Posted by: Andrea | March 12, 2009

Dieting drama

Like every other woman alive, I would imagine, I have been on my share of diets in my life.  I generally go on one a few times a year for short periods (a month or so) when I notice I’ve put on a few pounds.  These moments tend to coincide with trips back home, since apparently even just being in proximity to mother-produced baked goods causes me to gain ten pounds.  Because I was home for Christmas and the mother-produced baked good were well and truly in abundance, I’ve been on a diet and exercise kick since New Years.  I’ve been easing off a bit over the last week or two, mainly because I lost the weight I gained but also because being on a diet sucks gigantic amounts of ass.

Seriously, why do we do this to ourselves?  I was getting up at 6:30am for six weeks to work out every day before work AND also working out most days after work too.  I realise I am a bit insane.  I also realise that that level of motivation and dedication can only last for so long because I’m totally NOT a masochist and I also tend towards lazy, given the choice.  I like being active and while I feel virtuous and ‘good’ when I’m working out a lot and watching what I eat, I also never in a million years believe I can keep it up forever.  It’s a short term thing to reach a goal and once I reach the goal (or get close enough to it to feel like I’ve accomplished something, at least), I usually slack off again.  Which inevitably leads to a slippery slope to weight gain and then I go on the diet again.

I was getting dressed this weekend and I noticed that my stomach is getting a bit soft again and I immediately thought, ‘right, better get back to the 6:30am workouts.’  But then I thought, hold on a second.  Why?!  Why do I have to make sure my stomach is flat?  Who is even SEEING my stomach these days other than me?  NOBODY, that is who.  I’m single and nothing is happening in my bed these days other than taking long naps, so who cares what I look like?  It was a bit of a shock to me to realise I had totally swallowed the message of ‘you’ll never find a man if you’re FAT!’ thing that I HATE and that is patently untrue anyway.  I suddenly had this huge flash of realisation, this glimpse of the rest of my life on diets and constantly worrying about gaining ten pounds and feeling like I’ll never be lovable until I get my damn stomach to be flat and it was HORRIBLE.

Wow, that was a lot of shouty words there.  I apologize for that.

The more I thought about my diet cycle though, the more I realised that I was doing it in some sort of effort to be ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘attractive’ in an effort to better attract men.  And there’s always that little voice in my head, every time I diet and lose a little bit of weight, that keeps saying ‘you know, just keep doing this for another few months and you’ll get REALLY skinny and you’ll be SO hot and you’ll finally meet the perfect man!’  Of course I never do it.  I’m lazy, as we’ve already discussed.  But the DESIRE to do it is there.  And that desire is based on the belief that I’m not already sexy enough as I am, that there’s this whole other additional level of hotness that I can only achieve if I lose weight.  And that’s pretty damn messed up, if I do say so myself.  WHY is that messed up?  Well I’ll tell you!

I actually thought about this logically.  Ok, say I DO lose a ton of weight and get all skinny and find a man who is attracted to said skinny body.  I know my body, I know how it ticks and I know what it would take to achieve and maintain a body that is significantly slimmer than I am now.  It would take A LOT of work.  It would take multiple daily workouts, for the majority if not the entirety of the week.  It would take a very VERY strict diet.  It would take me focusing more on the foods I’m not allowed to eat than on enjoying I am.  It would take dedication and time and commitment.  It would mean that even if I DID find a man, I’d have to spend more time on my workouts and diet than I would on spending time with him.  Sounds hot, right?  Everybody wants a girlfriend like that.  Not to mention that thinking about food all day would just about drive me crazy.

But see, the thing is, any man who got together with super-skinny me would just be getting an ILLUSION of me.  Because honestly, I know me and I know I wouldn’t be able to sustain that for the rest of my life.  And what if I get pregnant?  What about if I gain weight and can’t lose it?  What if my metabolism slows down and my bad knees finally give out (like they have in every other member of my dad’s side of the family, from where I get my knees) and I start getting rounder and rounder and rounder?  Ultimately, I want to be with someone who I know won’t care if any of that stuff happens.  As silly as this sounds (and it may be untrue also, I totally admit that), I think a man who finds me sexy as I am NOW, thighs and all, will be more forgiving of a few pregnancy pounds or some bad-knee weight gain than someone who is attracted to crazy-but-skinny me.  And I know that if I just stay as I am now, without killing myself to be someone I naturally am not, I’ll be a much happier and better partner.  THAT is more attractive than anything.

So I’m going to go have a cookie now and enjoy my softer stomach and rounder thighs.  Because they’re ME and that’s ok.  In fact, that’s pretty damn fantastic.  Besides, I can balance a lot more cookies on my thighs for future consumption the way they are now.  THAT is a result I can believe in.


Responses

  1. There’s a gal I work with that lost probably 100 pounds over the last year and a half–and damn, she looks *good*!

    HOWEVER, when it comes to ANY conversation about dieting, food, nutrition, or exercise, she becomes the most annoying person to be around that I have ever met.

    I know she is proud of what she accomplished–and she should be! Hell, she’s inspiring and I’m proud of her too. But man, the lifestyle CONSUMES her: it’s ALL she is, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And as nice as I think she is, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I don’t like to be around her because of it. And it’s not because I’m jealous of her, or wish I could be as dedicated, have as much will-power, etc. It’s because I just wish she’d shut the @*&$ up about it already…

    So love yourself as you are…so I don’t have to smack you across the mouth when you come home.🙂

  2. OH MY GOD are people on diets the most annoying people ever. I totally agree with you there. It’s like the deprivation has made them obsessed with food so that’s all they can talk about. Plus they’re cranky. I know because I’ve been one of those people! They’re very annoying. It’s so much better to just embrace the joy of food!

  3. Agreed. And the saddest part? Even if you try to have a conversation about something OTHER than diet/exercise…she always manages to steer things right back around to the 100 grain bread she found in the grocery store the other day. And then I feel guilty because I’m thinking about the bag of Tostino’s Pizza Rolls and pint of Ben N’ Jerry’s ‘Creme Brule’ ice cream that I purchased…

  4. Mmmm…Creme Brule…Though I’m very partial to Phish Food.

    I think the problem is when someone has lost that much weight, dieting and working out DOES become their whole life and therefore all you can ever talk about. Just steer her towards all the other dieting coworkers so the rest of you can talk ice cream!

  5. My first thought when I read “why do we do this?” was “Because pants are expensive!”

    That’s why I do it. It’s hard for me to love my body right now because it is costing me money and I hate that. I’m healthy enough, but I will watch my weight and do power yoga if it gets me back into that huge pile of expensive pants gathering dust in my closet.

    I don’t know what your specific diet/weight loss/health/whatever goals are, but I’ve had a lot of friends/family who have had mucho long-term success on Weight Watchers. They make decent brownies, too.

    *clicks away to eat Ben and Jerry’s with a heaping tablespoon of GUILT*

  6. I’ve tried to diet but as soon as I tell myself I can’t have something, it’s all I can think about. I eat in phases… I won’t have chocolate or sugar for a few weeks and eat really well, and then I’ll get stressed or have PMS and eat nothing but chocolate and sugar.

    I was depressed Valentine’s Day weekend and so I made and ate an entire pan of brownies. I ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting.

    The thing is… I don’t hate my body or the way it looks. Would I like to look better? Yes. Do I want anyone besides blind Germans to see me in a bathing suit? Hell to the No! But for the longest time I thought I was single because I wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough. Now I’ve decided that’s a bunch of crap created by Cosmo magazine and SlimFast (which I drink in addition to my regular meals on occassion because it tastes good).

    I’ve hated myself for far too long and now it’s time to just accept who I am and who I am is someone who likes cookies. I can eat in moderation and I do (except when I have PMS). Plus people who talk about counting calories have absolutely no life and therefore aren’t any fun and I don’t want to hang out with them. Who’s up for Ben & Jerry’s?

  7. Ah Rebekah, I totally hear you on the pants thing. I HATE It when I have a perfectly nice pair of pants that I can’t fit into. It PAINS me. I actually did WW two years ago and lost 21 pounds and it was relatively painless to do it. I mean I hate dieting, but it worked. I still go back and do the points thing every so often when I’ve gained a few pounds. Honestly, this is just me complaining about a few extra pounds (literally a few, like five) from where I’d like to be so it’s no big deal. Of course I’m actually a good 15 away from where I’d like to be, but that ‘would like to be’ isn’t really realistic. Just that sort of thing that every woman does when they think of their ‘ideal weight.’

    Pammy you ARE gorgeous! I went through the whole ‘nobody is dating me because I’m too fat!’ thing, but then I started telling myself that wasn’t true, I got a bunch of confidence and then guys started wanting to date me! Confidence goes a LONG way. If you believe you’re beautiful, other people will too.


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