Sunday, May 22, 2011

Me and dieting

Me and dieting. Me and my body. Me and the mirror. Me and portia de Rossi. This blog could have so many titles.

I have been dieting or "not dieting" since I was about 15. That was when I realized that I was not normal. Or that I was fat. Those things are pretty much equated in my mind.

Writing this blog makes me sad. I am sad for all the years I thought I was not good enough. I am sad for all the women who told me (implicitly or explicitly) that being fat meant I was not good enough.

All my life I believed the story that I was told. Every one told me the same story.  If you are fat, then nothing about you matters as much as that.  No matter how successful you are, or how good, or how smart, or how gifted or tender hearted or generous or loving, none of that is as important as your size.  Your size is the most important fact about you.  Did I get the story wrong?  Maybe.  But that's the story I heard.  It's not that I thought other things didn't matter, it's just that they didn't matter as much as that.

I am great at dieting.  Really, super great.  I can loose a heap of weight.  I can even help other people loose weight.

Just one catch.

Dieting doesn't work.  And I mean that in a very specific way.  I mean that dieting does not get me what I want. 

What I want, firstly, is to love myself.  Secondly, but equally important, I want to feel normal.

Dieting never does either of those things.  Even when I lost 30 kilos.  Even when I was 'in a healthy weight range'.  Even when everyone I met commented on how good I looked (comparatively, of course).  Even then, I did not love my body, and I did not feel normal.

So even then, dieting didn't work.

The only thing that has actually worked for me is not 'not dieting'.  It's giving up dieting.  When I said, at the start of the year, I will not diet this year.  Not for one day.  Not for one minute.  I will not use any part of this year to diet.

That day, and every day after that, I felt normal.  And almost every day after that I have loved my body.

This is why.  Because I have disciplined myself to look in the mirror and ask a different question.

Since I was about 15, I have looked in the mirror pretty much every day.  And each time I have asked one question.  Do I look fat?  Or maybe do I look thin?

That is the only question I have asked the mirror.

So I have been learning to ask different questions.  To look in the mirror and ask, do I look good?  Is my make up good?  Do I like these earrings?  Does this colour suit me?  Do I like this dress with this cardi?  Do I like these tights?

This is also why.  I have disciplined myself to look at other women and ask a different question.

Since I was about 15 I have looked at other women and asked one question.  Is she thinner than me?  Or maybe is she fatter than me?

So I have been learning to ask different questions.  Do I like her clothes?  Do I like her hair?  Is her make up nice? What is she doing?  Is she happy?  Would I wear that?  Should she?

Doing these two things has changed me.  I reject the lie that my weight is the most important fact about me.  I reject the lie that being thin is the only way to be beautiful.  I reject the lie that other women are more beautiful than me just because they are thinner than me.  I reject the lie that dieting gets me what I want.  I reject the lie that I cannot love myself even though I am not thin. 

This is not everyone's story.  This is just my story.


Anonymous said...

Sharyn I love you for writing this post! I have ALWAYS admired you - not for anything to do with the way you look (but in fact I have always thought you look great - yes your body and face but also the way your wear them) - more importantly because you are smart and funny and creative and giving and lots of other things.
Love and wishes for a happy life from someone else who is trying to look at herself differently in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

You are beautiful inside & out and i'm so pleased you have reached a good place in your life. You look great & i especially love that cute swim suit. Your inspiring in more ways than one! xoxo

Mandy Gardener said...

You go girl! I love your approach. Think I will use it myself :)
I think that self-acceptance and self-love are definitely more important than size. Thinness does not equate with happiness and surely what we all want is to be happy (so thin can go jump).

Helen said...

I never commented on this when I first read it, but it is amazing. YOU are amazing.