I struggle with ‘diet’.

Diet. A really loaded word in the fat-o-sphere. This rambe was brought on partially by some thoughts on diet over at the fabulous Angry Rainbows, and There is a range of thought on ‘diet’ and ‘dieting’ in the community. For many, fat acceptance comes with the creed of saying that diet and dieting is always a bad thing. This is understandable, as ‘going on a diet’ has so many horrible connotations both for physical and mental well being. Better writers than I have mused upon the main bad connotations of the word ‘diet’ in the sense of ‘to diet’.

I struggle with this. Not with ‘dieting’ so much. I’m over that. Counting calories doesn’t work for me and I am trying to learn to be happy with who I am, not the thin fantasy I used to dream that I was. I will admit to every now and then logging what I eat for a week, to see if I’m getting enough fibre or enough protein or whatever. I am prone to do this when I’m feeling a bit down.

I have a snag, when it comes to ‘diet’ though. If I don’t think about what I put in my mouth, I have mood swings and fatigue issues liek whoa. I don’t drink lemonade (as in Sprite/7UP) much, and on saturday I had some as it was all we had available at a picnic. Combined with apple pie and a cookie, once we finished looking at the hippos and having a second drive around the safari park, I practically passed out in the car on the way home – something that is really not normal for me. So I need, to a certain extent, to pay attention to what I eat.  Diet is not just a plan of how and what to it, it also describes what we actually eat. My diet is what I happen to put into my mouth, plain and simple. So this weekend, my diet included cookies, and pie, and soda, and I was reminded that I should avoid having too much of those because I don’t enjoy blood sugar crashes. Does that make me a bad fattie? Or just a common sense fattie?

Intuitive eating sound awesome and perfect – it sounds like a great thing to learn to be natural and learn to understand the body and it’s signals. However practically? I am under no moral imperative, even to Fat Acceptance, to manage my general health and well-being in the manner pro-scribed by Fat Acceptance. Common Sense eating is still a ‘diet’, a way of imbibing and partaking of nutrition, based on your own interpretation of your bodies signal. Diet does not just mean ‘a reduced calorie diet’ or a ‘low GI diet’ or even a ‘healthy diet’. It simply means what you eat, in my opinion. Yes, ‘dieting’ with a view to losing weight is pointless. I’ve been through weight watchers and low calorie diets more times than I care to mention.  Right now I am investigating the GI of certain foods to figure out a way to make myself less cranky and less prone to tiredness. Is this a diet? Yet I’ve always held a distinction between specific planned ‘diets’ and ‘diet’ in general.

I’m pretty confused. I’m using some guides to glycymic index to give me an idea of where to start, and then keeping an eye on my body and moods after I’ve had certain foods. An actual low GI diet was suggested to me by my General Practioner. Is this a sugar coated diet? Am I brain washed and a bad fatty? I don’t know any more. I’m a pretty forgetful person, and I can definitely see someone as a scatter brained as me treading the thin line between paying attention to their body, and crossing over into obsessive food logging and nutrient counting. Common sense will be different for everyone, after all.

EDIT: I absolutely love this post by Shannon.

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~ by pewter on June 22, 2009.

6 Responses to “I struggle with ‘diet’.”

  1. In my mind, by setting what you eat around what makes you feel physically and emotionally well, you are practicing Health At Every Size. I agree, you are under no imperative to practice HAES but it seems you already are.

    There are A LOT of people in FA who do not pratice intuitive eating or HAES. There is no tenet of FA that says you have to practice either. Or believe in either. Some do, some don’t.

    If you are not changing your diet in order to lose weight, then you are not undermining any of your FA cred. And even in saying that I cringe because FA is a journey and we are all at different stages of that journey.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself and just understand that there are a lot of different ideas that come under the umbrella of FA.

    • I think that, like many of us, I am guilty (he) of looking for ways to make myself feel guilty. I think part of the problem is that many of the voices in FA are very finely honed and say what they want very concisely and persuasively.

      Thank you Bri!

  2. I have PCOS and insulin resistance, and if I eat alot of sugar or simple carbs, it make me crash too. I’m still new to the whole intuitive eating thing, but I think that what works for one person, may not work for another. Some people want a cookie, eat a cookie, and are fine. Others want a cookie, eat a cookie, and then feel like crap for the rest of the day.

    I don’t think avoiding certain foods that make you tired, cranky, etc makes you a bad fatty. To me, being aware of your body, what what it needs, and what it really can’t handle (like alot of sugar for instance) is actually very smart.

    BTW – Love your header. :)

    • <3 Rubens. I do think that keeping an eye on your bodies needs is a very important thing for general health, if it is your choice to be healthy of course. Yet I find, myself, I have to actively think about a food and what it will do to me at the moment – the behaviours I exhibit in order to avoid foods that actually make me feel like crap are ones which steer perilously close to food logging and classing foods as bad or good, and so on, and I guess that is where my insecurity about dieting comes from.

  3. I totally feel you on that. It feels like there’s a fine line between eating what you think your body needs, and avoiding stuff that is considered “unhealthy” because you feel it’s “wrong” to eat it, not because you don’t actually want to eat it.

    I envy my young nephews who eat what they like, and don’t give a moments thought to whether it’s good or bad. To them it’s just food.

  4. To repeat what’s been said earlier: FA does NOT give an imperative about behaviours. There are plenty of people in FA who believe that taking good care of yourself is a good idea, and HAES is a good approach to health if that’s something you want to concentrate on. But a recommendation is not the same as an imperative. To the contrary, a lot of us in FA are fed up with the healthism judgements we get from all the anti-fat folks and we are certainly not going to impose our own brand of health imperative on fat people. It’s YOUR body, YOU get to decide what to do with it.

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