I spent a lot of years in the “Diet Cycle Phase”. This is where a lot of American women live (some don’t even realize they live there). They cycle in and out of “diets”, “nutrition plans”, “workout regimes”… it’s like the hamster wheel. You think you’re moving forward, but eventually you realize the scenery hasn’t changed despite the passage of time. My more recent “diet” ventures championed the “in the name of health” banner. That seems to be the more popular version of dieting today… “getting healthy”. In fact, I’ve discovered that I can apply “diet mentality” to almost any way of eating.
What is diet mentality? Well, for me, it’s the notion that I must weigh/measure something in order to lose weight. It’s the thought process that says, “I can’t eat that… or I MUST eat this.” It’s the idea that I need some outside source to police me (diet plan, eating guidelines, scale, tape measure…etc). It’s also a mindset that absorbs a lot of brain power.
Yeah, I’ve spent a lot of years there.
Hanging out in this new space is proving to be unfamiliar territory. Oh sure, the familiar beckons at every turn. You don’t need to go far to read, see, or hear something about this nation’s obsession with body image and food. To stay the course certainly feels like swimming against the flow. Still, there are some who have navigated these waters. I mentioned them in this post if you want to read some of their books. While I do not agree with Geneen Roth on everything, I do find her detailed view of the four stages of “breaking free” to be quite helpful.
I am quite familiar with stages of recovery. I remember learning about and experiencing them when I went through bereavement classes and support groups years ago. Knowing that the stages are normal helps a person accept where they are in the process because they know it’s just a stage. The same is true for the stages associated with breaking free from dieting. Where am I? I think I’m somewhere between stage 2 and stage 3. I’m not fully in either one but I’m definitely seeing some of the benefits from stage three.
There is no set time to move through these stages. Of course, I do think I’m moving faster because I am rejecting diet mentality wholeheartedly. I’m refusing to let it sneak back in. This is probably the most difficult part for me. I’ve spent a lot of years thinking about dieting. It’s freed up some bandwidth in my head, which sometimes leaves me feeling a bit unsure of what to do with that space. I’ve been letting it rest mostly.
When we were really in the throes of grieving the death of our son, I remember someone asking one of the support group moderators how we should respond when someone asks, “how are you doing?” If you’ve been through the grief process, you know what a loaded question this can be. She told us to simply say, “I’m right on schedule.” If they require an explanation of such an unconventional response (the usual being “fine”). We can say, “I’m exactly where I should be in the grief process.” Of course, you can get even more specific if you want.
I used to ask the scale how I was doing, now I ask myself. My response? “I’m right on schedule.”
I’m going to leave you with this powerful video about “WEIGHT”.
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