I’m starting my diet…tomorrow

There comes a time in any dieter’s life for the last indulgence before the diet begins.  It could be one last big huge honkin restaurant dessert.  It could be one delicious last gourmet meal at your favorite restaurant. It might even be one all out eat it all feast with girlfriends before the diet begins.  World’s greatest frenemy: the diet.

A couple of nights ago, I had dinner with a close friend.  The dinner was her one last oh my goodness rock my socks off meal before her weeks of restriction and deprivation and bowls and bowls of sprouts began (if she were lucky). Hearing her talk about this upcoming diet, you would think she was being shipped off somewhere cruel and harsh, military style. You would think that she would not even remember the taste of good food when it was over, that she would be so tired, exhausted by the grueling fitness routine and dulled by the endless meals of nothing but very little food that by the end of it she would have forgotten herself completely, if not everything at all.

This diet she spoke of sounded like punishment, not an effort to get healthy, not an attempt to feel better.  She was concerned with looking better (read: thinner), and, while there is nothing in the world wrong with that, I was concerned for her, her sanity, her happiness, her well-being, because all of this, including the feast, was for her wedding diet, for the big day.

I hear it all the time. The crash diets to go on the cruise. My own efforts to diet to look good at graduation, or a big party, or on vacation.  Colleagues who want to diet and run every single day for miles and miles and miles to look good on their honeymoons.

Now, before I go on, I should tell you that this friend of mine is absolutely beautiful, and not the type of beautiful you see everyday. Her skin glows. Her smile could light up an entire room (for real) and she is charming and kind. The perfect package, you might say. And, now she was headed down diet’s dreaded path.

At dinner, my dear friend ate-everything in sight.  From appetizers to rich, creamy, luscious pasta, to two desserts and cocktails and wine, she downed herself with culinary delights in preparation for the storm ahead.

Then, we went home and the next morning, she talked about her meal like it was God’s own dinner. Then, the diet began. She became crabby, irritable within days. She told me she missed food, almost every kind of food. She was exhausted.  She wanted a pizza. An entire pizza. Now.

Then, on the phone this morning, she said to me, there has to be a better way.

Living healthy is not about dieting and not dieting and restricting and not restricting. It cannot be. It should not be. Our bodies should not have to miss out on dessert. That’s just not right. It is not fair.  Our bodies should be able to, in their infinite greatness, digest a good dessert every once in a while and then enjoy some carrots maybe, if we feel like it.

The point here is that setting ourselves up to diet, for the big day (the wedding, the graduation, the cruise, the vacation) makes us hate the diet. It makes us indulge when we may not really want to eat that much because we know that the food Gods are going to take away the good food the next day (who, on that stranded island, would not enjoy two desserts?)  It also keeps us from living every day, mindful of our bodies and our health, while also enjoying food. All in moderation. The perfect balance.

The eat it today because tomorrow I will starve, restrict, deprive, not eat tasty food, is not healthy. It is not good. It is not right. In fact, the diet in itself is wrong. It’s bad. It’s just not fair. Living healthy, 365 days a year, enjoying and celebrating our bodies, allows us to enjoy all of these special occasions in the skin we are in and not the body of a woman we have to create to go on vacation (after all, it is vacation. why should it take SO much work?)

Taking steps to look better (exercising more, eating more fruits/veggies for nutrients, drinking more water), all of that is a good thing, even if it is to look good on our wedding day. In fact, getting healthier anytime is a good thing-if it is actually healthy you are after (and not just a smaller dress-or bikini).

Because-have we ever thought that maybe, just maybe, we would look good on our wedding day as is? Not any thinner? (I know we could always be thinner, but do we actually need to be thinner-to be healthier, or even, to be more beautiful?) Because, you know what, I think we just might look beautiful, as is-or, that our efforts should be to get healthy (and beautiful will just naturally follow?)  Besides, if we want to start our diet tomorrow, imagine what that means we will eat tonight.

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8 thoughts on “I’m starting my diet…tomorrow

  1. And I’m going to start replying to winsome posts tomorrow.

    Oops.

    I mucked up and sent it today. Nevermind…

    Seriously, looking forward to more! Good stuff.

    • Thank you! Yes, all things in moderation. Dieting is definitely tempting for a fast fix, but it is not worth it in the long run-not for our happiness, our sanity, or our health.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! It is so true. Diets always seem to be our best friend when in fact they are our worst enemy. They tell us we cannot just eat what our body hungers for AND be healthy and beautiful. Thank you again and have a great day/night.

  2. This is such a tough subject for me…for myself, I eat really healthy. But every night , I still eat cookies and chocolate…and i’ve been binging horribly for so long now – it’s just so much. I make myself so physically ill at times that I feel it’s too late and the “damage” is done…I hate going out with friends or whatever – I feel like I need to “go away” for months and cleanse my body! Blech…but it just starts a vicious cycle…

    So I guess it’s good to know there are others like it. But really different though. Because most normal people don’t make themselves sick over it!!

    • Dear BakingnBooks,

      Thank you for your comment. I don’t want to overwhelm you with a heavy reply and I hope what I say does not come across the wrong way. I know that this is a struggle that men and women around the world share. I am not a clinical professional by ANY means, but I know that this struggle can cause fear, anxiety, self-hate, guilt, depression, isolation, among other emotional terrors. I also know that it can cause physical harm, sometimes very serious. First off, I am sorry for what you are going through. It does not at all make you crazy or not like everyone else. It does not mean you will never have a different relationship with food, or eating.

      Having issues with eating and food and figuring out the right balance between what you think is healthy and not is absolutely normal and is pretty common. If you feel like you are binging on a regular basis and sometimes to the point where you feel physically ill I urge you to share this with loved ones and with someone who can help you, someone with professional experience helping the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from disordered eating in any form or fashion.

      Many people suffer from the vicious cycle of feast or famine eating. Knowing that tomorrow starts a restrictive or deprivation-oriented meal plan, anyone would seek the comforts of right now, tonight. chocolate. ice cream. anything tasty. After all, the drought starts tomorrow.

      Some say that having triggers around (the foods that trigger a binge) make binges more likely. But, leading a life without ever having a cookie around is also tough. Getting help may help you find the middle, somewhere between eating for comfort or to soothe emotional pain, eating because the famine begins tomorrow, eating way too much until past the point of full all the way to feeling sick AND eating to feel good.every.single.day.

      Enjoying these things in moderation, chocolate, cookies, helps ward off the feeling that you cannot have them. It is just like the stove you tell the two year old not to touch. The two year old will want to touch the stove after you say that more than ever before. Same with us. The more we convince ourselves that certain foods are bad the more we want them. We are after all, human.

      Good luck with your struggles. I sincerely admire the strength it took for you to share them and I wish you the very best. Please keep me posted. You will be in my thoughts.

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