How one woman found yoga, eased her inner hunger, and started loving herself. Follow Kimber as she shares her journey to loving her body, the joys and sorrows of yoga teaching, and venturing into the wilderness of writing and publishing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Diet is “Die” with a “T”: Love Your Body Blog Part 43

You know what my body really hates? Diets. My best friend/body thinks diets stink, and doesn’t understand why I would ever force myself to suddenly and drastically change what I eat. Plus, she reminds me, I’ve tried diets before and they never, ever work, so there.

Why does my body hate dieting? Let’s ask her:

Hey Body, what’s the big deal? Why does the word “diet” get your panties all tied up in a knot?

1. Oh hon, where do I start? First off, when you listen to a diet, you’re not listening to ME. You’re ignoring my needs in favor of listening to somebody you’ve never met, who doesn’t care about your body, and who is probably just trying to get you to buy their book or pay an arm and a leg for their “guaranteed” system. The only thing that’s guaranteed is you’ll feel too humiliated to ask for a refund!

2. When you go on a diet, you’re treating me like I’m a dress size or a number on the scale. I am so much more than that, and you know it.

3. You only feel good if I’ve lost weight, and you’re pissed at me if you don’t.

4. When you go on a diet, you throw down the gauntlet. You declare war on me. I have no choice but to protect myself with cravings, hunger, and fatigue. I hate feeling like we’re not on the same side. I need you to love me and take care of me, respect me and adore me, not call me names and starve me. I want to support you too. Can’t we just all get along?

5. I like the size I’m at right now. I feel comfortable and healthy here. When you go on a diet, you’re trying to turn me into something I’m not; a tiny size zero. Can we just be realistic here? I am not meant to be a size zero. Not now, not ever. Not for diet pills, or liposuction, or gastric bypass surgery. I will never voluntarily be a size zero or anything close to it, and if you insist otherwise, we will have a problem.

My best friend/body sounds like she means business, doesn’t she? Trust me, you do not want to mess with her. When she’s taken care of, she’s all sweet pussycat, cuddle and purr, but if you threaten her, the claws come out!

Okay, Body, so how is dieting different from what we’re doing now, which is not eating sugar? (…I’ve given up most forms of sugar for almost two years now.) Couldn’t you say we’re on a sugar-free diet?

Eww! No way. I feel like we’re on a sugar-free fi-es-ta! But seriously, first of all, there’s no calorie restriction. You don’t leave me feeling hungry all the time.

Secondly, we agreed together that not eating sugar was a good idea. You were feeling tired a lot and started to notice that sugar made you crabby and crash out. We both feel way better without it, with lots more energy to have fun and get stuff done.

Thirdly, it’s NO BIG DEAL. If you feed me a little bit of sugar, there’s no failure, we just deal with it and move on. There’s no punishment and no anger.

Fourth, it’s not tied to my appearance or weight. The decision to eat less sugar was based on how you feel, not on what I look like. That’s the kind of change I can get behind.

Finally, you gave up sugar out of love for me, not out of unhappiness or disgust. Giving up sugar feels like devotion instead of deprivation. We’re increasing our level of love, trust, and understanding instead of undermining it. It’s as different as cats and… peanut butter.

Well, Body, say someone wants to change their eating habits to feel healthier, how would you recommend they go about it?

1. Change one small thing at a time, like eating more vegetables or less processed food, incorporating it over the course of a month or longer, until it becomes a habit. Only add another change once you and your body feel confident with the first.

2. Get your body’s buy in. Ask your body if it feels good about this change, and listen to your body’s answer. Give it veto power. If your body says it won’t work, it won’t, believe me!

3. Do it out of love for your body, not out of wanting to change your body or thinking there’s something wrong with your body. I speak for all bodies when I say, love the one you’re with!

What wisdom (or humor) does your body have to share about dieting? Let your body do the talking!