New Year, Same Me
Here we go! A new year has begun so all television, radio and online outlets that I regularly expose myself to will be filled with articles and messages like these:
Best Diets to Start 2018!
Start 2018 Right With Our 3-Day Detox!
How to Train Your Brain to Meet Your Weight Loss Goals in 2018
Win the War on Weight in 2018!
Kick off the New Year with a clean plate!
For most of my life, I have been the queen of all things related to "diet;" and by diet I mean restriction. I would challenge anyone to name a "diet plan" (or whatever these programs are calling themselves) that I haven't tried.
Thankfully, in early 2016 I began to feel exhausted by my attempts to unnaturally change myself through unhealthy eating patterns and acknowledged some truths that I'd been covering up in an attempt to justify these patterns. I sought help from a registered dietitian nutritionist, a licensed medical professional, who specializes in eating disorder recovery and intuitive eating, and have been successful in making changes that have brought me immeasurable peace around food and body image.
Having said that, these messages continue to be tough to resist. I regularly click on them, telling myself, "I just want to see what they have to say," or "let's see how bad this one is," when I know it's because I'm curious to compare. Compare what I'm doing/eating/thinking with what others claim will bring me toward some state of health or body image nirvana.
A lifetime of messaging is impossible to eradicate, so I try to give myself a little grace; I have numerous friends who are currently on some sort of New Year (or all year!) thing and it's tempting to give in, to revert to old habits.
Taking the time to stop and remind myself of some basic tenets is helpful: my body is healthy and strong; I do not currently have any medically (by a licensed medical professional) diagnosed health issues/chronic disease that benefit from the elimination of any particular food group or nutrient; there are NO BAD FOODS, as some are simply more nutritionally-dense than others; and all foods/food groups are necessary to sustain my health, activities of life, and enjoyment.
I am thankful that I no longer feel it necessary to avoid social gatherings or outings with friends, fearful of making unplanned food choices; I am thankful that I now enjoy food, ALL OF IT, without guilt or regret; I am thankful for the support that I have received from like-minded individuals and thankful for the means to care for myself.
Until we, as a society, learn to value our health and our bodies for the gifts and abilities they provide us, rather than forcing them into a particular shape or form regardless of the restriction and damage it might require, I'll continue to struggle with these never-ending messages; I'll also continue to share my experience, in the hope that another might find an escape from his/her own exhaustion.