For years, I have written in notebooks, "I am a size 6", persuaded that I could manifest that reality by writing it as if it were already true. Thinking on it now, I should have been trying to manifest way more important things, like world peace or sensible gun control. Alas, my personal goals for the last 30 something years have directly related on being thinner. The messaging I've internalized is a thin body is more worthy, more attractive, a symbol of success and having it all together. I listened to podcast after podcast and invested more money than I would like to admit where the messaging was you need to think better thoughts to achieve your goal. The reason you aren't losing weight is you are thinking incompletlely and immaturely. The reason you aren't consistent in your healthy eating is your weak will and weak mind.
The process of physical transformation involves so much work. Writing out your intentions and your goals each day, meal planning, meal prepping, problem solving social events (Will you eat before? Just have tea? Avoid the bread basket and taco chips at all costs!). I once brought cauliflower rice and stew to my sister's house on New Year's Day when everyone was having Chinese food. I didn't want to start a fresh new year with the calories from Chinese food, so I brought along my stinky cauliflower rice to my sister's complete chagrin. I thought I was prioritizing my health and weight loss goals by doing this, but now it just seems ridiculous.
This summer, I read Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison. Harrison makes the case that diets never work and always result in restrictions leading to overindulging, like a pendulum swinging back and forth. The idea that it isn't my own personal failure and weakness but a well recognized phenomenon that occurs to most people. I think of someone like Oprah, who has incredible gifts and overcame so much in her life. Yet, weight was how she defined herself for many years. Is Oprah someone with a weak mind or will? Absolutely not! So why did she struggle with weight gain and regain after every diet? I don't believe that it is poor thinking or a defect of lack of consistency. I think it is as Christy Harrison describes- dieting makes you obsess about food and is not sustainable.
After over 35 years of messages that I am too big and need to be a smaller size to be acceptable, I am working to once again change my thoughts. This time, I am changing my thoughts around the need to endlessly diet. I am not writing down what I eat. I am not counting points or tracking calories. I am not writing down that I am a size 6 every morning of my life. I am not judging the success of a day on how much I ate or didn't eat. I am not engaging in conversations with friends about weight loss. I am weaning myself off of the podcasts that center on losing weight. I have deleted the WW app from my phone.
I know this is a very hot issue for many of us- if you are a woman in American, you have likely been touched by diet culture. Iknow not everyone agrees with me about stopping the pursuit of weight loss. But just think about all the time and energy we pour into this pursuitand what we could maybe do with our lives if we turned our attention to other important matters? I feel ready to find out.
On Sunday, watching Megan walk around Dover Saddlery, a store for equestrians, I was reminded of my younger self and how thrilled I felt to walk around teacher supply stores. Megan loved walking up and down the aisles, looking at the saddles and the horse treats and the other horse-y things that I do not understand. She breathed in the smell of the store. She asked to do another lap around. She looked so happy.
Watching her, it came back to me that I used to feel that way when I visited stores that sold planbooks and stickers and teacher workbooks. All the adorable supplies in one store! From a young age, I wanted to be a teacher and playing school was a passion. The store was the perfect place to see all my favorite things in one spot!
It dawned on me that Megan feels that way at Dover Saddlery. I don't relate to her passion for horses and horseback riding, but I do relate to loving something and feeling so happy to be in a place where everything related to your passion is on display. I am so happy Megan has a passion and we have a store to go to that allows such joyful exploration!
Summer 2022- long awaited and here at last! Here are some of the highlights so far:
What have been your favorite summer moments so far?
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski