Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Perpetual Dieters

Who are these people, the Monica Gellers of real life, who have some kind of rock bottom, aha moment, or whatever we’re calling it these days, and then just go on a diet and live happily ever after? They realize that they weigh more than a baby whale, or more than an adult whale, or something, and then just - do it, somehow?

I don’t think these people exist. It seems like weight loss is more like 10,000 of those moments. If all it took were one of those moments, then nobody would ever gain any weight back. But based on the real numbers, it seems like, instead, there are millions and millions of people who spend their lives in a perpetual state of trying to lose weight without ever getting closer than 30 pounds to their goals. The thought of that scares me more, frankly, than just accepting my extra weight. To spend my life trying for something that’s totally doable, and actually pretty simple, and constantly failing.

The first and only GIF I've ever made.

In case it wasn’t completely obvious, I’m… not great. Not going off the rails like a month ago, but really just having zero confidence in myself. Confidence that I’ll lose this weight, that I can have a normal and healthy relationship with food, and the mindset that I deserve any of these things. I mean, I can’t even follow a simple eating plan for a month. One that I made up, no less.

We were at my parent’s for the weekend, and there’s just so much food, so many activities centered around food. The entire Jewish New Year holiday consists of prayers, eating, and napping. Since then, I’ve been kind of plodding along, neither here nor there. I ordered some “my eating plan”-friendly groceries that will arrive tomorrow night. It sucks. I wish I could just get out of my own head, or go to some little room where I receive nutrients via pills and lose twenty pounds in a month.

I am trying to be more positive, maybe whine less. Yup, the above WAS me whining less. Scary, I know.

I can try focusing on what I didn’t eat - the things that I would have, without a doubt, eaten if I wasn’t trying to be better. The whole “yes, this isn’t great, but it could/would have been so much worse.”

I’m going to start trying to jot down a couple of these every week. I want to remind myself - or anyone reading this - that even when I’m annoyed with my eating slip-ups, I should give myself credit for what I did accomplish. Because usually there is something. Sometimes it seems like a pretty small accomplishment, something that makes you think “Well this isn’t really something to be proud of, this is something that people do all the time without thinking about it.” But what’s hard is different for everybody, therefore there’s nothing wrong with giving credit when you do something that’s hard for you. When I was depressed, I felt like a boss when I woke up before noon on a Sunday. And now, when I sometimes feel like a failure, but then I walk past the candy bowl at work and don’t have any, I think “Wow, I’m fucking amazing. Seriously Leah, this is probably the greatest accomplishment in the history of America.”

John and I have been watching Parks & Rec. Yes, the show is over and we’re super late to the party. If you haven’t seen it (no spoilers here), one of the many great characters is Chris Traeger, played by the stunningly beautiful man-god Rob Lowe. He’s a super-de-dooper optimistic person, and manages to be the only person on Earth who misuses the word “literally” and isn’t irritating about it. When someone greets him, he’ll say, “Ah, Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope. You are, literally, my two favorite people in Pawnee.” Or, “That is literally the best idea I’ve ever heard.” 

Why isn’t it annoying? I think it’s because he really means it. Chris is so positive, optimistic, and full of life and joy that every new idea really is the best idea to him, every person, at that moment, is truly his favorite person, and when he says that his heart “literally” broke, he probably thinks that it did.

I know it’s just a TV character.. but still, what an amazing attitude to have. I don’t see why I can’t have the same approach to eating well. So when I bypass the cake at a farewell, and I tell myself, “Look at me, not having cake, how amazing am I?” that’s perfectly fine. I hope that turning down treats won’t always be a cause for my celebrating, and that it will come more naturally. But for now, I will give myself all the positive reinforcement I can get.

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