If there was one thing I could say to someone starting a diet, just like this girl was 1 year ago...what would I say?
Would I tell her that buying 100 calorie packs of imitations Oreos can make you go broke and they will never taste as good as the originals?
Would I share that walking is the best way to exercise, and you can do it anywhere, as long as you have good shoes and good music or great conversation?
Would I tell her that the best diet secret is to stuff yourself with determination and to stock up on it like its toilet paper?
Hmmm, these are all good tips, to be sure. But they aren't really what I would share with someone who is on day one of her diet. What is the most important thing I can say, one year into this crazy journey, that might give a new dieter the upper hand to help change her life?
This is gonna hurt.
Yes, that is exactly what I would tell her. Not to fill her full of fear, or make her run screaming from steamed vegetables (not that I would blame her for running), yet I think the statement - this is gonna hurt- is a fair statement to give her edge she will need to keep going.
If someone had told me in the beginning of my twenties what being a parent is really like, the late nights, the fighting among siblings, the practicing of name writing on walls with a Sharpie marker, I would have still had kids. In fact, even after managing a munchkin driven life for 9 years now, fully knowing how hard it is, I still want more pint sized tornadoes to add to my chaos. The difference is that now I am better prepared than I was when I first started shooting them out in 21 shotgun salute formation, because I know that parenting is tough.
I know there will be sleepless nights with teething babies, toddlers with ear aches, and that every nice shirt in my closet is a potential napkin. I know that my kids will say embarrassing things. They'll ask tough questions like "Mommy, why did God give women long boobs?" when they see me streaking in the living room to the basket of clean clothes where my bra is located. I know what I am getting into now. But knowing what it's like doesn't change my mind. It just makes me realize the importance of owning more than one set of washers and dryers, and the necessity of at least 2 toilets in the house. And of course a sound proof tower so I can lock them up (Rapunzel style) when they hit puberty and members of the opposite sex start calling. Don't think I'm gonna budge on that one either.
So it would only be fair if I told someone the truth about dieting. The truth that all the diet gurus out there gloss over, which makes a woman feel inadequate after she realizes it, which will send her on a tail spin of yo-yo dieting for the next 20 years, until she owns a complete set of jeans in every size between 6 and 26 (and still has nothing to wear, of course). It would be the right thing to do, telling the truth, like I wish someone had told me a year ago. And I think I'll practice what I would say to her right here.
"YAY!!!! I am excited that you are starting a new life of dieting, and I will be here for you, to support, encourage and assist you however I can. That is what I do, free of charge, because I want nothing more than to see you succeed and feel like you can do anything. But I'm not going to lie to you. What you are about to embark on, this new diet...well- this is gonna hurt. In fact, this is going to hurt worse than you can imagine.
This is going to hurt your body, because you have to make it work harder than it ever has before.
This is going to hurt your wallet, because crap food is cheap, and fresh food is going to cost you a lot more.
This is going to hurt some of your friendships, because some friends will ask you to 'live a little' and entice you to eat things that could set you back a week, and will be put out if you tell them no.
This is going to hurt your pride, because the fact is that you won't lose weight every time you step on the scale, and it's going to make you feel like a failure.
When you do feel like a failure, it's going to hurt your ego to keep going forward, wondering with every bite if you have what it takes to go the distance.
But even when this diet hurts your body, you will find strength that you never knew you had, physically. Even emotionally and mentally.
When it hurts your wallet, know that you are saving your life with each day you strive for health.
When it hurts your friendships, think of how eating right and working out is the best possible way to 'live a little' and maybe try to drag them along.
When the diet plateaus and it hurts your pride, step into the jeans you wore when you were at your heaviest, and it will change your definition of what pride really is.
When your ego is challenged and hurt and you don't feel like going on, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You can't expect to change your body overnight. You have to work for it day after day.
So yeah, this is gonna hurt. But it's worth it.
It's worth embracing whole grains and fresh fruit and sweaty bras and fat girl yoga dvds and sore muscles and saying no to junk food- saying hello to a new lifestyle so you can shrink. The most amazing thing is while you are shrinking, you are going to grow like you wouldn't believe. And that makes all the pain worth it in the end. Not to mention your end will look better than ever!"
I just hope that whoever you are out there, embarking on your own day one, you will listen and be encouraged. It took me forever to learn these things, and I am happy to share them with you. You can do this. If I can do this, and I am the worst kind of dieter there is, then I know you can.
I am going to go do my painful Lotte Berk now, and I hope you know by now that I am happy to hurt. It means I still have a fighting chance to win! As long as I keep fighting and hurting, I may, one day soon, wear a single digit size. Till then, I'm going to look at how far I have come from this time last year... maybe I'll even make a video for you all tonight. Check back tomorrow to see some good clean fun about how much I have shrunk!
And if this is your day one...well, you have started your journey on the right foot. Just hang in there and make it to day two. That is your only goal for today. But you aren't alone!!! I'm hanging in there to make it to day 366. That's my only goal for today. And I'm doing pretty good so far!