yes, I am admitting I was wrong. I can admit I’m wrong… when I’m actually wrong. (grin) I was wrong about all of those things I just listed. What I am discovering is, this process actually works to remove the focus from food. It is gradual, but progress is there.
For example, if the Husband was eating something, one of two things would happen. I would either join him in the eating (hungry or not), and likely overeat, or, I would begrudgingly not eat while wishing I could (hungry or not). Last night, the Husband bought me a bag of Sun Chips and a lemonade on the drive home from a family function. I had told him I was thirsty, but hadn’t mentioned hunger. Well, apparently he was hungry because he opened the bag and started eating the chips. The food obsessed me probably would have started eating too in order to ensure that I got to have some before they were all gone. The other scenario would have been that I might have gotten angry that he was eating all my chips, when I’m sure he got them to share. I would have stewed about it, thinking more and more about how unfair it was that he could eat chips and I could not. Then, if he had eaten all of them (or maybe the kids finished them off), I would have felt like I “missed out”.
Well, that’s not what happened last night. Instead, this is the thought process that went on between Me, Myself, and I:
Me: “Ok, he’s eating the chips. Do I want some right now?”
Myself: “No, I’m not hungry, or even craving chips. I’m thirsty.”
I: “Well, you have a lovely lemonade.”
Me: “True. I think I’ll have that.”
Myself: “But what if he eats them all?”
I: “Why does it matter if he eats them all?”
Me: “I might want some later and they would all be gone.”
Myself: “Is the store sold out?”
I: “Ha, ha, No silly, they have plenty at the store.”
Me: “True, I can buy some more if this bag gets eaten and I want some.”
After that little thought process, I was able to stop thinking about the chips. I was able to “let it go”. As it turned out, the Husband didn’t eat them all. I did have some later and it was a non-event. I just ate some chips and moved on. Eventually, I hope I won’t even need to talk myself through this. I hope it just becomes how I function around food.
Another surprise was at my Black Belt demo/graduation ceremony over the weekend. I got a piece of cake, had two bites and then gave the rest to the 17-year-old. I was full, but I wanted to at least taste the cake. Eating only two bites of cake (especially one as delicious as that one) is not normal for me. Before, if I caved into having cake… I would polish it off because I would be thinking, “I already blew my diet (or, this is a special occasion) so I better eat it now because I don’t know when I’ll have cake again.” Now, I think, “There is no need to gorge myself on this cake when I’m already full. I will have a little now just to taste it. If I want more later, I know where to buy a good cake.”
Yes, I’m convinced that letting go of dieting is exactly what I needed. Is it a quick process? No, but I love that I’m seeing progress on the mental front. Oh yes, it works, people.