Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why turning 30 makes me want to do the opposite of diet

One week ago today, I turned 30. I used to joke that I would just stay 29 forever thankyouverymuch, and celebrate the anniversary of my 29th birthday each year until I die. As the years passed, I matured a bit, and remembered some great words of wisdom from the artists of my youth: that my age is just a number, and that time is our closest friend. So, I took 30 in stride, got a tattoo (more on that at a later time), and threw a lavish slumber party for my girlfriends. And it was awesome! Part of me wishes I could repeat it every year, and the other part gets tired just thinking about it. Maybe I'll do it up big again when I'm 40.

But, I digress. Since I turned 30, I have been thinking a lot about my sedentary lifestyle, my godawful eating habits, and frankly, my really crappy relationship with any and all "weight loss programs." You see, last year I did Weight Watchers and lost about 20 pounds. I have done it before and lost about the same. I don't want to shit-talk Weight Watchers, because I honestly think they do great work for a lot of people. But you guys, 20 lbs is about my breaking point with Weight Watchers. I keep rejoining thinking it will be different this time, and it just never is. I go in all excited and motivated and it beats me down. By the time I reach that 20 pound mark, I am mentally drained from all the counting, all the measuring, all the tracking every single thing I put in my mouth. I keep feeling like there has got to be a better way. And I think I may have found it.

The last few months I have been really and truly off the weight loss wagon, I have had some time to think. It started with the question of what I really want. REALLY. My knee jerk answer was that I want to lose 100 lbs and be at my ULTIMATE HEALTHY WEIGHT. But is it? Really? I felt deep down that the answer was no. I don't really want that. I mean, it would be nice, but I feel like I was idealizing a number. It is arbitrary, and doesn't embody what I really want for myself at all. So, with regularity, in the very back of my mind, I have been asking myself: in terms of my health, my body, my lifestyle, what do I really want.

Small thoughts would come and go. I don't want to count. I want to do activity that is fun. I want to treat myself when I want to. I know that fast food and junk is not how I want to eat all the time. Honestly. After a while, it all tastes the same and just...not good. I want to start eating more responsibly. I want balance. I don't want to lift weights or kettlebells or anything like that. I don't do lunges. Ever. I like to walk. I want to have that feeling I did when I was a little kid after running so fast I thought my legs were gonna fall off.

Today was the first time I was able to articulate what I want, talking with my friend Melissa: "I know what's healthy and what's not. My brain doesn't react well to rigid point/calorie counting. I just want to eat good, healthy food, eat when I'm hungry, and be active doing things I enjoy." Why does that have to be so difficult? Maybe it doesn't. Maybe I'm just so freaking programmed into thinking I need a plan and a system, that it has honestly never occurred to me not to.

This may not work, but I feel like it will because it seems logical to me. It makes my ADHD brain feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The mission is to feel good about myself, to love my body and treat it well, and to do it with a measure of peace and simplicity. I'll let you know if it works.

If anyone has ever accomplished this goal and has some recommended reading (NO DIET BOOKS), let me know. I'm interested in your feedback.


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