Every once in a while, I get a letter from someone that really moves me. A letter that needs more than just a pleasant 4 sentence response. I got one of those last night. From Susan.
And while I am not going to print her letter here, I will respond to it for all of us to read. Including myself. It’s all about the tragedy of dieting.
Letters like yours make this journey worth it. All the fighting I have done against my inner fears, my frustration against %*$&ing breadbowls (and yes, when it comes to those tempting foods that control us, it does merit cussing. VERY APPROPRIATE.) and the whole idea of being truthful- even when I could have lied and no one would have been the wiser. Trust me, I have fought that urge more times than you know.
And even through my rough patch of plateauing/weight gain (which lasted longer than I ever thought was humanly possible), even when my entire blog felt like a sham because I couldn’t get my crap together and start losing weight again, I stuck with it. I kept writing. I kept forcing myself to stay accountable to a group of faces I couldn’t see.
Because somewhere, deep inside, I knew I was stuck, but I wasn’t beaten yet.
You asked for some nuggets of wisdom about pushing forward. How I wish there was some old wives tale that would work- mix this and this and apply liberally. Problem solved.
But that’s not what I can give you. All the dieting secrets aren’t secrets at all.
You have to eat less, move more, and become obsessed.
Obsession is the best thing you can do for your diet. Make it all you think about. Let it consume you. We let our relationship with food eat us alive (and the irony of having a “relationship” with food is not lost on me. Although in my case, it was more like Master and Slave) yet when it comes to exercising and eating right, we push that to the back of our minds and let it stew until we are forced to think about it. When you allow yourself to get obsessed, keep it on the forefront of your mind, fill your mind with verses of inspiration from the Bible, let every sermon you hear prick your heart about your diet journey- change will come.
That’s the funny thing about us humans. Especially those of us with ovaries. We can handle major catastrophes, deaths, loss… and we muddle through. But when it comes to dieting- how easily we throw in the towel.
Until that day when we stand bravely and humbly at the end of our dieting ropes. We suddenly realize that change can come. And it will. But we have to submit to being uncomfortable.
When tragedy hits us, we survive because we have no choice. But dieting- it’s all about choice- choosing to let a tragedy smack us in the face with permission. And that’s why we run the opposite way, pulling out our hair and running for the drive thrus of comfort food. We have ALL done it. That’s why we are here, reading this and nodding our heads in agreement.
One of my biggest problems with the church and with dieting are the same thing. People want you to “clean up” before you get involved. Stop sinning before you come to church. Lose 20 pounds before you can work out at the gym. And we have that soooooooo very wrong. Jesus doesn’t want us to change before we get there. He wants to be the One who changes us. And dieting is the same way. Crash dieting never works, because it’s not the quick fix that changes us forever. It’s the long haul that turns us into the fit skinny women we so desire to be. A woman who has worked hard for change. A woman who enjoys the way she feels because she earned it.
A woman who muddled through a tragic change of her own choosing and can’t keep quiet about what she has learned.
The good, the bad, and the calorie laden. It’s all part of the process.
So, sweet Susan- who is very close to the dawn of a new lifestyle- you can do this. So can you who aren’t named Susan. So can Charlie. No matter what you think your limitations are, if you want it badly enough, you will find a way to muddle through. To choose everyday to make the best choices you can. They may not be perfect. And you still might wind up hitting French Fry Alley from time to time. But with every misstep, you will learn that it’s not worth it. It’s not who you want to be.
And it is in those moments of devastation and change that you grow stronger. More certain of where you want to go. It will be your reason for getting up and trying again. And again. And again.
And before you know what has happened- one day you will see someone new in the mirror. A better you! And that is the beautiful tragedy of dieting.
With love and many hugs-
Charlie, fellow tragic dieter