Yesterday I shared with you my epiphany regarding what might be called ‘abusive dieting’. The realization that I had been ignoring this for so long was quite a shocker. It led me to the decision to try an experiment: eat what I want without a shred of guilt and see what happens.
Now – this isn’t what you might think. It doesn’t mean driving down to the supermarket, hitting the cookie aisle, and knocking myself out – I have been eating low carb for so long it’s not in my makeup to do so. What it means is that I’m seeing what it’s like to eat without every bite I take being a judgement on my character.
It had become so routine as to become invisible: I had become my diet and every bite I took or didn’t take – and whether the food in question was allowed or prohibited – became a moral judgement on myself.
I think I had gone from losing weight as a way to be more happy to losing weight as the exclusive way to be happy.
I even had my instruments of torture to remind me every second of the day of my success or failure: my clothes.
When I originally lost my weight and got down to about 185, I bought a new wardrobe and tossed the old stuff out.
Oh what fun!
But as happens to some, the weight began creeping up, and less and less of the clothes I owned fit. So what I did as I began to run out of clothes that fit was to shoehorn myself into tighter and tighter stuff – all the time saying that this is a temporary situation and I will return to my idealized self shortly.
As this happened gradually, over the course of months and years, the situation evolved to a place where I would look in my closet and see more than a dozen shirts and slacks – but could only choose from a tiny subset.
I came to the realization that every single day of my life had become as if I had to go into someone else’s closet and pick out something to wear. These clothes weren’t mine anymore – they were someone else’s.
So what had occurred was that the clothes that had brought me such joy when I originally got to my target weight now became daily reminders of my failure – and since they fit so poorly, made me look like (or at least feel like) a clown – as well as completely comfortable throughout the day.
So I took my entire wardrobe and went through each piece. If it didn’t fit – or I just didn’t like it – it got packed away.
I then went out and bought a simple wardrobe of stuff that fit me and was comfortable. I used to buy clothes by the size, even if it didn’t fit. Now I tried them on, the size be damned.
I spent a little over $200 and got myself a minimalist wardrobe that fits.
Boy, does it feel good. I no longer go to my closet with a feeling of dread. I enjoy wearing the clothes. They feel good and I feel good in them.
And I eat what I want – at least until I figure out my next steps. I’m not giving up on losing weight, or low carb – I’m just at a waypoint – a place where I’m taking a breather and reflecting on where I’ve come from before I decide what direction I go next.
I don’t eat all that different – just without guilt. I have put on 10 lbs., and it seems to have stabilized there. I’m not judging it – I’m watching it. I’m a lot more relaxed, though my professional life is so hectic as to be unbearable.
I’m trying to be careful and not draw any conclusions about all this just yet. What I am doing needs some time to unfold. It can’t be rushed, and it shouldn’t be labeled just yet – the ball is in the air and the ref cannot call the play.
To be continued…