Sunday, January 30, 2011

Odd Woman, diet-wise, that is

Seems like a lot of my coworkers are on the Diet that Shall Remain Nameless. The ones that aren't are losing weight (or trying to) by other means, and they give progress reports. Then there are the ones who *want* to be on a diet, but aren't on one currently, though they express guilt that they're not dieting. This week, one of the ones on the DTSRN had a small loss, though I have to say, she remained positive (at least outwardly) and my other friend was disappointed because she "only" maintained. She did everything right, according to the "rules" set by the DTSRN, and yet she didn't gain, but she didn't lose, either.

I'm going to be honest here, because I know there are readers who lurk specifically because of IE. I don't want it to seem like this has all been smooth sailing for me. Along the way on my Intuitive Eating journey, I've almost fallen off the wagon a few times. I've seen people with their little books and materials from the DTSRN, or announcing triumphantly how they've dropped a size, and sometimes I've almost gotten swept up in all the diet-generated excitement. The keyword there is almost.

The thing is, once you've tasted freedom, it's really hard to willingly march back into the emotional jail cell otherwise known as the diet mentality. And sometimes it feels like I'm Odd Woman Out, because after over a year, I've come to embrace Intuitive Eating. For over a year, I've maintained my weight, which has fluctuated anywhere between 130 and 136.

Only recently did I realize that I LIKE this weight. It's not what the charts say is right for me, but it seems to be the natural healthy weight that my body returns to again and again. It's not the "ideal" weight that I always believed I was supposed to adhere to, but it is what I weigh naturally.

This morning I could barely wait to get my exercise clothes and sneakers on and then hit the pavement! It is an amazing thing, exercising because you WANT to, because you know how good it feels to have those endorphins bursting through you, because you've been stressed out and need exercise to de-stress. It's been unseasonably cold here in North Carolina, and last week my schedule was kinda packed, so I didn't make it to the gym as often as usual. That's okay: There's a beautiful park, complete with a track that runs all the way through it, within walking distance of my home. All the flashy little diet books and materials and even a golden number popping up on a scale can't compare with knowing that you're exercising not because you're trying to erase some of yourself, but because it's a pleasure to move a body that is healthy.

And after a year, what would you find when you open my fridge or my pantry? How about a carton of fresh sliced baby portabella beans prepared Cuban-style...fat-free yogurt...a large bottle of apple juice...fresh carrots, both for cooking and snacking...gourmet coffee ground from the beans...strawberry preserves...a loaf of pumpernickel bread and one of whole grain...strawberry ice cream...lean chicken breasts...sweet peppers, to be sliced up with onion and sauteed in olive oil--a heart-healthy fat!..instant apples-and-cinnamon Chai tea...and Diet Mountain Dew, because I'm used to diet soda now and find the "regular" stuff too sweet for my taste.

In short, you'd find a blend of healthy choices and "guilty" pleasures, which now don't make me feel so guilty anymore, because I find myself eating less of them than when they were "forbidden" and therefore more attractive to me. That's where I am now on this journey. I've come to a point where I now consider myself an intuitive eater. Food is now both fuel for the body and a pleasure to be savored.

And at times, I'm Odd Woman Out. But I was at one time One of the Girls, right there with my diet books and materials and giving progress reports, feeling like a failure when I "only" maintained or "only" lost .5 pounds after a week of "doing everything right."

In light of that, it's not so bad at all, being Odd Woman Out.

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