Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Prepare ye the way of the fail.

Dear New Year’s Dieters,

It is with some degree of sadness that I inform you that chances are rather good your “New Year’s Diet” or so-called “Lifestyle Change” that you’ve adopted effective at 12:01 January 1, 2010 is going to fail. Unfortunately, I’m unable to give you a precise date or time as to when the Brand New You is potentially going to revert back to the Old Old You, but suffice it to say you may want to begin considering a new approach.

I know you’re going to get angry with me, which I expect. I mean, it’s harsh on the ears to hear “you’re probably going to fail”. But in this instance, since it’s early in the new year and there’s still time to kick back and do a little introspective poking into one’s own gray matter, let’s use my admittedly harsh statement to do just that. Let’s have a bit of a think together.



I’ve been where you’re at, about…oh, I’d say 15-20-25-30 times or more over the course of the last 37 years. And every single time I believed that THIS TIME WILL BE THE LAST TIME because “I know what I’m doing this time and I did it alllll wrong the last time!”. Uhhhhh-huh. I just KNEW I had to cut out all carbs or never eat sugar or only eat salads or only eat things the size of my fist or never use butter or only eat fat-free products or only eat at certain times or never eat after six p.m. or drink 180,000 ounces of water a day so I felt full or constantly chew gum or eat only using chopsticks or only use my non-dominant hand to eat or put down my fork between every bite or drink a sip of water with every bite or or or or or or or or or. Sure, I lost weight.

And sure, I hated every single minute of it as I divorced myself from enjoyment of anything that might have threatened my imagined “virtue” and obsessed about what I could eat, what I couldn’t eat, will there be food I can eat at that party or at my mother’s or at my friend’s or at that restaurant is there time for me to work out what if I don’t work out oh god if I don’t work out and I eat something involving fat maybe I’ll just stay home. But I lost that weight. And it came back. Plus ten. Plus twenty. Plus who knows how much more.

You’re saying right now, “that isn’t me. I’m not obsessed about my diet, and it’s NOT a diet, it’s a Lifestyle Change, thank you very much.” So why am I hearing people getting bent over officemates bringing sweets into the office or sighing heavily over the salad they *must* eat or the amount of miles they *must* run/walk or the amount of pounds they *must* lose and that’s…pretty much all I’m hearing? If you’re not obsessed with your Lifestyle Change, then why is it the only thing you can discuss? Why am I hearing about your laundry list of foods you simply CANNOT eat? Why am I hearing stories of your failure to do a full 45 minutes at the gym (you only did 40, you naughty monkey)? If this Lifestyle Change of yours is such a revelation, such a pleasure, such a delightful thing that is going to bring you nothing but joy and unicorns and butterflies, why are you so terrified? How is any of this healthy?

“Well, the end result will be healthy, I’ll be X pounds lighter and I’ll be super-healthy and super-happy, so eff you, jealous fatty ugly fatty fat girl,” you might be saying. Hey, if that’s your awesome dream, Dreamweaver (gary wright omg) then don’t mind me – and you won’t because I know how people are as I happen to be one of them. You can go back to your Atkinsing, Weight Watchering, Nutrasysteming, Jenny Craiging, Slim Fasting, Optifasting, Medifasting, Gastric Bypassing, Alli-ing, Sugarbustering, and Lapbanding with loads of support from millions upon millions of others. And every January 1, you swear you’re getting back on the wagon, back on the horse, you’re going to be good and do things right and get yourself back under control with loads of support from millions upon millions of others. You will berate yourself for being bad if you have a cookie or two cookies or five cookies. You will berate yourself for being a disgusting slob if you eat more than your daily Points allow. You will berate what you see in the mirror for not looking like Mr./Ms. X down at the gym even though you’ve been going faithfully almost every day for weeks and weeks. You will berate yourself for not losing a third of a pound. You will hate exercise and sweating and moving your body no matter how good it might feel because you didn’t lose that third of a pound. You will berate yourself for being hideous and revolting and appalling to look at while forcefully telling any friends who voice how hideous and revolting and appalling to look at they believe themselves to be that they are wrong and they are beautiful and wonderful and delightful.

You are worth more than this, you know. Take the chance and let yourself “fail” for a while. Allow yourself to eat without involving a book that involves calorie or point counts – you won’t believe me when I tell you, but you’re not going to revert into some sort of gelatinous “Altered States”-esque protohuman that devours absolutely every single sugary, fat-laden foodstuff in sight if you do so. Remove any goal that says “be in size X by Date X/lose X pounds by Date X”. Enjoy what your body is capable of doing instead of hating it for what it doesn’t look like, move your ass because you have fun moving your ass, sweat just to sweat.

But…I know the chances are good you’re not going to listen to me. You’re going to roll your eyes, maybe swear at the screen, perhaps assign me the role of being “delusional”, “crazy” and certainly most definitely “lazy”. You might get angry at me saying such things, insisting I’m advocating people stop being healthy because I would love to see people stop dieting for weight loss purposes. The great thing is that you can click away and trot on over to SparkPeople or any of the batrillions of diet-friendly internet forums and get back to the business of Losing Weight and Looking Great! Or remembering A Moment on the Lips, a Lifetime on the Hips! Or engraving Nothing Tastes as Good as Thin Feels on a plaque from Things Remembered. You do whatever you need to do in order to make yourself happy.

I just hope you take a moment while setting down your fork between bites to figure out what really does.

10 comments:

Jamie Longstreth Fritz said...

::standing ovation:: Brava! Brava!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, Jane, you are so DEAD ON. I love you. You are sanity. Please keep writing!

Miriam said...

This!

catgal said...

I am also giving you a standing "O" for this post!

HellfireLover said...

I *love* this post. Love, love, love it. Have to admit that it's mighty easy to be sucked into the whole 'resolutions' business - especially since here in the UK, every third show that's advertised seems to be about OMG TEH FATTIES, let us look upon them and laugh - but I've decided to deal with that the smart way, and just flip a big fat finger at the TV every time I see one while denouncing the so-called 'obesity experts' as self-serving puritanican charlatans. Really mature, but it makes me feel better.

DW_Obsessed said...

If you use the words "lifestyle change" it means you're watching and listening to Doctor Phil. Which also means you have bigger fish to fry than your weight, like the fact you're listening to Dr. Phil!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I needed to read this tonight. Thank you.

Lori said...

Sad, but true.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Holy fuck.

This is the writing I've been dreaming of...

Thank you.