*This blog is a little messy, because the topic is messy. No matter how I tried to organize or clean it up, it just wouldn’t cooperate. And it’s personal. Fair warning. 🙂
Just about daily, someone asks me what I ate to lose weight or manage blood glucose for Type 2 diabetes.
A lot of people are interested in the food dynamics for BOTH of these issues.
The bulk of these conversations are people who are a) genuinely curious or b) want confirmation that what they are doing is the right thing. We tend to get really chatty and animated about food and helpful tips!
A handful of the conversations are people trying to convert me to their way of thinking/eating. If it works for them — great!
A handful of the conversations are people questioning my choices. These conversations, as you can imagine, go a little differently. It’s usually heralded by a comment like ‘Well, then what are you allowed to eat….?’ First, I try really hard not to get defensive. Then, I quickly let them know that I am NOT being punished or on a ‘diet’; I am simply and willingly MAKING choices based on what works best for me.
I usually end the conversation right there.
I will freely admit that any of the above mentioned conversations can easily get a little more confusing than normal. Why? Because I will eventually admit that I personally made choices to ban certain foods from my life. People are justifiably curious about why I have chosen to do that. (Hence the title question of this blog.)
The honest answer?
They’re banned in my life because of my total lack of control.
I am not one of those humans blessed with the skill of ‘moderation’.
Eat one cookie? A bite of a candy bar? One small slice of pizza? Yeah… Right…
I have learned these past 3 years that I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl.
That’s really good stuff to know about yourself.
I have had people get — literally — in my face about my food choices. As recent as this week.
It’s when I choose NOT to eat something that usually triggers the harshest of comments.
‘Your diet would KILL me’, ‘your life has to be so boring if you can’t even eat cake…’ and my favorite (not) ‘just ONE bite is NOT going to kill you…’
There’s more – but you get the idea.
I have a few things I do when I feel confronted or questioned about food;
- Walk away.
- Find a friend who knows my story and stand with them. I still lack self-confidence and strength (maturity?) in my relationship with food. I know it. I seek out FRIENDS for comfort instead of food these days. Maybe this is not a healthy trade-off, but it works for now as I am still learning coping skills and gaining confidence.
- Decline invitations if I know that my food choices are going to be scrutinized or my decision to NOT eat is going to be taken poorly or cause problems for the host/hostess.
- Just take a portion of whatever is being adamantly pushed and quietly get rid of it.
I am working HARD to make the choices that work best for me and for sustaining my healthy lifestyle. Non-stop learning.
The biggest hurdle for me continues to be understanding and accepting that NOT everyone needs to approve of what I do, of the choices I make… And learning to resist the urge to apologize, explain or defend my choices to everyone.
I AM NOT asking anyone else to buy into this crazy, neurotic food ride that I am on.
But it works for me, and me alone.
The one comment that always makes me defensive?
The ‘One bite…’ comment.
People are seriously taping into the deepest of my emotional injuries with that comment and they don’t even realize it…
One bite COULD kill me.
OK… NOT literally at this point in my health journey.
But when I was managing T2 diabetes and battling life-long obesity… FOOD was a very real, dangerous, controlling drug of sorts for me.
When I was trying to establish new, strong habits — one bite could be a real mental/emotional unraveling down a very, very steep and slippery slope. And I knew it. One bite could be the difference between winning and losing a battle.
Or winning and losing the entire war.
Why? Because that is ALWAYS what had happened in the past.
Having ‘one bite’ is not about being flexible or daring or easy-going or accomodating…
FOR ME, that ‘one bite’ was entirely about the act of GIVING up and giving in. One small step at a time.
One bite leads to two… And that is exactly how you wind up 392 pounds at age 42.
I’d lost the battle countless times. I know the ‘one bite’ battle all too well.
I have had to work hard to re-frame my entire relationship with food. It’s one of the parts that’s not overtly visible unless you eat with me often, read my food journals or I have chosen to confide in you… So that’s about 3 people. Seriously.
So what did I have to re-frame? What are my goals now?
- Food is fuel. I treat food as a means to fueling my life, my goals.
- I focus on only eating when I am physically ‘belly’ hungry.
I had to first work hard to move away from thinking of food as comfort, peace, solace, friendship. Thats what it had been most of my life.
Then I had another big leap to make when I was in the throes of battling Type 2 Diabetes to move away from thinking of food as poison or adversarial.
It has been constant, private, hard work.
And I’m not done. Not done by a long shot.
So am I really saying no more of certain foods, ever again? For me; yes. That is MY choice,and it’s worked more than 3.5 years.
I think some of my struggles and battles with food choices might resonate with a handful of folks. BUT my strategies and tactics and ‘all or nothing’ approach with food – NO, it won’t work for most people. I totally understand that and would never actively encourage folks to follow in my exact footsteps.
Everyone has to find their own path to healthy. Make their own choices. Discover what works for them…
I can tell you that it is a path well worth finding… 🙂