Birthday Reflection #7: F*ck It.

Birthday Reflection 7Warning: Shit-ton of profanity ahead.

I am 96 pages into this book by Caroline Dooner that arrived in the mail yesterday and I can tell that it is a game-fucking-changer.

The gist of it is that diets don’t work. They just don’t. Sure, our bodies can be tricked into losing weight for a while but our bodies are brilliant and all they want is to survive. When we diet and restrict food our body thinks we are experiencing a famine. Which we are. So, they go into survival mode. Which means slowing down our metabolism and storing fat.

As I read, I was flooded with memories of all the ways I having been fucking enmeshed in a battle with my body, food and body image for decades. Fucking decades.

Here are some in no particular order:

  1. Dancing to the Locomotion in a friend’s basement with boys and my friend yells at me in exasperation to stop stomping around like an elephant.
  2. Staying at a friend’s house I saw that they poured more cereal into their bowls after they finished so they could finish the milk. I thought that was genius. When I tried it at home, I was told I didn’t need to eat more cereal.
  3. I was 12 or younger when I wrote in my diary a confession about eating a Hostess Apple Pie and some Oreos.
  4. As a cheerleader in high school I heard some guy in the bleachers call me Thunder Thighs.
  5. I’m always afraid and ashamed of being weighed at the doctor’s office.
  6. I believe that gaining weight is a weakness and losing it is a strength.
  7. I judge every body I encounter. Mine, family, friends, strangers.
  8. I have so many food rules that I’ve attempted to follow over the years: eat “healthy” 80 percent of the time, “cheat” the other 20 percent; don’t eat past 7  at night; try not to eat for a full 12 hours, 16 is even better; limit bread and other starches; don’t eat processed food; the less ingredients the better and on and on and on.
  9. Holding my 10-week old baby a stranger the airport asked me when I am due.
  10. People feel free to comment on my weight loss but never weight gain. It’s crazy when you think about it. When we do that we are basically saying: “Congrats on taking up less space in the world!
  11. The first thing I do in the morning is stand in front of the mirror, lift up my shirt, turn sideways to see how flat or bloated my belly is. And that sets the tone for the day.
  12. I’ve tried the South Beach diet, calorie counting, hormone diets, sugar-free diets, intuitive eating, mindful eating

My most recent foray into weight loss has been using Spark People again to track my food. And it works. I hate doing it, but it works. In 3 weeks I lost 7 pounds. I did it by starving myself. My calories intake was between 1200-1500. I stayed within that range and usually at the lower end. But then I also exercised but didn’t track the calories burned. So, say I ate 1300 calories one day, burned 400 on the elliptical at the gym which means I ate 900 calories that day. Nine. Hundred. That’s insane. Especially when you read about the “The Minnesota Starvation Experiment” in Dooner’s book. Whcih you should. Every person, especially every woman, needs to read this book.

Her formula of eating what you want, when you want, as much as you want scares the crap out of me. But I am SO fucking exhausted from hauling around this baggage about my weight and body. I remember entering my 30’s, then 40’s then 50’s determined that I would finally be done with this obsession, this constant battle I wage against myself.

Well, I turn 54 tomorrow and I am apparently still deep in the battle. But with this book I see the possibility of freedom at on the other side. Before I went to bed last night, I took Spark People off my phone. Before I went to bed last night I ate a bowl of granola with blueberries and almond milk which freaked me out. But I was hungry so I ate. Novel idea. But it broke my rule of not eating past 7. And I didn’t measure anything. I just ate what I wanted, when I wanted in a quantity I wanted. Again, what a novel idea.

This morning I did not gauge the size and shape of belly. I ate what I wanted without measuring anything and I feel full.

I feel satiated.

I feel my body softening into gratitude for finally beginning to listen to her.

(I think I may have what Brené Brown calls a vulnerability hangover but I am going to press publish anyway. My motto as I turn 54 is: “Fuck it, I am who I am.”)

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