Completely by chance, I stumbled onto a book the other day and it is absolutely changing my life. It is challenging deeply held beliefs that I've had for a lifetime, and asking me to dig deep and really evaluate what I want from my life. The F*uck It Diet: Eating Should Be Easy by Caroline Dooner is absolutely the most controversial and riveting thing I've had my hands on in a long, long time. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it and my brain is still exploded all over the inside of my head.
The author is not a doctor or a therapist, but her book is absolutely not a diet and absolutely is therapy. It's like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and a little unicorn poop all smashed into a digital file (or book cover depending on what you a reading). She poses that the reason that we struggle with weight and diet is because we are always on diets and also focused on weight. What if weight didn't matter? What if you could love yourself right now, regardless of whether you ever lose the weight or not?
Wait, what? Love myself, like really, love myself right now? But I'm fat, really, truly, fat and I'm not allowed to love myself until I'm healthy and skinny and beautiful. Seriously, if I love myself right now, as I am, then I'm accepting being fat which is unhealthy and I will eat myself off the edge of a cliff and be fat forever and that's, well, that's just TERRIBLE. Right? Now that I type it, that sounds just as silly as it did the first time I really processed those words. If you are a person that believes fat people don't deserve to love themselves, then you can stop reading, the remainder of this post is not for you, thanks for tuning in.
Before I go any further, I want to do my best to summarize what I've gotten from the book so far: 1. I am absolutely allowed to love myself no matter what I weigh or what I think I should weigh, and unconditionally. 2. Diets are the REASON I have a f*@cked up relationship with food. 3. In order to heal, I need to eat ALOT, rest when I need it, accept myself as I am, feel my feelings, process my feelings, and deal with my emotional baggage.
The book starts off with bucket tons of science and sources to back up the crazy things she's asking you to believe, which really aren't all that crazy once I started to think about it. Then Part Two of the book breaks down the "diet" into it's four essential parts: the physical part, the emotional part, the mental part, and the thriving part. In a nut shell, she's telling me to stop dieting and start working through my issues with food, and weight, and emotions (brain explosion).
I have cried, like actual tears, reading this book. I have quit Weight Watchers, and taken down both the Sticker Revolution, and the Impossible Pants section of my blog. Why? Because I realized that they are no longer serving me. For me, those pants represent a very real and raw spiritual wound that I've had for as long as I can remember. My parents loved me, and they absolutely wanted what was best for me so I get the motivation behind some of the things they did, but I'm really stopping to think about my relationship with food now, processing my experiences, and I realized that I have had a terrible, and restrictive history with both food and my body.
In my house, the only thing that mattered was weight. My parents are good people and they wanted us to be healthy, but truly, absolutely everything in my house was about weight. My mom constantly talked about how fat she was. She had a big butt, or a big gut, or arm flab. Perspective - she was 5'9 and weighed 150 pounds tops. My step-dad always thought that I should weigh 150 too, and he always talked about how fat he was or made little comments about how I should lose weight to. My grandma CONSTANTLY obsessed about calories. She freaked out about butter and practically ate Sweet and Low with a spoon. Even when I was thin, some misguided soul in my family, called me thunder thighs in front of my cousins.
I overheard my biological father telling family members at a Thanksgiving Dinner, when I was getting a second plate in the buffet line, that I was turning into a real porker. I was like 11 years old and already 5'6 with size 10 feet! These were NOT things I had control over. He told me that if I didn't watch out I was going to be fat just like my *insert heavy relative here*. He once called me a little piggy and told me to oink for him because I wanted cinnamon rolls AND cereal.
I didn't realize it until very recently, when I started really evaluating all of my emotions and feelings around food, but there are some very real rules/beliefs that I have internalized about food and weight.
1. Fat people don't deserve nice things. Pretty clothes and makeup are for skinny people.
2. Emotions are a sign of weakness. Crying is never acceptable because it means you are weak.
3. Being tired or needing to rest is a sign of weakness. Push past pain, push past tired, push till you break, because anything less than that - is weak.
4. Indulging is only for skinny people. If you indulge when you are fat it is a sign of gluttony and weakness.
5. Other people won't love you if you a fat, they will only tolerate you because you are disgusting. You must constantly prove that you are trying NOT to be fat in order to be loved.
6. Food is the enemy.
I realized like a giant slap to the face that I have been terribly judgmental. I have seen heavy people at the pool in 2 piece bathing suits, and seen them in magazine adds, and in my Facebook feed, and before 2 days ago, I judged them by every internal rule and belief I had. I couldn't accept them, because accepting them meant accepting myself. It meant not looking at them through the glaring lense of my misguided internal belief system. I don't know a damn thing about those people. I have no idea what they hope or dream or fear. I don't know their struggles or their journey, I just judge them BECAUSE they are fat and I'm done. I'm so over it. This isn't a light switch I can flip off and on, this is years and years and years of baggage that I have to sort through and process, and heal.
I told all this to my friend, a therapist, the other day and you know what she said? "Welcome to the body positive movement." I finally get what that means, and now, it's time to really begin the healing.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.