Saturday, March 20, 2010


Ah, yes!  My ol' pal! My constant companion since about the age of 3.  Having been born to a Jewish dad and an unofficially converted-to-Judaism Irish Catholic mom, and having an older brother who decided to skip the guilt gene, I think I got more than my fair share of the stuff.
As I mentioned before, I'm reading a book called "The Diet Survivor's Handbook," which is basically Intuitive Eating. They talk about the 5 stages of grief, and how letting go of diets is a grieving process.  It makes sense to me: I lived with the belief, for so long, that being thin would make my life so much better.  Even when I was thin, I wanted to be thinner.  Ironically, when I was at my thinnest I was also at my lowest point emotionally: I was having constant anxiety attacks, I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning, I was anorexic, unmotivated, and just plain depressed.
But, hey, I was thin! I weighed 139 pounds, at 5'9".  I stopped menstruating, couldn't sleep, and couldn't get warm, in La Jolla, in May. But I looked good! Or so everyone told me.  Never mind the circles under my eyes or the sallowness of my skin. Or the fact that one of my instructors (I was in grad school) took me aside and asked if I was OK, because it seemed I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Which, hell, I was! 
But I got through it.  With the help of therapy and my boyfriend (now my Hubby).
But back to the 5 stages of grief: it turns out I'm at the 4th and 5th stages. The 5th stage being Acceptance. Which is a good thing.  When I first started IE, over 2 years ago, I went through what turns out to be very typical reactions.  Things like "Oh, I'll just go on one last diet, lose the weight, THEN start eating intuitively!"  I thought this was a BRILLIANT idea and, golly, why hasn't anyone else thought of this?!?!
Um, yeah.  Pretty much EVERYONE ELSE who's been through the process had already thought of that.
I also realized this morning that it has taken me these 2 years to be ready for it. To finally be at a stage in my life where I can start to trust myself.  Not just with food, but with everything. To have my own opinions without feeling that I have to explain myself.  To trust my instincts. To decide what is best for me and, for now, my kids, who cannot express their own opinions yet in a way that everyone else can understand. To be a voice for them, since they cannot speak very well. To be their advocate.
Because there is a time for negotiation and compromise, and there is a time to just do what needs to be done. I have FINALLY realized that many people will act in their own self-interest, not out of the goodness of their hearts or in the best interest of the community.  Part of this is self-preservation, but more and more I see selfishness. 
Don't get me wrong; when it comes down to the wire, I think the majority of humanity is generous and good-hearted.  When tragedy strikes, most of us want to reach out and help. But there are those who will use fear, intimidation, and, yes, GUILT for their own purposes.  I think we only need to look at things like slavery, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda to see that.  But even stupid things, like the diet industry, that has a 98% failure rate and STILL manages to make billions of dollars a year by making us feel awful. 
These are the smaller, sneakier things that ruin lives.  By promising us that we CAN be part of that 2% of perfect, thin, and therefore HAPPY segment of the population.  They promise that if we just work hard enough, summon the willpower, stick to the program (usually consisting of bland, awful food, pills, bars, and/or expensive, processed products), our lives will be perfect.  When, inevitably, the program fails, they blame us.  We blame ourselves.
If we bought a car and, oh, I don't know, the accelerator got stuck (Not that THAT would happen! Snark!), would we blame ourselves? Would we think we're just bad drivers? Or that if we were better people, or had more willpower, the accelerator never would have goten stuck?
Um, NO!!!! We (rightfully) blame the manufacturer.  And yet, time and time again, when a diet fails, we blame ourselves for our weak character.  We kid ourselves that our lives will be perfect once we find that perfect diet, get to our perfect weight, fit into those perfect skinny jeans (which, IMHO, should be outlawed, and all existing pairs burned!  I'm a tyrant when it comes to "skinny" clothes).
We no longer believe that there is a wide spectrum of healthy bodies.  The only ideal is a very thin, very UNhealthy one.  For men, the ideal is equally unattainable for 98% of the population, hence the advent of pec, calf, and bicep implants.  And for the folks who are WAY outside of the ideal, well, we find it perfectly acceptable to shame them.  To hate them.  Even to BLAME them for the ills of society.  (Trust me, the increase in healthcare costs has A LOT more to do with insurance companies than with obesity!)
The fact is, it has always been in the best interests of those with the most wealth and power to keep the rest of us fighting amongst ourselves.  Otherwise we might just wake up and realize who is REALLY responsible for our troubles, and we might just band together and go after them.
This is not about politics or religion.  And I realize I may be getting ahead of myself here, but darn it, it's my blog, and it doesn't HAVE to make sense, lol!
What I'm saying is that the diet industry is a behemoth that can only exist if we buy into its lies.  Not only exist, but thrive.  And it is symptomatic of many other issues we're dealing with in the 21st century.  We are being lied to and manipulated, on many sides, by people and organizations who only have their own interests at heart. They sling mud, use scary words and fear to keep us under their thumbs and keep them rich.
And, yes, I'm really, REALLY pi**ed off at my health insurance company right now!  They're starting to make Enron look like the poster child for ethical behavior!

It's at times like this when I log onto LOLDogs and realize that, no matter our difference, most of us like looking at pictures of puppies and kitties.
And that gives me hope for the future!


Geosomin said...

I still have trouble with intuitive eating...because I can eat a lot...and often I want to. So I have to learn what's "real" hunger on top of it all.
Sometimes I do OK. Sometimes I don't. I just like food...

I just try and wake up the next day and tell myself "Try today on for size. You'll get there. Look where you were. Look where you are now." It'll come :)

azusmom said...

Good thinking! Thank you!