The new eating plan I’m following is not something I would have imagined myself doing six months ago because it’s very regimented. And personally, I have found that diets fail. What has worked for me is to approach changing my eating as a lifestyle change in which I make the choice to eat only healthy, whole foods because that is the life I am choosing for myself, and not because I’m confined to a diet, like a punishment for being overweight.
However, as this blog has evidenced, I lost some focus on choosing healthy, nourishing foods. I actually think this is a pretty normal thing to do. Looking around the society I live in, I don’t see much encouragement to choose real food, to eat in moderation, or to be thoughtful. I do see fat shaming, and I see diets that come in with even more processed food to profit off of that fat shaming. What I I see most clearly is a cycle of consumerism: a huge marketing push to buy food that has been formulated specifically to encourage more consumption, an industry of fast food restaurants, convenience foods, chain dining establishments, and freezer sections all developed to not just appeal to the consumer but to target their bliss point of taste so accurately that the food becomes like an addiction; and then on the other side, an industry of diet and weight-loss programs, also heavily marketed, even to people who don’t really need them (see my 13-year-old, 110-pound self as a prime example), meant to continue making money off the same people by keeping them in a cycle they can’t break because their habits and tastes are not truly changing.
All of which is to say that it’s hard to go through life in contemporary America without succumbing to the constant, carefully target siren song of unhealthy eating. It takes complete focus and a lot of drive because there is more working against the healthy eater than working with her. I’ve been experiencing a lot of that recently, particularly in the social realm. I find myself wanting to go out with family and friends and just “be normal” – which is to say, eat what everyone else is eating, which is not always the healthiest choice.
By the start of this year, I realize I badly needed a reset. So I accepted a very kind offer from the owner of the gym my trainer works at – Tom – to have him create a meal plan for me. I knew it would be intense, but I also realized that it would take away the space I had created for justifying less healthy food choices. I saw following Tom’s strict trainer-formulated food plan as a way to remove all the noise, all the grey space, all the ways I make compromises with myself, and instead create a strong but plain scaffolding of healthy eating. I knew that my issues with food, the ways I use it emotionally would break against this new structure, but I also understood that it was an opportunity to really look at the negative ways I use food and consider them.
So that’s what I’ve been doing, except on the seventh day, which is the free day. I have been learning the most from this day because I pretty quickly focused all my issues with food into that space and that opportunity to do whatever I want. As I have mentioned previously, it has not been pretty. I’m working on it though. This is a long process but it’s one I’m willing to stick with because it’s for me, for my life, and I want to be healthy for my lifetime.