Sunday, December 27, 2015

I Didn't Have It In Me Anymore

Five months ago when I quit blogging, I was in the middle of a successful "plan" to eat 1200-1300 calories a day, exercise more and track it on my Fitbit, and eat more protein and less carbs. I was weighing and measuring every morsel I ate, counting calories, carbs, and protein grams, and exercising five days a week. I'd been sticking to that plan for three weeks and had lost 2.5 pounds. But suddenly, it seemed, I just didn't have it in me anymore to keep going. It wasn't the 21 days of effort that seemed oppressive; it was the years and years and years of dieting, of trying to MAKE my body listen to me, of forcing myself to adopt a "new normal" that, no matter how hard I tried or how long it went on, just never really did feel normal to me. I threw it all down and walked away.

I didn't go off and binge, didn't stop moving or eating vegetables or focusing on protein, but I did stop all the counting, weighing, measuring, and tracking. I relaxed and let myself just be, and let the food slide into the background of life. Again, I just didn't have it in me anymore to put so much time and energy and focus on what I was eating and how I was moving.

But you know, something interesting happened when I let go of the reins and admitted that I am really *not* strong enough to wrestle my body and mind into submission on these issues. When I gave up and relaxed about it... truly relaxed (NOT weighing all the time, NOT panicking because I was not losing weight, NOT getting into a tizzy trying to figure out my "next plan" or picking a date when I'd get back to dieting), my body relaxed too, and so did my mind. Obsessions faded. Cravings became less and less frequent. If I felt like having ice cream, I didn't have to rationalize it. I just ate it. I didn't shovel in pint after pint because OMG I am eating something I shouldn't and I need to stop this and I need to go on a diet. I just had the ice cream and went on about life. And if I felt like going for a walk, I went. If I felt like riding my bike, I got on it. I didn't drive myself to go X number of miles or Y number of minutes so many days a week. I just did what I felt like doing. And after doing this for five months, I feel a lot differently about the whole situation. (Note: I would not ever recommend this approach to someone who is struggling with Binge Eating Disorder. "Letting myself" eat what I wanted when I was actively engulfed in BED was a recipe for rapid, out of control weight gain, depression, and a decline in health.)

And I have it in me now... *not* to go back to counting calories and carbs and protein... because that would put me back in the place I was when I left... but to turn around and take a look at my weight and my health. I have it in me now to turn a bit more attention to the nutrition and amounts I am eating and how much movement I want in my life. I hope, at this point, that I will *never* count calories again. I never plan to deprive myself of a food, a meal, a serving of something I would like to eat. I don't feel like I have trigger foods anymore, isn't that strange? It's almost like... the freedom to eat those old "trigger" foods as I wish, has allowed me the freedom to say yes or no to them and not have an emotional reaction. Hey, I've been at this awhile and part of me thinks I will eat my words later when some food *does* trigger me. I realize that's possible and I may be wrong about some of this stuff. I am just writing how I feel about it *right now.* And how I feel is good.

I want the freedom to have my bacon, eggs, and toast if I want it for breakfast, because that freedom gives me the choice and desire to also make healthier choices most days, like eating an egg and some fruit or a bowl of Greek yogurt for breakfast. The freedom to have a cookie and a latte in the afternoon also gives me the choice and desire, yes the WANT to instead just have a cup of black coffee or a banana. The choice to walk 2 miles or not, with no pressure, makes me feel it is a pleasure and not a chore.

So now I have it in me and later this week, when the holiday stuff is over and my son's birthday is celebrated, I'm going to take a look at where I am on the scale, and make a conscious effort to simply turn my attention to making healthy choices more often and moving in a way I enjoy more frequently. Yes, that's very unstructured. I want to stay free. And I want to have a body that supports that freedom. Can't wait to see what the new year holds!


Joy said...

It sounds perfect to me and much more manageable and enjoyable. All the very best!
J x

Alana in Canada said...

Now this is a journey I would love to hear about! All the best to you and you continue to open your hands and enjoy life.

Lyn said...

Thanks! I think it will be interesting :) And I am committed to not putting pressure on myself like I have in the past.

Renee said...

I'm so glad to read this and can't wait to follow your new journey!

Jo said...

I've read your blog for years but never commented.

I just want to say I know exactly what you're saying here. I've spent a large chunk of my life engulfed in bulimia and anorexia. Even once the worst of these passed for a while (there have been several relapses), I have tried and tried to lose weight by counting calories or saying I only eat chocolate on a weekday ect ect. All that led to was me binging on it eventually.

I've only ever lost weight and kept it off when I gave myself free reign to eat what I liked. Once it was no longer forbidden I was much less interested.

Luckily I have a very active job and as such have slowly lost 10lb over the past 3 months without really trying - even in the run up to Christmas.

I still need to monitor myself - the minute I try and restrict in any way, it comes back, but I just wanted to say there's def truth in what you say.