Food is a Practice: Because Progress is the Hope and Perfection can go to *Bleep!*

Me “practicing” the Push Press during CrossFit WOD Fight Gone Bad and trying to not die. Me, also being dramatic.

I used to think, up until very recently in fact, that if I just lost all my weight, then I could enjoy life like everyone. I would go back to eating pizza, drinking wine. Heck, I’ll carry Doritos and Snickers in my purse and make sure every night ends in an ice cream nightcap.

Um, what? You heard that right. I actually thought this for a really long time.

Typing it out, saying it out loud sounds so illogical, so why did I think this? And why did I think everyone else in the world could eat what they wanted will no ill effects? I’m not really sure. I’m a pretty smart gal, but these things? I never wanted to connect the dots fully and completely. I wanted to believe so desperately that overeating food was always going to be there for me. So, if I just dieted and got healthy, I could one day overeat like all the normal people do.

So after losing 115 pounds after 20-years of struggle, I now know the real story. The real story is…that its not true-just to clarify. Ha ha. It was only within the last few years of my weight loss journey that I realized…

There is no destination. You never fully get there. It is a practice.

Now that I am maintaining my weight after loss (for now), I want to confess, I am not “better.” I’m not “fixed” or “cured” or even close to normal-feeling when it comes to my relationship with food. I still wake up every day with food being the first thing on my mind and the last thing I think about when I go to bed. And, a lot of moments in between.

If you read this blog, you know I hate labeling things. Labeling diets (Keto, Whole30 = restriction mindset), labeling foods (good/bad, clean/dirty = bad behavior mindset) or labeling it as its a “lifestyle” which denotes to me some hoity-toity crap that this GenX, uh em, I mean JenX girl wants no part of.

Its this kind of thinking that put my overweight self in a hole that I couldn’t get out of. That I couldn’t follow these rules. This is right. That is wrong. I am broken because I can’t follow these rules. That is FORBIDDEN.

To me, that just means – I’m going to do it anyway and I’ll see your forbidden food and raise you 100 Peanut Butter M & M’s! Us Generation X just wants to do whatever the f**k we want, cuz our mantra is TRUST NO ONE.

I want real talk. Real solutions. All these diets and restrictions actually do work for weight loss, but they ALL completely miss the point of real, sustainable change when the problem is that we use food for everything. Happy = eat. Sad = eat. Celebrate = eat. Stress = eat. Special occasion = eat. Calm kids down = drive-thru window. Calm me down = drive-thru window.

I mean who has ever said in the history of people, “I’m stressed about a project, I need celery!”

Diets made me gain weight. A series of restrictions and pantry clean outs that only led to periods of excess eating in secret, mostly in my car. Its an exhausting cycle finding, hiding and eating food.

So, what’s my point you ask? Well…I finally found the right word to describe how we need to look at this.

Finding balance and peace with food for people like us who struggle is a PRACTICE. Its like yoga or enlightenment. I’m not sure we ever really get there, but every day I wake up ready to face whatever is next, for me.

I now better know the hierarchy of my own needs (thanks Maslow). Some days I need distraction. Some days I need creativity or inspiration. Some days I need to plan and focus on habits. Some days I need to journal. Some days I need to work on naming my feelings that cause me to want to eat and actually facing them. And some days when “I just don’t want to” I go back to my old friend food. Its true.

But every day, I practice. Every week I strive to get 1% better (thanks, James Clear). Some weeks its 10% worse, some weeks its 15% better…but that is why this is a practice and I’d like to think that it all averages out to 1% better each week. I think it did, and then some.

I do this with the help of my awesome communities of people who have the same goals and vision that I have and always support and encourage me. I have not done any of this alone.

Every day, I realize, I am given a new day to get things right. I doesn’t matter how “bad” yesterday was or even 5 minutes ago. Each day, each minute I am given – its my chance to make my next best decision the right one for me at that moment. We get the gift of a new day or new moment to practice once again. I wake up and make a plan for myself based on how I want to feel at the end of the day. Some days I do great and others I fall flat on my face.

But I practice. Progress is what I hope for and perfection can go to hell.

And for the record, it still includes an ice cream nightcap at the end of each day.

A little “steamy” Valentine White Castle flashback to 2013 vs. 2019.

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