Monday, September 15, 2014

Admission: I'm on a diet

I'm on a diet.

Without getting into the details, yes, it's brand-name, no it does not involve anything delicious, and yes, I'm aware I'm consuming a lot of chemicals. It's temporary!

I've been trying for a while to lose the weight I gained when, over two years ago, I worked at a job with long hours and a lot of travel. And I've been unsuccessful. I've tried upping my protein. I've tried new exercises. I joined a CrossFit box. (I LOVE my CrossFit box! I am so strong now! But I have some pants I still can't button.) I've tried cutting out drinks (any drinks: juice, coffee, alcohol).

But it wasn't working. So when a coworker had success with this diet, and another wanted to try it, I thought, well, let's see what happens. It's easy in that I don't have to think about what I eat: everything is prepackaged. I have some friends doing it with me, so that helps. And it's been working.

I was hesitant to try this diet because I was afraid of what people would think. I didn't want to be someone who had to diet. I didn't want to jump on a trend bandwagon. I didn't want to feel desperate and fat. I WANT to be someone who can be cognizant of what they are eating and make smart changes to lose weight. But, I'm not that person. Or at least not yet. But then I also realized, I don't care about the diets of my friends: I care that they're healthy and happy. I'm not doing this because it's a trend, I'm doing it for me. And I'm not desperate. I'm still a healthy weight and size. I'm not fat. I'm just not who I want to be.

Tackling the question of who I want to be has many layers. But one of them is someone who is a little smaller.

Almost every female I know has a love/hate relationship with food, or has gotten over a love/hate relationship with food. It's like that boyfriend we've all had--that one where we say, well, I was in this dysfunctional relationship and it sucked, but now I really appreciate the person I'm with because of it. Why do we need that? Why can't we skip over the disfunction and just appreciate? This is probably a topic to discuss with my therapist. If I had a therapist. But that's another kind of "dating" relationship; one that I don't really have time for right now.

Back to the love/hate relationship with food. It's really sad, because food is fuel, and it's delicious and nourishing in more ways than one. Food is socializing with people you care about, food is holiday traditions, food can feed your body and your soul.

But sometimes food pollutes your body and soul.

When I talk to people who have made major changes to their diet and nutritional lifestyle, I'm always amazed by how personal it is. I always thought you just start eating better and less, but that's not the case at all. It's way more an emotional battle than a physical one.

I used to be the person who could eat anything. In high school, I was on two swim teams. That coupled with a fast metabolism inherited from my mother meant I could eat donuts and Reese's pieces every day, in addition to all of the significantly more normal, and decidedly healthier meals my mother prepared. And still be a size 2. And have muscles.

Tragically, I am no longer on two swim teams. I have a job where I sit at my desk. My mother doesn't cook my meals, my husband or I do (mostly my husband, actually). And while I still have muscles (bigger muscles, in fact!), and my pants size is single-digit, I'm far from a 2 (although I have no plans to ever get back to that).

I've been on this diet almost two weeks now, and I'm noticing both the physical and emotional changes. Good or bad, here's what I've learned about myself:
1. I miss coffee more than chocolate (WTF?)
2. I don't like to be full; I like to be not hungry.
3. I like eating small meals every two hours, like a newborn.
4. I like eating the same thing every day.
5. It's actually easier on the weekends, when I can DO what I enjoy than on the weekdays, when I don't enjoy what I do.
6. Which means I should probably be looking for a career change. Hopefully it's not located at the bottom of a pint of ice cream or beer.
7. In general, I don't miss alcohol, but I haven't become a teetotaler.
8. I do miss juice, hot chocolate, tea with milk, and pretty much anything else I can drink.
9. I'm more of an emotional-eater than I thought.

I'm not a patient person by nature, so this whole life's-a-journey thing is never really something I've embraced. But, to quote the Cheshire cat, if it doesn't matter where you want to go, "then it doesn't matter which way you go." And I definitely have a destination in mind.