If you have read my blog before, or know me, you know that I tend to struggle with body image and diet and have done so for the past 12 years. Really, I've done so for the past 32 years, but a significant change happened in 2000 that has made that issue the main area of focus for me.
In the beginning, I was a slave to the diet industry. I tried atkins, kind of, weight watchers, kind of, the Zone, etc etc etc. I tried one diet where you don't eat any carbs at all, not even fruits or veggies and that was absolutely terrible. When that didn't work (because I couldn't maintain any of that stuff for any length of time), I turned to exercise. Crossfit, endurance running, triathlons, The Firm videos, Nike Training Club, insert whatever new exercise has come out to make one skinny and look like Jillian Michaels. The thing is - none of it worked, but it worked, if that makes sense. It probably doesn't which is why I'll explain. I got thinner. I got more muscular, I ran half marathons, all of that stuff. Physically, my body change. Emotionally, I did not. The desire to be thinner was always there, even at my thinnest. I got down to a size 4. But eventually, I would gain weight again because I wasn't happy and it wasn't working, so I turned to food, like always.
I sought outside help, meaning a therapist, to figure out why I'm like this and what needed to change. With her help, I realized that it's not about the food, it's not about the weight, it's about the fact that I am seeking happiness. If I weigh this much, I'll be happy, if I earn this much, I'll be happy, if I dress this way, I'll be happy. And when I achieved a variety of those goals, I realized that the happiness wasn't from some goal I wanted to achieve, it had to come from within. Through some serious seeking and prayer and meditation, yoga, I realized that I'm really not even going to be perfect at that. I'm always going to struggle with body image and food. It's my go to, but it doesn't have to control me.
After reading lots of books, spending more time with my therapist, and lots of yoga, I've realized that I have to let go. I try to eat intuitively and sometimes, I'm not that good at it BUT the one deal I made with myself is that I'm not allowed to "control" my eating and I'm not allowed to "restrict" and I'm not allowed to feel guilty. The end result, I've gained weight, I'm stable at a size that I thought was previously unacceptable but I'm trusting the process and trusting that in this very moment, God wants me to be the size I am for whatever reason. Maybe the message I have to give right now can only come in a size 10/12 package.
Where I realize that I've had growth is in listening to others. I've encountered a lot of people lately who live in a life of can't. I can't eat that because it's got this many calories, if I ate that, I'd be 200 lbs, etc. And I finally realized that I am SO GRATEFUL that I have the freedom to do what I want. I can eat what I want. I no longer allow myself to live by the rules of what the diet industry has developed. And actually, I eat pretty healthy. I love veggies and fruit, and I also love Gelato :) - but I do not have any guilt for eating it. It's pretty awesome. I may not accept my body fully for as it is, but I also am excited at how far I've come.