This year as one of my many New Year's resolutions, I have decided I will not under any circumstances be going on any form of diet. There will be no attempts at a post Christmas detox, a pre holiday bikini ready slim down and the 5:2 diet can just DIE. I am exhausted of constantly attempting and failing to make myself eat by numbers. I have no reason to diet. According to my BMI (Body Mass Index), I've never been the medical definition of overweight a day in my life. Yet I have been 'dieting' on and off since the age of 16! That's nearly ten years of my life WASTED worrying about a non existent problem.
I'd like to point out I have never been on a successful diet. I have never lost weight because of a diet I have chosen to be on. All my significant weight loss moments have been a result of lifestyle choices that had nothing to do with a sugar free, carb free, fun free anything. A physically demanding job, touring a city on foot for 6 hours a day. Those got me results and I barely noticed. I don't do diets properly. I rarely set weight loss goals.The usual way it goes is a new diet book comes out, it looks interesting and everyone is doing it. I grasp the basics and off I go. The first week I stick to it, the next week I'm eating cake and hating myself for it. Dieting was something I did without really thinking about why I did it.
I think there are many reasons why I dieted but I think the main one was wanting to fit in. I started dieting because that's what grown up women did like wearing red lipstick or getting your hair done in a salon. Grown ups talked about carbs and saturated fats and didn't eat chips everyday just because they could. My first foray into real dieting was in sixth form when one of my svelte friends opted for a salad instead of the best chips I had ever eaten because she was watching her weight. Soon we were both having salads at lunch and then spending our free period traipsing to the kebab shop to eat said chips and calling ourselves 'naughty' and giggling over such indulgent behaviour. It was an unhealthy but lovely bonding experience and I continued this practice for years with different friendship groups. I quickly attached guilt to all tasty foods which obviously made them twice as fun. Maybe I diet to make the eating experience more thrilling and exciting. Gosh, that's sad.
I also think the element of transformation was quite appealing. Diets promised a 'happy-ever-after' ending that never came. I always felt like I was one successful diet away from the body I always wanted. A body that would give me loads of confidence and banish away every insecurity I ever had. Everyone would love the new more confident me. I would then take this confidence and get an awesome job and an awesome boyfriend. We would then go on awesome holidays and live awesome lives all thanks to Atkins. This is clearly insane. My life is pretty amazing as is and if I want it to reach awesome levels, I need to spend less time thinking about 'superfoods' and more time living it.
I've been living the no diet life for a couple of weeks now and I have to admit it's been confusing. It is hard to distinguish between the myriad of dieting rules I've absorbed over the years and normal healthy eating practices. At the moment, I'm just eating what I fancy whenever I fancy it. This surprisingly has not led to a massive food binge. I'm mostly eating as I normally would with more snacks that would have been off limits before. I did spend one day eating left over Christmas desserts which I thoroughly enjoyed. I felt rotten the day after though, so I won't be doing that again...maybe.
Eating what I want hasn't been tough, it's the feeling that I'm not doing enough for my body that's difficult. This time of year, I would normally be buzzing with detox plans and false promises regarding the gym. I'm finding it harder than I thought to just let go. I am going to try as I am resolved to change. I want a life where I can enjoy everything in moderation, where eating doesn't come with a set of rules or a hefty amount of emotional baggage.
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