What I miss about being on a diet
OK, so it does happen, I don't want to act like it doesn't.
Most of the time, I feel like this, but I do still go through phases where it's hard.
The obtrusive thoughts when my jeans feel a bit tight;
when you see an old picture of yourself a few years and a fair few pounds ago;
when I feel bad about myself for any reason, I still think:
wouldn't it just be better if you lost the weight?
If that happens to you; be it daily or monthly or just when you're drunk and cry a bit into a post-night out 3am 20 piece chicken nugget share box, then know that you are not alone. Those neural pathways that link every failure to your body are well-entrenched and it's going to take a long time and a lot of hard work to undo them.
And when it happens to me, when I start the battle with my body or my diet, of course, I reason with myself and after a while I remember that through this balanced, intuitive, regime-free way of eating and not through dieting and disorder, I am healthier than ever. I got my period back after more than two years of not having one. I have a good relationship with exercise. I eat what I want to when I want to. I feel normal around food. It happened.
One of the main things I do to try and reach the point of rationality is to remember
There are very few things I miss about the most disordered point in my life. In fact, there's maybe just two or three.
Fitting into all my clothes.
I don't miss:
The pressure; of having to be in the gym; of having to eat x amount of this nutrient and y amount of that; that voice in the back of my head that I should be working out right now or walking instead of getting the bus or not eating this or logging that.
The avoidance; the turning down of a dinner date because you can't guarantee anything 'safe' will be on the menu; the refusal to go out for breakfast because you won't have time to exercise before; the 'No, I'm fine, thanks!' when you're absolutely bloody starving.
The fear; of parties; of eating anything 'off plan'; of not fitting in the workout; of not being able to burn off the extra calories; of not knowing the nutritional content of something; of not being able to control myself around a bar of Dairy Milk; of any time spent alone, lest I tumble into a pint of ice cream.
The irritability; from being so energy-sapped, from not eating enough and exercising so much that I snapped at everything and everyone; crying when things didn't go my way; slamming doors; patience being even thinner than I was. I wasn't nice to be around.
The obsession; reading food magazines and cook books like they were novels; constantly thinking about recipes I wanted to make (but never allowing myself to); always baking even though I didn't like it, just to have an excuse to eat cake.
The rigidity; the intensive planning of restaurants to go to and delicacies to eat; not being able to go with the flow of the day; every meal having to be no less than perfect.
The insularity; thinking about myself and my food and my body and my exercise and nothing else.
The monopoly; my body being more important than everything else; creative projects being non-existent; being in a job I hated and didn't stimulate me, but gave me time to think about my diet plan and meant I could leave at 4pm to go to the gym; not making plans; not reading anything except fitness blogs.
The biology; I didn't have a period for over two years; my hair came out in huge amounts in the shower (and luckily started growing back!); my sleep suffered from waking up hungry in the night.
The pain; keeling over in pain from eating more and more and more; more biscuits; more rice; more peanut butter; spoon exploring every crevice of the cupboard; a spoon full of jam; of chocolate spread; of honey; a bite out of a block of cheese; another apple, another apple; anything, anything, anything and more.
The secrecy; of eating in my room or in the office or in the kitchen before your mum gets home or when sneaking another slice of cake whilst everyone's still in the dining room; of not being able to admit I was still hungry; of not being able to tell anyone how I was feeling.
So when I weigh it all up like that, and pit those many reasons against just one, it is worth growing out of some clothes to feel happy again. And it is growth in more than one way: it is physical, yes, I have grown by a fair few pounds and inches, but also grown my all areas of my life, my relationships, my work, and I wouldn't swap any of it for a smaller pair of jeans.