When I was a kid, I did not understand what Crystal Gayle meant when she sang, “don’t it make my brown eyes blue.” Of course, that’s the only part of the song I could remember, probably because I wanted blue eyes so bad. I would stare into the mirror and wish them to change. I know most girls have something they would love to change about themselves. I remember thinking, “What? What makes your brown eyes blue?” Yep, I wanted blue eyes… until I started thinking I was fat, and then I wanted to be skinny with blue eyes. I haven’t thought about wanting blue eyes for a while because I’m really ok with my brown ones. They are my favorite feature on my face in fact, but a recent meeting with a group of ladies brought that song back to mind. It wasn’t because I wanted blue eyes, it was because listening to them made my brown eyes blue.
I think I’ve reached a point where I simply cannot tolerate “diet talk”. During that meeting it was so overwhelming, I thought several times of excusing myself and not returning. I just sat and listened. What could I comment on? Nothing. I couldn’t join in with, “well, I’m doing diet such and such”. Why? Because I refuse to do a diet. Still, I was bombarded. There I sat, feeling quite fat and thinking, “gosh, I’m bigger than most of these ladies and they are dieting, maybe I should be to.” I couldn’t believe I was actually feeling guilty for not dieting. I also felt “left out” because I couldn’t do the diet talk routine. When a young lady said, “Of course I’m eating this cookie, I’m not worried about being good today,” my heart broke.
Being “good”. I used to say it too. I used to classify food as good and bad. If I was on my diet, I was “being good”. If I was off my diet, I was “being bad”. Thinking about it now it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Who made the diet industry the morality police anyway? Why on earth is it morally wrong to not follow some man-made version of “dietary 10 commandments”. Are we bowing at the altar of the diet god? I mean, we sang the praises of diets for years. We deemed ourselves “good” or “bad” based on how we followed their rules. We condemned ourselves when we “fell off the wagon” and ate a cookie (gasp). Our only redemption was to see the scale move down. That was our “little piece of heaven”. When we “failed” to be “good enough” and regained the weight, we flitted from one diet to another, looking for the one that would “save us” all over again. Yeah, dieting has become a religion in this country alright. I’m sorry to say I goose-stepped to their tune too.
I became so upset, that I have been in a funk for a few days now. I’ve grappled with the pull toward the diet life. The old voices that would berate me for not being thin enough, good enough, pretty enough, perfect enough… came back with a deafening roar. Just sitting in a room full of “restriction talk”, surrounded by celery sticks and carrots (because they didn’t want to “tempt” anyone), all I wanted to do was binge. I found myself “gasping for food” as Josie Spinardi calls it… even though I wasn’t actually the one restricting. So I did have a bit of a binge, but it was nothing like binges of the past. It was shorter, with far fewer bites, and I was able to identify what set it off and why… and stop it.
Progress? Yes, I think so.