One of my goals for this year is to make peace with the fact that I’m still having to work at maintaining a healthy diet and healthy weight. I read so many articles about how we should be able to intuitively eat the right things and the right amounts if we could only learn to trust ourselves. That’s a lovely thought but it can have the effect of making one feel like there is something wrong or weak about you if you seek out the structure of something like Weight Watchers or Whole 30 or Paleo or My Fitness Pal or whatever to help you make changes in your diet. I know for me, at least, I somehow feel like I’m inadequate because I have trouble maintaining a healthy diet without some kind of externally imposed framework. I suspect I’m not the only one who feels that way, am I right?
The truth is, something different works for everyone and there are some people who really can eat a healthy diet without much external reinforcement. That doesn’t mean it has to be true for all of us. With my history of morbid obesity and binge eating, I’m a little different and it’s okay that it is a little harder. It doesn’t mean I’m weak. I’m just different. Can you tell I’m working on getting that message through my brain?
I’m currently choosing to look at Weight Watchers as that handrail along the stairs. Some people bop up and down without ever grabbing hold of the rail but some of us especially clumsy types like me need to reach out to steady ourselves. Whatever your eating plan is, it’s just the hand rail to keep you from falling. You’re still the one doing the work of going up and down the stairs.
It’s a cheesy analogy, I know, but something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. I think we need to be careful not to let our desire to say it’s okay NOT to be on a “diet” let those of us who are on some kind of eating plan feel like they’re in the wrong. Whatever approach you take, if it is safe and you’re learning from it, it’s okay. My goal last year was to make peace with food and lose some of that fear of eating, which I’ve done fairly well. This year, I’m making peace with the fact that I still need help to maintain a healthy diet.
I regained 20 pounds but that doesn’t mean I failed at maintenance. After all, I kept 90 pounds off without much structure to my eating plan. However, I’ve noticed enough to know that those 20 pounds are a result of more and more unhealthy foods slipping back into my diet and I just don’t need that stuff. That is more concerning to me than the number on the scale. For now, I’ll reach back out for that handrail to get through this slippery patch, just like I do in the winter on those stairs above because they get ICY. That doesn’t mean I’ll always need to hang on but it’s okay if I do. I’m still doing the work.
Do you struggle with feeling “bad” for seeking out the help of a diet plan? If you do, please know that I at least a) sympathize completely with that feeling and b) think it’s okay to want help.
PS My office staff is going in on a pool for the lottery tonight, which sort of entertains me. They made fun of me for saying I’d still come in to work in the morning because I have things to do. I promise I’d skip at least my lunch meeting if we did win. 🙂