“I’m not a fat advocate. I’m not a “diet culture” advocate. I’m a “heal your shit and change your fucking life so that you feel empowered and strong, body and soul, because you deserve to live your greatest life and are fucking WORTH IT whatever that looks like for you” advocate”
The body of the IG post spoke volumes to me. I’d been feeling like something was “off” about my stance – and though I do believe in my beliefs, I was also feeling like there was something missing – a disclaimer of some sort – and Sarah nailed it on the head:
“I DO believe that conscious weight loss can be viable a tool that people can use to address their physical wellness. I DO NOT believe that weight loss will “MAKE YOU HAPPY” or fix the things that hurt you the most.”
THIS is what I’ve been missing and fighting against. Echoing Sarah, I HATE diet culture and everything it stands for. I know from personal experience the dangers of diet culture and how easy it is to get trapped by it!
However, I do also know that I have a few things I want to do that will require a conscious effort in weight loss. The biggest thing is that I have had word that I could be getting promoted sooner rather than later – like I was expecting – and with it, I’ll have to go on my Primary Leader Qualification (PLQ) which entails a lot of field work and will be physically demanding. If climbing the stairs to the train platform gets me winded, doing my PLQ at 210 lbs is going to SUCK!!! I need to drop some weight and increase my cardiovascular health to make it easier to make it through the course!
One thing Figure competitions taught me, was that how you look on stage is almost entirely determined on how well you do in the kitchen. During that time, I always said “you can’t out-train a bad diet”, and as much as I still believe that, I also recognize that I have obsessive compulsive behaviors around diet and exercise and I don’t want to back-slide! However, I do need to make a conscious effort in losing weight and watching what I eat.
What will that look like?
- Eating more whole foods (I’ve been slacking the last few months)
- Eating more complex carbs and less simple carbs.
- Significantly reducing/eliminating highly processed foods.
- Significantly reducing sugary foods.
- Include a pre-planned treat (aka, ice cream!).
- Drink more water – especially in the early hours
It will NOT:
- No weighing food
- Doubling up workouts if my diet slips up
So how can I go on a “diet” and not promote “diet culture”? Trust me, I do NOT support diet culture! I know for a fact that losing weight will not make me happy – and wanting to lose weight isn’t because I’m UNhappy! I want to lose weight because, as Sarah put it, I am not living up to my highest self. I’m not living up to my full potential. My weight is holding me back and I can finally see that.
Over this past weekend, hubby and I were talking about Spartan Races – an actress I really enjoy does them and the more I look at them, the more I feel drawn to do them – more so than just running a 10k race. It looks like something you’d see at military basic training – on steroids! Most of the obstacles are obstacles I did when I went to basic training – wall, cargo net, wire transverse, monkey bars, rings, 7’ wall… but they’re obstacles done throughout a 5-10ish k race!
I’m a naturally competitive person. Always have been. Group sports have never appealed to me as I don’t like relying on others motivation to decide how well we’ll do. Ever since leaving physique competitions, I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what to do that would give me the motivation and satisfaction of training. Being in the Comox Valley, I was limited, but being in Ottawa, there’s SO many options that, really, I just need to figure it out! The one thing I love about the Spartan Races are the obstacles – and they scare the shit out of me and, because of this, appeal to me! I like to do things that scare me – but first, I need to lose the weight that’s holding me back!
On our drive home, I asked my husband for his help – to get back on track. He, of course, said yes – he’s always supported me. I know he’s been concerned about my weight and, thankfully, he understands human nature and has never come out and said anything. He understands that if he said anything, I would resent the effort and likely sabotage any efforts. However, if I say “I’m concerned about my weight and possible health issues caused from the extra weight”, then he can fully support me and the changes will happen out of a place of love and likely last.
Now, let me make it completely clear – I don’t hate my body. I love my body. And I don’t feel that my body is letting me down – I feel that I’m letting my body down. My body has carried me through some insanely hard and bad situations but I haven’t taken care of it at all. Yes, as I’ve said before, the weight gain, I whole-heartedly believe was necessary to heal… but there comes a time that it has to stop. Yes, I wish it hadn’t taken me 2 years to get there, but everyone’s journey to heal will look different. After 30 years of harmful behaviour, it was bound to take time to break those mental bonds. But after 2 years, I need to start honoring my body – and mind! – and that means eating healthy and exercising regularly.
“Yeah, but isn’t that promoting diet culture?”
No. Diet culture believes that in order to be worthy, you need to shrink yourself. Diet culture believes in eliminating entire food categories and severely restricting calories or macro nutrients. Diet culture ties a number to worthiness. Diet culture makes you believe that once you lose weight you’ll be happy. Diet Culture labels food as “good” or “bad”. Diet culture often takes a “one size fits all” approach to weight loss and often includes over exercising and under eating. Diet culture doesn’t take into consideration personal preferences, constitution, goals or mindset.
One thing that is often said is that if you restrict something, you’ll crave it even more. Lots of people claim that sugar addiction isn’t real – and it’s your restriction of it that causes the problem. I call bullshit! I have sugar on a regular basis – a couple times weekly – and yet, I still crave sugar. I can be binging on sugar to the point of it making myself feel sick and yet I’m thinking about the next time I can have sugar. Bullshit there’s no such thing as a sugar addiction! People accept drug and alcohol addiction, no questions asked, yet people say sugar addiction is a myth? I had a drug and alcohol addiction/dependency/abuse and yet I’ve been able to kick that easily! And yet I can’t say that about sugar. Drugs and alcohol are frowned upon if consuming early in the day – but sugar is absolutely everywhere and readily available.
This is where it is so, SO important to know yourself; know your behaviors and habits. If you need to eliminate something because it is physiologically damaging, then do it even if it goes against the “anti-diet” movement. If “anti-diet” culture is saying to not restrict something, but you have a damaging habit around it (whatever “it” is) don’t do it just because someone says to have it! Don’t go back on your beliefs because someone disagrees. There’s lots of things out there that people are addicted to that most of the population isn’t addicted to – but it doesn’t diminish the fact that you may be. I have plenty of negative habits that I am trying to break, but I’m beginning to understand that sometimes the best thing to do is simply eliminate it.
I have plenty of goals – and most are physical in nature – and I need to EAT for those goals. I won’t perform well if I’m restricting my food! But what will change is what I’m eating – cause, when it comes right down to it, I’ve been struggling with my diet and have been binge eating candy and junk food! I need to try to change those destructive habits – and it’s stinking HARD! Yes, I’m disappointed in myself for allowing it to happen, but I’m approaching it with compassion and understanding and not belittling myself.
There’s more important things in life than “losing weight”, but anyone who says that extra weight makes things harder than they need to be is lying. The past couple of weeks, since the rail system came into place and it’s now the ONLY way for me to get to work, I have been noticing how insanely winded I get from climbing the stairs. And not just “whoo! Out of breath!”, I’m talking sucking wind and taking a while to get my heart rate to a more normal range! And I’m not even going too quickly and it’s not that far.
It’s important to have goals – and if those goals involve something physical, then you have to do the work and sacrifices need to happen! Whatever that may be.