On Removing the Diet Mentality from Your Diet

June 20, 2012

During my first couple of years as a body image blogger, I spent many hours eschewing the negative impact of dieting. I spoke about dieting mentality, the ways in which diets don’t work, and how one might get themselves as very far away from this type of lifestyle as possible.

I thought that if I removed the diet from my life, I would be able to thus weed out the self-hatred that I felt so deeply.

I thought that I would be healed up perfectly, freed from my eternal quest for the thin ideal through a litany of diets upon diets upon diets – every one of which left me feeling broken, rejected, and cracked wide open to an assault.

Instead, I wielded my body in a different way – as a giant Fuck You to all of the people who had been telling me that I needed to lose weight, congratulating me when I did, and helping me with my attempts.

I ate whatever I wanted. And I ate a lot of it. I didn’t move, because the mere act of moving felt like punishment.

I embraced the body acceptance community with both hands as a safe haven where I could be as fat as I wanted to, and never be encouraged to look at how I was using my body.

How I was punishing my body.

How my body had become a battleground of my own imagining.

How I really actually felt terrible from all of that care.

How self-love, dieting, and weight-loss get jumbled up and confused – when the diet is in your mind.

How the word diet was so triggering for me, that I gobbled up what I believed to be it’s exact opposite – complete and utter free fall.

How I felt pigeon-holed in a body that was not my body, for fear of losing my new community online.

And during that time, I didn’t talk about weight here, because I wanted you to like me. I didn’t talk about being a person who has dieted for 20 years, then quitting dieting in a firestorm of excitement and outrage, and then spiraling completely out of control.

I didn’t talk about what I did, what I still do, to bring myself back to my body.

To reconnect head to shoulders, and repair the profound chasm in my life.

I barely mentioned the ways in which I have cultivated an intuitive structure for my days – a structure which includes a plan for eating, a heady dose of compassion for my body, and a pinky-promise to heart that I will move merrily and often.

I didn’t understand that it wasn’t the diet – it was my head and my heart. It was what I thought I deserved.

I would not be able to show up here, and look you in the eye if I wasn’t honest about who I was and what I was about.

I do not deserve to live in a body that isn’t right for me, as a political statement.

I have a dream for myself: comfort within my skin to the best of my abilities, ease with food, movement until my golden years, sex that makes every part of my heart open with love, vegetables, babies,plenty of water, ENERGY, and sleep.

I have a dream for you: peace within your skin – whatever this means for you, at whatever weight.

Integral to both of these dreams is the concept that we are in charge of our lives.

Our bodies don’t just happen to us by accident, much like our relationships, jobs, or daily existence doesn’t earn it’s place in our lives without our consent.

We are in control of our own outcome, and this requires fully examining what our best outcome looks like.

This will be different for you than it is for me, but we both deserve an opportunity to look within and understand it fully.

No, you are not your body, but your body is a part of you. Is the physical representation of who you are to the world. Ideally, it will line up with how you feel inside, but that requires you to do the work to separate out your dreams and wishes from the diet mentality and the thin ideal living in your skin.

As in, what do YOU want for YOURSELF? What makes YOU feel good? How can you move closer to feeling good more often?

It also means authentically showing up for yourself when you sense a misalignment, and making tweaks to bring you closer to your own joy and happiness.

It means reserving the right to change your mind.

It means saying out loud the words that terrify you, and then doing it again.

It means, learning how to love yourself, because you cannot understand or embrace that which you do not love.

It means asking for help when you need it.