The Mayo Clinic Diet book has finally arrived! I ordered the main book, the recipe book and the daily food diary from Amazon. With shipping, it set me back almost a hundred dollars.
As I skim through the book, it looks to be filled with good stuff, telling me how simple this will be -I just need to change my habits, find my inner motivation and take a test to see if I’m ready. Wait…a test? You’ve got to be kidding! Of course I’m ready, I have been ready my entire life, no one could be readier than me! I want to skip this part, but I’ll take the test anyway. I’m going to do everything the book recommends….
I answer each question honestly only to find out that the Mayo Clinic thinks I am not ready to use this book since I may have an eating disorder. What?!! I just spent a hundred bucks on three books! You mean you couldn’t have given me this test before I clicked the “order now” button? It wasn’t even a Prime purchase, I had to pay for shipping!
I do not have to take a test to tell me my eating is dysfunctional. In the past I have been bulimic, anorexic and now find myself bingeing a couple times a week and gaining weight. That’s why I bought the book!
So, I don’t care what the Mayo Clinic thinks of my readiness, I will start this diet and no one is gonna stop me! I’ve got weight to lose, habits to change and motivation hidden in my soul…..
I devoured the book today, but didn’t read much that I haven’t read before –the food pyramid, getting daily physical activity and acquiring good habits. Preparing menus and setting goals. How to shop and watching food portions. Dealing with obstacles and what to do if you relapse. I know all this stuff. I know the what, where, when, and how of eating and dieting. What I don’t know is the “why.” Why can’t I control my eating? I keep reading, but I don’t find the answer in this book.
The above journal entry was written about a year before I began my binge free journey. The Mayo Clinic Diet book was not the first or the last book I bought to help me come to terms with eating and my body. When that diet didn’t pan out, I tried the Paleo diet, then Keto (an ultra strict Paleo diet.) Before those, I spent lots of money on books, programs, therapy, supplements and health foods hoping that something would just click and I would stop craving, stop wanting to eat too much, stop the crazy relationship between myself and food. And of course, my main goal, lose weight.
I always considered myself an emotional eater. I not only overate when stressed, I overate when I was happy, sad, disgusted, pleased, angry, glad, or neutral. You name an emotion and I could overeat or binge from it. I often thought that I had to come to terms with my emotions to stop bingeing. And to some extent that may be true. But when I discovered what really fueled my binges, the emotional piece sort of just took care of itself.
One day, while on the keto diet, I opened the refrigerator and saw some watermelon pieces my husband had cut up. Standing there, staring at the watermelon, I began to crave it as though it were a piece of rich, mouthwatering, chocolate cake. How many times in the past could I have eaten a watermelon instead of cake? Now, when watermelon wasn’t allowed on this keto diet, once I saw it in my fridge, it was all I could think of.
That was the day I learned that my cravings were fueled mostly by restriction. While my body may have needed some nutrient that the watermelon possessed, more likely I craved it so much because I couldn’t have it. And maybe that was where my craving for chocolate muffins and thin mint cookies came from. After a couple of weeks of soul searching, I made a new food rule:
“I can eat anything I want, where I want, when I want. I can eat now, tomorrow, next month… for the rest of my life. I never have to restrict food again.”
I have spent a lot of time learning to truly believe this, since that seems to be the key to making my peace with food. And I have not binged since the first day I made this declaration. It has been almost three years. And contrary to what you might think, I did not eat myself into a coma and gain tons of weight. In the learning process, I have lost and gained some weight. But it’s nothing like the fluctuations I had in the past.
For most of my life, I was either purposely losing weight, uncontrollably gaining, or struggling to stay at a ridiculously low weight. And now, for the first time, I no longer have fat and thin clothes in my closet. I have clothes of different sizes for my comfort, and sometimes they fit tighter or looser. But my moods aren’t based on how my clothes fit that day.
The clothes are not the small size I was hoping to wear at this stage in my life, but I don’t need that fantasy anymore. And after three years, I am learning to love myself just the way I am. I feel healthier in mind and body in a way that I never felt when I struggled with food.
The change was difficult, but nothing like the impossibility of dieting. The hardest thing was, and still is, staying true to myself and not succumbing to the pressure of diet talk or even the “healthy food” talk all around me. I realize that I am in the minority among most of the people I know.
Every day I hear, from family and friends, that they are working to “steer clear of sugar, control portion sizes, or eat clean.” And almost everyone I know says they feel bad or guilty if they eat a rich dessert or a piece of candy. I understand this because I used to be this way. I used to think that if I didn’t purposely control these things, I would eat unhealthily, get sick, die young, and worst of all -be fat! How could you not feel guilty for eating anything with this attitude?
Since I have stopped restricting food, I don’t have to force myself to eat healthier or smaller portions. I now get hungry for better, healthier food and am satisfied with less. I still eat sweets, but it is a choice, not a compulsion. I don’t categorize any foods as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy and I feel no guilt for eating any food, even if I overeat, which happens much less often than it used to.
My value has also increased, not that I wasn’t valuable before, it’s just that now I perceive it and appreciate it. I recognize that I am made in the image and likeness of God, meaning that I am just as I am meant to be. I don’t have to force myself into someone else’s mold either in my eating or my body size to be happy, fulfilled or to accomplish my purpose on earth.
And the question is not- Are you are ready to go on a diet? or even- Are you ready to change your relationship with food? but- Are you ready to love yourself just the way you are?
Here’s how I began. Bingefree-The Beginning