I saw this on Instagram recently:
And had an ah-ha moment! Yes, I came to this realization early in 2021. But this graphic summed up what I’ve been feeling this year so brilliantly, I needed to share.
2021 has been a year of healing for me. I have been trying to change my relationship with food and exercise. Earlier in 2021 I came to the realization at how restrictive I’ve been for so long and I asked myself if that was how I wanted to live. Did I want to be on my deathbed someday, counting my calories and still trying to lose weight? When I visited my 99 year old grandmother last spring, a few months before she died, I was absolutely shocked at the body negativity she had about herself. She’d made a joke about having her picture taken because of her weight. This was a pretty big wake up call to me–did I want to be 99 years old and STILL DIETING?
Over the beginning of 2021, I stopped counting my calories and tracking everything in MyFitnessPal. I’ve done it for 15+ years. (In the beginning it was just logging calories in a notebook, then I switched to the app.) During my keto phase, I was obsessively tracking and monitoring carb counts. When I stopped tracking, it was a little bit scary and weird. And for a few months I was still counting calories in my head. I just wasn’t logging it. It took a few months, but I eventually stopped doing it in my head.
And what happened? Did I gain weight? No. Did I finally have some MENTAL PEACE? Hell yes! It was like a huge relief off my chest. I hadn’t realized just how much mental energy counting my calories took. Logging everything. Weighing food. Cutting portion sizes. Restricting food if I go over my “calories for the day.” Over exercising to “earn” food.
I have a kid now, who hears everything we talk about and I am VERY conscious about how I talk about food, body, body image, body size. I am doing my very best to teach him nutrition and listening to his body, but not restriction (which is hard). I try to shield him from this stuff as much as I can. No fat phobia talk. No diet talk, etc. And now we are having a girl soon and I am going to try even harder to protect her from this stuff, too.
I was listening to “Food Psych” Podcast (Episode 125: Healing Your Relationship with Food) and I wanted to share some quotes. They all resonated with me deeply.
She was talking about the “minuscule” percentage of people who were weight loss success stories and she said: “They do it through disordered means that would be diagnosed as an eating disorder in someone who had started out in a thinner body.”
“It’s taking over their lives, it’s governing their entire world, it’s not balanced and it’s not good for their mental health and in many cases not good for their physical health either.” She went on to speak about someone she’d interviewed on the show previously and said “People who are ‘the success stories’ don’t just watch their weight they micromanage the everloving shit about their weight.”
Another “success story” was someone whose hair was falling out, they were tired all the time, she had out of control binges and couldn’t think about anything other than food. It ruled her life.”
Oh man, that was me. I micromanaged the everloving shit about my weight. I tracked all my food. I exercised to earn more food. I didn’t keep certain foods in the house (ever). Any little change to my routine (sickness, vacation, injury, etc) would send me spiraling.
I share this important post to give people food for thought–especially in January, a time of year where we are BOMBARDED with weight loss and exercise ads and goals and resolutions. Sometimes…sometimes it’s just ok to live your life and not track your food. Sometimes it’s ok to rethink how you want to live and enjoy your life. What are your priorities?