Friends, have you ever not been on a diet? Have you ever been completely and entirely relaxed with your life and your body?
Every day, without fail, Pinterest and the media and well-meaning friends and family, in general, work tirelessly to try to make me turn against my body—and turn it into something other than what it is right now, today.
Satisfaction is not a good selling point on the Internet.
In fact, as a marketer, I know that without exception, ALL good businesses are trying to point out a scenario in your life where you are dissatisfied that their business or service can fix.
For most of my life, I believed this deeply rooted falsehood—that my body was broken, I was inherently bad and that I needed to be fixed.
This meant that up until two years ago, I had no living memory of ever living without a diet or a “healthy eating scheme” weighing heavily on my mind.
It turns out, diet-free living has been the most life-changing experience for me, only second to starting a meditation practice the year before. And a few things have happened during diet free living:
- I went through withdrawals, which meant that on a daily, even hourly basis, I was wrestling with long-standing voices in my mind. Some days they begged and pleaded with me to please just go on a tiny diet. Just a little one. Surely, there’s something bad in how you’re eating, so just eliminate that one thing and stress about that one thing and you’ll be OK again.
- I experienced BIG mood swings. Turns out, dieting was my way of managing my emotions. Food is exceptionally soothing and there’s nothing wrong with that. But turning to food for all life management techniques isn’t sustainable.
- I went through a re-feeding phase, where I practiced not judging what my body craved. It turns out that when I stuffed my emotions with food, I was also silencing my body’s ability to be my best advocate. So re-feeding meant that I spent money on food trying to respond to what I thought my body was asking for. It meant that I spent a fair amount of time being confused about what my body needed. Re-feeding meant that I had a weird pantry full of happy, lively variety.
The non-dieting bride: this ought to be interesting
In the last two years, my weight has fluctuated (and I didn’t die); my pants have changed sizes (and I’m still loved); my dinner parties have become even more joyful (and I have no intention on changing them). But when I got engaged four months ago, this still small voice whispered in my ear and smirked, “Well, this ought to be interesting.”
I was so nervous at first. I looked at the silver platter of bridal boot camps and bridal diets, and for the first time I couldn’t see them as a solution. Rationally, I could think back on my life and remember how this diet or that workout had made me lose 20-30 pounds in the past. But this time, the silver platter of dieting and workout misery wasn’t appealing. I saw it for what it really is: a slippery slope of predictable, defeating patterns.
There’s not much more to share about this time of life, I suppose. Except that I’m a bride getting married in December and I’m not on a diet. In fact, this weekend I found the most delightful discovery: there are gluten-free cheese crackers! I bought a box, and I wish I’d bought two.