I Never Thought Dieting Would Lead Me to Discover This Side of Me

8 steps and the last one was a surprise

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Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Over three weeks ago I started a new diet. Figuring it would help in all the obvious ways like erasing the round rolls I’ve accumulated, accelerating my energy levels, and alleviating my joint aches.

But what I really wanted was something more elusive.

The projection that thin is better, therefore I’m not — until I lose this weight.

Step #1: Fix the problem

This wasn’t my first dieting rodeo. I mapped it out like a pro.

I removed all current no-no products from my home, based on the new diet’s requirements.

This was difficult for me.

For starters, my grandparents all survived the depression era and this is a factor about not wasting food; it was embedded in me for as long as I can remember.

To make sure I didn’t breach all the rules internalized in my wee heart, I had to eat or donate all the restricted foods.

Hence adding an additional five pounds. What a rude paradox!!! And it should have been a teeny tiny clue (aka WARNING) to stop this nonsense.

But I’m a slow learner and still proceeded.

Step #2: The new food list

I poured over endless recipes and jotted down ingredients. I’m old-ish school so I had to print those recipes out and highlight the special ingredients, while I drooled. I carried those recipes with me to and from work.

My thoughts were shrouded in a panicky, eye twitching, sweaty palm, adrenaline racing stupor— as soon as I get a chance I’ll stop by x, y, z store, and see if I can find carob, organic eel eggs, wing of a zebra, seed & feed, pinto bean milk…

Obscure and weird for sure but maybe this was finally my cure.

I can’t help but noticed how I really enjoyed the excitement of this new diet.

Step #3: The new food list is from Satan

Find said ingredients from Step #2 and pay lots of $$ for it.

I tripled my normal grocery bill and only had ONE bag to carry home. I almost cried.

No, I lied.

Once I got to my car, I cried and then the voices started: This better work, you fool. You better make that wing of zebra soup or you’ll burn in hell and the fat monsters will laugh and laugh until you die.

When failure looms I get a bit grisly.

Step #4: The art of rationalization

Swallowing a lie is a pseudo rationalization where I tell myself — This is a really good opportunity to afford myself some healthy food choices.

The restrictions slip in. I will only have two cups of coffee and use organic pinto bean milk measuring it by the ¼ teaspoon with religiosity.

Which turns me into — a fundamentalist who has no critical thinking skills but I still fight hard to stay with this regimen hoping the weight will fly off because some generous entity will suck it out of me while I sleep.

OMFG! I am nuts to let this sort of mind-numbing propaganda go on and on for as long as I did.

Step #5: Dealing with delusions

I weighed myself every other day jotted down the number on a sticky note. Of course, I kept it nearby to admire and/or to admonish.

Day one of weighing, which was the catalyst to Step #1 — cry.

Day three, lost two-ish pounds but another tenth of a pound I rounded down because it made me feel better for buying the bullshit in Step #2 and wasting money for what I can only believe was for witches and warlocks coming back to haunt me from the 13th century.

Still, I was overjoyed at the weight loss and immediately stepped into the shower and calculated: at this rate, I will be so svelte I could be Flat Stanley’s significant other!!

Oh. My. What a joyous party that shower was.

BUT delusions are a tricky beastie.

Step #6: Obsessions are annoying

Reality really, really, sucks. The serving sizes were ridiculous. Who truly eats ¼ cup of anything other than perhaps bark?

So, to ‘trick’ myself I pretended that the ¼ cup grew up to a ½ cup and by the end of week three to a full cup.

“We” were much happier!!!

The scale revolted. Up two pounds, up another 3 tenths of a pound. Up! Up! Up!

This was not good.

Step #7: Reconciliation with Self

Oh dear. Only a few weeks into this nonsense and I had to recalibrate. I needed to have a coming home to self meeting.

The problem with me and diets is if there’s a long list of you-can’t-haves it leads me down a very strange path of first — this is GREAT!!!

Followed by — what’s the trick I’m missing?

To flat out distrust, resentment fluctuating wildly with panic.

Then despair settles in until I realize….

I don’t have to do this.

I flipped the middle finger so loudly the cranberry scones rejoiced and started clapping and cheering!!!

Hi!!! We are still here for you!!!

This is really, really good because I’m no longer a victim and confined by a ridiculous set of rules.

I’m lousy at conforming to something I don’t believe in or anything that hurts the integrity of being real.

Step #8: Taking back control & reevaluating

I took the wee sticky note with my weight(s) and threw it away.

Then took a deep breath and asked myself — what is really going on with me? Why did I need to diet in the first place?

What came through was shocking!

Those questions brought me closer to understanding I really don’t like the consumerism of the holidays. The push for more and more. The longer lines, the crowed stores. The aggressiveness all around to buy, be, do, want, need. Otherwise, if you don’t abide then what’s wrong with you?

And my answer was clear.

Simple is best for me. Loving the little moments. Holding words. Reading seven books at one time. Listening to music. Writing poetry. Helping a friend. Opening a door for a stranger. Saying, NO! A lot more when my soul feels bruised. Setting boundaries. Less self-criticizing and more self-kindness.

This diet wasn’t a failure. Instead it was a revelation that brought me closer to what I believe in. Ultimately to love myself for who I am regardless of my clothing size and weight.

Carolyn Riker is a poet and author. She has two books of poetry: Blue Clouds and This is Love. Her third book of poetry, “My Dear, Love Hasn’t Forgotten You” will be available in December 2019. You can follow her on Facebook at Carolyn Riker, MA, LMHC or Instagram.

Dreamer. Poet. HSP. Empath. Licensed MH Therapist. 3 books published. 3X Top Writer. Love espressos & my chunky cat. www.carolynriker.com

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