These two pictures were taken minutes apart from one another, and there’s the appearance of a solid 20 lbs differential between them. Feel free to compare for yourself, and keep in mind that I went for the Little Mermaid this Halloween weekend (in case any of you are wondering why I’m wearing a metallic turquoise dress and/or are carrying a giant conch shell).
Now it does admittedly make me cringe a little to put this “fat picture” on the internet, but I’m trying to prove a point about how deceptive photos can be. Next time someone takes a “fat picture” of you, just remember, you could look like an Olsen twin in the next one. It ain’t no thang.
On a second note, I felt super sexy in my dress that entire night – so sexy, in fact, that I had a gentleman visitor for the first time in three months. Go, Isabel, it’s your birthday, Go Isabel.
No, seriously. Try it. We all know that slowing down, chewing our food and breathing in between bites helps us eat less food and be more present during meals, but even focusing on being present can sometimes feel like a chore. “I don’t WANT to slow down,” I hear all the time. Well, guess what — if you don’t want to do something, you’re not gonna do it very long. Sorry, your food habits are way too deeply ingrained. If you want to make a change to your “diet,” it better be FUN. That’s right, the F-word, FUN.
Ooh-ing and ah-ing over mouthfuls serves two primary functions. First of all, it’s ridiculous — those of us that struggle with food and weight worries tend to take eating waaaay too seriously. RELAX already!
Secondly, eating mindfully doesn’t need to turn into another “should.” ENJOY that cheesecake sliding down your throat. Let it be sexy! I dare you to sit down in the privacy of your own home, and taste your food like it’s the first time…
Bottom Line: If you can’t enjoy your food, it will never lose its grip on you.
I’ve binged, I’ve puked, and I’ve been on every diet that drives women clinically insane, mostly because I truly believed that the answer to one failed diet, was an even more restrictive, life-controlling, all-I-can-think-about-is-my-food-and-my-fat kind of diet.
What the hell, I’m gonna take this opportunity to name a few of my most out-of-control diets, just to commiserate if any of you out there are really feeling the *shittiest* right now.
__Baby Atkins (My pediatrician actually put me on this when I was 3)
__The Grapefruit Diet
__The Tasti D-Lite Diet
__The three-straight-hours-of-cardio-a-day Diet (a.k.a. the “Los Angeles Diet”)
__The “Only Eat Naked in front of a Mirror” Diet (a.k.a. the “New Yorker Diet”)
__Only Juice (or booze)
__The Cigarettes and Chewing Gum Diet
__The Cocaine Diet (my favorite, if you’re trying to go to rehab, like, ASAP)
__The Fat-Free Pringles Diet (Seriously, Don’t. You will shit for weeks.)
AND wouldn’t you know it? Through all of these, I STILL managed to stay about 30-40lbs overweight throughout most of my teen years and some of college (that is, until I was kicked out and sent to REHAB where I belonged).
Eight years later, I can pretty much guarantee that, “Upping the Diet” isn’t the answer. On the contrary, every time I relax my tightly clenched fist around food rules, and let go of my latest attempt to lose weight, I end up eating less food, and more importantly, thinking less food.
When you’re learning a new skill, it’s pretty normal to want reassurance that you’re “doing it right,” even around something as definitively imperfect as intuitive eating. I’m sure many of you are out there REALLY struggling not to weigh yourself, desperately wanting to judge your progress, and see if this intuitive eating thing is really worth your time.
I get it – this is a totally normal “old” thought pattern. We are all looking for excuses to judge ourselves and the world around us all the time, and it’s a slow process to break that mental model.
In the meantime, here are some questions to pull out when you think to yourself “is this working?” or “is all this loving myself just making me fatter?”
Here’s how you know you’re on the right track:
- You love yourself more, so you’re just plain old happier most of the time.
- You accept dinner invitations, unless you have another legitimate conflict.
- You have awesome clothes that you love wearing in public (and you regularly take more pride in your appearance).
- Being naked is more fun, with a partner or alone.
- You generally experience more pleasure and joy (i.e. you pay attention to what’s actually happening in your life). Yay.
Here’s how you DON’T know you’re on the right track (i.e. benchmarks that are irrelevant):
- You weigh more or less than you used to (or stayed the same)
- You have more control over your own behavior (i.e. improved “willpower”)
- You have things you think you should (boyfriend, job, apartment in tribeca).
- Your mother thinks “you’re doing so well!”
- You weigh more or less than you used to (this one merits repetition).
These benchmarks (although some may be nice) are NOT actually a marker that you are happy, joyous, or free from obsessive food and weight thoughts. From today forward, your “progress” is a function of how you feel about yourself, not by external measurement.
Remember, self-judgment is product of your imagination. If you’re going to play make believe, wouldn’t it be more fun to play “I love myself and my life is awesome” than to play “My life sucks and I’m too fat to be loved?”
You literally get to choose between these two games everyday. Your choice.