Diet free living: there is work to be done

It’s been a few weeks since a “diet free living” post and I’d like to share my experience with those of you who are interested in my progress.

It’s been interesting. Interesting how easy it has been to eat without guilt. Interesting how quick fix diet desires still resurface. And then die down. Interesting how stopping weighing myself (!!!) has really contributed to drama-free eating.

It’s actually surprised me how little time I’ve been spending worrying about what, when, how much to eat… or what it would do to my figure. The post where I talked about “failing at diet free living” (kind of an oxymoron, I realize now – thank you for getting me straight!) after a bit more self-examination made me realize that it was all triggered by the scale. I was feeling “successful” after a few weeks of diet free living, so I wanted the scale to reflect that (and it did) but then all this pressure to continue being “successful” came on and that’s when it once again became a quasi-diet and I started freaking out (subconsciously and consciously) which in turn resulted in overeating and the feeling of “failure.”

No scale = less fixation on weight

But here is the deal, while I’ve been eating daily treats without much afterthought, I’ve also been on and off struggling with an overwhelming desire to be thin, which I feel is unachievable the way I currently eat. I keep thinking: “I don’t want to be fat and happy, I want to be thin and happy.” I know that HAPPY should be enough, but why does it need to be mutually exclusive with wanting to be beautiful?

Here is what I figured… it doesn’t. But beauty is subjective. I know that my husband finds me beautiful. I’m sure many other people may find me beautiful and many others will not. And that will always be the case, regardless of my weight. What I need to work on is breaking the link between beauty, thinness and self worth. I can be beautiful at any weight because I’m me. Man, that’s one freeing thought!

I’m going to let this one marinade for a bit… and invite you to do the same if you are in a similar space.

PS – Adam forwarded to me this cool website with pictures of people at different height and weight. It was nice to step outside of myself and see real women around my size – they looked great – not supermodel thin but real and beautiful! Another reminder that there is still some internal work to be done before I can have a chance at “happy.”

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31 comments to Diet free living: there is work to be done

  • I love this: “I can be beautiful at any weight because I’m me.” I believe you can really get to a place where you feel that all the time!

  • It’s great to have someone who thinks you’re beautiful any way that you are.

    I’m trying to stay positive and hope that people think the same of me too. Lately I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should (my hair, nails, clothing is a mess) because I’m stressed with deadlines. So even if my weight has been the same, I feel like a slob. I know things will get better, but in the meantime, I am not going to let those things bug me too much.

    • Elina

      Work deadlines do that to me as well. I notice a big difference in my mood (and then my eating) if I haven’t been putting any effort in my outfits, hair and nails. I feel like I’m prioritizing other things over myself (and I am – I feel like I have no choice… but the truth is I do – there is a compromise in there somewhere). I actually have my usual quarterly busy time coming up (with a few extra things thrown in!) so we’ll see how I deal with them this time around. I’m hoping to actually take care of myself in the midst of all of this. I may not be able to work out every day and straighten my hair for an hour but there are probably little things I can do. Can you? Good luck!!! I know very well how tough this is.

  • I feel like you do: wishing to be happy and thin, not happy and chubby. For me unfortunately, happy and fat are mutually exclusive. For me, it’s easier to do the work to be thinNER (I’ll never, ever be “thin!”) so that I can be “happy” in my own skin.

    Of course body weight/image is only one component of life, but sadly for me, it’s a huge component. And even when I’m successful in school, business, whatever, I’m unhappy if I’m fat. When I’m somewhere in the middle (weight-wise), I try to practice self-acceptance, which usually does help me temporarily get over a hump. And it’s been like that since I was a child.

    As for you…Hopefully, you will be able to forge your way through and find your balance of self-acceptance. I’m certainly rooting for you!

    • Elina

      It’s a huge component of my life as well (obviously!) but I’m working on loving and appreciating myself without the scale. I also think that by continuing to question by beliefs, letting myself feel uncomfortable without numbing myself with food (something I realized is a trigger!) will help with healing my body issues and my relationship with food. I’m already starting to see positive changes. Thanks for rooting for me. I hope that I can be a true inspiration for many some day :)

  • You put into words EXACTLY what has been going through my head these past couple weeks. I am okay with giving up the scale and guilt over eating (mostly) and okay with trying to like me for me, but I am simply not happy at my current weight. So, yep, definitely need to let that one marinate too…

    • Elina

      I think we need to give ourselves a break and stop hoping for things to just be “fixed” all at once (I seriously so often keep wishing that all of these obsessions and hurt and ups and downs just “go away” and that I’m “fixed and normal”). It’s okay to take things slowly – one step at a time. You are making progress by getting closer to ridding yourself of food guilt (that’s HUGE), being ok at your current weight won’t come right away either. You can be okay with just being you at this very moment though. Work on breaking the connection between being okay with YOU and your weight. They are different things. I think that’s when things may start clicking on the weight thing because the guilt and self-worth “check” depending on your weight will be over. I’m feeling strong today and I think we can all feel this way with time (and working through the underlying issues). You are beautiful because you’re you. Period.

  • What a great website, thank you for sharing!
    I think ditching the scale will make you feel much better, though I do think if you believe you are beautiful, everyone else will believe it too!
    I mean, look at Kirstie Alley…she’s big and proud and doing amazing on Dancing with The Stars because she believes in herself!

    • Elina

      Ha, I just saw Kristie Alley on DWTS. So funny :)
      I definitely think that women that believe in themselves project it and thus become it.

  • I’m so glad you’ve ditched the scale! I believe you’re on the right path and you’ll get to a great place; step by step, but you’ll get there. 😉

  • yes, this is what we need to do… the trick is doing it 😉 having people that believe in you will help! and that site is very kewl!

  • I just finished reading Geneen Roth’s “Women, Food, and God” and it’s fantastic – have you read it? It touches on a lot of the things that you’ve talked about… I highly recommend it!

    • Elina

      I actually picked it up at the library 3 weeks ago and then never got a chance to read it before I had to return it. I think I’m going to just buy it. You and many others have said such great things about the book! Anything in particular from there stuck with you?

  • I love the positive voice in this blog post. Keep up the great work Elina. We are all supporting you 100%!

  • I love this post. I can’t put it into words why I needed a post like this, but this one touched a nerve. We think it’s normal to have days where we feel ugly or full of glaring imperfections, but it isn’t normal. We should never feel that way, because how we might look on the exterior is not always a fair representation of what really makes us beautiful. That might sound hypocritical, coming from someone who writes a beauty blog, but part of why I feel special or beautiful is because I know my real value lies in how I feel. If I’ve kicked butt that day, I feel 100% confident about myself, and who doesn’t love that?

  • I’m struggling to accept the 20 pounds I recently gained. Even though I needed to gain them, I still feel like a heffer. I haven’t stepped on the scale in a long time, but it still doesn’t matter to me because I see and feel rolls where I didn’t have them and can’t fit my ass in my jeans. Accepting our bodies is difficult. Accepting that we are more than our weight is even more difficult. I’m glad we have blogging because it makes me feel normal in my struggles. Thank you for sharing!

    • Elina

      You need new jeans, girl. Of course you’re going to feel physically and mentally uncomfortable when they’re cutting off circulation and creating rolls. Accepting our bodies IS difficult – proper clothes do make it just a tad easier though. A cute outfit is such an amazing self-esteem booster :) I think I need to throw a clothes exchange party!!!

  • Sveta

    Happy and thin is subjective because that is how you see yourself as happy. Happiness and thinness is mutually exclusive with wanting to be beautiful because that is what you see in your mind as beautiful. What you see as beautifuly thin may not be what someone else sees as thin or beautiful. Im sure many people may consider you as thin and wish for your body and would be be very happy to weigh what you do.. You can be beautiful at any weight and as long as you see yourself as beautiful then you can be happy =)

  • I totally understand where you’re coming from. There have been many times when I’ve thought, “Even though I’m happy where I am now, I still do wish I were thinner!” In my case, that’s because I know that being a size smaller garners more external approval, so I have to keep challenging myself as to WHY I so desperately want that approval in the first place (since, like you say, plenty of people, including my husband, find me attractive at my current size).

    • Elina

      BINGO! Fat is not a feeling as someone very wise always reminds me. Feeling self-consciousness or a desire of external approval is a feeling and that’s why we always need to dig deeper. It’s easy to just blame things on extra weight but there will likely be new things to blame if these triggers were never dealt with.

  • Happy and beautiful, that’s what you are. 😀 This is a very inspiring post letting everyone know that it’s not how you look like, it’s who you are which makes you beautiful. :)

  • I can relate to wishing I were a different size sometimes. I try to remind myself that my body is beautiful because it lets me run, do yoga, be the energetic person I want to be. I’ve been much thinner before, and it wasn’t healthy, and I know I don’t want to go back there. But it doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days where I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. Thanks for sharing this, Elina!

  • Eva

    I know what you mean, it can be tough when you want to loose weight but still want to be able to eat things that you actually enjoy eating. It’s hard when the media projects certain size images about women, but in reality there are so many shapes and sizes and they are all beautiful. Look at Nigella Lawson, she’s a curvy lady but still completely gorgeous.

  • You are beautiful inside and out, and I know with some work you will get to that happy place mentally. Looking forward to seeing you at Taste of the Nation!

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